Canada Post Strike could Interrupt Electoral Reform Ballots

Trevor Ritchie | Contributor

Workers at Canada Post have been on strike since October 22. Because they are in the initial stages of strike action, work stoppages have rotated through different service areas to ensure that deliveries are still made on a delayed schedule. However, the timing of the rotating strike presents problems for the referendum taking place in British Columbia. If you are a registered voter in BC, you should be receiving a ballot in the mail for the electoral reform referendum. I have written about the options on the ballot previously, and again strongly encourage everyone to vote. The process is simple and requires only that you fill in the ballot and place it in the return envelope provided.

However, with the rotating strike, there are concerns that people may not be receiving their ballots in a timely fashion. According to Elections BC, Canada Post is distributing ballots to each community on a different day. For more information about when your community should be receiving the ballot, please check the official Elections BC web page on the issue at https://elections.bc.ca/referendum/about-the-referendum/voting-package-provincial-delivery/

Officials with Elections BC have indicated that they are observing the strike action carefully for its impact on British Columbians’ ability to vote in the referendum. Andrew Watson of Elections BC has spoken to media and indicated that if the strike prevents people from voting, the Chief Electoral Officer would have the power to move the deadline for votes to be returned, in order to allow more voters to receive and cast their ballots.

There is past history of this. The last mail in ballot in British Columbia was for the Harmonized Sales Tax referendum, and at the time, rotating strikes at Canada Post threatened to cause delays in the voting process. When the strike became a complete lockout situation, the Chief Electoral Officer was able to extend the voting time to take into account voters’ inability to vote because of the postal delays.

The current deadline to return your postal vote is November 30, 2018. Elections BC strongly recommends returning your ballot as soon as possible to prevent future strike action from delaying your ballot.