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Am I required to give my employees time off to vote?

Eligible voters in Ontario are entitled to three (3) of consecutive hours to exercise their vote on election day. 

If your employees do not have three consecutive hours to vote because of their work schedule, you must grant the hours accordingly.

For example, with polls open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM on Election Day (June 2nd), if you have some employees regularly scheduled from 11:30AM to 7:30 PM, they do not have three consecutive hours to cast their vote.

To remedy this, you must provide these employees with a three-hour window. In the scenario above, you could allow them to arrive late (at 12:00pm) or leave early (at 6:00PM), or you could give them three paid hours off sometime during the day. As an employer, you have the right to decide when the time off will be given.

If employees are granted time to vote during work hours, they must be paid the regular wages they would have earned during the time off.

If employees have voted another way, such as at an advanced poll or by mail, you’re not required to grant them a three-hour window in election day. Employees are not entitled to a three-hour window to vote at an advanced polling location.

Note that failing to give employees time to vote if they do not have a three-hour window, or reducing wages during time off to vote can result in a fine under Ontario's Election Act.

Please note that for employers in the transportation industry, the obligation to provide three consecutive hours off to vote does not apply if the following four conditions are met:

  • Your company transports goods or passengers by land, air or water
  • Your employee is employed outside their polling division
  • Your employee is employed in the operation of a means of transportation, and,
  • The time off to vote cannot be provided without interfering with the transportation service.

You may wish to direct employees to alternative ways to vote if it is known they will not have time on Election Day
 

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Topics in this Article: Elections

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