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Federal Election: What Employers and Employees should know about voting rights

Oct 16 2019

With Advance Polls now closed, your final opportunity to vote in the upcoming federal election will be on October 21, 2019.

Here are answers to some common questions about employee rights and employer responsibilities when it comes to voting:

How much time Do employees get to vote? 

  • Employers are required to ensure employees have at least three (3) consecutive hours to vote on Election Day while the polls are open. In British Columbia, our polls are open from 7am to 7pm. How a shift accommodation is made is at the employer’s discretion so employees should work with their employer on scheduling.
  • Example 1: if your scheduled shift is from 9am to 5pm, it may be possible to start your shift at 10am or finish your shift at 4pm.
  • Example 2: if your scheduled shift is from 12pm to 8pm, you would not be entitled to an accommodation for time off to vote.

Do employees get paid for the hours taken off to vote?

  • If an employee has been accommodated to vote in accordance with the three consecutive hours, the employer is not permitted to dock time missed to cast his or her ballot.

Can an employee be disciplined for taking time off and not voting?

  • While difficult to prove, this would be time theft. The employment relationship is built on trust so it’s just not a good idea. If you’re lucky, Elections Canada will give you a sticker for voting.

Where can I vote? 

  • All eligible voters should have received a voter information card from Elections Canada that provides the details of your polling station. You are required to vote at a polling station that is in the electoral riding where you reside. More information on who is eligible and where to vote can be found on the Elections Canada website at: https://www.elections.ca/home.aspx.

Voter turnout in BC for the 2015 Federal Election was 68.5%. We hope the above information will help to ensure 100% of eligible British Columbians have at least the opportunity to vote.

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