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Shell reprimanded for federal voting infractions at Fort McMurray mine

Shell reprimanded for federal voting infractions at Fort McMurray mine

Some workers at the Shell Albian Sands site were denied their right to vote on polling day

CBC News Posted: Jan 05, 2017 8:41 AM MT

Shell has been reprimanded by Elections Canada for failing to provide some of its Fort McMurray oilsands workers adequate time off to vote in the 2015 federal election.

The oilsands operator has signed a compliance agreement with Elections Canada, after a federal investigation determined that some workers who requested time off the job to go to the polls were denied.

On polling day, Oct. 19, the company declined employee requests for time off work, meaning some employees at the Shell Albian Sands Mine were denied their right to have three consecutive hours off the job for the purpose of casting a vote.

Furthermore, the compliance agreement shows that human resources officials at the company then emailed the affected workers, and provided inaccurate information about voting rights.

In the standardized emails, workers were told the company had met its legal requirements by giving workers time off to vote at advanced polls, and providing transportation to those polling stations. The email also indicated the policy had been approved by Elections Canada.

An investigation was launched by the Elections Canada Commissioner Yves Côté. Company officials told investigators they had based the decision to deny some employee requests on advice received during a previous provincial election, and incorrectly attributed the information to Elections Canada.

Though Shell contravened the Elections Act, the commissioner determined it was an “isolated incident,” and noted the company has no previous record of non-compliance.

Shell faces no financial penalty but was asked to draft a more detailed policy with respect to the voting rights of its employees during federal elections, a policy that has since been approved by the commissioner.

The company must also post details of the investigation and compliance agreement prominently on its website for 30 days.

Notice of the compliance agreement was posted publicly on the Elections Canada website on Thursday.

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