Information for Electors with Disabilities
Elections Canada is committed to responding to the diverse needs of Canadians.
We make every effort to make voting as accessible as possible and to engage electors with disabilities as we develop and implement our services. Our research shows that electors with disabilities face barriers to participating in elections. Building on the initiatives we already have in place, our goal is to continue improving the accessibility of the electoral process.
Elections Canada's Inspire Democracy program seeks to reduce barriers to 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
In preparation for general elections, we work with the disability community to address barriers and make the electoral process more accessible.
Community relations officers for accessibility
Our community relations officers' responsibilities include:
- Increasing election awareness
- Providing information on where, when and the ways to register to vote
- Explaining the importance of registering to vote
- Making voting as accessible as possible
During general elections, we deploy community relations officers across the country to help improve access and reduce barriers.
Voter information in accessible formats
Voter information in accessible formats: Key information about voting and registration is available online, in print and in the following alternative formats upon request:
- Large print
- Audio CD and files (i.e. DAISY)
- Full transcription
- ASL and LSQ videos
Polling place accessibility
Using the polling place suitability checklist ensures that polling places are evaluated for accessibility before the election. Of the 37 accessibility criteria on the checklist, 15 are mandatory. During elections, you can find out if your polling place meets your accessibility needs by:
- Entering your postal code in our Voter Information Service,
- Calling us at 1-800-463-6868 or 1-800-361-8935 (TTY), or
- Checking your voter information card, which is mailed to every registered elector.
Also see our Policy on Selecting Suitable Polling Places.
Accessibility tools and services at the polls
We have reviewed and updated our Accessibility Policy and Service Offering. Available in multiple alternative formats, it shows the accessibility services available to polling workers and electors, including:
- Assistive tools awareness training
- Sign language interpretation services available upon request in advance
- Tools to help electors vote
- A redesigned ballot that improves readability and optical character recognition (OCR) by screen readers
Through its stakeholder mobilization program called Inspire Democracy, Elections Canada works with external organizations and electors with disabilities to improve programs, services, accessibility and participation in the electoral process for electors with disabilities. Thanks to our formal and informal partnerships with various organizations that represent electors with disabilities, we distribute election information products. Electors with disabilities 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.
For more information on other ways Elections Canada is addressing barriers, visit inspiredemocracy.ca.
Voter Information Campaign
For each general election, the Voter Information Campaign gives Canadians the information they need to become a candidate, work at an election and register and vote. This social and digital campaign helps reduce barriers to voting for first-time electors (youth aged 18–24 and new Canadians), Indigenous people and electors with disabilities. We use plain language in all of our materials and test all of our products in focus groups made up of electors with disabilities and other Canadians. For example, the Guide to the federal election promotes all of the services available to electors with disabilities, and is also available in audio format. We specifically design our communication products so that Canadians become familiar with the voting process before they go to the polls. We also make videos in American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) and we promote tools and services to make the voting process easier.
Advisory Group for Disability Issues
In February 2014, Elections Canada launched the Advisory Group for Disability Issues to provide advice on the accessibility of federal elections. The group helped to identify the best ways to inform electors with disabilities of when, where and the ways to register and vote. The advisory group has been instrumental in helping business owners design programs and services that meet the needs of electors.