Alberta Politics
The Parliament of Canada, back in 2014 before it was a construction site (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

It’s Election Day in Canada: If you work, even if you don’t have a union, you’re entitled to three consecutive paid hours to vote

Posted on September 20, 2021, 12:30 pm
5 mins

The Canada Elections Act entitles all eligible voters to sufficient time to vote on Election Day. 

This applies to employees without a union as well as unionized workers.

The sign of a polling place (Photo: Elections Canada).

Now, presumably most readers of this blog already know this stuff, but I thought I’d throw it in as a public service, this being a blog that tries to pay attention to labour issues and all. 

Section 132 of the Canada Elections Act allows for three consecutive hours without loss of pay for the purpose of voting.

Of course, an employee’s regular work schedule may already allow for three consecutive hours while the polls are open (from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Alberta).

So, for example, if your shift starts at noon or ends by 5 p.m., you already have have the three hours required by legislation to vote and would not be entitled to take additional time off. Sorry. If you need to argue with your boss, here’s exactly what Section 132 of the Canada Elections Act states:

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.

132 (2) The time that the employer shall allow for voting under subsection (1) is at the convenience of the employer.

Section 133 of the Act goes on to say:

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. 

Breakfast of Parliamentarians – definitely a perk of the job (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

You are eligible to vote if you are a Canadian citizen who is at least 18 years old today.

Your voter information card has information on where to go to vote, and what you need to bring. However, if you didn’t get a card in the mail, you can still register to vote at your polling station.

Elections Canada’s website includes a tool that will allow you to determine your riding and provide a list of candidates and their parties by providing your postal code. 

When you go to vote, you’re going to have bring identification and a voter card if you have one. 

When you arrive, you will be required to prove your identity and address. There are three ways you can do it:

  1. Show your driver’s licence or any other card issued by a federal, provincial, territorial, or municipal government that shows your photo, name and current address
  2. Show two pieces of identification that have your name, and one that has you current address. Examples could include your voter information card, a bank statement, a utility bill, a student ID card, birth certificate, income tax assessment, a credit card statement from your bank, your vehicle ownership, an Old Age Security card, library card, or parolee card. A complete list of acceptable ID is published by Elections Canada. 
  3. If you have insufficient documentation, you can still come with someone who knows you and votes at your polling station who can vouch for you when you declare your identity and address in writing.

Elections Canada has also published a FAQ page about voting on its website. 

Credit where credit is due, a lot of the how-to-vote information above I pulled out of the CBC’s story on the topic.

NOTE TO READERS: I am going to have to be away from my computer much of the time for a few days to deal with a family matter. This is definitely going to impact the number of blog posts I can write. Everything should be back to normal by next weekend. DJC

9 Comments to: It’s Election Day in Canada: If you work, even if you don’t have a union, you’re entitled to three consecutive paid hours to vote

  1. brett

    September 20th, 2021

    We always vote. It is a privilege and a responsibility. We live in a fantastic country. We have the freedoms and the opportunities that the majority in the world can only dream about.

    We have traveled extensively. You can see faces light up when they learn that we are from Canada. It is incredible to us that people in so many countries have relatives or friends in Canada. Do we know them? They live in Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver. We do not appreciate the intangible benefits of having a Canadian passport.

    Our country is a place that many can only dream about. We are living the dream. Politicians are a necessity. Some good ones, some terrible ones as we have been learning first hand here in Alberta. We will simply have to move forward…hopefully past them.

    Hopefully, as many people as possible to get out to vote. Does not matter for whom. Just do it.

    Reply
  2. Just Me

    September 20th, 2021

    And it is, of course, an act of voter-suppression to not inform/deny/or refuse a voter their three hours to cast their ballot.

    This sort of thing happens too much these days, so it should be time that those who seek to engage in voter-suppression are arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to no less than 10,000 cycles in the ‘Phantom Zone’.

