The Alberta Building Trades have sent out the following information regarding the Alberta Provincial Election.
In the days leading up to elections, questions often arise about the rights of employees to have time free from work to cast their votes. This bulletin summarizes employee rights and employer obligations with respect to voting time during provincial and territorial elections.
To be an eligible voter, an employee must be a Canadian citizen who is 18 years of age on the day of the vote. In addition, the employee must have been a resident of the province or territory for a minimum period of time prior to the day of the election. The residency period requirements are as follows:
6 months: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan
Consecutive Hours Off for Voting
Employees are entitled to a certain number of consecutive hours off work during voting hours to cast their ballots. The following chart summarizes the consecutive hours to which an employee is entitled as well as the hours during which polls are open:
3 consecutive hours
9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
An employer does not have an obligation to provide time off of work where the required number of consecutive hours falls outside an employee's hours of work and within the voting hours, being the time the polls are open.
However, where the hours of work do not allow for the required consecutive voting hours, an employer must grant additional time off for voting sufficient to provide the required consecutive voting hours to any employee who requests it. This additional time may be granted at any time that is convenient for the employer.
Consider the Following Examples:
Employee 1 lives in Edmonton, and works from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The employer would have no obligation to provide paid time off of work, even if requested, as Employee 1 has a consecutive three-hour period from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. during which he/she can vote.
Employee 2 lives in Calgary, and works from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. If requested by the employee, the employer must provide enough time off of work to allow a three-hour consecutive voting period. The employer could allow Employee 2 to start at 12 p.m., as this would provide a three-hour window between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. during which to vote. The employer could also allow Employee 2 to leave at 5 p.m., providing Employee 2 with a three-hour voting period between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Additional information such as dates for advanced polls, where to vote and eligibility to vote can be found at www.electionsalberta.ab.ca