Another election is upon us. On Monday, September 20th federal election polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. across the country. You will have an opportunity to select whom you want representing you in Ottawa. Many members have been asking what their rights are if they are working on election day.
You have a right to have three (3) consecutive hours to cast your vote. Those hours are at the convenience of the employer. Any scheduled hours that you do not work as a result of voting are paid hours. These hours are only for voting. That means if you are granted time off under the Canada Elections Act, then you must go vote. You cannot access this time and not vote.
If you and your co-worker are both scheduled to work from 8 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., you may be told that you do not have to report for work until 10:30 a.m. That means you have from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. to vote. Your co-worker may be told she can leave work at 4:30 p.m. to go. This means you will miss two and one half (2 ½) hours of work, and your friend will miss three (3) hours of work. Both are appropriate.
The time off is dependent on when the polls are open, not your shift. In both scenarios the employee has three (3) consecutive hours to vote. The employer could also say you can go from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., and you must return to work.
In all three of these examples, the employer has complied with the act. The hours you are away in all these scenarios are paid hours. You have a right to three (3) consecutive hours to be able to cast your vote, but the employer has the right to determine when you will have those hours.
If you are scheduled to work from 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., then you are not entitled to any further time off. The polls open at 7:30 a.m., which means there are three (3) consecutive hours during which you can cast your vote.
Below is the text from the Canada Elections Act for your reference.
Time to Employees for Voting
Consecutive hours for voting
132 (1) Every employee who is an elector is entitled, during voting hours on polling day, to have three consecutive hours for the purpose of casting his or her vote and, if his or her hours of work do not allow for those three consecutive hours, his or her employer shall allow the time for voting that is necessary to provide those three consecutive hours.
Time at convenience of employer
(2) The time that the employer shall allow for voting under subsection (1) is at the convenience of the employer.
No penalty for absence from work to vote
133 (1) No employer may make a deduction from the pay of an employee, or impose a penalty, for the time that the employer shall allow for voting under subsection 132(1).
We like hearing from you. If you have questions or concerns or just want to let us know how you are doing, please reach out.
- Main office: 306-546-2185