A Federal Election Is Happening In Just 36 Days & Here’s What You Need To Know

Canadians will head to the polls on September 30. 🇨🇦

A Federal Election Is Happening In Just 36 Days & Here’s What You Need To Know
Senior Editor

A Federal Election Is Happening In Just 36 Days & Here's What ...

In around five weeks time, Canadians will head to the polls to vote in Canada's 44th federal election. The campaign will last just 36 days in total, which is the minimum campaign length permitted by law in Canada.

With that in mind, here's what you need to know:

Wait, what?

On Sunday, August 15, Governor General Mary Simon accepted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's request to dissolve Parliament, triggering Canada's 44th federal election.

Moments later, the Liberal leader confirmed that Canadians would be heading to the polls on September 20.

Explaining his decision to call a snap election during the COVID-19 pandemic, Trudeau asked reporters, "In this pivotal, consequential moment, who wouldn't want a say?"

Why has a snap election been called?

The prime minister says that he called an election because "Canadians need to choose how we finish the fight against COVID-19 and build back better."

However, Canadian politics expert Pauline Beange told Narcity that minority governments in Canada typically only last around two years and poll-wise Trudeau's Liberals are currently rated higher than the Conservatives.

"It seems likely that he is acting strategically based on polling and the fact that he would like to have a majority in the House of Commons," she said.

Other federal leaders, including NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party leader Annamie Paul have criticized Trudeau's timing, with Singh calling the move "selfish."

In response on Sunday, Trudeau asked, "So to the other parties: Please explain why you don't think Canadians should have the choice? Why you don't think that this is a pivotal moment?"

What happens next?

On Sunday, August 15, all of the federal party leaders kicked off their election drive, although many politicians have been in campaign-mode for weeks.

On September 20, Canadians will head to the polls, meaning the entire campaign period will be just 36 days long. Previously, Canada's fixed-date election was set for October 2023.

To get a majority, Trudeau would need to win the vote in at least 170 ridings. Right now, there are 155 Liberals, 119 Conservatives, 32 Bloc, 24 New Democrats, 2 Greens and 5 Independents in the House. One seat is vacant.

Global News says that neither the Conservative Party nor the NDP currently have enough voter support to form a government, per the polls.

How will we vote during a pandemic?

Right now, it's expected that Canadian voters will have the same methods for voting as they did in 2019. This includes mail-in ballots, advance polls or in-person voting on Election Day.

Global News reports that Elections Canada has recently purchased millions of surgical masks, as well as hundreds of thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer, face shields, plexiglass shields and disinfectant wipes in preparation for an election during the pandemic.

A spokesperson for Elections Canada said the agency is in "a relatively good position to administer an election under the current legislation, despite the challenges inherent to the pandemic, which is not fully behind us."

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.