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Employers Must Provide Employees With 3 Hours Of Voting Time Today

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Today, October 19, marks the date of the the 42nd Canadian general election. Up until now, this has been one of the most interesting elections in recent memory, and it’s very important every Canadian visits the polls to cast their ballot.

For those working long hours today, it’s essential to know that you have a right to vote, and can demand up to three consecutive hours from your employer to go visit a polling station.

According to Elections Canada, everyone who is eligible to vote must have three consecutive hours to cast their ballot on election day. If your hours of work do not allow for three consecutive hours to vote, your employer must give you time off without docking any pay.

“Employers cannot impose a penalty or deduct pay from an employee who is taking time off to vote if required by the Canada Elections Act. An employee must be paid what he or she would have earned during the time allowed off for voting.”

Not all workers will be able to demand three hours off however. It is up to the employer to enable employees to have a minimum of three hours at some point during the day to get to a polling station and vote. Ultimately, this means employers have the right to decide when the time off will be given.

For example, if you live in a riding where voting hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and you usually work from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., your hours of work will not allow three consecutive hours for voting. To give you three consecutive hours to vote, your employer could allow you to arrive late (at 12:30 p.m.), let you leave early (at 6:30 p.m.), or give you three hours off at some point during the work day.

Polls in British Columbia are open from 7:00am – 7:00pm.

Penalties for refusing to give employees three consecutive hours of voting time can result in fines of $2,000, three months of jail time, or even both.

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