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Hydro employees working away from home can vote near job sites, says Manitoba Hydro

Manitoba Hydro employees working away from home following last week's storm will be able to vote at the nearest polling station to the their job site.
Manitoba Hydro employees working away from home following last week's storm will be able to vote at the nearest polling station to the their job site. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Manitoba Hydro employees stuck working away from home to restore power to those left in the dark following last week’s storm will still be able to vote in Monday’s federal election.

Through a plan worked out with Elections Canada, Hydro workers will be allowed to vote at the nearest polling station to where they’re working, Manitoba Hydro said Friday.

“This is great news for all involved,” said Hydro president and CEO, Jay Grewal, in a release.

“We had always intended that our staff would get time off in order to participate in their election process, but this development saves hours of travel time allowing our hardworking field employees to both vote and continue to work to restoring service to our customers.”

READ MORE: Electrical hardware in high demand after wicked Manitoba snowstorm

Canadians who aren’t able to vote in their home ridings would normally need to use advance polls or get special ballots from Elections Canada in order to vote in a federal election.

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But many Hydro employees weren’t able to follow those standard procedures before being called off to respond to thousands of outages caused by a Colorado Low that brought more than 70 centimetres of snow to some parts of the province.

At its peak, Hydro has said more than 150,000 customers without power.

The storm crumpled more than 100 transmission structures, broke thousands of wooden utility poles and downed around 800 kilometres of power lines.

Hydro has almost 900 staff from across the province working around the clock to restore power and the crown corporation said Friday just shy of 5,000 customers remained without power in the Ashern, Arborg, Portage la Prairie, and Dauphin areas.

On Thursday Elections Canada said voters from northern Manitoba who have been evacuated to Winnipeg as a result of the storm will be able to vote at the University of Winnipeg.

–With files from The Canadian Press

Bruce Owen on Manitoba Hydro and storm damage
Bruce Owen on Manitoba Hydro and storm damage