Information for Indigenous Voters
Research shows that Indigenous electors still face several barriers to participating in federal elections. Since 1990, we have worked hard to make the federal electoral process more accessible to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit electors. The Chief Electoral Officer often seeks to consult representatives of national and regional Indigenous organizations. We want to help Indigenous electors exercise their right to vote in a federal election.
Addressing the barriers
We are working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to offer better election services in their communities.
- Innu (Montagnais)
- Plains Cree
Indigenous Elder and Youth Program: We are pleased to offer to appoint one Elder and one youth to be present during voting hours at any polling station that serves mainly Indigenous electors. The Elder and youth offer interpretation services, help explain the voting process and answer general questions. During the 2015 general election, 285 Elders and youth participated in this program. We are working to increase that participation.
Elections Canada offices on post-secondary campuses: We offer special ballot voting services at numerous post-secondary institutions. For the 2019 general election, we are setting up offices at more than 115 post-secondary campuses in all 10 provinces and all three territories. This will help us extend our reach to Indigenous students and youth. Electors will also be able to vote at these offices, regardless of where they live. This will make it easier for Indigenous electors to cast ballots while away from their home communities.
Community Relations Officers for Indigenous electors: We are enhancing the Community Relations Officer program for the next general election. Community relations officers work with local leaders to improve access to registration and voting in communities. These officers provide information on when, where and ways to register and vote, as well as on the tools and services available to electors. During the 2015 general election, we had 169 community relations officers helping to improve access and reduce barriers. For the 2019 general election, the program will include opportunities for Métis communities as well.
Voting locations in First Nations communities: For the 2015 General Election, 34 reserves offered advance polling locations and 309 reserves had ordinary polling locations. We recently updated our polling site selection policy and plan to increase the number of advance and election day polling stations on reserves for the 2019 general election. Returning officers began reaching out to these communities in the summer of 2018.
Collaboration with Indigenous organizations: We maintain relationships with national and regional organizations, with increased activity around general elections. Returning officers usually reach out to Indigenous communities when the election is called. For the 2019 general election, returning officers contacted Indigenous communities beginning in the spring of 2018, as part of their planning for polling stations.
Remote Indigenous Communities: We have launched a pilot project in 87 remote communities across 27 electoral districts where barriers to registration and voting were found to be higher than elsewhere. This project will help returning officers build ongoing relationships with community leaders to plan election services for their communities.
Advertising campaign: Ads for each phase of our advertising campaign planned for the 2019 general election will appear in English, French and/or Inuktitut on Indigenous TV and radio networks, in Indigenous print publications and on Indigenous digital networks.
It’s Our Vote: The 2019 general election advertising campaign is called "It's Our Vote." It gives Canadians the information they need to become a candidate, work at an election, register and vote. This social and digital campaign will help reduce barriers to voting for first-time voters (youth aged 18–24 and new Canadians), Indigenous people and people with disabilities.
For more information on other ways Elections Canada is addressing barriers to voting go to: How & Where to Vote.