In this Elector's Guidebook, you will find important information on when, where and the ways to register and vote, accessibility tools and services, and additional information about federal elections. This guidebook is meant to address barriers such as not knowing where to register and vote, being unable to provide the proper identification, and not understanding federal elections and the voting process.
When planning for the upcoming federal election, make sure you're well-informed so you can provide accurate information to your community and help them prepare to vote. We don't expect you to be an expert in federal elections, so we have put key information at your fingertips so you can help your members get ready. Here are the steps to help you prepare:
When making a plan for the next federal election, it's always good to start with the basics. In this section, we provide information about and links related to the federal election and voting in Canada. It's important for voters to understand the impact of federal elections in their daily lives.
Canada is a representative democracy. This means that citizens elect representatives to the House of Commons. Those representatives, along with the Senate, then make laws and decisions for the country and its people.
We have a first-past-the-post system (also called a single-member plurality.) This means electors vote once for one candidate in their riding (sometimes called an electoral district): the candidate who receives the most votes wins the seat in the House of Commons. This person is your member of Parliament.
To register and vote in the federal election, you must
Voting is the way you will choose someone to represent you in Canada's Parliament. That person will make decisions about issues that affect you and your community. By expressing your choice, you are exercising a right that is key to the democratic process of government that generations of Canadians have fought to build. For more information, see A History of the Vote in Canada.
When you vote in a federal election, you are choosing a person, your member of Parliament, to represent you in the House of Commons. Each member of Parliament has a seat in the House of Commons, where they debate and pass laws on your behalf.
Candidates can represent a political party or they can be independent, meaning they have no association with a political party.
The political party with the most members elected to the House of Commons usually forms the government, and their leader becomes the prime minister.
The prime minister and members of Parliament decide on Canada's national policies and priorities. They make sure those policies are put into action. They guide the government's legislation through the House of Commons and the Senate.
To learn more about Canadian federal elections, explore these links:
First, you need to know which riding is yours. Enter your postal code into Elections Canada's Voter Information Service. You will get the following information:
During an election, this page will also tell you
Here are some of the things the federal government is responsible for:
Want to learn more? Explore these links:
The next step in your journey to the ballot box focuses on registering in a federal election. In this section, you will learn about registering to vote and why it's so important. Learn how easy it is to use the Elections Canada Online Voter Registration Service.
To vote in a federal election, you must be registered. You can register any time by visiting elections.ca, or by calling 1-800-463-6868. Once the election has been called you can register in person when you go to vote.
Elections Canada maintains a National Register of Electors, a permanent, continually updated database of Canadians who are eligible vote in federal elections. Elections Canada uses this database to create lists of electors: Canadians who are registered and eligible to vote during the federal election.
Most Canadians who are eligible to vote are already registered. Some Canadians may not be registered, or may be registered at a previous address, particularly if they have recently moved, recently became a Canadian citizen, or are voting for the first time. It is always good to check and update your information. To learn how to register, see "How do you register between elections?".
If you register or update your registration before the election, Elections Canada will mail you a voter information card after the election is called. It tells you where and when you can vote.
You can always register when you go to vote, if you haven't already registered.
Voter information cards are mailed to all registered electors. Expect to receive your card about two weeks before election day. The voter information card tells you
When you get your voter information card, check the name and address on it. If you didn't get a voter information card, or the information on the card is incorrect, your voter information may not be up to date. Visit elections.ca to register or update your address, or call us at 1-800-463-6868 or 1-800-361-8935 (TTY) for assistance. You can also register when you go to vote.
To make the voting process simpler, when you go to vote you can use your voter information card as a proof of address if your name and address are spelled correctly on the card . You will still need to bring one other piece of ID with your name.
You have two options:
You can register before you go to vote or when you go to vote.
Your place of residence or home address is the place where you normally live, or the place you consider to be your home . You must have ID with that address to register or vote.
If you leave your home temporarily (for school, work or any other reason) but intend to return , you can still use your home address as your place of residence.
Once you've decided on your place of residence, bring ID with that address when you go to register and vote.
If you register online, you may be asked for the number from
If you don't have the above forms of ID, you may use the Document Submission feature of the Online Voter Registration Service to provide another form of identification. Here's the list of accepted ID.
No. Once your information is in the National Register of Electors, you stay registered.
Visit elections.ca or call Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868 to check or update your address and other information. For example, if you have moved, you may need to update it.
If you have changed your name, you must request an update from Elections Canada, fill it in, provide ID and send the completed form to Elections Canada.
About two weeks before election day, you should receive a voter information card in the mail. If you don't get a card, or if the information on the card is wrong, you may not be registered or your voter information may not be up to date.
To vote in a federal election, you must prove your identity and address. An important part of your voting plan involves having all the information for proving your identity and address. There are a number of options. In this section, find the one that works best for you, and plan to come prepared when you vote.
