Canada Abolishes Voting Ban On Long-Term Expats

By Editorial 19 May, 2014

Canada has extended voting rights to citizens who have lived abroad for five consecutive years or more, Elections Canada announced on May 13, 2014.

Effective from May 2, 2014, certain provisions of the Canada Elections Act which barred long-term expats from participating in federal elections were invalidated. Now, Canadian citizens aged 18 or older who reside abroad may apply to be added to the International Register of Electors, enabling them to vote by mail-in special ballot in federal general elections, by-elections and referendums, provided they have at some point been resident in Canada.

Canada implemented the voting ban on long-term expats in 1993 after doubts were raised about the strength of their ties to Canada. Before this court ruling, Canadians residing abroad could vote by special ballot if they had resided abroad for fewer than five consecutive years and intended to move back to Canada in the future.

The decision to reverse the ban comes after it was challenged in court by two Canadians living in the United States. Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Penny agreed with their claim that the ban was "arbitrary and unreasonable."

Removal of the ban affects about 1.4 million Canadians living overseas.

Tags: Court | Law | Legislation | Canada | United States | Legislation Amendments | Expats | Working Abroad | Work | Working Abroad | Working Abroad |


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