Dear Maude Barlow:  I heard you speak once and though I disagree with you on some things, nonetheless thought your lecture was really impressive.

Below is an email sent to one of my friends, who is definitely your fan.  Maybe you are not aware of the content of this communication from a student group that purports to be have joined forces with you.  The following statement is inaccurate and mendacious.

“You may recall that new voter identification laws brought in by the Conservatives’ Fair Elections Act have made it even harder to vote. Tens of thousands of voters, mostly students like me, now stand to be turned away at polling stations – and denied our constitutional right to vote – because we don’t have the right ID.”

Having either run for local government, or worked the polls for all three level government elections, I emphatically agreed with the government attempt to make voting more secure.  We are incredibly privileged to have such a voting system in place that allows ALL citizens of voting age to participate fully in the regular election cycles.

How did Marika ever find her way to a place of higher education if she thinks the voter ID requirements are so prohibitive?  I’ve taken a variety of college and university courses over the years, as have millions of Canadians.  How did Marika prove her identification, prove her transcripts were authentic?  How did she apply for student loans?  Does she have a licence, a provincial ID card,……….anything?  Does she ever go to a pub where proof of age is required?

How utterly disingenuous it is to hear people wail about the absurdly easy to produce identification, on these rare occasions of our engaging in voting to determine who our leaders will be.  Those same cry-babies must produce ID many times throughout their ordinary routine. Few of us go out the door without ID in our pockets or bags.  But suddenly on election day this is a cause for national outrage!!?

The statement by Marika is fraudulent and not worthy of being associated with your name or the Council of Canadians.

Furthermore, Marika writes, “If that wasn’t bad enough, did you also know the law now forbids Elections Canada from running ads aimed at encouraging young people to vote?”   Well from my perspective, it is refreshing and right for the government to cut down on the money spent on expensive radio, TV and print ads.   Costly ads seem to run incessantly urging us to tear ourselves away from whatever we’re doing – to spend half an hour exercising our franchise.

The Federal election is on October 19, 2015.  What thinking adult does not know that by now?  Who has been totally oblivious to the political campaigning already filling the air-waves and the growing crop of lawn signs?  Surely by election day something will have twigged the minds of even the most disinterested citizen to  find their way to a polling station and cast a vote.

If some of the people are so apathetic that we need the government to spend multiple millions  of our tax dollars, urging us to vote,  then maybe those dull voters really should just stay home.  Rather let the focus be on finding worthy future leaders among the crop of hopefuls now giving speeches and pamphlets.

I reprint here Marika’s letter and the extensive list of identification permitted to allow voting-age citizens to vote,  as well as the website for Elections Canada   –  Gerda Peachey

Subject: They won’t see me coming

Hi XXXXXX,My name is Marika. I’m 20 and I’m majoring in political science and human rights at Concordia University in Montreal. But I call Petite Riviere, N.S. home.

I’m writing you on behalf of student organizers like me across Canada who have joined forces with the Council of Canadians for one goal: to inform, engage and ultimately inspire my generation to vote this October!

Yes, I have my work cut out for me. You probably aren’t shocked that my age group had the lowest voter turnout in the last election. Nearly 2 out of 3 young people did not vote. And us young voters are now facing tough new barriers.

You may recall that new voter identification laws brought in by the Conservatives’ Fair Elections Act have made it even harder to vote. Tens of thousands of voters, mostly students like me, now stand to be turned away at polling stations – and denied our constitutional right to vote – because we don’t have the right ID.

If that wasn’t bad enough, did you also know the law now forbids Elections Canada from running ads aimed at encouraging young people to vote?

I’m worried that these added barriers set the stage for historically low turnout of young voters. So I’m taking matters into my own hands to ensure that doesn’t happen. And I’m not alone. Hundreds of students like me have signed on to be Game-Changers with the Council of Canadians. And together, we’re on a mission to get young people across the country to vote in record numbers!

