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Working at a federal election during the pandemic

During a minority government, an election can be called at any time. If an election were to be called during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the next federal election would likely look and feel a bit different from the last one in 2019. Even in the midst of this crisis, the wheels of our democracy continue to turn. So, we need to make sure that we fill hundreds of thousands of election positions for the 44th federal general election. We know that election workers are the backbone of Canada's democracy. We need to ensure that we have enough people to make it happen.


Throughout these uncertain times, Elections Canada remains committed to maintaining the integrity of our electoral process and protecting the health and safety of all its participants. This includes electors, election workers, and candidates and their teams.

We want Canadians to feel safe about applying for a position that requires physical interactions with hundreds of electors during every shift.

For that to happen, we are taking the following measures in consultation with public health authorities:

  • All precautions will be taken so workers maintain physical distance while at the polls to reduce exposure risk.
  • Returning officers will find polling locations that offer better physical distancing options–this may mean bigger facilities or polls serving fewer people. There will be physical distancing and directional signage throughout the polling place.
  • All poll workers will be provided with several non-medical masks. Workers may use their own masks, but these must be neutral in colour to follow the non-partisan rules.
  • Election workers will be encouraged to frequently wash their hands and, when soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer and take other personal safety measures.
  • Elections Canada will be equipping hand-sanitizing stations at entrances and exits and throughout the polling place and providing hand sanitizer stations for electors.
  • Elections Canada will also be providing safety equipment to workers who serve electors. There will be safety barriers for those who sit at desks and face shields for those at entrances or doors or who move around.
  • We will provide masks and single-use pencils to electors, as needed. Electors can also bring their own mask and pen or pencil.
  • Elections Canada will reduce the number of workers at each polling station table from two to one. This will also reduce the number of potential interactions and allow for physical distancing between election workers.
  • We will encourage all office workers at local Keyword: Elections Canada offices and poll workers to use self-assessment tools to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and to stay home if they believe they have these symptoms.
  • Poll workers will be cleaning workstations, door handles and common surfaces throughout the day.

Training will look different, too. Each returning officer will decide what works best under local circumstances, using a combination of in-class training that respects physical distancing, remote training by teleconference, self-study with or without Internet access and on-the-job supervision and support. Using these options, we limit the number of in-person interactions. Where classrooms are used, the health measures described above will be in place.

To provide workers and participants with a safe learning environment, returning officers will follow protocols and directives that Elections Canada has established after consultation with public health authorities.

For more information on Elections Canada pandemic measures