General elections occur in any country with a parliamentary democracy, such as Canada or the UK. Canada, where the Prime Minister is the leader of the governing political party in the House of Commons, must have a general federal election every five years. Canada's most recent federal election was held only three and a half years into the previous mandate, in theory due to the high standing of the governing federal Liberals, who were subsequently re-elected.

To call a Canadian general election, the Prime Minster asks the Governor General, Her Majesty the Queen's representative in Canada, to dissolve Parliament, thus calling the election.

To be eligible to vote in a Canadian general election, one must be a Canadian citizen and over the age of 18 years. A person who is incarcerated for more than two years in a federal institution is not allowed to vote.

Canadian general elections are overseen by Elections Canada, which reports directly to Parliament.