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Canada Elections Act

Part 5

Conduct of an Election

Date of General Election

Powers of Governor General preserved

56.1 (1) Nothing in this section affects the powers of the Governor General, including the power to dissolve Parliament at the Governor General's discretion.

Election dates

(2) Subject to subsection (1), each general election must be held on the third Monday of October in the fourth calendar year following polling day for the last general election, with the first general election after this section comes into force being held on Monday, October 19, 2009.

S.C. 2007, c. 10, s. 1.

Alternate day

56.2 (1) If the Chief Electoral Officer is of the opinion that a Monday that would otherwise be polling day under subsection 56.1(2) is not suitable for that purpose, including by reason of its being in conflict with a day of cultural or religious significance or a provincial or municipal election, the Chief Electoral Officer may choose another day in accordance with subsection (4) and shall recommend to the Governor in Council that polling day be that other day.

Publication of recommendation

(2) If the Chief Electoral Officer recommends an alternate day for a general election in accordance with subsection (1), he or she shall without delay publish in the Canada Gazette notice of the day recommended.

Making and publication of order

(3) If the Governor in Council accepts the recommendation, the Governor in Council shall make an order to that effect. The order must be published without delay in the Canada Gazette.


(4) The alternate day must be either the Tuesday immediately following the Monday that would otherwise be polling day or the Monday of the following week.

Timing of proclamation

(5) An order under subsection (3) shall not be made after August 1 in the year in which the general election is to be held.

S.C. 2007, c. 10, s. 1.

Writs of Election

General election – proclamation

57. (1) The Governor in Council shall issue a proclamation in order for a general election to be held.

By-election – order

(1.1) The Governor in Council shall make an order in order for a by-election to be held.


(1.2) The proclamation or order shall

General election

(2) In the case of a general election,

Election held on a Monday

(3) Subject to subsection (4) and section 56.2, polling day shall be on a Monday.


(4) In the case of a general election that is not held on a day set in accordance with subsection 56.1(2) or section 56.2, if, in the week in which the election is to be held, the Monday is a holiday, polling day shall be held on the Tuesday of that week.

Times when polling day is a Tuesday

(5) If the day fixed for the vote is a Tuesday because of subsection (4) or section 56.2, any time period specified under this Act before or after polling day is to be calculated as if polling day were the Monday.

S.C. 2001, c. 21, s. 5; S.C. 2007, c. 10, s. 2.

Writs forwarded to returning officer

58. The Chief Electoral Officer shall issue a writ in Form 1 of Schedule 1 to the returning officer for the electoral district in which the election is to be held without delay after the proclamation is issued or the order is made under section 57.

S.C. 2001, c. 21, s. 6; S.C. 2007, c. 10, s. 3.

Withdrawal of writ

59. (1) The Governor in Council may order the withdrawal of a writ for any electoral district for which the Chief Electoral Officer certifies that by reason of a flood, fire or other disaster it is impracticable to carry out the provisions of this Act.

Duties of Chief Electoral Officer

(2) If the Governor in Council orders the withdrawal of a writ, the Chief Electoral Officer shall publish a notice of the withdrawal in the Canada Gazette and issue a new writ ordering an election within three months after publication of the notice.

Polling day

(3) The day named in the new writ for polling day may not be later than three months after the issue of the new writ.

Returning officer to open and maintain an office

60. (1) Every returning officer shall, without delay after receiving the writ or notice by the Chief Electoral Officer of the issue of the writ, open an office in premises with level access in a convenient place in the electoral district and shall maintain the office throughout the election period.


(2) The Chief Electoral Officer may fix the hours that the office must be open and the minimum number of hours of compulsory attendance at it by the returning officer and the assistant returning officer.

Appointment of staff

61. (1) The Chief Electoral Officer may authorize returning officers to appoint the staff that they consider necessary for the purposes of this Act.

Employment of staff

(2) Staff mentioned in subsection (1) shall

Notice of Election by Returning Officer

Notice of election

62. Within four days after the issue of the writ, each returning officer shall sign and issue a Notice of Election in Form 2 of Schedule 1 that indicates

Return by Acclamation

Return by acclamation

63. (1) When, as of 2:00 p.m. on the 19th day before polling day, the returning officer has confirmed a nomination for only one candidate, the returning officer shall

Report with return

(2) When the returning officer returns the writ to the Chief Electoral Officer, the returning officer shall include with it a report of the proceedings during the election period, including any nomination proposed and rejected for non-compliance with this Act.

Holding of an Election

Holding of election

64. (1) If the nomination of more than one candidate is confirmed in an electoral district, an election shall be held.

Notice of grant of a poll

(2) The returning officer shall, within five days after the closing day for nominations, if more than one candidate is nominated, post in the returning office a notice of grant of a poll in the prescribed form that indicates

Notice to be posted in polling station

(3) The returning officer shall send one copy of the notice of grant of a poll to each deputy returning officer or central poll supervisor, as the case may be, and the officer or supervisor shall post the notice in his or her polling place.

Documents to candidates

(4) The returning officer shall send to each candidate, on the later of the 31st day before polling day and the day on which the candidate's nomination is confirmed, up to 10 copies of a document that sets out a description of the boundaries of the polling divisions in the electoral district.

Federal Electoral Legislation – Contents