Federal Election Monday, September 20

FAQs – Time off to vote

Am I allowed time off work to vote?

By law, everyone who is eligible to vote must have three consecutive hours to cast their vote on election day. If your hours of work do not allow for three consecutive hours to vote, your employer must give you time off

For example, if you live in a riding where voting hours are from 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 for three consecutive hours for voting. To give you three consecutive hours to vote, your employer could allow you to arrive late (for example, at 12:30 p.m.), let you leave early (for example, at 6:30 p.m.), or give you three hours off at some point during the work day.

Your employer has the right to decide when the time off will be given.

This rule may not apply if you work in the transportation industry.

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Are all employers required to give time off work to vote?

Yes, the law applies to all employers. However, for employers in the transportation industry, the obligation to provide three consecutive hours off to vote does not apply if these four conditions are met:

  • the employer is a company that transports goods or passengers by land, air or water;
  • the employee is employed outside of his or her polling division;
  • the employee is employed in the operation of a means of transportation; and
  • the time off cannot be allowed without interfering with the transportation service.

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Who decides when employees may take time off work to vote?

Your employer has the right to decide when during the work day to give this time off.

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Can an employee lose pay for taking time off to vote?

No.

Employers cannot penalize an employee or make a deduction on their pay for taking time off to vote, as required by the Canada Elections Act. An employee must be paid what he or she would have earned during the time allowed off for voting.

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Is there a penalty for employers who do not give employees time off to vote?

Yes.

It is an offence for employers to fail to provide time off for voting as required under the Canada Elections Act. It is also an offence for an employer to reduce an employee's pay when the employee has been provided time off to vote in accordance with the Act. The maximum penalty for violating these prohibitions is a fine of up to $2,000, three months' imprisonment, or both.

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