Information for First-Time Electors – New Canadians
Research and consultations show that many new Canadians (Canadian citizens who have been in Canada for less than 10 years) face barriers to exercising their right to vote in federal elections.
Many new Canadians are not fluent in English or French, which can make finding and understanding election information more difficult. They are less likely to know if they are registered to vote. They are also more likely to say that they did not receive a voter information card and to assume that they cannot vote. Some new Canadian electors face additional barriers depending on the democratic nature of their country of origin and may have a mistrust in the electoral process.
Elections Canada's Inspire Democracy program seeks to reduce barriers to participating in the electoral process by offering tools, information and opportunities for electors to connect with our network and learn more about participating in federal elections. For more information, visit inspiredemocracy.ca.
Addressing the Barriers
Elections Canada is working hard to make the electoral process and materials more accessible to new Canadians. Elections Canada is working with national and regional organizations to share our information campaign with new Canadians and those who may need services in languages other than English or French.
Election materials in multiple languages
- Chinese (simplified)
- Chinese (traditional)
- Farsi (Persian)
We offer interpretation services at all of our more than 500 Elections Canada offices open during federal elections, including at our on-campus offices (except for the 2021 general election). Electors with questions about the electoral process can also call us and request service in the language of their choice. Our over-the-phone service is available in more than 100 languages, including Indigenous languages. Interpreters are also available at the polls to help electors vote, when booked in advance.
Community relations officers
Our community relations officers' responsibilities include:
- Increasing election awareness
- Providing information on where, when and the ways to register and vote
- Explaining the importance of registering to vote
- Making voting as accessible as possible
We have dedicated community relations officers for new Canadians helping to improve access and reduce barriers.
Working with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
Elections Canada provides links to voter registration and election information to all those participating in citizenship ceremonies via IRCC's online "After the Ceremony" platform.
New Canadians are a key group in our Inspire Democracy outreach program. Running workshops and participating in important conferences are ways we share information, understand barriers to voting and discuss effective approaches to increasing voter participation. Inspire Democracy's national outreach strategy for new Canadians has three core components: organizing activities in communities, supporting a multi-platform advertising campaign and helping distribute targeted communication products in many languages.
Voter Information Campaign
For each general federal election, the Voter Information Campaign gives Canadians the information they need on when, where and the ways to register and vote. Ads run in multiple languages, including 30 ethnic languages on TV and radio, eight in print and seven on digital and social media. This multimedia campaign helps reduce barriers to voting for new electors (youth and new Canadians), Indigenous electors and electors with disabilities.