We’ve worked for months assembling an amazing team of campus organizers and developing election resources for young voters, like our Ballot Box Toolbox. It includes a Youth Voter’s Guide about where the political parties stand on issues that matter to our generation, and a How To Vote Guide that walks us step-by-step through the where, when and how of voting.

When the University of Toronto saw our toolbox they asked for 7,000 of them to hand out to all of their first-year students. York University wants 4,000, Carleton University wants 3,000, and more requests are coming in every day!

But now we urgently need funding to keep up with demand. Students will be flooding university and college campuses in just days from now.

For every $1 you can donate today you will put a Ballot Box Toolbox directly into the hands of a first-time voter. The more you give, the more young people will have the tools to not only vote, but to cast an informed ballot. Talk about your donation making a measureable difference!

My goal is to distribute a total of 50,000 toolboxes to fellow students across Canada between now and election day.

But you and I know that boosting turnout will take more than just getting information to students. We also need to engage our peers face-to-face. That’s why we’re organizing creative actions like “Storm the Dorm.” Game-Changers like me will go door-to-door to not only deliver your toolboxes, but to directly engage fellow students in real talk about the election.

We’re also preparing a massive final push of our national “I Will Vote” pledge drive. Decked out in Game-Changers t-shirts and with pledge forms in hand, we’ll be all over campuses recruiting thousands of students to take the pledge to vote in this election and challenge their friends to join them!

All of this hard work will culminate in a national day of action to get out the vote on October 5, when polling stations open on campuses. And we’ll pull out all the stops to inspire waves of youth voters in the final days leading up to election day on October 19.

I speak on behalf of fellow Game-Changers coast-to-coast-to-coast when I say thank you. Council of Canadians supporters like you are the reason why we’ve been able to work on this incredible campaign and make such progress.

Now we’re on the verge of fulfilling our mission to inform, engage and inspire our generation to vote in record numbers!

But we urgently need help to finish the job. Please give what you can today and I promise you our Game-Changers team will work flat out to achieve exactly that.

Thank you for your amazing support!

Marika Nicolov
Game-Changer, Concordia University campus

P.S. Every dollar you donate will put a Ballot Box Toolbox directly into the hands of a first-time voter, and help to inspire young people across Canada to be the election Game-Changers nobody saw coming.

Hi Marika:   Gerda here.  I am quite surprised that your major in political science didn’t offer you the information freely available on this government website, but hope this helps you:  http://www.elections.ca/home.aspx

There are three options to prove your identity and address

1) Show one of these pieces of ID

  • your driver’s licence
  • your provincial or territorial ID card
  • any other government card with your photo, name and current address

OR

2) Show two pieces of ID

At least one must have your current address

  • health card
  • Canadian passport
  • birth certificate
  • certificate of Canadian citizenship
  • citizenship card
  • social insurance number card
  • Indian status card
  • band membership card
  • Métis card
  • card issued by an Inuit local authority
  • Canadian Forces identity card
  • Veterans Affairs health card
  • old age security card
  • hospital card
  • medical clinic card
  • label on a prescription container
  • identity bracelet issued by a hospital or long-term care facility
  • blood donor card
  • CNIB card
  • credit card
  • debit card
  • employee card
  • student identity card
  • public transportation card
  • library card
  • liquor identity card
  • parolee card
  • firearms licence
  • licence or card issued for fishing, trapping or hunting
  • utility bill (e.g. electricity; water; telecommunications services including telephone, cable or satellite)
  • bank statement
  • credit union statement
  • credit card statement
  • personal cheque
  • government statement of benefits
  • government cheque or cheque stub
  • pension plan statement
  • residential lease or sub-lease
  • mortgage contract or statement
  • income tax assessment
  • property tax assessment or evaluation
  • vehicle ownership
  • insurance certificate, policy or statement
  • correspondence issued by a school, college or university
  • letter from a public curator, public guardian or public trustee
  • targeted revision form from Elections Canada to residents of long-term care facilities
  • letter of confirmation of residence from a First Nations band or reserve or an Inuit local authority
  • letter of confirmation of residence, letter of stay, admission form or statement of benefits from one of the following designated establishments:
    • student residence
    • seniors’ residence
    • long-term care facility
    • shelter
    • soup kitchen

We accept e-statements and e-invoices. Print them or show them on a mobile device.

