Do I get time off work to vote?
October 2, 2019 By: Jill Lewis Read Time: 2 minutes
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It’s that time of year—the leaves are changing and lawns everywhere are covered in blue/red/orange/green signs—we know what that means, it’s Election Season.

It is important for employees and employer to remember that time must be provided to employees in order to cast their vote.

Canadian election 2019

Employees are entitled to three consecutive hours to vote during voting hours on polling day.

As per the Canadian Elections Act, employees are entitled to three consecutive hours to vote during voting hours on polling day. If the employee does not work hours that allow for those three consecutive hours, the employer must allow the time for voting that is necessary to provide those three hours, for example:

if you live in a riding where voting hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and you usually work from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., your hours of work will not allow three consecutive hours for voting. To give you three consecutive hours to vote, your employer could allow you to arrive late (at 12:30 p.m.), let you leave early (at 6:30 p.m.), or give you three hours off at some point during the work day.  (provided by Elections Canada)

The employer is entitled to choose the time in which the employee will leave to vote.

There is an exemption for employees employed by the transportation industry:

  1. If the employee transports goods or passengers by land, air or water;
  2. is employed outside his or her polling division;
  3. is in the operation of a means of transportation; and
  4. if the three consecutive hours cannot be allowed without interfering with the transportation service, then these employees are not entitled to time off to vote.

The federal election is taking place on Monday, October 21st. Make sure to work out your schedule to vote with your employer ahead of time to avoid any issues.

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2019 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Service: Employment Law