With Election Day across Ontario only days away, do you know your legal rights around voting?
Ontario municipal elections are regulated by the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.
Right To Vote: In order to vote in the Ottawa election, you must be 18 years of age and a Canadian Citizen and you must have a residence where you vote, or personally (or your spouse) own property where you vote. If you have a residence in one area and personally own property such as a cottage in another area, you are entitled to vote in both locations. In Ottawa, however, you can only vote in the Ward in which you actually live, not multiple wards if you own property in different wards. If you are a student and consider your “home” to be the place where you live when you aren’t attending school, then you are entitled to vote in both locations.
Time Off Work To Vote: You are entitled to 3 hours to vote on election day. If your work shift would mean that you do not have 3 consecutive hours to vote during the hours that the polls are open, then you are entitled to time off work to provide you with 3 hours. For example, if your shift is 10am – 6pm and the voting locations are open 9am to 8pm, you are entitled to time off at either the beginning or end of the day so that you have 3 hours to vote.
Identification To Vote: When you arrive at the voting place, you must show identification to prove that you are the person whose name appears on the voters’ list. The identification must show your name and address. Your identification does NOT need to have your photo or signature. Many different kinds of identification are acceptable, including drivers licence, health card, mortgage or lease, insurance policy, credit card statement or certain bills. If you are not on the voter’s list, you may apply to be added at the voting location.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This publication is the fourth installment of our firm’s Legal Matters series, which answers a reader’s question every week. If you have a general legal question that you would like to have addressed please send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org