Canada will not be changing the date of its national elections, even though they fall on a Jewish holiday, JTA reported on Monday.
Chief electoral officer Stéphane Perrault announced he would not recommend changing the date, which coincides with the holiday of Shmini Atzeret.
Last week, Canada’s Federal Court ordered Perrault to review his decision to not recommend a change in the scheduled date, October 21.
That ruling came in response to a lawsuit by Orthodox Jewish candidate Chani Aryeh-Bain, who is running for the Conservatives in the Toronto-area riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, and Ira Walfish, an Orthodox Jewish political activist. They said in their lawsuit that Perrault did not properly consider their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Shmini Atzeret begins on October 20 and ends on October 22. Aryeh-Bain argued that during the holiday, observant Orthodox Jews must refrain from a number of activities — including voting and campaigning — and cannot ask others to work for them.
The lawsuit also noted that the October 12 advance polling day conflicts with the Sabbath, while the October 14 advance polling day coincides with the holiday of Sukkot.
Perrault said in his decision that he is committed to working with the Jewish community to “maximize voting options.”