Upcoming elections in provinces, territories require employer compliance

Employees must have sufficient time to vote
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 09/14/2011

Seven provincial and territorial elections are scheduled for the fall of 2011, with voters heading to the polls in the Yukon (Oct. 12), Northwest Territories (Oct. 3), Saskatchewan (Nov. 7), Manitoba (Oct. 4), Ontario (Oct. 6), Prince Edward Island (Oct. 3) and Newfoundland and Labrador (Oct. 11).

Each of the provinces and territories has its own rules when it comes to employer obligations and employees who are qualified to vote. However, no employers are allowed to deduct pay or impose a penalty for time granted to an employee to vote.

The obligations are listed below:

Yukon

While the polls are open on polling day at an election, an employee shall have four consecutive hours for the purpose of voting. If the hours of the employee’s employment do not allow for four consecutive hours, the employer shall allow any additional time for voting that may be necessary to provide that much time, at the convenience of the employer.

However, an employer is not required to ensure an employee has four consecutive hours to vote on polling day if the employee is employed to provide emergency services, scheduled public transportation services or public health or safety services; and the provision of the time for voting would cause significant inconvenience or risk to the public.

Any employer that does not provide four consecutive hours to vote shall give the employee sufficient notice so he can vote at an advance poll or make other arrangements to vote before polling day.

Northwest Territories

If an employee’s hours of employment do not provide three consecutive hours to vote during the time the poll is open on polling day, the employer shall allow him additional time off so he has three consecutive hours to vote.

The employer can pick a time that is convenient. Any employer that directly or indirectly refuses to allow an employee time off work or, by intimidation, undue influence or other means, interferes with the granting to an employee of the required time off work, is guilty of a major election offence.

Saskatchewan

Every employee shall have three consecutive hours to vote. If the hours of employment do not allow for three consecutive hours, the employer shall allow him time off to vote to provide those three hours. The hours must be granted at the convenience of the employer.

No employer shall, directly or indirectly, refuse or intimidate, unduly influence or in any other way interfere with the granting to any employees of the three consecutive hours for voting or any additional time for voting.

Manitoba

Every employee is entitled to three consecutive hours to vote. If the employee's hours of work do not provide three consecutive hours, the employer must, at the employee's request, give the employee additional time off work to provide those three consecutive hours. The required time off work may be selected by the employer at its discretion.

So employers may adjust work hours to accommodate time off for voting (such as changing shift hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Ontario

Every employee shall, while the polls are open on polling day, have three consecutive hours to vote. If the hours of employment do not allow for three consecutive hours, the employee may request his employer allow additional time for voting as may be necessary to provide those three consecutive hours.

But any time off for voting shall be granted at the time of day that best suits the convenience of the employer.

P.E.I.

While the poll is open on ordinary polling day, an employee must have a reasonable and sufficient time — not less than one hour — to cast a vote. If the employment of an employee does not permit the use of one hour to vote, the employer shall allow the employee additional time off, with pay, to provide the one hour.

The additional times for voting shall be granted at the time of day that best suits the convenience of the employer. However, these rules do not apply to an employee who is involved in the operation and dispatch of scheduled buses, motor transports, ships and aircraft, and to whom the time mentioned cannot be allowed without interfering with the scheduled operation or dispatch of buses, motor transports, ships or aircraft.

Newfoundland and Labrador

An employee is entitled to have four consecutive hours to cast a vote. When the hours of employment do not allow for four consecutive hours, the employer shall give the employee additional time to vote that is necessary to provide the four hours. This additional time may be granted at the convience of the employer. It is an offence for an employer to refuse or by intimidation, undue influence, or in another way, interfere with the granting to an employee the consecutive hours for voting.

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