Ontario’s provincial election is on Thursday, June 7, 2018. Under Ontario’s Election Act, employees who are qualified to vote are entitled to three consecutive hours of time off to vote during polling hours, without reduction in pay.

Polling hours are as follows:

  • Eastern Time Zone: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Central Time Zone: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

This does not necessarily mean that employees are entitled to extra time off. If an employee’s normal work schedule already provides three consecutive hours free during polling hours, the employer will not have to make any scheduling adjustments. However, if an employee’s normal work schedule does not provide three consecutive hours free during polling hours, then the employer must adjust the work schedule to accommodate the voting time requirement.

When a work schedule adjustment is needed, the employer is entitled to determine which hours will be used to provide the employee with time off for voting. Employers are entitled to select the hours that are most convenient for their business.

Despite making a work schedule adjustment, the employer must pay the employee the same amount, as if no adjustment was made. Employers who reduce pay or otherwise fail to satisfy the voting time requirement may be liable for a fine of up to $5,000 per violation.

– With thanks to Jan Nato for his assistance with this article.