How Many Terms Can a Canadian PM Serve?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed victory in Monday's elections, securing another term in office.

The prime minister called a snap election back in mid-August, which left a short election campaign period, with the hope of capitalizing on his government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to secure his next term.

However, Trudeau's Liberal Party failed to claim a majority of seats in government, 14 votes short of the 170 needed for a majority in the House of Commons.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Trudeau wrote: "Thank you, Canada—for casting your vote, for putting your trust in the Liberal team, for choosing a brighter future. We're going to finish the fight against COVID. And we're going to move Canada forward. For everyone."

Trudeau, the son of the late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, became the darling of liberals worldwide after he took office in 2015. His comments on feminism, racism as well as climate change and other issues, starkly contrasted with other world leaders, including former President Donald Trump.

What Is the Maximum Term a Canadian PM Can Serve?

There are no term time limits for Canadian politicians, including the prime minister. Trudeau's latest win marks his third term in office, serving as the country's 23rd prime minister.

He was elected as the leader of the Liberal Party in April 2013 and won a majority government when he first became prime minister in 2015.

He earned a second term in office following the 2019 election, which saw the Liberals win a minority government, with Conservatives increasing their seat count.

William Lyon Mackenzie King was the country's longest-serving prime minister, holding the post for 21 years and five months. Wilfrid Laurier held the position for the longest continuous stretch of 15 years. The prime minister who served the shortest term was Sir Charles Tupper (May 1896–July 1896), who was in office for 68 days.

Where Else in the World Does the Premiership Extend Two Terms?

The premiership has no term limits in several parts of Europe, such as in the U.K. and Spain. In Germany, the country's chancellor is also not restricted by a maximum term limit.

In such countries that follow a parliamentary system, "parliamentary mechanisms usually secure democratic rotation in the office of the Prime Minister," the Venice Commission (the European Commission for Democracy through Law) said in a 2018 report on term limits.

In some other countries, the premiership doesn't have a fixed time limit but may come with other conditions, such as in Australia where there is no maximum term period. However, the Australian prime minister must have the support of the government to stay in office.

Justin Trudeau giving victory speech in 2021.
Canada's Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau delivers his victory speech at election headquarters on September 20, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. Dave Chan/Getty Images

The graphic below, produced by Statista, compares the results of Canada's 2021 election with the previous one.

Canada's 2021 federal election results.

UPDATE 9/21/21 8:00 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include a graphic.