OR

3) If your ID does not have your current address, take an oath

Show two pieces of ID with your name and have someone who knows you attest to your address. This person must show proof of identity and address, be registered in the same polling division, and attest for only one person.

Important information about ID

  • Your voter information card is not a piece of ID.
  • We accept pieces of ID in their original format. If your document was issued electronically, like an e-statement or an e-invoice, bring a printout or show it on a mobile device.
  • We accept different pieces of ID from the same source if the documents serve different purposes. For example, we accept an invoice and a transcript from the same school.
  • Your name and address must be printed on the ID. They can’t be added by hand, unless they are added by the issuer of the document, like a residence administrator or a guardian.
  • We accept expired ID, as long as it has your name and current address.
  • The pieces of ID listed above are authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer. No other pieces will be accepted.
  • The pieces of ID required for a federal election are not the same as for provincial, territorial or municipal elections.

Frequently asked questions


Can I use ID with a mailing address – PO box, rural route or general delivery?

Yes, if your mailing address appears in your voter registration file.

If you’re not sure what address we have on file, check your voter registration here.

  • Enter your information and click Submit.
  • On the results screen, click on “update your address online.” This is where you can add or update your mailing address.

Once we have your mailing address on file, you can use ID with this address when you go vote. If you need more help with voter registration, contact us.

Can I use my passport to vote?

Yes. You can use your passport to prove your identity (name). But you also need to show a second piece of ID with your name and address.

Why can’t my passport count as proof of my name and address?

Passport holders write their own address into their passport. For a piece of ID to count as proof of address, the address must be added by the issuer of the document. That’s why we accept a passport as proof of identity (name), but not as proof of address.

What is a letter of confirmation of residence? How can I get one?

This letter is a piece of ID you can use to prove your address, if one of these living situations applies to you:

  • you live on a First Nations reserve or in an Inuit hamlet
  • you are a student living on campus
  • you live in a seniors’ residence, long-term care facility or shelter
  • you live on the streets, but use the services of a shelter or soup kitchen

You can get this letter from the administrator of a First Nations band or reserve, an Inuit local authority, a student residence, seniors’ residence, long-term care facility, shelter or soup kitchen.

If you can, print the letter of confirmation of residence form and ask the administrator to complete it and sign it. We will also accept a letter from the administrator that is printed on the letterhead of the establishment. When you go vote, bring the letter and a second piece of ID with your name.

I’m homeless or I have no fixed address. How can I prove my address?

You can use a letter of confirmation of residence to prove your address.

  • If you stay in a shelter: Print the letter of confirmation of residence form, if you can, and ask the administrator to complete it and sign it. We will also accept a letter from the administrator that is printed on the shelter’s letterhead. When you go vote, bring the letter and a second piece of ID with your name.
  • If you live on the streets and receive services from a shelter or soup kitchen: Print the letter of confirmation of residence form, if you can, and ask the administrator to complete it and sign it. We will also accept a letter from the administrator that is printed on the shelter’s or soup kitchen’s letterhead. When you go vote, bring the letter and a second piece of ID with your name.

How do I know if someone is registered in the same polling division as me?

The person who attests to your address has to live in your polling division and be registered to vote.

How to know if someone lives in your polling division: Someone who lives with you is in the same polling division as you. A neighbour usually lives in your polling division, too.

To be sure, verify that their “poll number” matches yours. Poll numbers are available online or on the back of your voter information card shortly after the election is called.

How to know if someone is registered to vote: Anyone who receives a voter information card in their name is registered to vote. Make sure you have one, and check with the person who will attest to your address to see if they got one, too. If one of you didn’t receive a card, register online or call us at 1-800-463-6868.

Voter Information Card with poll number highlighted

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