In case you have not been paying attention – or for those of you able to tune out the never ending blitz of political commercials during any television program – a federal election is being held on Monday, October 19th, 2015. If you are an employer, you have obligations to your employees and you must accommodate them in the following ways:
Providing three consecutive hours off of work while polls are open for the purpose of casting their ballot. An eligible voter is considered to be all Canadian citizens, age 18+, as of election day.
Employers – you are NOT permitted to make deductions for an employee’s pay if an employee takes this time off to vote!
However, you ARE permitted to determine and schedule the three consecutive hour window an employee will have to vote at your discretion. But remember, the time provided must be during a 3 hour window in which the polling stations are open.
Of course, there are exceptions. A transportation company (defined as a company ‘which transports goods or passengers by land, air, or water’) need not provide a three hour to its employees if 1) is employed outside the polling diving while operating a means of transportation; and 2) voting will interfere with the transportation service that needs to be provide. Also, unionized employees should refer to their collective agreements to determine if there are provisions or additional obligations that deviate from the standard allowances outlined above.
If, as an employer, you fail to provide your employees with the opportunity to vote know that there will be consequences. Do not intimidate an employee or interfere with their right as a Canadian citizen to vote in an election. Disruptions to your business are typically minimal, and it is not worth the fine(s) that await those employers that fail to comply with rules.
Fore more information, please refer to the Elections Canada website: