Time to Vote!?!

Shawnee Love   •   October 18, 2019

With the Canadian election on Monday, the Elections Act requires employers give employees time to vote.  The law says almost all employees (except for those ineligible and possibly those in the transportation industry) need to have three consecutive hours free from work when the polls are open and that you can’t penalize employees for taking those hours off. I.e., they still get paid for the day they would have worked.

For employers, that means you need to:

  1. Know when the polls are open in your area’s riding(s) (more information here),
  2. Compare your employees’ schedules with polling hours, and
  3. Choose how you will revise the schedule to ensure each employee has at least 3 hours free.

For example, if a polling station is open from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM, and:

  1. Your employees work 8:30 – 4:30, you are fine. No additional time is required, because they have at least 3 hours off in a row before the polling station closes.
  2. Your employees work a split shift from 9:00 to 12:00 and 2:00 to 6:00, you can choose either to give an extra hour off in the middle of the day (e.g., let employees leave at 11 instead of 12 or come back at 3 instead of 2) or you can let your employees come in late (at 11:30 AM) or leave early (at 5:30 PM).
  3. Your employee works 10 hour days from 9:00 – 7:00, you can again let your employee come in late or leave early in the same fashion as outlined in example #2.
  4. Your employee works from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, again you will want to let your employee start late (11:30) or leave early (5:30).

Hope that helps!

p.s. Did you know you can’t take a selfie with your ballot.  That and other interesting facts about voting in Canada found here.