Giving Employees Time off to Vote

The hot topic this month is the upcoming Federal Election. Are you ready to vote? You should be! No matter which political party you support, they will need your vote on October 19.

Of course, with an election comes the question about the “rules” regarding giving an employee time off work to vote. The short answer- yes, if their working hours on Election Day are such that they would not have three consecutive hours to cast their ballot.

Employers must also be aware that the time off to vote is paid time off, under the Elections Canada Act.

This rule applies no matter which type of election is being held (Municipal, Provincial or Federal). Click here for a link to the Elections Canada site.

For example, Sally works as a nurse and her shift is 7 am to 7 pm on Election Day. She has some options:

On a day off, she can:

  • Go to the Elections Canada office in her riding any time before Tuesday October 13 at 6 pm and vote (really!) This option requires a special voting kit, click here for more information.
  • Vote in the advanced poll in her riding

If neither of those options work for her, she can request time off work on Election Day, of up to three consecutive hours. Three hours is the maximum, and the intent is to allow the employee time to travel from the workplace to the election place and (hopefully) stand in line, register, vote, and return to work.

The time off work is scheduled according to the workplace needs.  For example, she could come in late to work, or leave early, or take the three hours during the day, whichever works best.