Canada’s next federal election is quickly approaching. On September 20th we all have the opportunity to make our voices heard and vote for the people and parties that we believe will best represent us and our priorities.
As an environmental non-profit the issues of climate change and biodiversity loss are particularly important to us this election and we want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to make an informed decision when it comes time for you to vote. Each party has plans for how they will tackle climate change, and all of the major parties have emissions reduction targets. As part of the 2015 Paris agreement Canada committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.
Climate Change Targets:
The following graph depicts each party’s reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2005 levels by 2030.
Note: the Green party’s target comes from the 2019 platform as they have yet to release their full 2021 platform.
Global news has compiled a wonderful resource called the policy tracker: https://globalnews.ca/news/8110205/canada-election-complete-list-of-promises-about-tackling-climate-change/ This page will give you an up-to-date comprehensive summary of all promises that have been made by each of the political parties in regards to climate change.
Want more information on how your beliefs and priorities align with the major political parties’ platforms? Check out CBC’s user-friendly tool Vote Compass: https://votecompass.cbc.ca/canada
How to Register to Vote:
- To register and vote in a federal election, you must:
- be a Canadian citizen
- be at least 18 years old on election day
- prove your identity and address
- To register to vote, check if you are already registered, update your address, or apply to vote by mail go to: https://ereg.elections.ca/CWelcome.aspx?lang=e or contact your local Elections Canada office by September 14th at 6pm. Alternatively you can register or update your address at your polling station, just before you vote on September 20th.
- If you are registered to vote you should receive your voter information card in the mail by September 10. This card tells you where and when you can vote. If the name and address on your card are correct and you meet the eligibility criteria stated on the card, you’re ready to vote. Bring this card with you, along with an accepted piece of ID, to make the voting process easier when you go to vote.
- Masks will be available to electors who do not bring their own.
- Poll workers will be provided with masks, face shields and other protective equipment.
- There will be hand sanitizing stations at polling places, and only one poll worker per desk behind a plexiglass barrier to serve electors.
- Single-use pencils will be provided. Electors can also bring their own pen or pencil.
- You will have the option to drop your single-use pencil in a designated bag and Elections Canada will recycle it for future use.
- Poll workers will be sanitizing work stations, door handles and common surfaces throughout the day.
- Elections Canada asks that any voter who thinks they may have COVID-19 or who has tested positive for the virus to isolate, stay home and not come to an Elections Canada office or polling place. They should instead visit elections.ca to find out what other voting method is available to them. Unfortunately, after Tuesday, September 14, electors who have or believe they have COVID-19 and who have not already applied to vote by mail will not be able to vote.
- Because of the unknowns surrounding Covid, to avoid missing your chance to vote, it is highly suggested to vote early if possible.
Voting by mail:
- All eligible voters can opt to vote by mail which Elections Canada refers to as a “special ballot.” This is available to those voting outside their home riding and those voting from their home riding who prefer not to go to a polling place.
- If you would like to vote by mail you must apply to do so either online or in person at an Elections Canada office by September 14th at 6 pm.
- You must provide proof of identity and address when applying
- After you apply it may take up to 72 hours for the application to be processed
- After you have applied to vote by mail you will be unable to change your decision at a later date and vote at the polls.
- Once your application is approved you will receive a “special ballot kit” by mail it will include:
- A special ballot
- An outer envelope and an inner envelope
- A return envelope with prepaid postage
- Instructions on how to mark the special ballot and return it to Elections Canada
- You must write the name of the candidate you are voting for. This name needs to be of the person who is running in your specific riding, you may include the party they belong to if you wish, however if you only put the party your vote will not count.
- To find a list of the people running in your riding check out the voter information service: https://www.elections.ca/scripts/vis/FindED?L=e&PAGEID=20
- In order for your vote to be counted it must arrive by the deadline. If you are voting in your home riding this deadline is the time your local polls close, if you are voting outside your home riding it is 6pm eastern standard time. It is your responsibility to make sure your ballot arrives on time. Elections Canada suggests that you “factor in how long it will take for your ballot to arrive in the mail. If you are concerned about returning your ballot in time, you may consider using an expedited parcel delivery service, at your own cost.”
- Voters can contact Elections Canada at this number: 1-800-463-6868, to confirm that the ballot has been received.
- If you must be under quarantine from the 10-20th of September this will be your only option to vote, however if you find yourself needing to quarantine after the 14th of September, will still need to be in isolation on the day of the election (September 20th), and have not already voted you will unfortunately be unable to vote.
- Election day is : Monday, September 20, 2021
- Advance voting takes place on :
- Friday, September 10, 2021
- Saturday, September 11, 2021
- Sunday, September 12, 2021
- Monday, September 13, 2021
- Deadline to apply to vote by mail: Tuesday Sep 14, 2021 6pm (Eastern time if applying online or local time if at an Elections Canada office)
- For Canadians voting by mail from within their home riding, ballots must be returned by the time polls close in your riding. For those voting outside their home riding, ballots must be returned by 6 p.m. Eastern time on election day (Sept 20).
- Elections Canada will not count any ballots that arrive after the deadline.
- Leader debates:
- French: Sept 8
- English: Sept 9 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT
- Both should be available to watch after the fact
- The Globe and Mail: How to vote by mail in Canada’s federal election https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-canada-federal-election-2021-vote-by-mail-explained/
- Elections Canada: Special Ballot https://www.elections.ca/content2.aspx?section=vote&dir=spe&document=index&lang=e
- Elections Canada: COVID-19 FAQs https://www.elections.ca/content2.aspx?section=faq&document=faqcov&lang=e
- Elections Canada: Voter Information Card https://www.elections.ca/content2.aspx?section=vote&dir=vic&document=index&lang=e
- CBC News: How do the main parties compare on these issues? https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/elections/federal/2021/party-platforms/
- CBC: Key dates you need to remember for voting in the federal election https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/key-dates-vote-federal-election-2021-1.6150745
- Global News: Canada election: Complete list of promises about tackling climate change https://globalnews.ca/news/8110205/canada-election-complete-list-of-promises-about-tackling-climate-change/
- Government of Canada: Progress towards Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/environmental-indicators/progress-towards-canada-greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction-target.html