How Do Canadian Expats Vote?

how do Canadian expatriates voteExpatriate Canadian citizens are allowed to vote in Canadian elections, but only within certain parameters and by fulfilling certain requirements.

How do Canadian Expatriates Vote?

To be eligible to vote, an expatriate citizen must be at least eighteen years of age and cannot have been living away from the country for less than five years.

Voting Requirements

  • Residency in Canada must be verified (residency prior to the time of registration).
  • Residency outside of Canada must be for a time period of less than five years since last returning to Canada.
  • There must be a statement of intention to resume residency in Canada in the future.

Information and Documents Needed

  • Provide current address. The Voting Kit will be sent to this address.
  • Proof of Identity:  Birth Certificate, Passport, Baptism Certificate, or Canadian Citizenship Card.
  • Proof of Residence: Provide last Canadian address or current address of a spouse/common-law partner.  Or provide the address of a relative, the person to whom you are dependent or provide the address of the person with whom you would live if you were not residing outside of Canada. This information is used to determine your riding.

Please send voting all forms and copies of documents via fax or regular mail to:

Elections Canada

257 Slater St.

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0M6

Fax:  1-888-524-1444

For full instructions on how to vote while outside Canada, contact Elections Canada at the previous address or online through their website, which provides thorough information under the category "Voters".

Additionally, while living outside Canada, an application form may be obtained at any Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate. If your application is accepted, your name will be added to the International Register of Electors. This is a list of Canadians temporarily living outside of Canada who may vote in federal elections.

When an election is called, a special ballot voting kit will be mailed to everyone in the International Register of Electors. The kit comes with directions on how to mark this special ballot and mail it in.

It is important to contact provincial or territorial election sites as early as possible after an election is called.  The ballot will be sent with a return envelope and directions.  Follow the steps and drop the ballot into the mailbox. Provide approximately one to two weeks for the completed ballot to arrive at its destination, and still arrive on time for the election.

Canada does not permit an expatriate citizen to vote in a Canadian election when residential status changes and this same person becomes a current and legal resident of another country.

Click here for more information on Canadian expats.

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