A Federal election has been called for Monday, October 19, 2015.
Polls are open in Atlantic Canada from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Advance polls are open from noon to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, October 9,
Saturday, October 10, Sunday, October 11, and Monday, October 12.
Individuals may also register to vote by special mail-in ballot at
Every Canadian citizen, 18 years or older on polling day is
entitled to vote.
Three Consecutive Hours
Qualified electors are entitled to three consecutive hours on
voting day to cast their ballots during polling hours (i.e., 8:30
a.m. to 8:30 p.m.). If the employee's work schedule prevents
having three consecutive hours off to vote, the employer must
provide the time off to meet the three consecutive hours rule. The
following are examples of what time off to vote looks like when
voting hours are 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m:
The employee works from 8:00 a.m. to
4:00 p.m. – no time off required because the employee has 4.5
consecutive hours off of work to the time polls close at 8:30
The employee works from 9:00 a.m. to
5:00 p.m. – no time off required because the employee has
three consecutive hours off of work to the time polls close at 8:30
The employee works from 7:00 a.m. to
7:00 p.m. – the employee may be permitted to arrive late or
leave early to provide three consecutive hours off of work.
The employer has the right to decide what time off to provide to
an employee in order to meet the required three consecutive hours
and is under no obligation to make allowance for "travel
time" to vote for the employee. The Canada Elections
Act prohibits any deduction or reduced pay or imposing any
penalty for time off to vote as required by the Act.
Employees of a transportation company (i.e., transporting goods
or passengers by land, air or water) who are employed outside their
polling division in the operation of transportation are not
entitled to time off if it cannot be provided without interfering
with the transportation service.
What's the Penalty?
An employer who is convicted of a violation under the Canada
Elections Act (e.g., failing to provide time off or reducing
an employee's pay) may be liable for up to a $2000 fine and/or
three months imprisonment, or both.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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