You have three options to prove your identity and address:
Elections Canada accepts the following forms of identification:
For a piece of ID to be accepted, your name and/or address must be printed on the document. They can't be added by hand unless they are added by the issuer of the document, like a residence administrator. For example, a current or expired Canadian passport may be used as a proof of identity (your name) but not as a proof of address, because the passport holder writes their current address by hand in the passport.
Some voters may have trouble proving their address. If you live in or receive services from any of the following places, you can ask for a letter of confirmation of residence. This includes
If you need a letter of confirmation of residence:
During a pandemic, things can take a bit more time. That's why it is more important than ever that you make a plan and choose the voting option that works best for you.
Your health and safety is our priority: measures are in place to keep you safe, no matter how you choose to vote.
Knowing the different voting options and what to expect when you cast your vote can help you choose a time and place to vote that is easiest for you. Remember, you can vote almost any time during the election period, and voting early can reduce line-ups and crowds during the pandemic.
If you have tested positive for or have symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been in contact with someone who has the virus, visit elections.ca to apply to vote by mail. Deadlines apply.
In this section, you will learn about all the voting options. Pick the one that's most convenient for you and include it in your voting plan.
You can vote at the following times and places:
Learn more about all of Elections Canada's accessibility tools and services. Think about whether you will need any assistance at the polls and who can help you.
If you have a disability, require extra help or are helping someone else, choose the voting option that will best meet your needs.
With a little planning, you can ensure that your voting experience will be as easy and accessible as possible. Keep in mind that you may need to make arrangements for some of these services before you vote. Infographic: Voting Tools and Services
All electors are assigned to polling stations for election day and advance polling days. Once the election is called, you can make sure your assigned polling stations meets your accessibility needs by
If your assigned polling station doesn't meet your accessibility needs, or if you live in a community where there is no polling station within a reasonable distance from your home, call us at 1-800-463-6868 or 1-800-361-8935 (TTY). We will help you find an alternate polling station or discuss other ways you may be able to vote.
Elections Canada offers many tools and services to make voting in the federal election easier. If you need help during the voting process, you can call Elections Canada, visit any Elections Canada office, or speak to an election worker when you go to vote.
Voting assistance tools and services available on election day at polling stations include
You are also welcome to bring help when you vote: for example, a friend or family member, your service animal, or an assistive device, such as a mobile device or smart phone.
To request voting assistance in advance, including language and sign language interpretation, you need to call the Elections Canada office in your riding by the Tuesday before election day at 6:00 p.m. You can find this number
Yes. When voting, you may use an assistive device, such as your own pencil, to mark the ballot, or a personal mobile device, such as a smart phone, to read the ballot behind the voting screen.
In some ridings, election workers take mobile polls to certain facilities (such as long-term-care institutions or seniors' residences) at scheduled times to allow electors who are staying there to vote.
This service is not available at all facilities and, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, alternative voting services may be required at some facilities. To learn more about the services offered at facilities in your riding, call your local Elections Canada office or reach us at 1-800-463-6868.
Voting in acute-care facilities (hospitals where people stay short term) is different. Electors do not live in these facilities and, therefore, must vote by special ballot. Elections Canada adopts procedures allowing these electors to register and vote by special ballot from the facility where they are receiving care.
Electors who are unable to read or unable to vote using the special ballot process because of a disability may, upon request, vote at home. Electors who request to vote at home must meet the criteria outlined in the Canada Elections Act. All other voting options (including voting by mail) must be considered first.
If you or a family member requires this service, you must contact the Elections Canada office in your riding to request this voting option before by the Tuesday before election day at 6:00 p.m.
If your request is approved, an election officer will come to your home and assist you in voting.
While most eligible voters can vote using one of the options listed above, some voters cannot use these options. Elections Canada has special services for these groups:
Whether you are voting on election day or during advance polling days, here is where to find the date, hours of operation and address of your assigned polling station and Elections Canada office soon after the election is called:
In 2019, the ballot was redesigned to be larger than before to make it easier to handle and read. To improve readability, we have made the background grey instead of black, increased the font sizes and replaced dots with dashes.
Your polling station will also have many tools to make voting easier for everyone, including people who are blind or who have vision impairment.
These tools include:
Note: Braille lists of candidates are only available on election day. Large print is available on advance polling days and on election day.
Yes. You may use an assistive device when voting, such as your own pencil to mark the ballot, or a personal mobile device, such as a smart phone, to read the ballot behind the voting screen. Since 2019, the ballot has been redesigned to be easier to read using a screen reader on your smart phone or other device.
Yes. You can probably bring your support animal to most polling stations. In some exceptional cases, local laws might regulate the presence of service animals in public spaces. To find out whether your service animal will be permitted in your polling station, contact your Elections Canada office.
We can usually get you an interpreter to help you vote, if you ask ahead of time. The deadline to ask for interpretation services is the Tuesday before election day at 6:00 p.m.. If you require service in a language other than English or French,