Above: (1) Japanese Canadians
and Buddhists were once among various groups legally excluded
from the right to vote.
(2) and (3) By the 1963 federal general election, all Canadians could
vote regardless of their race or religion.
The Universal Right to Vote Racial and religious discrimination
by electoral legislation until 1960. Notable examples over the
years include the effective denial of voting rights to Canadians
of Japanese, Chinese or East Indian origins, to Mennonites, to
Doukhobors and even to Catholics. This was partly related to
pre-Confederation prejudice, and to anti-alien sentiment that was rampant
in the war-torn first half of this century.
The 1963 general election
was the first in which the right to vote was truly universal. Racial
discrimination was removed from electoral legislation partially in 1948
and completely in 1960. Religious discrimination was eradicated from the
law in 1955. Constitutional law has protected electoral rights since the
adoption of the Canadian Charter
of Rights and Freedoms in 1982.
Date Created: October 23, 1999 | Last Updated: July 30, 2010