(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power)

Elections Canada says two-day voting possible amid COVID-19 if election called this fall

Agency preparing for possibility of fall election due to minority government, upcoming throne speech

Elections Canada is quietly getting ready for a possible scenario that Canadians could go to the polls amid a pandemic this fall.

In a section titled “Approach to a possible fall election” on its website, the agency warns that with a minority government, an election could happen at any time. Parliament is currently prorogued until Sept. 23, after which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will return with a throne speech that could give opposition parties a chance to send Canada into its next election.

READ MORE: Parliament prorogued, confidence coming on throne speech, says Trudeau

Elections Canada said it is preparing for the possibility of a pandemic election. If such an election were to occur, the agency said it would recommend a number of changes including a two-day vote over a weekend.

“This would facilitate distancing of voters, give access to a range of polling locations such as schools that would otherwise be unavailable and help to recruit poll workers,” the agency stated. The agency would also recommend that mail-in ballots be accepted until the day after the voting weekend, as well as giving more flexibility for residents of long-term care homes, who are at the highest risk from COVID-19.

Elections Canada said some preparations are already underway, including stockpiling single-use masks and pencils, reducing the number of workers needed to aid physical distancing, increasing the capacity of Canada’s vote-by-mail system, nixing voting opportunities on largely virtual university campuses and utilizing more remote training opportunities.

“While the agency is prioritizing having the basic safety measures in place for its workers, electors and candidates, electors may experience delays at the polls as the agency implements the safety measures required,” the agency said.

In an “extreme and unexpected case,” the agency’s chief electoral officer could “certify that it has become impracticable for Elections Canada to administer the election in one or several electoral districts and recommend to the governor-in-council that the election writ be withdrawn.” The agency noted this has never occurred throughout its history.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronaviruselection

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Low-mobility access at Mountain Spruce Community Park

Thanks to a grant from the Cariboo Regional District, the pathways around… Continue reading

Old bars, new jail at 108 Heritage site

There’s a new sheriff in town at the 108 Heritage site.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Highway 99 closed due to Rockslide near Lillooet

Crews are currently working to clear the road

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Most Read