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

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

According to the Canada Elections Act, any eligible voter must have three consecutive hours to exercise their right to vote on an election day. If your employees do not have three consecutive hours because of their work schedule, you must grant the hours accordingly.

For example, if you live in a riding where polling offices are open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and some of your employees are regularly scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., they do not have three consecutive hours for voting. 

To provide these employees with the required hours, you could allow them to arrive late (at 12:30 p.m.), leave early (at 6:30 p.m.) or give them three hours off sometime during the day. As an employer, you have the right to decide when the time off will be given.

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:

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


Provincial elections
Each province has the power to set its own election rules. This means that the mandatory number of hours may differ from the requirement for federal elections. Here are each province and territory’s requirements: 

Province or territoryNumber of hours
British Columbia4
Prince Edward Island1
New Brunswick3
Nova Scotia3
Newfoundland and Labrador4
Northwest Territories3

Any questions? Your CFIB Counsellor has the answer!