On September 20, 2021, Canada goes to the polls. It is important for employers to be aware of their obligations under the Canada Elections Act, SC 2000, c 9 (the “Act”), and the rights of employees to have time away from work to cast their votes in the federal election.
All employees who are Canadian citizens and 18 years of age or older are entitled to have three consecutive hours off work on election day during voting hours to cast their ballots. Time off with pay must be provided, at the convenience of the employer, to the extent necessary to allow three consecutive hours for voting.
Employees are not entitled to additional time off if their regular work schedule already allows for three consecutive hours during the time that the polls are open. However, where an employee does not have three consecutive hours before or after work while the polls are open, the employer must allow the employee to have paid time away from work to vote.
- For example, in Alberta, the polls are open from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm. Your employee typically works from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The employer can either allow the employee to start at 10:30 a.m., giving them 3 consecutive hours to vote or leave work a half-hour early at 4:30 p.m. If neither of those options is appropriate in the circumstances, the employer must allow the employee to have off three consecutive paid hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
As such, start looking at your schedules now and find out who needs to leave your workplace to vote.
Get out and vote!!