Monday, October 19, 2015 is Election Day for the upcoming
federal election and is quickly approaching. Many employers are
left wondering what their obligations are.
On Election Day, eligible voters will be able to cast their
ballot between 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. The Canada Elections
Act provides that all eligible voters are entitled to three
(3) consecutive hours for the purposes of casting his/her vote.
As such, if an employee's hours of work on Election Day are
such that the employee does not have three (3)
consecutive hours free to vote, then the employer
is required to provide the employee with the necessary time off
work with pay.
For example, if an employee is scheduled to work an eight (8)
hour day (e.g. 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.), no time off work is required
as the employee will have more than three (3) consecutive hours
after work, while the polls are open, to exercise their right to
vote. On the other hand, if an employee is scheduled to work a
twelve (12) hour shift from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., the employer is
required to provide the employee with three (3) consecutive hours
within which to vote. When, during Election Day, the employee is
granted time off to vote is at the discretion of the employer. For
instance, the employer may permit the employee to leave work at
5:30 p.m. (two hours early) which would provide the employee three
(3) consecutive hours while the polls are open to cast their
ballot. Or it may be more convenient to the employer to provide the
employee with a three (3) hour block of time during the
employee's shift. The choice is left to the employer.
While voters may choose to take advantage of advance voting
between October 9 and 12, 2015, the choice to participate in the
advance poll lies solely with the employee and cannot be imposed by
An employer who refuses to provide an employee with three (3)
consecutive hours to vote on Election Day, reduces an
employee's pay for time off for voting, and/or who uses
intimidation, undue influence or any other means to interfere with
an employee's right to time off for voting, commits an offence
under the Canada Elections Act, the penalty of which is a
fine of up to $2,000 or three (3) months' imprisonment, or
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.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
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.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).