Federal Election: Know Your Responsibilities
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On Monday, October 19, 2015, Canada will hold its federal election. Some employers, however may be unaware that they are required by law to provide a number of considerations to their employees on Election Day. To avoid fines and other penalties, employers and business leaders should be aware that:
- Employers must give employees time off to vote. By law, those who are eligible to vote (18 years of age or older) must have at least three consecutive hours to vote—as this gives them ample time to cast their ballot. As such, if an employee’s work hours limit him or her from having three consecutive hours to vote, employers must provide time off. Employers may choose which hours of Election Day the employee is allowed to take off.
- For employers in the transportation industry, this law is waived if giving employees three consecutive hours to vote would interfere with the transportation service in question.
- Employers may not deduct pay. If an employee has to take time off of work to vote, an employer is not allowed to deduct pay. In addition, all employees should be paid what they would have earned during the time they took off to vote.
- Employers must respect collective agreement obligations. Employers who operate in a unionized environment should review any collective agreements that relate to Election Day. In some cases, those agreements include provisions that require four consecutive hours off to vote rather than three.
Employers who fail to provide their employees time off to vote may face a fine of up to $2,000. Employers who interfere with an employee’s right to take time off to vote through intimidation, influence or other means may face fines of up to $50,000. In both cases, employers may face jail time of up to three months for not adhering to voting laws.
On Monday, October 19, polls for the federal election will be open during the following time zone hours:
- Newfoundland 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Atlantic 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Eastern 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Central 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Mountain (including Saskatchewan): 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- Pacific 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
For more detailed information about the federal election and employer requirements, visit elections.ca.
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Source: © 2015 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved. The content of this News Brief is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem, which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice.