Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may narrowly averted that result and are on a path win a minority in the 338-seat House of Commons, likely forcing an alliance with the left-wing NDP.
The polls in what is considered a neck-and-neck race between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals and the main opposition Conservatives led by Andrew Scheer are indicating a victory by Trudeau, which will likely need an agreement with the left-wing NDP and the environmentalist Greens.
CBC News projected 146 Liberals, 105 Conservatives and 20 New Democrat elected and one Green at the time this article was written.
Even with such lead, Trudeau's party would be in a weakened position and needing the support of left-leaning opposition parties to push through key pieces of legislation.
Liberal campaign strategists say four members of Trudeau's Cabinet could lose their parliamentary seats, including Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, a veteran member of parliament who is seen as one of the government's heavyweights.
The liberal image of Trudeau, who has championed diversity as prime minister and whose father opened the country to mass immigration, took a severe blow when pictures emerged early in the campaign of him wearing blackface in the early 1990s and in 2001.
Trudeau had already been wrestling with the fallout from accusations he pressured his justice minister to help shield engineering firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc from corruption charges. In August, a top watchdog said Trudeau breached ethics rules.
Given the fact that neither of the front-runners could come away with a parliamentary majority, it is the smaller left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) or the separatist Bloc Quebecois that could end up holding the balance of power.