Did you make it out to the polls this Thanksgiving weekend for the advanced voting days? Not to worry if you didn’t because there is still time – the Canadian Federal Election is on Monday, October 21, 2019! Voting hours will vary depending on your time-zone but all polls will be open for a 12-hour stretch.
Employee Rights on Election Day
Voting is often described as a person’s “civic duty” so it is no surprise that the legislature considered the importance of having provisions in the Canada Elections Act (the “Act”) that speak to the employee’s right to cast their vote during the workday.
Section 132(1) of the Act states that an employer must provide their employees with “…three consecutive hours for the purpose of casting his or her vote.” While casting one’s ballot usually only takes a few minutes, employees who do not live near their office may need more time. Employers can decide when to permit their employees to take this designated voting time. Employers cannot deduct an employee’s pay or otherwise penalize an employee for taking time off to vote.
Take a look at the FAQ page of the Elections Canada website for more information about Election Day and different voting options! Having the opportunity to vote is an important part of our democracy, so pay attention to the members of your community who may have a difficult time accessing the polls. Ask your neighbours if they need a ride or would like some support getting to the polls.
And for all you first-time voters (congrats!), just a note that taking a selfie with your ballot is a violation of the Act! Wait until you get outside and take a photo next to the Elections Canada arrow – the lighting is better there anyway.