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Do you need a reason to go and vote? Three hours of paid time off from work.

If nothing else can get you to vote, maybe that incentive will. It’s true, as the relevant documents from Elections Canada confirms:

Am I allowed time off work to vote?

By law, qualified electors must have three consecutive hours to cast their vote on election day. If your hours of work do not allow for three consecutive hours to vote, your employer must give you time off.

For example, if you live in a riding where voting hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and you usually work from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., your hours of work will not allow three consecutive hours for voting. To give you three consecutive hours to vote, your employer could allow you to arrive late (at 12:30 p.m.), let you leave early (at 6:30 p.m.), or give you three hours off at some point during the work day.

Your employer has the right to decide when the time off will be given.

Are all employers required to give time off work to vote?

Yes, the law applies to all employers.

Can an employee lose pay for taking time off to vote?

No. Employers cannot impose a penalty or deduct pay from an employee who is taking time off to vote if required by the Canada Elections Act. An employee must be paid what he or she would have earned during the time allowed off for voting

Is there a penalty for employers who do not give employees time off to vote?

Yes. It is an offence for employers to fail to provide time off for voting if required under the Canada Elections Act. It is also an offence for an employer to reduce an employee’s pay where the employee has been provided time off to vote in accordance with the Act. The maximum penalty for violating these prohibitions is a fine of up to $1,000, three months imprisonment, or both.

It is also an offence for an employer to use intimidation, undue influence, or any other means to interfere with the granting of time off to vote under the Canada Elections Act. The maximum penalty for violating this provision is a fine of up to $5,000, five years imprisonment, or both.

So, as my blogging friend Omar said on Facebook this AM:

You get 3 hours off from work. That’s reason enough to go vote today. Go vote. That’s 3 hours of PAID time. No excuses.

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3 comments to Do you need a reason to go and vote? Three hours of paid time off from work.

  • wondering

    It applies to everyone who works 9-5 in BC, since our polls are open 7-7. They would typically need to have at least 1 paid hour off.

    In my case, I work 8-5.

  • Mark

    Since the polls are open for 12 hours, this would not actually apply to most people. With the example given above, the employer could also just change the shift (e.g. 10:30 to 6:30,) rather than giving paid time off.

  • Big Winnie

    I agree Scott. It’s imperative we vote today. I had to vote via special ballot as I am not in my riding right now but I definitely encourage everyone to vote!

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