No vote for Canadian expats abroad for 5 years

Published:  23 Jul at 6 PM
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Canadians who have been residing overseas for over five years will not be permitted to vote in their country’s general elections in October.

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled on Monday after a 2-1 split decision that any Canadian who has lived abroad for at least five years will be barred from voting on the grounds that they are no longer linked to the taxation and laws of their votes in Canada.

There are roughly 2.8 million Canadians living abroad, of whom 1.4 million are likely to be affected by the ruling.

The ruling overturns a victory in February last year by two Canadian expats residing in the US. The men, who successfully challenged the five-year law, are now said to be considering appealing the latest ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.

On Monday, Chief Justice George Strathy explained when announcing the ruling that allowing all non-resident Canadians to vote would mean they were part of lawmaking decisions that affect residents of the country on a daily basis, but had little or no consequences on their own day-today lives.

Canadians who have resided overseas for less than a five-year period, are in the Canadian military or are a Canadian public servant are exempt from Monday’s ruling
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