OTTAWA -- Being uninterested in politics was the top reason Canadians gave as to why they didn't cast a ballot in the 2019 federal election.

According to a new release from Statistics Canada based on data derived from questions asked in the November 2019 Labour Force Survey, of those who were eligible to vote but didn't, 35 per cent said it was because they were "not interested in politics."

Of the 23 per cent of eligible Canadians who reported that they did not vote, this was the most common reason across most age groups.

Other "political reasons" cited by those surveyed were a lack of information about campaign issues and parties' positions, they did not like any candidates, parties, or campaigns, they felt that their vote would not make a difference, and that they did not know who to vote for. Overall, men more often reported political reasons as what was behind their decision to not participate. Women were more likely to cite illness or disability as the reason behind why they didn't vote.

Voters between the ages of 35 and 64 cited being "not interested in politics" more often than voters between the ages of 18 and 34, the survey found. Across the country, the lack of interest was cited most often in Quebec.

As well, Canadian citizens by birth who didn't vote were more likely to report a lack of interest in politics than naturalized citizens or immigrants who have been in Canada for more than 10 years.

Another five per cent cited electoral process issues as the reason they didn’t vote, such as they could not prove their identity or address, were not on the voters list, encountered a transportation problem or their polling station was too far away, had a lack of information about the voting process, the lines were too long at their polling place, or issues with the voter information card.

The other reasons given by non-voters were:

  • Too busy (22 per cent);
  • Out of town (11 per cent); and
  • An illness or disability (13 per cent)

Another seven per cent had other reasons, such as they forgot to vote, religious or other beliefs, and the voting day weather conditions.

The questions added in to the Labour Force Survey were commissioned by Elections Canada to get more insight into the reasons why Canadians didn't vote in the Oct. 21, 2019 federal election.

Being not interested in politics was also the top reason given in 2015. At that time, 32 per cent of non-voters gave this reason, indicating that the percentage of Canadians that feel this way has risen in the last four years.

Among the other insights gleaned, voter turnout increased in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Ontario during the fall federal campaign.

Compared with the 2015 federal election, the percentage of Canadians who reported voting in 2019 increased in Saskatchewan by four percent; increased by three percent in Alberta; and increased by two percent in Ontario.

Overall, according to Statistics Canada, the percentage of Canadians who report voting has remained steady from 2015. Elections Canada's latest report stated that the 2019 election voter turnout was 67 per cent of registered voters, though this survey showed that 77 per cent of Canadians reported voting. Statistics Canada said that it’s common that reported turnout rates are higher than official turnout rates, citing reasons including non-voters being less likely to answer survey questions on voting, and that some population groups, such as Indigenous people living on reserve and full-time members of the military, are not covered in the Labour Force Survey.