On Monday, October 19, 2015, Canadian citizens are to vote in
the federal election. Eligible voters will have a 12-hour period
within which to cast their ballots, i.e. from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30
When election time comes, many employers wonder about the extent
of their obligations towards their employees. Do they have to allow
them a certain amount of time within which to exercise their right
to vote? Will the time allowed them be remunerated? Allow us to
clarify the situation for you.
Under the Canada Elections Act1, every
employee eligible to vote must have three consecutive hours to vote
during voting hours on Election Day, i.e. this coming October
19th. If the employee's work schedule does not
afford him or her the required three consecutive hours, the
employer is obliged to grant the employee that amount of
time2. The period comprising those consecutive hours is
at the employer's discretion.
By way of example, if an employee's hours of work on October
19, 2015 are from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., the employer will be
obliged to grant him or her the time necessary such that the
employee has three consecutive hours within which to vote. On the
other hand, if the employee's work schedule is from 9:00 a.m.
to 5:00 p.m., the employer will not have to grant him or her any
amount of time, as the employee will already have three consecutive
hours to go out and vote after his or her workday is
It should be noted as well that employers are prohibited from
deducting any amount from their employees' pay or imposing any
kind of penalty on account of the period granted them to exercise
their right to vote. Thus, any time allowed to employees who are
eligible to vote must be remunerated.
The Elections Act also prohibits employers from
interfering, through intimidation, undue influence or any other
means, with the granting to an employee of three consecutive hours
For any additional information, please don't hesitate to
contact a member of our team!
1 S.C. 2000, c. 9
2 The Elections Act provides that the
employer's obligation to give employees leave without any loss
in salary so that they have three consecutive hours to go and vote
does not apply to transportation companies where the employee is
outside of his or her polling division while operating a means of
transportation if the necessary time cannot be allotted without
interfering with the transportation service.
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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