On October 19, 2015, Canadians will be heading to the polls to cast their ballots in the federal election. Many eligible voters may feel that their work obligations prevent them from taking time out of their day to have their say in who should govern the country. Fortunately, Canada has adopted laws that promote the right to vote.
With few exceptions, employers have a legal obligation to provide their staff with an opportunity to attend their polling stations on Election Day. The Canada Elections Act states that employees who are eligible to vote must be provided with three consecutive hours off work, with pay, for this purpose. For obvious reasons, the employer has the discretion of dictating when they can take the time off work to vote. However, a person cannot be reprimanded or punished for exercising their civic duty.
Accordingly, if a person is eligible to vote and fears that their work commitments will prevent them from casting a ballot, they should not hesitate to request paid time off from their employer. Violations to the Canada Elections Act are not tolerated, and offenders can face serious and harsh penalties.
The employment lawyers at Singh Lamarche LLP provide legal and practical advice to employees and employers on all aspects of employment and human rights law.