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electionsCanadaThere are millions of Canadians who, for personal or professional reasons, have chosen to live outside of Canada. Some are away only for a few months, while others may remain abroad for years. No matter where they find themselves, Canadians living abroad often have the same question: How can I vote in Canada’s federal election?


To be eligible to vote by mail, Canadians living abroad must meet four criteria:


  • they will be 18 or older on election day,
  • they must have lived in Canada,
  • they must intend to move back to Canada to live, and
  • they must have lived outside Canada for less than five consecutive years.

Now, there are some exceptions to these criteria. Canadians living abroad are exempt from the five year limit if they or someone they live with works abroad for:

  • employed outside Canada in the federal public administration or the public service of a province,
  • employed outside Canada by an international organization of which Canada is a member and to which Canada contributes, or
  • living with an elector employed as described above, or with a member of the Canadian Forces
  • posted outside Canada, or with a person employed outside Canada by the Canadian Forces as a teacher or as administrative support staff in a Canadian Forces school

Elections Canada encourages those who want to vote by mail to apply as soon as possible. The deadline to apply is October 13 at 6:00 p.m., but all voters, especially those in remote locations, are advised to apply early. This will allow time for their special ballot voting kit to reach them and for their marked ballot to return to Elections Canada by election day.

Canadians who want to vote by mail can apply online, at Applying online is fast and secure. Or they can pick up a vote by mail application form at any Canadian mission abroad.

Elections Canada’s website has more information for Canadians living abroad – visit

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