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Prince Edward Island employer obligations on election day

Of the eight Canadian provinces and territories that have passed laws calling for fixed-date elections, five provincial / territorial general elections are to be held in October every four years.

The next provincial election in Prince Edward Island is scheduled for Monday, October 3, 2011. Employers have certain obligations to employees under the Prince Edward Island Election Act. The 63rd General Assembly was dissolved on September 6, 2011, in advance of Prince Edward Island’s first fixed-date election. The month-long campaign for voters’ hearts and minds is officially underway. The formality is completed, the lawn signs have come out and political parties in Prince Edward Island have kicked their campaigns into high gear.

Under the Act, an employee who is eligible to vote must be allowed at least one hour for the purpose of casting his or her vote. Employers whose employees have one consecutive hours of their own time available during polling hours need not offer additional time for voting. If, however, an employee does not have this time available, the employer, upon request, must allow the employee enough time off with pay to provide that one hour to vote.

This year, voting hours on election day will be from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. local time. Employers have the right to decide when during the day is most convenient for granting any necessary time off. It is also important to note that employers are not required to take into account an employee’s travel time to vote.

Employers may not make deductions from an employee’s pay, require the employee to take a vacation day or sick day, or otherwise impose any penalty for the time taken off work by an employee to vote.

However, these obligations do not apply to an employer and an employee who is engaged in the operation or dispatch of scheduled buses, motor transports, ships or aircrafts, and to whom the one hour cannot be allowed without interfering with the scheduled operations or dispatch of buses, motor transports, ships or aircrafts.

An employer is guilty of an offence who refuses, or by intimidation, undue influence, or in another way, interferes with the granting to an elector in his or her employ, of the consecutive hours for voting provided in the Act. They may be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000; imprisonement for a term not exceeding two years; or both.

Yosie Saint-Cyr
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor

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Yosie Saint-Cyr

Managing Editor at First Reference Inc.
Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., is a trained lawyer called to the Quebec bar in 1988 and is still a member in good standing. She practiced business, employment and labour law until 1999. For over 15 years, Yosie has been the Managing Editor of the following publications, Human Resources Advisor, Human Resources PolicyPro, HRinfodesk and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro from First Reference. Yosie is one of Canada’s best known and most respected HR authors, with an extensive background in employment and labour across the country. Read more
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