Canadians hit the polls in big numbers, highest voter turnout since 1993

Dec 19 2017, 6:05 pm

The 42nd Federal Election was a historic night for Canada, even with the Liberal Party’s dramatic majority win aside. Millions of ballots were cast across the country on Monday, proving Canadians cared more about this year’s election results than they have in decades.

Preliminary voter turnout results are in and a total of 68.5 per cent of all eligible voters took part on Monday, casting 17,559,353 ballots at thousands of polling stations, marking the highest turnout rate since 1993. The numbers currently available do not include those voters who registered at the polls.


The ’90s and early 2000s saw a depressive decrease in the number of people voting, particularly in the youth demographic. Numbers dropped as low as 58.8 per cent in the 2008 election and only increased slightly in 2011 to 61.1 per cent. Prior to the decline in the ’90s, voter turnout was steady at around 75 per cent for most of the ’80s, but still lower than the historic highs of 79 per cent in three consecutive elections in the late ’50s and early ’60s.

Province by province, the results differed greatly. Some provinces in the east, such as New Brunswick and P.E.I. almost met that record at 74.6 per cent and 77.4 per cent respectively, but others, like Nunavut and Newfoundland, remained low around 61 per cent. Those two provinces have historically been some of the most apathetic regions in Canada, with Nunavut only pulling out 39 per cent of people in the last election.

British Columbia proved to be one of the most improved provinces, growing the turnout rate from 55.9 per cent in 2011 to over 70 per cent this year. Alberta, as well, made an impressive leap from 52.3 per cent to 69 per cent.

Metro Vancouver ridings were a large part of why B.C. fared so well. North Vancouver topped the rankings with over 76 per cent of residents turning out, followed by Delta and South Surrey-White Rock. Langley-Aldergrove, West Vancouver, Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, Abbotsford and Cloverdale-Langley City were the only other electoral districts to top a 70 per cent rate. On the low side, Richmond Centre performed the worst with less than 59 per cent showing up.


Speculation as to what motivates a higher turnout rate is not an exact science. Some say good weather can impact the numbers significantly, but this year it was likely a large anti-Conservative (or #AnyonebutHarper) sentiment that drove people, especially the youth, to the polls.

Take a look through these interactive charts to see which areas performed the best and worst when it came to voter turnout in the 42nd Federal Election.