Federal Election 2021

OUR VOICE, OUR VOTE.

SCO believes in speaking up about the things that are important. On September 20th, we have an opportunity to make a difference, share our truths, and tell politicians which issues are most pressing for our families and communities.

Let federal politicians know that we matter and that First Nations issues matter.  And when the new government takes office and parliament resumes, SCO will continue to demand that our voices be heard, and that our communities and Nations receive what we need to thrive. That is what was promised in the Treaties. 

“Get your cousins to vote, get your aunties and uncles to vote and make sure that you’re being heard because we need you. Leadership cannot do it alone, we need you to help us,”

Grand Chief Jerry Daniels

SCO has created a guide to voting in the upcoming federal election, and as a non-partisan organization, we encourage all of our First Nation relatives to do your best to cast an informed vote. Read about what each party stands for and which candidates are most in line with your own values and priorities.

Why Vote?

When we come together, we are strong.

For many years the colonial state did not allow us to vote, in fact it was not until 1960 that First Nations people were allowed to vote in federal elections.  Our ancestors and relatives were silenced and not able to voice their concerns.

Today, because our ancestors and relatives fought for the right to vote, we can vote. We may not feel like a single vote makes a difference, but together and with our allies we are beginning to make change.

Let federal politicians know that we matter and that First Nations issues matter.  And when the new government takes office and parliament resumes, SCO will continue to demand that our voices be heard, and that our communities and Nations receive what we need to thrive. That is what was promised in the Treaties. 

Interprovincial Border Round Dance Day, 2019
Anishinaabe Gathering 2019

SCO has created a guide to voting in the upcoming federal election, and as a non-partisan organization, we encourage all of our First Nation relatives to do your best to cast an informed vote. Read about what each party stands for and which candidates are most in line with your own values and priorities.

A great place to start is with one of many political Platform Guides such as the 2021 Elections Platform Guide put together by Macleans Magazine, which outlines promises and commitments.

You may also want to read through The Assembly of First Nations The Healing Path Forward: 2021 Federal Priorities for Strengthening and Rebuilding First Nations which reflects on a shared vision and expression of First Nations’ collective priorities at the national level. It identifies specific action items for the incoming government based on five priority areas:

  1. Truth, Reconciliation and Healing for First Nations and all Canadians
  2. Climate and Conservation Leadership with First Nations
  3. Economic Growth, Prosperity and Wealth Building for First Nations
  4. Promoting Peace by Respecting First Nations’ Jurisdiction
  5. Rebuilding and Strengthening First Nations

Another resource is the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) website which has an informative voting guide. NWAC has created a series of resources, including their website and a downloadable guide. There will be weekly virtual workshops with NWAC President Lorraine Whitman throughout the election cycle to help Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQ people learn more about voting.

Register to Vote!

To vote in the upcoming Federal Elections you will need to be registered.

To register you must be at least 18 years old on election day and be able to prove your identity and address.

Check if you are already registered here. If you are not registered you can:

1. Using the online voter registration service (e-registration) at elections.ca/register. This service platform will guide you in completing your registration or updating your address online.

2. By mail (outside of an election). Contact elections canada at 1-800-463-6868. They will e-mail, mail, or fax you a registration form.

3. At any Elections Canada Office.

4. At the polls. If you couldn’t register ahead of time, you can register when you go to vote.

When do we vote?

ON ELECTION DAY – Vote at your assigned polling station on election day, Monday, September 20, 2021. Polls will be open for 12 hours (hours vary by time zone).

*To find your polling station, check your voter information card or use our Voter Information Service.

What kind of ID/Documents do you need to vote?

When registering to vote either before hand or at the voting station, there are 3 options to prove your identity, which is required.

Option 1: Show one of these pieces of ID

  • your driver’s licence
  • any other card issued by a Canadian government (federal, provincial/territorial or local) with your photo, name and current address

Option 2: Show two pieces of ID

Both must have your name and at least one must have your current address.

Examples:

  • Voter information card and bank statement
  • Utility bill and student ID card

Don’t have these? No problem! See list of other IDs accepted here.

Option 3: If you don’t have ID

You can still vote if you declare your identity and address in writing and have someone who knows you and who is assigned to your polling station vouch for you.

