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Voting by Mail While Inside or Outside Canada

Register to Vote by Special Ballot (Vote by Mail)

Eligible Canadian electors may apply to vote by special ballot. With a special ballot, you can vote by mail from anywhere in the world.

If you reside in Canada, you may apply to vote by mail after an election is called.

If you reside outside Canada, you may apply now to vote by mail in future federal elections. If we accept your application, we will add your name to the International Register of Electors. Once an election is called, we will mail you a special ballot voting kit.

Click the button below to get an application form and instructions on how to apply.

Get a special ballot application form >

The application form is best viewed with the latest version of Adobe Reader.

Reinstatement of the “five-year rule” and the requirement for an intention to return to Canada to reside

On July 20, 2015, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned an earlier ruling regarding voting by Canadians abroad. As a result of this decision, electors who want to be on the International Register of Electors and vote by special mail-in ballot from abroad must demonstrate that they meet two additional criteria:

  • They must confirm that they intend to return to Canada to reside by providing the date on which they intend to resume residence in Canada, and  
  • They must confirm that they have resided abroad for less than five consecutive years, or provide proof that they fall within one of these exceptions to the five-year rule:
    • They are employed outside Canada in theáfederal public administration or the public service of a province – or live with someone who is;
    • They are employed outside Canada by an international organization of which Canada is a member and to which Canada contributes – or live with someone who is; or
    • They live with a member of the Canadian Forces or with a person who is employed outside Canada by the Canadian Forces as a teacher in, or as a member of the administrative support staff for, a Canadian Forces school.

Elections Canada will contact people on the International Register of Electors to ask them to update their application to provide the required information and/or proof. In the meantime, anyone with questions is invited to contact us.

By fax:
1-613-998-8393, from anywhere in the world,
1-800-363-4796, toll-free in Canada and the United States

By mail:
Elections Canada
Special Voting Rules
440 Coventry Road
P.O. Box 9830 Station T
Ottawa, ON, K1G 5W7

By e-mail:
(please note that Elections Canada does not offer a secure network for e-mail transmissions):

2015 By-elections

By-elections will be held on October 19, 2015 in the electoral districts of:

If you are eligible to vote in one of these by-elections and would like to vote by special ballot, you can apply to do so.

These by-elections will likely be superseded by a general election. If the government calls a general election for the fixed election date of October 19, 2015, the current by-elections will not take place. The general election will take place instead.

However, you should be aware that if a general election is called, your vote in the by-election will not be counted and you will have to vote again in the general election. Learn more.

Learn more