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Protecting Voting Rights

The right to vote allows us to have an important say in how we are governed as a country.  This right is the heart of our democracy. Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms all Canadian citizens have the basic right to vote in federal and provincial elections.

Attempts by the government to limit the right to vote undermine our participatory democratic system and the legitimacy of our government

Our 2019 Superior Court Win

Gillian Frank and Jamie Duong are Canadian citizens that lived and worked in New York for most of their adult lives. They planned to return to Canada if they found reliable and suitable job opportunities. However, in the last federal election they were not able to vote because they had lived outside Canada for more than five years.

We argued, and the court agreed, that Parliament cannot take away the voting rights of  Canadian citizens – even long-term non-residents. CCLA intervened in this important case to argue that the legislation in this case create a regime under which an entire class of approximately 1.4 million Canadians is treated differently and unfairly based on a personal characteristic — place of residence.

The prohibition on voting deprives non-resident Canadians of their personal autonomy and self-determination, and creates a category of “second class” citizens.  

A difference in place of residence simply cannot justify depriving individuals of their right to be full and equal Canadian citizens. Our governments, at all levels, act on behalf of the people.  They are elected to serve us and to represent our interests in making the decisions about what laws will be passed and what policies should govern.

We believe if Canadians aren’t informed about the electoral process, don’t have access to a vote, or are denied the opportunity to exercise their voting rights, the government’s power loses legitimacy.

Our Work to Protect Voting Rights


CCLA Intervening at Ontario Court of Appeal on Importance of Political Expression and the Right to Vote

The CCLA continues to work to ensure that governments do not overreach in exercising their…
June 14, 2022

CCLA disappointed to see Ontario election ad restrictions upheld

On December 3, 2021, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice upheld the constitutionality of recent…
December 8, 2021

CCLA makes its case against Ontario’s third party advertising restrictions

On November 22, 2021, the Ontario Superior Court will hear arguments in the Working Families…
November 18, 2021

CCLA Calls on Elections Ontario to Disclose All MPP Complaints

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is calling on Elections Ontario to disclose how many…
October 25, 2021

‘Cease And Desist’ – Liberal Party Must Halt Use Of Facial Fingerprinting

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is calling on the Liberal Party of Canada to…
June 23, 2021

CCLA Before Supreme Court on Free Expression and Democracy

On Tuesday, March 16, lawyers for the CCLA will be appearing before the Supreme Court…
March 15, 2021

A Victory For Democratic Rights At The Supreme Court

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada has released its long awaited decision in Frank v Canada, striking provisions…
January 11, 2019

Federal Government’s Election Reforms Fall Short

Yesterday, the government passed sweeping new legislation that will govern the 2019 federal election. Many…
December 11, 2018

CCLA Highlights Concerns With Bill C-76: Elections Modernization Act

CCLA’s Director of Fundamental Freedoms Cara Zwibel appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee…
June 8, 2018

CCLA Fights to Protect The Right to Vote

Today, CCLA is appearing before the Supreme Court in Frank v Canada to defend the…
March 21, 2018
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