Permanent residents who live in Vancouver have just taken a step closer to being able to vote in the city’s municipal elections.
Vancouver city council unanimously passed a motion on Wednesday that would see the municipal government ask the province to “make the necessary changes” to allow permanent residents to vote at the local level.
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The motion was moved by outgoing Coun. Andrea Reimer.
While she hailed the unanimous vote, she also noted that there’s a tight timeframe to implement the change before the municipal election in November.
Permanent residents are people who have immigrated to Canada but who are not Canadian citizens.
As Canadian residents, they’re entitled to social benefits such as health care coverage and other services.
They can also work, live or study anywhere in Canada. They’re also entitled to protection under Canadian law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Permanent residents can also apply for citizenship.
But federal rules state that they neither vote or run for political office, nor hold jobs that require “high-level security clearance.”
The motion noted that there were 60,000 permanent residents living in Vancouver in 2011, a number that was equivalent to 33 per cent of people who voted in the 2014 municipal election.
The motion also said that more than 45 countries have given “some form of voting rights” to permanent residents.
It went on to note that 11 Canadian municpalities are working to extend voting rights to this group.