On Monday, May 2, 2011, Canadians will return to the polls for the fourth time in just seven years to elect a federal government. Under the Canada Elections Act, any employee who is an elector, that is any Canadian citizen that is 18 years of age or older, is entitled to 3 consecutive hours during polling day voting hours in order to cast their vote.
As set out under the Act, the Eastern time-zone voting hours begin at 9:30 a.m. and close at 9:30 p.m. If an employee’s work schedule is such that he or she will not have the required three consecutive hours within which to vote, the employer must provide paid time off to the extent necessary to attain that minimum three hour requirement.
For example, if an employee works from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. they will leave work only 2 ½ hours before the polls close, the employer will need to provide paid time off to allow the employee the voting time required under the act. In this example, this would be achieved by allowing the employee to leave work one half hour early at 6:30 p.m. so that he or she is provided with the required three hour block of time between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Employers must be aware of these requirements as a violation of this Canada Elections Act requirement could result in fines of up to $5000.
This blog is provided as information and a summary of workplace legal issues.
This information is not intended as legal advice.