Second Session, Forty-third Parliament,
69 Elizabeth II, 2020
HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (COVID-19 response)
This enactment adds a new Part to the Canada Elections Act that provides for temporary rules to ensure the safe administration of an election in the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The new Part, among other things,
(a) extends the Chief Electoral Officer’s power to adapt the provisions of that Act to ensure the health or safety of electors or election officers;
(b) authorizes a returning officer to constitute polling divisions that consist of a single institution where seniors or persons with a disability reside, or a part of such an institution, and to set the days and hours that a polling station established there will be open;
(c) provides for a polling period of three consecutive days consisting of a Saturday, Sunday and Monday;
(d) provides for the hours of voting during the polling period;
(e) provides for the opening and closing measures at polling stations;
(f) sets the days for voting at advance polling stations;
(g) authorizes the Chief Electoral Officer to modify the day on which certain things are authorized or required to be done before the polling period by moving that day backward or forward by up to two days or the starting date or ending date of a period in which certain things are authorized or required to be done by up to two days;
(h) provides that an elector may submit an application for registration and special ballot under Division 4 of Part 11 in writing or in electronic form;
(i) provides that an elector whose application for registration and special ballot was accepted by the returning officer in their electoral district may deposit the outer envelope containing their special ballot in a secure reception box or ballot box for the deposit of outer envelopes; and
(j) prohibits installing a secure reception box for the deposit of outer envelopes unless by or under the authority of the Chief Electoral Officer or a returning officer and prohibits destroying, taking, opening or otherwise interfering with a secure reception box installed by a returning officer.
The enactment also provides for the repeal of the new Part six months after the publication of a notice confirming that the temporary rules in that Part are no longer required to ensure the safe administration of an election in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.