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Canada Elections Act (S.C. 2000, c. 9)

Full Document:  

Act current to 2022-07-25 and last amended on 2021-06-29. Previous Versions

PART 1Electoral Rights

Marginal note:Persons qualified as electors

 Every person who is a Canadian citizen and who on polling day is 18 years of age or older is qualified as an elector.

 [Repealed, 2018, c. 31, s. 3]

 [Repealed, 2018, c. 31, s. 3]

Marginal note:Persons entitled to vote

 Subject to this Act, every person who is qualified as an elector is entitled to have his or her name included in the list of electors for the polling division in which he or she is ordinarily resident and to vote at the polling station for that polling division.

 [Repealed, 2018, c. 31, s. 4]

Marginal note:Place of ordinary residence

  •  (1) The place of ordinary residence of a person is the place that has always been, or that has been adopted as, his or her dwelling place, and to which the person intends to return when away from it.

  • Marginal note:One place of residence only

    (2) A person can have only one place of ordinary residence and it cannot be lost until another is gained.

  • Marginal note:Person residing outside Canada

    (2.1) The place of ordinary residence of a person who resides outside Canada is their last place of ordinary residence in Canada.

  • Marginal note:Temporary absence

    (3) Temporary absence from a place of ordinary residence does not cause a loss or change of place of ordinary residence.

  • Marginal note:Place of employment

    (4) If a person usually sleeps in one place and has their meals or is employed in another place, their place of ordinary residence is where they sleep.

  • Marginal note:Temporary residence

    (5) Temporary residential quarters are considered to be a person’s place of ordinary residence only if the person has no other place that they consider to be their residence.

  • Marginal note:Temporary residential quarters

    (6) A shelter, hostel or similar institution that provides food, lodging or other social services to a person who has no dwelling place is that person’s place of ordinary residence.

Marginal note:Interpretation of ordinary residence

 If the rules set out in section 8 are not sufficient to determine the place of ordinary residence, it shall be determined by the appropriate election officer by reference to all the facts of the case.

Marginal note:Former member candidates and electors living with them

  •  (1) Each candidate at a general election who, on the day before the dissolution of Parliament immediately before the election, was a member, and any elector living with the candidate on that day who would move, or has moved, with the candidate to continue to live with the candidate, is entitled to have his or her name entered on the list of electors for, and to vote at the polling station to which is assigned, the polling division in which is located

    • (a) the place of ordinary residence of the former member; or

    • (b) [Repealed, 2018, c. 31, s. 6]

    • (c) the office of the returning officer for the electoral district in which the former member is a candidate.

    • (d) [Repealed, 2018, c. 31, s. 6]

  • Marginal note:Former member candidates and electors living with them — notice to returning officer

    (2) If a candidate or elector referred to in subsection (1) provides notice to the returning officer, at least two days before polling day, of his or her intention to vote at the polling station, the candidate or elector is entitled to have his or her name entered on the list of electors for, and to vote at the polling station to which is assigned, any polling division in

    • (a) the electoral district in which the former member is a candidate; or

    • (b) the electoral district in the National Capital Region where the former member resides for the purpose of carrying out parliamentary duties.

 [Repealed, 2018, c. 31, s. 7]

Marginal note:Residence at by-election

  •  (1) No elector is entitled to vote at a by-election unless his or her place of ordinary residence on polling day is situated in the same electoral district that includes the polling division in which was situated the elector’s place of ordinary residence at the beginning of the revision period established by section 96.

  • Marginal note:Address change within electoral district

    (2) For the purpose of a by-election only and despite anything in this Act, an elector who, during the period between the beginning of the revision period and ending on polling day, has changed his or her place of ordinary residence from one polling division to another polling division in the same electoral district may register his or her name on the list of electors in the new polling division.

PART 2Chief Electoral Officer and Staff

Chief Electoral Officer

Marginal note:Appointment and term of office

  •  (1) There shall be a Chief Electoral Officer who shall be appointed by resolution of the House of Commons to hold office during good behaviour for a term of 10 years. He or she may be removed for cause by the Governor General on address of the Senate and House of Commons.

  • Marginal note:No re-appointment

    (2) A person who has served as Chief Electoral Officer is not eligible for re-appointment to that office.

  • 2000, c. 9, s. 13
  • 2014, c. 12, s. 3

Marginal note:Appointment of substitute

  •  (1) In case of the death, incapacity or negligence of the Chief Electoral Officer while Parliament is not sitting, a substitute Chief Electoral Officer shall, on the application of the Minister, be appointed by order of the Chief Justice of Canada or, in the absence of the Chief Justice of Canada, by the senior judge of the Supreme Court of Canada then present in Ottawa.

  • Marginal note:Tenure of office of substitute

    (2) A substitute Chief Electoral Officer shall act as Chief Electoral Officer until 15 days after the beginning of the next session of Parliament unless the Chief Justice of Canada or the judge who made the order to appoint the substitute Chief Electoral Officer sooner directs that the order be revoked.

  • Marginal note:Absence of Chief Justice

    (3) In the absence of both the Chief Justice of Canada and of the judge who made the order to appoint the substitute Chief Electoral Officer, the order may be revoked by any other judge of the Supreme Court of Canada.

  • Marginal note:Remuneration of substitute

    (4) The substitute Chief Electoral Officer is entitled to be paid the remuneration fixed by the Governor in Council.

Marginal note:Rank, powers and duties

  •  (1) Subject to subsections 509.1(2) and (3), the Chief Electoral Officer shall rank as and have all the powers of a deputy head of a department, shall perform the duties of the office on a full-time basis and shall not hold any other office under Her Majesty or engage in any other employment.