The voucher must be able to prove their identity and address. A person can vouch for only one person (except in long-term care facilities).

Important information about ID

  • We accept pieces of ID in their original format. If your document was issued electronically, like an e-statement or an e-invoice, bring a printout or show it on a mobile device.
  • We accept different pieces of ID from the same source if the documents serve different purposes. For example, we accept an invoice and a transcript from the same school.
  • The pieces of ID must be issued with your name and current address. They can’t be added by hand, unless they are added by the issuer of the document, like a residence administrator or a guardian.
  • Expired ID can be used as a proof of identity if it has your name and as a proof of residence if it has your name and current address.
  • The pieces of ID listed above are authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer. No other pieces will be accepted.
  • The pieces of ID required for a federal election are not the same as for provincial, territorial or municipal elections.

Check out Elections Canada’s ID to Vote FAQ page for more info

How do I vote by mail?

To vote by mail you need to apply for this first. Once you have applied to vote by mail and your application has been approved, you will be mailed a special ballot voting kit that includes everything you need to vote. You will need to fill out your ballot and mail it back to Elections Canada using a pre-addressed return envelope with prepaid postage. Your ballot must be returned before election day.

To apply to vote by mail click here.

Note: Once your application for a voting kit has been accepted, it is the ONLY way you can vote.

Can I vote if I live on reserve?

Yes, polling stations are established on many reserves when the polling division is completely (or mostly) made up of a reserve. In most cases, the polling station is located at the band council office or the community centre. If the band council does not allow a polling station to be set up on the reserve, it will be located in an area outside of the reserve.

What happens when I go to vote?

  • When you enter a polling place, an election worker greets you and shows you to the right table
  • At your table, show your proof of identity and address
  • The election worker will initial, fold, and hand you a ballot
  • Go behind the voting screen, mark, and refold your ballot to keep it secret
  • Return your ballot to the worker so they can tear off the tab
  • Put your ballot in the box

Students living away from home, how do we vote?

If you are living in two place, at home and at school, you are only able to register to vote using one address. Choose the one that feels most like home and use that address. Note you will need to cast your vote in the riding of your home address and you will also need ID with that same address.

How does Canada’s election process work?

Canada’s political system is based on that of the United Kingdom. It is a constitutional monarchy, composed of the Queen of Canada, who is officially represented by the Governor General (or by a lieutenant-governor at the provincial level), the Senate and the House of Commons.

Step 1 – Dissolution of Parliament
Step 2 – Nomination of Candidates
Step 3 – Campaigning
Step 4 – Voting
Step 5 – Counting Votes & Results
Step 6 – Parliament Resumes.

How do I decide who to vote for?

The way our electoral system is set up in Canada, the votes we cast in any Federal Election will decide our ridings representative. That representative takes up a seat in Parliament. There are 443 seats in parliment so the party that has the most seats wins, and the leader of that party becomes our Prime Minister.

To find out which riding you are in and who your candidates are you can check here.

  • Enter your postal come and the Elections Canada website will tell you when to vote, where to vote and who your ridings candidates are.

Read about the commitments of each candidate and their parties platform. Understanding what each candidate is all about will ensure you are making the best INFORMED vote. There is no perfect candidate, but doing your research on each candidate will help you decide which one fits best with your own values and concerns.

Try out the CBC Voting Compass. Vote Compass is a tool developed by political scientists for exploring how your views align with those of the parties.

Health and safety measures for voting

During the election, we want to make sure electors and election workers are safe. Elections Canada has put in place health and safety measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in polling places and in Elections Canada offices.

Health and safety measures may vary by province or territory. Stay informed and follow public health advice. Contact your local public health authorities for more information.

At your polling station, poll workers will be wearing masks. There will also be:

  • Hand sanitizer stations
  • Clear physical distancing markers
  • Only one poll worker per desk behind a plexiglass barrier

Accessible voting information

If you have a disability or know someone who does, we have many tools and services to make it easier to vote. Explore the options here.

For more accessibility information call 1-800-463-6868 or 1-800-361-8935 (TTY).

Elections Job Opportunities

Many positions still need to be filed in the Elections Canada offices across Canada.

Apply now and spread the word to your family and friends.

If your application is retained, you may be contacted anytime until election day.

Does Voting Matter? Marcie’s Story