Denying the Right to Vote for Canadians Abroad


September 25, 2015

If you are a Canadian and have recently received a notice from Elections Canada saying that you no longer have the right to vote because you have lived outside of Canada for more than 5 years, you are not alone. This announcement has prompted some candidates in the upcoming election to take a position on the issue. The following open letter - signed by five Chambers of Commerce in the Asian Region - is directed at those, citizens and candidates alike, who believe that all Canadian citizens deserve the right to vote, regardless of their current place of residence or length of time resident outside Canada.


Media Contact:

Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Mr. Eric De Groot
edegroot [at]

Mr. Ron Haigh
ronhaigh [at]


Read on for the CCCJ's message to members on the issue in both English and Japanese

Dear CCCJ Members,

Just a few weeks after our CCCJ Canada Day celebrations this year a judgment of the Ontario Court of Appeal was pronounced denying expatriate Canadians the vote if they have lived outside of Canada for more than 5 years.

Since this is clearly contrary to the express provisions of section 3 of our Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms that “…Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly…” it has generated considerable discourse and sometimes, debate within the expatriate Canadian community in our region and of course amongst the Canadians in our membership. Several concerned CCCJ members, working with the Economic and Social Policy committee, have undertaken an effort to raise awareness in the media and amongst the politicians of the need to restore full voting rights to all Canadian citizens, regardless of length of residency outside Canada. This is in keeping with one of the 5 broad aims of the CCCJ, "To promote measures intended to benefit and protect the interests in Japan and Canada of companies and individuals of each nation".

At the urging of the members of the Economic and Social Policy Committee, your Board of Governors has passed a motion to seek the support of other Asian regional Canadian Chambers of Commerce to amplify the impact of this call to action by sending a joint letter to relevant authorities in Canada.

Accordingly, a letter has been drafted for the consideration of fellow Canadian Chambers in Asia and you will see this here.

Concerned Members have also asked what else they might do to demonstrate their concurrence or disagreement with this policy of denying 5 year + expatriate Canadians the right to vote contrary to Section 3 of the Charter.

Here are just a few:

  • Write a letter to the candidates running in the riding in which you last lived in Canada, asking them to explain their and their party’s position on this issue
  • Contribute to a fund now accepting donations of funds for a legal challenge to the 5 year rule in the Supreme Court of Canada
  • Register a complaint on the Elections Canada website stating that your constitutional right to vote has been taken away based on the government’s narrow interpretation of a law passed in 1993.
  • Follow and support the campaign to restore expatriate voting rights at the Facebook group "Let All Canadians Vote".












  • あなたが以前カナダで住んでいた選挙区で立候補している候補者に、この問題に関し彼らおよび彼らの党の立場を説明するよう求めるレターを書く。
  • カナダ最高裁での5年ルールへの法的な異議申し立て(上訴)のための献金を求める基金に寄付する。
  • 1993年に可決された法案のカナダ政府の限定的な解釈により、あなたの選挙権がはく奪されたという抗議の苦情をElections Canadaのウェブサイト上に登録する。<りんく>
  • FacebookグループLetAllCanadiansVoteで、在外カナダ人の選挙権を回復するためのキャンペーンをフォローし、支援する。<りんく>