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Referenda & Plebiscites

Referenda and Plebiscites


A plebiscite is a vote on a matter of public concern, conducted under the Election Act, and may be binding on government. A plebiscite is held when the Lieutenant Governor in Council (cabinet) directs the Chief Electoral Officer to determine the opinion of voters on a matter of public concern. The government establishes the threshold for success and outcomes of a successful plebiscite.

Previous plebiscites

Nine plebiscites have been held in B.C. since 1872. In 1972 the Time Plebiscite was held to let voters in eastern B.C. express their opinion on whether that part of the province should follow mountain or Pacific standard time.

From March 16-July 2, 2015, Elections BC administered the 2015 Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite.

Learn more about the plebiscite.

Plebiscite process

The procedures for the conduct of a plebiscite are established through a government regulation. For example, a plebiscite may be administered through in person voting or through Vote by Mail. If the procedure for a plebiscite is not established through government regulation, it may be established through a regulation of the Chief Electoral Officer.