Your vote makes a difference!
Toronto has more than a million eligible voters.
You have the power to choose your government.
The Federal Election is coming up – do you know who you want to vote for?
On May 2, 2011, your vote is important in determining who will represent your interests at the national level.
What am I voting for?
This is your chance to select your Member of Parliament (MP). The MP is the person who represents you, and the people who live near you, to the federal level of government. The federal government makes decisions on issues and/or funds programs such as: employment insurance, post-secondary education, child care, immigration, taxes, some housing co-ops, jails and courts, health care, job training and much more.
Why should I vote?
Voting is a democratic right, and some would argue, responsibility. It is your chance to make your voice heard. Many of the issues that MPs make decisions on directly impact you and your family. Voting is a way to let candidates and parties know what issues are important to you. When you don’t choose to vote, you’re letting other people determine what is important to you.
Who can vote?
On Election Day, if you are 18 years old or older, a Canadian citizen and can prove your identity and residence, you can vote. You do not have to own property in Canada in order to participate. Inmates in federal or provincial jail, people in the military or those who are otherwise unavailable can vote by special ballot or proxy. For more details, see the Elections Canada contact information below.
How do I get on the Voters List?
Most people qualified to vote are already on the National Register of Electors which is used to prepare the Voters List. Shortly after the election is officially called, you will receive a Notice of Registration card which confirms that you are on the list and lets you know about the dates of the advance polls, and voting locations. If you don’t receive this you might not be on the Voters List, but that’s easy to fix.
If you’re qualified to vote, but not on the list, you can contact your district’s Returning Office (see Elections Canada contact info below) or at an advance poll. You can also get added to the list on election day if you complete an application to be added to the list, make a declaration about your identity and qualifications, and bring proper ID (either a driver’s license or other ID that shows your name, address and signature OR two pieces of ID, one with a name and signature (credit card, citizenship card) and one that shows your name and address (lease, utility bill, bank statement).
When can I vote?
- Advance voting days –Friday, April 22nd, Saturday, April 23rd, and Monday, April 25th.
- Monday, May 2nd – 8:30 am to 8:30 pm
What if I have to work?
By law, your employer must provide you with paid time off, if you do not have three consecutive hours of your own time to vote on Election Day. If you finish work by 5:00 pm then this won’t be a concern. If however, you start work earlier than noon and finish later than 5:00 pm (i.e. working 10 am to 6 pm on Election Day) then you should ask your employer for a block of time to vote, at a time agreeable to them.
What if I have special needs?
Elections Canada has ensured that all polling locations are accessible to people with physical disabilities. They also have special provisions for people who are blind or visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing, and people who speak English as a Second Language.
To learn more about voting:
Make May 2nd the day you get out and VOTE!
Have you ever heard or said one of the following…
- Politicians don’t listen to me – why should I vote?
- The political system is too complicated; I don’t understand it.
- I am just a tenant – who cares about me?
- We need people in office who will listen to us!
- I only have one vote – what good does that do?
- I’m sick of politicians making and breaking promises!
Many people are discouraged about voting. In the 2008 federal election, voter turnout at 58.8% was the lowest rate for any federal election in the history of Canada.
So why should you vote?
Voting is your right as a citizen…
- some would say it’s a responsibility.
- in many areas of the world people die for the right to vote.
- voting is part of belonging and of being involved in your community.
Only some people are allowed to vote…
- citizens can vote but landed immigrants cannot – your vote can help represent the voice of your family, neighbours and friends who can’t vote.
- one vote can make a difference. Some battles are very tight and can be won by a small handful of voters showing up.
- set an example for your children.
Politicians listen to those who vote…
- tenants make up a big voting block. If we all come out to vote, politicians will pay attention!
- if you want to influence change, you have to vote.
- politicians respect those who vote. They have to pay attention to voters.
Whoever wins gets to make the decisions…
- if you don’t present your point of view, the other side wins.
- voting is better than complaining. If you didn’t vote, why should you complain?
- someone is going to win anyways. This is your time to influence who that is!