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Election Day: does your employer have to give you time off to vote?

Voting on elections day

Photo : Elections Canada

Many people aren’t sure if their employer is obliged to provide time off to vote in the federal election, which takes place on October 19th, 2015. Here’s what you need to know about your rights as a citizen on Election Day!

You must be provided with three consecutive hours of leave by your employer to allow you to go to the polls on Election Day. If your work schedule prevents you from doing so, your employer is obligated to accommodate you by providing you with vacation hours. Your employer is free to choose the time at which they allow you to leave work to go vote.

Most voting stations will be open between 9:30 am and 9:30 pm on October 19, the day of the federal election.

If you typically work an 11 am to 7 pm shift, your employer can for example allow you to start your shift at 12:30 pm, or allow you to leave at 6:30 pm in order to vote.

Time off without penalties

You cannot be penalized or have your salary reduced in any way because you have been given time off to vote. Under the law, your employer is required to compensate you as if you had worked during the time provided for voting.

If your employer refuses to conform to these laws they may be subject to a fine of up to $2000 or three months in jail, or both.

For more information about the federal election on October 19, visit the Elections Canada website.