This handbook contains all of the basic information on when, where and the ways to register and vote in the federal election. It also has specific information for student voters.
There are many products you can use to spread the word about the federal election. Examples include:
Return to footnote 1 Available in multiple languages and in braille, large print and audio.
Visit elections.ca to download resources or call 1-800-463-6868 or 1-800-361-8935 (TTY) to request printed copies.
In a federal election, Canadians vote to elect a member of Parliament (MP) to represent them in the House of Commons. MPs debate and pass laws on Canadians' behalf.
One MP represents the people of one riding. There are currently 338 ridings in Canada.
Candidates can represent a political party, or they can be independent, meaning they have no association with a political party. After all the votes are counted for each riding, the political party with the most MPs in the House of Commons usually forms the government. The leader of that party becomes the prime minister of Canada.
Note: Refugees and permanent residents are not allowed to vote in federal elections.
If an elector has tested positive for or has symptoms of COVID-19 or has been in contact with someone who has the virus, they should visit elections.ca to apply to vote by mail.
To vote in a federal election, electors must be registered. Most Canadians who are eligible to vote are already registered, but they may not be registered if they've recently moved, become a Canadian citizen, or never voted before.
All registered electors will get a voter information card in the mail about two weeks before election day. It tells them where and when they can vote.
An elector's place of residence or home address is where they ordinarily live, where they think of as home or have adopted as home. Once they have confirmed their place of residence, they must make sure they're registered at that address.
If electors leave home temporarily (for school, work or any other reason) but intend to return to it, it can remain their place of residence.
Once they've decided on their place of residence, they must bring ID with that address when they go to register and vote.
To register or update their address online, electors can use the Online Voter Registration Service at elections.ca. If they register online, they may be asked for the number from:
Or, they could be offered the option to use the Online Document Submission feature of the Voter Registration Service.
To register in person, electors will need to bring accepted ID with them. After an election is called, they can register and vote in person at:
To find the addresses for these locations or view the list of accepted ID, visit elections.ca.
They may choose the voting option that works best for them.
Electors' assigned polling stations will be open for 12 hours (hours vary by time zone).
Electors' assigned advance polling stations will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday the week before election day.
After the election has been called, electors living in Canada may apply to vote by mail. Deadlines apply. They can apply to vote by mail online or by contacting their local Elections Canada office. Once their application is accepted, Elections Canada will send them a special ballot voting kit in the mail. The deadline to apply to vote by mail is the Tuesday before election day, 6:00 p.m.
Electors should apply as soon as possible to allow enough time for their special ballot voting kit to reach them and for them to return their marked ballot to Elections Canada by election day.
Electors can go to any Elections Canada office by the Tuesday before election day, 6:00 p.m. They will vote using the special ballot process. After the election is called, electors may visit elections.ca or call us to find the office nearest them.
Here's what happens when an elector votes at their assigned polling station on election day or advance polling days.
Election workers are there to help. If an elector needs anything to make their voting experience easier, they can speak to an election worker when they go to vote. For example, they can:
Voting at an Elections Canada office is different than voting on election day or advance polling days. Here, electors will vote using the special ballot process.
When it's time to count the ballots, the election worker will remove all the unmarked inner envelopes from their signed outer envelopes. The election worker will then return only the unmarked inner envelopes to the ballot box and mix them up. This way, no envelope can be traced back to the voter and votes remain secret.
Most accessible tools and services are offered at Elections Canada offices. However, the list of candidates in braille is available only on election day. See the Accessibility tab for the complete list of tools and services.
Electors have three options to prove their identity and address when they go to vote.
Show one ID card issued by a Canadian government (federal, provincial/territorial or local) with their photo, name and current address.
For example: their driver's licence.
Show two pieces of ID. Both must have their name, and at least one must have their current address. Examples:
There are other pieces of accepted ID. Check out the full list, available in multiple languages, at elections.ca. For other formats, such as large print, braille and audio, call us at 1-800-463-6868 or 1-800-361-8935 (TTY).
Electors can also use their voter information card as a proof of address if their name and address are spelled correctly on the card. They will still need to bring one other piece of ID with their name.
If an elector doesn't have ID documents, they can still vote if they declare their identity and address in writing and have someone who knows them and who is assigned to their polling station vouch for them.
The voucher must be able to prove their identity and address. A person can vouch for only one person (except in long term care institutions).
We accept ID cards and documents issued in their original formats. We do not accept photocopies or scanned versions of documents that were not issued electronically. For documents issued electronically (such as e statements or e-invoices), we accept printouts or electors may show them on a mobile device.
We accept expired pieces of ID to prove identity. We also accept different pieces of ID from the same source if the documents serve different purposes. For example, we accept an invoice and a transcript from the same school.
For a piece of ID to be accepted, it must be issued with the elector's name and/or current address. 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 (i.e. name) but not as a proof of address. This is because the passport holder writes their current address by hand in the passport.
Some electors may have difficulty proving their address. If they are living or receiving services at any of the following places, one option is to ask for a letter of confirmation of residence:
If an elector needs to use a letter of confirmation of residence, they should:
The elector will still need to show a second piece of ID with their name.
All electors are assigned to polling stations for election day and advance polling days. Once the election is called, electors can make sure their assigned polling stations meet their accessibility needs by:
Elections Canada also welcomes Video Relay Service (VRS) calls. Visit Video Relay Service (VRS) to know more.
If an elector's assigned polling station doesn't meet their accessibility needs, or if they live in a community where there is no polling station within a reasonable distance from their home, they should call 1-800-463-6868 or 1-800-361-8935 (TTY). We will help them find an alternate polling station or discuss other ways they may be able to vote.
For a full list of the accessibility criteria we use when we select polling stations, visit elections.ca.
To request voting assistance in advance, including language and sign language interpretation, electors are encouraged to call the Elections Canada office in their riding by the Tuesday before election day, 6:00 p.m. The number can be found:
For all the official information on voting and the health and safety measures in place, electors may visit elections.ca. The website is fully accessible and has voting information in multiple languages, including American Sign Language and Quebec Sign Language. They can also order products in other formats, including large print, braille and audio.
We offer many tools and services to make voting in the federal election easier. If an elector needs help during the voting process, they can call Elections Canada, visit any Elections Canada office across Canada, or speak to an election worker when they go to vote.
Note: Braille lists of candidates are only available on election day. Large print is available on advance polling days and on election day.
Electors are also welcome to bring help when they vote. This could include bringing their service animal or using an assistive device, such as a mobile device or smartphone.
We welcome electors' feedback on their voting experience, including on accessible tools and services. To let us know how we're doing, electors can:
Over 200,000 Canadians across the country are hired during an election. Jobs and training are paid, weekend hours are available and applicants can choose to work in the riding that is most convenient for them. Health and safety measures will be in place to keep election workers safe.
Learn more and apply online at elections.ca.