On election day in Quebec, employers must ensure that their
employees have at least four consecutive hours free in which to
vote during the hours when the polling stations are open (i.e.,
from 9:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.), not counting the time normally
allowed by the employer for meals.
So if your employees start work after 1:30 P.M. or end work
before 4:00 P.M., you are not required to give them time off to
vote. On the other hand, if your employees' work schedule does
not afford them the minimum time required by law, you must grant
them the necessary time off in order to ensure that they have four
consecutive hours in which to vote. It is up to you to determine at
what time of day you wish to grant the time off.
No deduction of wages or penalty may be imposed on the employee
on account of the time off granted.
Election Act, RSQ, c E-3.3, s 335
Failure to comply with these requirements can result in harsh
penalties. Employers who contravene the rules described above are
liable to the following fines:
If the employer is an individual, a fine of $1,000 to $10,000
for a first offence and $10,000 to $30,000 for any subsequent
offence within ten years.
If the employer is a corporation, a fine of $5,000 to $30,000
for a first offence and $20,000 to $60,000 for any subsequent
offence within ten years.
An employer who uses his authority or influence to induce any of
his employees to refuse to become an election officer or to abandon
that office after accepting it will also be subject to these
In addition, an employee who believes that his or her rights
described above have been contravened may file a complaint with the
Commission des normes du travail.
Election Act, RSQ, c E-3.3, s 556
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