With the upcoming municipal and school trustee elections taking place in Alberta this October, we have received lots of inquiries about how to accommodate employees who wish to seek nomination and run for office.  Below is a quick reference guide of the general rules for municipal and school employers:

  1. People aren’t eligible for nomination if they are employed by the jurisdiction that they want to run for.  (If you’re actively employed by the City of Whatsitcalled, you cannot run for the Council of Whatsitcalled.) 
  2. As a result, municipal and school board employees may take leaves of absence without pay from their employment.  As an employer, you can treat this leave of absence like any other unpaid leave but subject to the requirements of the Alberta Local Authorities Election Act.
  3. The leave of absence must start before nomination day.  This year, Nomination Day is September 18, 2017.
  4. If the person is elected, then employee is deemed to have resigned from employment on the day that the employee takes the official oath of office.
  5. If the person is not elected, then the employee must return to work on the 5th day after the election.  Since Election Day in Alberta is October 16, 2017, the return to work date is Saturday, October 21st.  However, if that wouldn’t be a regular work day for that employee, then the person would return on whatever would be the next regular work day. For most municipal and school board employees, that would be Monday, October 23rd.  Consider each case individually to ensure you select the correct date.

This is just a quick reference guide of the general rules.  Ultimately, employers and potential candidates should review the specific election requirements in the Local Authorities Election Act.  The LAEA is available online at http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/L21.pdf.  And, of course, you’re always welcome to call your favourite employment lawyer at Brownlee LLP if you have further questions.