The Canadian Federal Election is coming up on Monday, Sept. 20, which means we have some important decisions to make. With multiple options to choose from, what can you do to learn more about the election process, candidates, platforms and issues at hand? This blog will help you learn more about what is important to you this election before the big vote.
Who can vote?
To vote in a federal election, you must be a Canadian citizen and at least 18 years or older as of election day, Monday, Sept. 20.
Temporary visa holders or permanent residents cannot vote in federal elections. You must carry your proof of identity and address at the time of voting, opens a new window. This includes one original piece of photo identification issued by the Canadian government—federal, provincial or local. A driver’s license or a health card is also considered valid identification proof.
In certain cases, you can still vote if you declare your identity and address in writing and have someone assigned to their polling station, who knows them, vouch for you. Your voucher too would have to prove their identity.
Where can I vote?
Find the exact time and address for your election day poll by checking the Elections Canada website., opens a new window The information is also available on your voter information cards which should have been mailed to you. Polls will be open for 12-hour periods so make sure to get out and vote.
Please remember that public health guidelines are still in place. Elections Canada is mandating masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. There are also additional measures such as disposable pencils, hand sanitizing stations and physical distancing measures with directional signage will also be available at the entrances and exits of all polling stations.
If you feel like staying in you can always vote by mail:
To vote by mail, one has to apply online or at any Elections Canada office in the country prior to Tuesday, Sept. 14.
Election day voting hours
On election day, polls will be open for 12 hours across Canada. Our voting hours are 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Alberta polling places.
Keep in mind that election day is not a federal holiday. However, employers are required to give their staff time off with pay to vote in a federal election.
Who am I voting for?
Now we are at the real question. Who do you vote for?
There are five major political parties in Canada—the Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservative Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party. Each of these parties, plus any of the lesser-known parties putting forth nominations, are required to nominate candidates to run in the election.
Candidates can also be eligible to run for a federal election without being affiliated with any particular party, either as independents or with no affiliations.
While we can't and won't say who should have your vote, why not check which party's platform aligns with your own views and values by using CBC News' Vote Compass.
Why it's important to be an informed voter
The reality is we all lead busy, distracted and sometimes chaotic lives in today's fast-paced, digital world. Part of this involves our subjugation to the rapid and ceaseless flood of information-starved, shiny and sometimes fake multimedia messaging designed to manipulate our emotional selves.
Understandably, even the most media savvy citizens around have no choice but to limit their news consumption to mere headlines and soundbites. We form an opinion in little more than an instant, consumed by outrage or awe. We share, like, quote, tweet and move on to the next thing. In doing so, we often skip over the true context of a story enabling us to form a balanced and truly informed opinion.
With all the competing information out there, the simple idea of spending more time to understand even a single subject seems daunting. It is a critical exercise, however, for an informed citizen, especially at election time. Taking the time to learn about key issues gives you the knowledge you need to make a sound decision and ensure that your vote aligns with your interests and values.
Depending on how you choose to go about it, researching your decision could involve varying levels and manners of engagement:
- Visit a candidate’s website to learn more about their platform as well as their personal, professional and political background
- Take the time to safely speak to campaigners at your door
- Follow candidates on social media
- Read, watch and listen to reputable news sources
- Seek out opposing viewpoints to better understand all sides of an argument
- Be curious, ask questions and explore the issues with others in an open, respectful dialogue
Make your vote count
The ballot is a card comprising the list of all the candidates’ names in your riding. There’s a white circle next to each of their names and the name of their political parties.
To make sure a vote counts, one must be careful to not spoil the ballot. Signing your name on the ballot or writing anything else on it will annul the vote. However, if you make a mistake, you can ask for a new ballot.
As you can see, there are many things to keep in mind before the upcoming Federal Election. If you decide this has interested you, why not apply to help by applying to be a Poll Worker during election day? That way you'll have a hands-on experience for the next election.
The countdown to election day is on—make sure your vote counts on Monday, Sept. 20.
Find more election resources, including how you can support EPL, on our election web page.