    Reply
  3. St Albertan

    September 20th, 2021

    I’ve read your blog for years now and I’ve got say, you’re an under appreciated resource! In my younger years I worked 12 hour shifts north of Ft McMurray. More like like 14s if one were to include the time spent riding on Diversified buses going to and fro. In those days I never voted. Just worked ate and slept. My days off consisted of long drives back to St Albert with 1 or 2 catch up days with the family. After that I got a 2 week on fly in job. I started voting. Now I vote by mail because I have mobility issues. Funny, what we actually pay to get that pay cheque! Anyway, tell UNA even an old crust like me loves them and wishes them well! I’ve evolved since I’ve gotten to know so many of them!

    Reply
  4. Kang

    September 20th, 2021

    Breakfast of Parliamentarians? Scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, and what looks to be a bun of some sort. Talk about a breakfast designed to harden the arteries, including those in the brain. Could this explain the UCP/Con mentality? Oh well, Voltaire was said to have remarked that it is easier to get people to change their religion than it is to get them to change the way they eat.

    Reply
  5. Abs

    September 20th, 2021

    Polls close at 7:30 p.m. today. Arrive before then and wait in line, if needed. All those in line at closing time are guaranteed a vote.

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    September 20th, 2021

    People shouldn’t take their right to vote for granted. Vote.

    Reply
  7. Just Me

    September 21st, 2021

    Based on the election’s results, Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    I can’t say how many of the party leaders will survive this latest outing.

    Annamie Paul will surely step aside. Maybe Elizabeth May will return, because the Green Party is pretty much the Elizabeth May Party.

    Yves-François Blanchet likely has learned his lesson about telling Les Quebecois how to vote. Who knows? It may be his last as the leader of Le Bloc.

    PMJT has pretty much pushed himself into a corner. It’s not like he can threaten another election if he doesn’t get his own way. If anything, I suspect that his stature is greatly diminished among the Liberals. This really is the beginning of the end for Trudeau.

    Erin O’Toole will surely be watching his back now that he wasn’t able to deliver the GTA. He spent almost the entirety of his campaign working in Toronto and the surrounding areas, looking for the much-vaunted brass ring for a majority government. Quebec will always be lost for the CPC, so the paths to victory are very few and thin. As much as O’Toole wanted to be the “first PM from the GTA” (This wouldn’t be true, because Stephen Harpo was born in Toronto; O’Toole was born in Montreal.) it’s not going to happen. The question is will the CPC hold back their knives and give O’Toole his chance to REALLY lead? Or, will they, like with Scheer, unceremoniously kick another leader to the curb? This remains to be seen.

    Jagmeet Singh tapped into his inner Jack Layton and proved he is a force of enormous potential. And a few more NDP seats were scored, so there’s a lot to look forward to. The next four years will be Singh’s time to really, really show what he’s capable of.

    Maxime Bernier proved he is an odious presence on the Canadian body politic. But the PPC did damage to the CPC’s aspirations. Was O’Toole too moderate for the CPC’s base? Yes. Bernier was the leader the CPC really wanted, but they got stuck with Scheer and then O’Toole. I suspect there will be a move to bring Bernier back into the CPC’s fold because he represents their loony fringe.

    As for Jason Kenney, he’s really done it now. Maybe O’Toole will still talk to him? Maybe he will make a place for Kenney in Ottawa? Kenney is finished in Alberta and likely finished for good.

    Reply
  8. Alan K. Spiller

    September 21st, 2021

    Albertans have once again made a horrible mistake in trying to elect another phony conservative, Reformer in Erin O’Toole and it will likely cost some their lives, like it did with Klein. While O’Toole has been praising Kenney for how he has managed the pandemic , like Kenney he shows no respect for our doctors and nurses who are going through hell because of Kenney.

    With 13% of nurses in the Edmonton area saying they are leaving, or changing careers because of Kenney we know doctors will follow. I doubt there will be enough left to handle the delayed operations and some will lose their lives, especially the cancer suffers, like we saw under Klein.

    Albertans are the dumbest people on the planet as the American Oilmen said. You would think that after what Klein did to us they would be a lot smarter but they aren’t.

    Reply
  9. Carlos

    September 21st, 2021

    We must be one of the few places in the so called Democratic World that has elections in a working day

    Reply

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