NEWS RELEASE: Changes to Canada Elections Act must protect democratic rights

December 10, 2020

EDMONTON, AB – The federal government has tabled legislation to amend the Canada Elections Act at the recommendation of Elections Canada to allow for COVID-19 protocols to be introduced.

“While we don’t want a general election during a global pandemic, we must be prepared for that possibility,” said Matt Jeneroux, the Member of Parliament for Edmonton Riverbend.

“Some common sense changes will allow Canadians to be safer while conducting their civic duty.”

Elections can be called at any time during a minority Parliament. In the case of an election during the pandemic, Elections Canada has recommended a series of amendments to the Canada Elections Act. These include:

• A weekend election, featuring a two-day polling period on a Saturday and Sunday, instead of the traditional one-day vote usually held on a Monday. This gives Elections Canada the ability to set up polling places in larger locations to enhance physical distancing and help with recruiting poll workers;
• Increasing the number of voting days for electors in long-term care facilities, to prevent poll workers from having to enter multiple facilities in a day, given the high-risk environment they have shown to be during the pandemic; and,
• Allowing mail-in ballots sent before the deadline to be accepted up until the day after the polls close.

Elections Canada is predicting a huge increase in the number of mail-in ballots received during the next federal election. However, Elections Canada will not conduct any Internet voting.

The changes will be debated in the House of Commons before becoming reality.

“I look forward to debating these amendments to ensure that the democratic rights of Canadians are protected,” said Jeneroux.