  • Marginal note:Salary and expenses of Chief Electoral Officer

    (2) The Chief Electoral Officer shall be paid a salary equal to the salary of a judge of the Federal Court, other than the Chief Justice of that Court, and is entitled to be paid reasonable travel and living expenses while absent from his or her ordinary place of residence in the course of his or her duties.

  • Marginal note:Superannuation and compensation

    (3) The Chief Electoral Officer is deemed to be employed in the public service for the purposes of the Public Service Superannuation Act and to be employed in the federal public administration for the purposes of the Government Employees Compensation Act and any regulations made under section 9 of the Aeronautics Act.

  • Marginal note:Communication with Governor in Council

    (4) The Chief Electoral Officer shall communicate with the Governor in Council through the Minister for the purposes of this Act.

Marginal note:Powers and duties of Chief Electoral Officer

 The Chief Electoral Officer shall

  • (a) exercise general direction and supervision over the conduct of elections;

  • (b) ensure that all election officers act with fairness and impartiality and in compliance with this Act;

  • (c) issue to election officers the instructions that the Chief Electoral Officer considers necessary for the administration of this Act; and

  • (d) exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions that are necessary for the administration of this Act, other than Division 1.1 of Part 16.1.

  • 2000, c. 9, s. 16
  • 2014, c. 12, s. 4

Marginal note:Guidelines and interpretation notes

  •  (1) The Chief Electoral Officer shall, in accordance with this section, issue guidelines and interpretation notes on the application of this Act — other than Division 1.1 of Part 16.1 — to registered parties, registered associations, nomination contestants, candidates and leadership contestants.

  • Marginal note:Application

    (2) The Chief Electoral Officer shall, in accordance with this section, on application by the chief agent of a registered party, issue a guideline or interpretation note on the application of a provision of this Act — other than a provision of Division 1.1 of Part 16.1 — to registered parties, registered associations, nomination contestants, candidates and leadership contestants.

  • Marginal note:Consultations

    (3) Before issuing a guideline or interpretation note, the Chief Electoral Officer shall provide a copy of the proposed guideline or interpretation note to the Commissioner and to the members of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties established by subsection 21.1(1). The Commissioner and those members may provide their written comments to the Chief Electoral Officer within 45 days after the day on which the copy is sent.

  • Marginal note:Comments

    (4) The Chief Electoral Officer shall, in preparing the guideline or interpretation note, take into consideration any comments received under subsection (3).

  • (5) [Repealed, 2018, c. 31, s. 9]

  • (6) [Repealed, 2018, c. 31, s. 9]

  • Marginal note:Issuance

    (7) The Chief Electoral Officer shall issue the guideline or interpretation note by registering it in the registry referred to in section 16.4 as soon as possible after preparing it.

  • Marginal note:Nature of guidelines and interpretation notes

    (8) The guidelines and interpretation notes are issued for information purposes only. They are not binding on registered parties, registered associations, nomination contestants, candidates or leadership contestants.

Marginal note:Application for written opinion

  •  (1) The Chief Electoral Officer shall, in accordance with this section, on application by the chief agent of a registered party, issue a written opinion on the application of any provision of this Act — other than a provision of Division 1.1 of Part 16.1 — to an activity or practice that the registered party or a registered association, nomination contestant, candidate or leadership contestant of the registered party proposes to engage in.

  • Marginal note:Consultations

    (2) Before issuing an opinion, the Chief Electoral Officer shall provide a copy of the proposed opinion to the Commissioner and to the members of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties established by subsection 21.1(1). The Commissioner and those members may provide their written comments to the Chief Electoral Officer within 30 days after the day on which the copy is sent.

  • Marginal note:Comments

    (3) The Chief Electoral Officer shall, in preparing the opinion, take into consideration any comments received under subsection (2).

  • Marginal note:Pre-publication

    (4) Within 90 days after the day on which the application is made, the Chief Electoral Officer shall publish on his or her Internet site for a period of 30 days the opinion as well as a notice stating that the opinion will be issued at the expiry of that period. However, if the 90-day period coincides or overlaps with the election period of a general election, the opinion and the notice shall be published no later than 90 days after polling day for that election.

  • Marginal note:Issuance

    (5) On the expiry of the 30-day period referred to in subsection (4), the Chief Electoral Officer shall issue the opinion by registering it in the registry referred to in section 16.4.

  • Marginal note:Opinion binding

    (6) If all the material facts have been submitted by an applicant for an opinion and they are accurate, the opinion issued by the Chief Electoral Officer under this section is binding on the Chief Electoral Officer and the Commissioner with respect to the activity or practice of the registered party, registered association, nomination contestant, candidate or leadership contestant in question. It remains binding for as long as the material facts on which it was based remain substantially unchanged and the activity or practice is carried out substantially as proposed.

  • Marginal note:Precedential value

    (7) An opinion issued by the Chief Electoral Officer under this section has precedential value for the Chief Electoral Officer and the Commissioner.

  • Marginal note:Contrary interpretation

    (8) The opinion remains binding in accordance with subsection (6), and has the precedential value referred to in subsection (7), for as long as a contrary interpretation has not been subsequently issued by means of a guideline or interpretation note issued under section 16.1 or an opinion issued under this section.

Marginal note:New interpretation

 If an opinion that is published under subsection 16.2(4) interprets a provision of the Act in a way that contradicts an interpretation of that provision provided in a previously issued opinion, the new interpretation does not replace the former interpretation until the date that the new opinion is issued under section 16.2.

Marginal note:Registry

 The Chief Electoral Officer shall establish and maintain a registry on his or her Internet site that contains every guideline and interpretation note that is issued under section 16.1, every opinion that is issued under section 16.2 and all comments of the Commissioner that are provided under subsection 16.1(3) or 16.2(2).

  • 2014, c. 12, s. 5
 
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