Employer Obligations on Election Day

October 8, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015 is Election Day for the upcoming federal election and is quickly approaching. Many employers are left wondering what their obligations are.

On Election Day, eligible voters will be able to cast their ballot between 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. The Canada Elections Act provides that all eligible voters are entitled to three (3) consecutive hours for the purposes of casting his/her vote.

As such, if an employee’s hours of work on Election Day are such that the employee does not have three (3) consecutive hours free to vote, then the employer is required to provide the employee with the necessary time off work with pay.

For example, if an employee is scheduled to work an eight (8) hour day (e.g. 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.), no time off work is required as the employee will have more than three (3) consecutive hours after work, while the polls are open, to exercise their right to vote. On the other hand, if an employee is scheduled to work a twelve (12) hour shift from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., the employer is required to provide the employee with three (3) consecutive hours within which to vote. When, during Election Day, the employee is granted time off to vote is at the discretion of the employer. For instance, the employer may permit the employee to leave work at 5:30 p.m. (two hours early) which would provide the employee three (3) consecutive hours while the polls are open to cast their ballot. Or it may be more convenient to the employer to provide the employee with a three (3) hour block of time during the employee’s shift. The choice is left to the employer.

While voters may choose to take advantage of advance voting between October 9 and 12, 2015, the choice to participate in the advance poll lies solely with the employee and cannot be imposed by the employer.

An employer who refuses to provide an employee with three (3) consecutive hours to vote on Election Day, reduces an employee’s pay for time off for voting, and/or who uses intimidation, undue influence or any other means to interfere with an employee’s right to time off for voting, commits an offence under the Canada Elections Act, the penalty of which is a fine of up to $2,000 or three (3) months’ imprisonment, or both.

Related Articles

The Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision on Historical Child Support Awards

In the Supreme Court of Canada’s most recent family law decision, Michel v. Graydon, 2020 SCC 24, the Court settles a long-standing question about whether child support can be recalculated retroactively once a child has reached adulthood. The short answer is that child support is the right of the child and, with that fundamental tenant […]

read more

Employer’s Challenges and Obligations during the COVID-19 Outbreak

“With the combination of serious public health and economic impacts caused by COVID-19, employers are finding themselves facing unprecedented challenges”. The article Employer’s Challenges and Obligations during the COVID-19 Outbreak, written by Halifax Partner Geoff Breen & Halifax Associate Drew Ritchie, was published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Canadian Bar Association’s Nova Voce. Click here to read the full […]

read more

The Potential High Cost of a Small Claims Action

The recent decision of Justice Fred Ferguson, Mercure v Kaat Auto Sales, 2020 NBQB 39 (CanLII), (“Mercure v Kaat Auto Sales”) is another reminder to parties to think carefully before filing a Small Claims action in New Brunswick. Background In New Brunswick, a litigant can commence a Small Claim so long as the monetary amounts […]

read more
view all
Cox & Palmer publications are intended to provide information of a general nature only and not legal advice. The information presented is current to the date of publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.