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Poll Workers

Poll workers work primarily at polling places, that is, where electors go to vote. Various positions are available, from the deputy returning officer, who handles the ballots, to the information officer, who directs electors to the appropriate table. During an election, poll workers are the front line and make it possible for electors to vote in an orderly fashion. Elections Canada is committed to providing a safe environment for workers and electors, with health and safety measures in place at every polling place.

Special requirements

Individuals interested in applying for these positions must demonstrate the following core competencies:

  • Basic literacy skills (reading, writing and comprehension)
  • Basic interpersonal skills, including the ability to exercise impartiality and to deal with people who may be impatient
  • Ability to serve electors with disabilities
  • Ability to perform repetitive tasks
  • Basic analytical skills
  • Good attention to detail
  • Ability to follow directions and adhere to standards and safety measures
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Ability to work long days (at least 13 hours)

Some poll worker positions will also include:

  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Standing or sitting close to exterior doors where there could be inclement weather
  • Checking the exterior of the polling place
  • Completing detailed forms and paperwork with legible handwriting
  • Counting ballots and basic arithmetic skills
  • Ensuring that polling place remains safe for electors

Poll worker positions across Canada

Notes:

For advance poll workers: Do not take part in any partisan political activity starting from the first day of advance polls and ending after the counting of the ballots on election night. For election day poll workers: Do not take part in any partisan political activity on election day until after the counting of the ballots on election night.

Canadian citizens who are at least 16 years old on election day are invited and encouraged to apply.

Deputy returning officer (polling day)

Principal Tasks

  • Makes sure the polling station opens and closes on time
  • Sets up the poll with the necessary supplies
  • Verifies elector ID and enforces ID policy
  • Issues the ballot to the elector and indicates the instructions to follow
  • Ensures that candidates' representatives follow the guidelines
  • Ensures that all partisan material is removed
  • Counts the ballots, completes the related forms and communicates the results to the local Elections Canada office
  • Returns the ballot box and related materials to the returning officer or central poll supervisor, as instructed, at the end of voting

Overview of Qualifications

  • Be a Canadian citizen
  • Be at least 16 years old on polling day
  • Have experience in managing large groups to help electors circulate in an orderly fashion
  • Have experience in dealing with the public
  • Have experience in conflict resolution
  • Be tactful and exercise good judgment
  • Remain polite and courteous (demonstrate professionalism)

Remuneration* (Rate is subject to change)

$278.84
Daily rate

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Deputy returning officer (advance polling days)

Principal Tasks

  • Makes sure the polling station opens and closes on time
  • Sets up the poll with the necessary supplies
  • Verifies elector ID and enforces ID policy
  • Issues the ballot to the elector and indicates the instructions to follow
  • Ensures that candidates' representatives follow the guidelines
  • Ensures that all partisan material is removed
  • Ensures safe transportation and storage of material between each day of voting and between the last day and election night
  • On election night: counts the ballots, completes the related forms, and communicates the results to the local Elections Canada office
  • Returns the ballot box and related materials to the returning officer, as instructed, at the end of voting

Overview of Qualifications

  • Be a Canadian citizen
  • Be at least 16 years old on polling day
  • Have experience in managing large groups to help electors circulate in an orderly fashion
  • Have experience in dealing with the public
  • Have experience in conflict resolution
  • Be tactful and exercise good judgment
  • Remain polite and courteous (demonstrate professionalism)

Remuneration* (Rate is subject to change)

$1,041.04

Fixed fee paid for all services rendered during the entire four days of advance polls as well as counting of ballots on election day. If a poll worker doesn't work the complete period, the pay may be prorated accordingly.

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Information officer

Principal Tasks

  • Helps with setting up and closing the polling place
  • Greets elections and directs them to their polling station or registration desk
  • Reminds electors to have their Voter Information Card and ID available and answers the elector's questions
  • Reminds electors of any special processes or procedures, including the use and distribution of masks during COVID-19, and where hand sanitizer can be found
  • Recognizes when an elector may need extra assistance and helps them as necessary, including opening the door for them if the polling place is not equipped with automatic door openers
  • Ensures that the polling place closes at the prescribed time and that electors who entered the polling place before the close can exercise their right to vote
  • Helps count the ballots on election night

Overview of Qualifications

  • Be a Canadian citizen
  • Be at least 16 years old on polling day
  • Have good communication skills to effectively provide direction and instructions
  • Have experience in managing large groups to help electors circulate in an orderly fashion
  • Remain polite and courteous (demonstrate professionalism)

Remuneration* (Rate is subject to change)

$15.40/hour

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Registration officer

Principal Tasks

  • Sets up the registration desk, materials and posters and prepares the polling place
  • Explains the registration process and ID requirements
  • Consults the poll key to determine electors' polling division
  • Verifies and accepts elector ID and address information, and enforces ID policy
  • Pre-fills certificates for electors who wish to register, correct their information or have their information vouched for by another elector
  • Helps count the ballots on election night

Overview of Qualifications

  • Be a Canadian citizen
  • Be at least 16 years old on polling day
  • Have experience in receiving, understanding and recording personal information from the general public
  • Have experience in conflict resolution
  • Remain polite and courteous (demonstrate professionalism)

Remuneration* (Rate is subject to change)

$16.94/hour

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Central poll supervisor

Principal Tasks

  • Manages the polling place and ensures that all partisan material is removed
  • Confirms the accessibility of the polling place
  • Ensures that polls are set up as required and that they open and close promptly at the prescribed time
  • Ensures that poll workers arrive on time
  • Distributes materials to poll workers
  • Relays information between the office and poll workers
  • Replaces a poll worker that didn't show up or is taking a break, by assuming all of their duties
  • Supervises poll workers to ensure procedures are followed and forms are completed correctly
  • Admits candidates' representatives at the polling place and makes sure they are following the guidelines
  • Ensures proper application of Canada Elections Act in the polling place
  • Supervises the counting of the ballots
  • Manages the collection and return of ballot boxes and election materials
  • Provides the returning officer with the results of the count for the polling stations in a central polling place

Overview of Qualifications

  • Be a Canadian citizen
  • Be at least 16 years old on polling day
  • Have experience in managing large groups to help electors circulate in an orderly fashion
  • Have experience in dealing with the public
  • Have experience in conflict resolution

Remuneration* (Rate is subject to change)

$22.96/hour

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*A training session of approximately three hours will be given to all poll workers. Remuneration for the training is $54.65.


Hiring Process for Poll Workers

Returning officers are responsible for recruiting poll workers for their electoral district.

In the first 7 days of the election cycle, returning officers can recruit up to 50% of the required number of election officers. During the same timeframe, candidates and political parties who endorsed a candidate in the electoral district at the previous electoral event can also provide names of potential poll workers to the returning officer. Once this 7-day timeframe is over, returning officers may solicit names from any other sources. Those interested in working as election officers must possess the necessary skills and qualifications, as listed above.

Ineligibility

As per the Canada Elections Act, the following individuals are not eligible to be poll workers: federal ministers and members of provincial executive councils; senators; sitting members of the House of Commons or of provincial or territorial legislative bodies; certain judges; a person who was a candidate in the last general election or in a by-election held since the last general election; a person who has served in Parliament in the session immediately before the election or in the session in progress at the time of the election; and a person who, within seven years before the proposed appointment, has been found guilty of any offence under the Canada Elections Act or the Referendum Act, or a regulation made under the Referendum Act, or under an Act of the legislature of a province, relating to provincial, municipal or school board elections.