Here’s what an instant election is in Canada and what you need to know

With several reports that Justin Trudeau may soon be sending Canadians back to the polls, you may be wondering ‘what is a snap election in Canada? Here’s what you need to know about when that might happen, what it means, and what a vote might look like in Wave Four.

Normally, the next election in Canada would take place on October 16, 2023, four years after the last election in 2019. However, the Prime Minister has the power to advise the Governor General to dissolve Parliament, which triggers an early election, known as the name of “snap” election.

According to Elections Canada, the government is responsible for calling all federal elections and an election period must be a minimum of 36 days and a maximum of 50 days.

Reuters reported on August 12 that sources said Trudeau would call an election on Sunday, August 15, which would mean Canadians would go to the polls to vote on Monday, September 20, the minimum period required.

In the aftermath of COVID-19, Elections Canada reviewed procedures to prepare for accessible, safe and secure elections during a pandemic. The changes include physical distancing, hand sanitizing stations, plexiglass barriers and face masks at polling stations as well as a more convenient mail voting system.

Why would Justin Trudeau call a snap election now?

Pauline Beange, who teaches Canadian politics at the University of Toronto and specializes in political parties, told Narcity that minority governments in Canada typically only last about of them years and Trudeau’s Liberals are currently higher in the polls than the Conservatives.

“It seems likely that he is acting strategically on the basis of the polls and the fact that he would like to have a majority in the House of Commons,” she said.

A few days before the publication of the report, Jagmeet Singh said calling an election now is “selfish” and that Trudeau can recall the House of Commons to get back to work. He also sent a letter to Trudeau telling him that the NDP is “ready to return to Parliament and continue to fight for Canadians.”

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