The provincial election campaign is in full swing. Attack ads are on TV, the debates have taken place and politicians of every stripe are pounding the pavement and knocking doors to boost their hopes of election.
As we approach June 7, many of us who work may wonder whether we will get time off to head to the polls, and if so, how much and will such leave be paid? The Ontario Election Act provides eligible employees with three consecutive hours during voting hours (which are 9:00am to 9:00pm Eastern Standard Time; 8:00am to 8:00pm Central Time) to go and vote.
In order to be considered an “eligible employee”, you must be a Canadian citizen, resident in Ontario and be at least 18 years old as of June 7, 2018. If, however, due to your working hours on June 7, 2018, you already have three consecutive hours off work during voting hours, your employer is not required to provide any additional time off.
For example, you would not be entitled to three consecutive hours of paid leave if you work from 9:00am to 5:00pm on June 7, as this would still allow you a three-hour consecutive period after 5pm, during which you could fulfill your civic duty.
For employers that will be required to grant paid time off for their employees to vote, keep in mind that the Elections Act allows you to grant this time off at “the time of day that best suits the convenience of the employer.” As such, it is best practice to consider your operational requirements on June 7 and provide time off during a time that will minimize any anticipated disruption to your business.
If you are looking for more information about how, when and where you can vote, visit the Elections Ontario website.
Vey Willetts LLP is an Ottawa-based employment and labour law boutique that provides timely and cost-effective legal advice to help employees and employers resolve workplace issues in the National Capital Region and across Ontario. To speak with an employment lawyer, contact us at: 613-238-4430 or firstname.lastname@example.org