Time off to vote in the 2021 federal election
The federal election will be held on Monday, September 20, 2021.
Under s. 132 of the Canada Elections Act (“Act”), every employee who is an elector (i.e. a Canadian citizen and 18 years of age or older) is entitled, during voting hours on polling day, to have three consecutive hours for the purpose of casting his or her vote.
The voting hours on polling day for electoral districts in the Newfoundland or Atlantic time zone are 8:30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m.
Therefore, for an employee who works from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the employee would still have three consecutive hours off work while the polls are open in order to vote (5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.). The employer need not provide this employee with any additional time off work.
However, where an employee’s working hours do not permit three consecutive hours off work to vote while the polls are open, the employer must allow the employee additional time with pay to provide the three consecutive hours. However, it is at the employer’s discretion as to when the three consecutive hours will occur.
Therefore, for an employee who works from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., the employee would only have one and a half consecutive hours to vote while the polls are open (7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.). In these circumstances, the employer could choose to let the employee:
(a) leave work at 5:30 p.m. (so the employee has three consecutive hours to vote from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.);
(b) begin their work day at 11:30 a.m. (so the employee has three consecutive hours from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to vote); or,
(c) have three consecutive hours off at any point during the work day while the polls are open.
The only exception in the Act to the “three consecutive hours rule” is for employees who transport goods or passengers by land, air or water, who operate these transportation services outside his or her polling division. An employer is not required to offer three consecutive hours away from work if the time off would interfere with the transportation service.
Employers are prohibited under the Act from failing to allow an employee three consecutive hours for voting or for interfering with an elector’s right to have three consecutive hours for voting by intimidation, undue influence, or by any other means. Employers are also prohibited under the Act from deducting from the pay of an employee or imposing a penalty on the employee for the time that the employer is required to allow for voting.
This client update is provided for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about the above, please contact a member of our Labour and Employment group.
Click here to subscribe to Stewart McKelvey Thought Leadership.
By Kimberly Bungay On April 1, 2023, the Nova Scotia government will proclaim into force Bill 226, which amends the Companies Act (the “Act”) to require companies formed under the Act to create and maintain…Read More
Abuse of sick leave / failure of employee to participate in accommodation process: Vail v. Oromocto (Town), 2022 CanLII 129486
By Chad Sullivan and Kathleen Starke Background A recent decision, Vail v. Oromocto (Town), 2022 CanLII 129486, involved several grievances including an unjust dismissal claim by a firefighter as well as a grievance filed by…Read More
By Stuart Wallace and Kim Walsh On January 1, 2022, the Underused Housing Tax Act (the Act) took effect. The Underused Housing Tax (the UHT) is an annual 1% tax on the value of vacant or…Read More
Parlez-Vous Francais? Recent amendments to Quebec’s Charter of the French Language may impact Atlantic Canadian businesses
By: David F. Slipp and Levi Parsche In May 2022, Bill 96 was adopted by Quebec’s National Assembly, significantly amending the Charter of the French Language (the “Charter“). The amendments create new requirements for using…Read More
The Winds of Change (Part 7): Paying the Piper: New Newfoundland and Labrador Fiscal Framework expects billions in revenues from wind to hydrogen projects
By Dave Randell, G. John Samms, and Stuart Wallace With the deadline for bids on crown lands available for wind energy projects extended to noon on March 23rd, the latest development in our Winds of…Read More
By Kevin Landry and Colton Smith The Retail Payment Activities Regulations have been released in the Canada Gazette Part 1 for comment. Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed regulations for a period of 45…Read More
By Andrew Burke, Colleen Keyes, Gavin Stuttard and David Slipp With proxy season once again approaching, many public companies are in the midst of preparing their annual disclosure documents and shareholder materials for their annual…Read More
By Brittany Trafford and Sean Corscadden In response to the nationwide labour shortage, the Federal government is allowing select family members of foreign workers to apply for open work permits. This temporary policy came into…Read More
Mark Tector and Ben Currie Effective January 1, 2023, amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) took effect, excluding “business consultants” and “information technology consultants” from the application of the ESA. This is a…Read More
By Perlene Morrison, K.C. and Curtis Doyle Once again, the time has come to review the year that was and to chart the course for the year ahead. For municipalities and planning professionals in Prince…Read More