Ontario Court Leaves in Place Voter ID Requirements that Pose Challenge to Aboriginal People

Council of Canadians v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 ONSC 4601

In this case the Applicants, an alliance of organizations and individuals, asked the court to grant an injunction to suspend the operation of s. 46(3) of the Fair Elections Act which prohibits voters from using their Voter Information Card (a card mailed to voters on the list of electors) as proof of their identity on voting day in the upcoming federal election. The Applicants argued that this section of the Act mostly affects youth, Aboriginal people, elderly electors in care facilities, homeless electors and electors who move during the election period, who may not have the drivers licence or other identification with their current address that the Act requires. The Ontario Superior Court found that, while the Applicants had raised a serious question about the constitutionality of the Act and there is a risk of irreparable harm to those who may be prevented from exercising their right to vote, the third requirement for granting an injunction – that the balance of convenience favour the applicants – had not been met. The court cited previous appeal cases which held that it was inappropriate to grant interlocutory injunctions in elections cases on the grounds of a constitutional challenge. According to Elections Canada, to vote in the upcoming election, you will be required to show:

1. A driver’s licence, provincial or territorial identity card or another government card with photo, name and address (Indian status registration cards do not show addresses); OR

2. Two of the following pieces of ID where at least one has your current address:

  • health card
  • Canadian passport
  • birth certificate
  • certificate of Canadian citizenship
  • citizenship card
  • social insurance number card
  • Indian status card
  • band membership card
  • Métis card
  • card issued by an Inuit local authority
  • Canadian Forces identity card
  • Veterans Affairs health card
  • old age security card
  • hospital card
  • medical clinic card
  • label on a prescription container
  • identity bracelet issued by a hospital or long-term care facility
  • blood donor card
  • CNIB card
  • credit card
  • debit card
  • employee card
  • student identity card
  • public transportation card
  • library card
  • liquor identity card
  • parolee card
  • firearms licence
  • licence or card issued for fishing, trapping or hunting
  • utility bill (e.g. electricity; water; telecommunications services including telephone, cable or satellite)
  • bank statement
  • credit union statement
  • credit card statement
  • personal cheque
  • government statement of benefits
  • government cheque or cheque stub
  • pension plan statement
  • residential lease or sub-lease
  • mortgage contract or statement
  • income tax assessment
  • property tax assessment or evaluation
  • vehicle ownership
  • insurance certificate, policy or statement
  • correspondence issued by a school, college or university
  • letter from a public curator, public guardian or public trustee
  • targeted revision form from Elections Canada to residents of long-term care facilities
  • letter of confirmation of residence from a First Nations band or reserve or an Inuit local authority
  • letter of confirmation of residence, letter of stay, admission form or statement of benefits from one of the following designated establishments:
    • student residence
    • seniors’ residence
    • long-term care facility
    • shelter
    • soup kitchen; OR

3. Two pieces of ID with your name and bring someone with you who can attest to your address. This person must bring their own proof of ID and address and can only attest for one person.

For more information on the ID required to vote see the Elections Canada website.