The federal election will take place on Monday, October 19,
2015. The Canada Elections Act (the "Act")
requires employers to give employees who are qualified electors
time off work so that they can vote. A qualified elector is every
resides in the electoral
is a Canadian citizen;
is 18 years of age or older on
polling day; and
is not disqualified under the Act or
otherwise prohibited from voting.
Employees who are qualified electors are entitled to three
consecutive hours free from work to cast their ballots during
polling hours on October 19, 2015. The Act provides that the three
consecutive hours free from work is to be scheduled at the time of
day that best suits the employer. No additional allowance is
required for "travel time" to and from the polls.
An employer must provide time off work only if the
employee's schedule prevents the employee from having three
consecutive hours to vote. Polling times vary across the provinces and are determined in accordance
with the Act.
For example, in Ontario, the polls are open from 9:30 a.m. to
9:30 p.m. Therefore, an employee in Ontario who completes his or
her shift at 5:30 p.m. will have three consecutive hours free from
work in which to vote, that is, from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. As a
result, the employee is not entitled to additional time off
However, if an employee works from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. the
employee may be permitted to arrive late or leave early to provide
three consecutive hours off of work to vote.
An employer may not deduct or reduce the employee's pay or
impose any penalty as a result of the employee taking time off work
Penalties for non-compliance
If an employer fails to grant a qualified elector three
consecutive hours free from work in which to vote, the employer may
be found to have prevented, impeded or otherwise interfered with an
employee's right to vote, and may be liable for a fine of up to
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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