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Winter 2018 Newsletter

Volume 13

In this issue

Upcoming events

Check the Inspire Democracy website for regular updates to our schedule of upcoming events. Here is one of them:

Soaring: Indigenous Youth Empowerment Gathering

On March 22–23, 2018, Indspire will be hosting its annual career conference for Indigenous youth across the country. At Soaring, First Nation, Inuit and Métis students in grades 9–12 will learn about a myriad of career and post-secondary education options. At gatherings held across Canada, students participate in career workshops, learn about financial support, and meet Canada's top employers. The Elections Canada team is looking forward to participating in this great event!

New research

Canada is #IdleNoMore: Exploring dynamics of Indigenous political and civic protest in the Twitterverse

Vincent Raynauld, Emmanuelle Richez and Katie Boudreau (2017)

Social media plays an increasingly important role in our society. This article explores the impacts of social media on grassroots mobilization. The authors focus on the 2013 Idle No More campaign by exploring the way social media was used to gain visibility, mobilize support, and engage in political and civic action. A qualitative and quantitative content analysis of 1,650 shared #IdleNoMore tweets from the movement was conducted in order to explore this phenomenon. The authors found that “unlike other social media-intensive movements where economic and political concerns were the primary drivers of political and civil engagement, aspects of Indigenous culture influenced information flows and mobilization among #IdleNoMore tweeters.” Click here to learn more!

Tell us what you're doing

Have you recently conducted research on civic participation? Let us know and we'll share the results of your work or any useful information on our site.


We'd love to know what you think. Send us an email.

Elections Canada on the Road

Elections Canada has started piloting a new series of Inspire Democracy workshops. Before the 2015 general election, Elections Canada held a series of civic engagement workshops in 10 cities across Canada to meet with youth-serving organizations, share the latest research on voting and civic engagement, and explore ways to prepare young electors to exercise their right to vote. Building on the successes and lessons learned from that experience, the new workshops look beyond youth.

Indigenous electors, electors with disabilities and new Canadians, in addition to youth, are more likely than other Canadians to face barriers when trying to participate in an election—barriers that may range from not knowing where to vote or not being familiar with the voting process to a general lack of political interest or low confidence in their political knowledge. Inspire Democracy workshops are a means to reach out to organizations and communities that serve these target groups to better understand their challenges, share tools and information with each other, and mobilize and prepare potential electors to vote.

In 2017–2018, Elections Canada launched its first kiosks and workshops. Consider inviting us to your next event!

Thunder Bay: November 15–16, 2017

Thunder Bay’s first Indigenous Knowledge Conference offered participants the opportunity to consider how Indigenous knowledge can be used in a wide spectrum of fields to advance understanding and good relationships with Indigenous communities. Elections Canada’s Inspire Democracy team was honoured to participate in the event with two discussion sessions and a kiosk that saw lively exchanges and sharing among attendees, with a particular focus on the First Nations perspective. Through these discussions, the group raised and examined historical inequities in Indigenous peoples’ right to vote federally, considered the range of opinions among Indigenous peoples about voting in a federal election, and proposed models of community, governance and civic action that are informed by Indigenous knowledge. The presence of numerous generations in these discussions, from elders to youth, made for enriching conversations in which many voices took part. Many thanks to the Indigenous Knowledge Conference for the opportunity to participate!

Inspire Democracy in Thunder Bay
Inspire Democracy in Thunder Bay

Toronto: November 18, 2017

Members of Elections Canada’s Inspire Democracy team attended the DemocracyXChange conference at Ryerson University in Toronto. This innovative and forward-thinking conference focused on civic engagement, practical campaign skills and tools to help individuals and startup teams connect and make change happen. Elections Canada hosted a kiosk and introduced its new Inspire Democracy initiative during the “XChange pitch.” There was a lot to learn about including a wide variety of pioneering tools and initiatives to promote civic engagement across the country. We appreciated meeting so many engaged and creative individuals.

Toronto: November 29–30, 2017

Elections Canada participated in the Health and Wellbeing in Developmental Disabilities conference in Toronto, where we met over 200 health care professionals, students, educators, caregivers and social workers who support persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities. In addition to hosting a kiosk where we showcased our accessible voting tools, we led a workshop to explore ways in which Elections Canada could collaborate with service providers as we roll out Inspire Democracy workshops for electors with disabilities.

Inspire Democracy in Toronto
Inspire Democracy in Toronto

Montréal: November 30–December 1, 2017

Over 700 educators of Indigenous students from grades K through 12 attended the Indspire’s National Gathering for Indigenous Education in Montréal. This fifth annual gathering was a huge success, and gave educators from across Canada the opportunity to network, share successful practices, and participate in over 70 workshops. As part of Elections Canada’s outreach activities, two members of the Inspire Democracy team hosted an information kiosk. This showcased employment opportunities, data from the 42nd election on Indigenous elector’s participation on reserves and our renewed civic education materials for students. We appreciated this unique opportunity to interact with educators and learn more about the important civic education work that they do!

Inspire Democracy in Montréal
Inspire Democracy in Montréal

Winnipeg: December 1, 2017

Elections Canada was invited to host a kiosk at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The theme of the event was “Attitude Matters.” Elections Canada had the opportunity to interact with community leaders and representatives of local and provincial organizations interested in civic engagement, many of whom will participate in an upcoming Inspire Democracy workshop planned for March 2018.

Ottawa: December 9–10, 2017

Elections Canada took part in the Disability, Technology, Inclusion: A Symposium on Interdisciplinary Research, History Exhibits and Pedagogy organized by Carleton University’s Disability Research Group. The goal of the kiosk was to promote Elections Canada’s accessible voting services and tools among influencers and community leaders to increase awareness about what Elections Canada is doing to make voting more accessible for all Canadians.

Ottawa: February 20–22, 2018

Carleton University hosted the Coming Up Together conference, a collaborative exchange of ideas between diverse change makers to advance the agenda of ending youth homelessness across Canada. Youth, community service providers, researchers and policy experts met at the University of Ottawa campus to share their experiences and perspectives on creating systemic solutions to youth homelessness.

Members of the Elections Canada Outreach team conducted two workshops around civic engagement and barriers to voting. This was an exceptional opportunity to chat with youth and service providers alike, and we are honoured to have been able to attend!

Inspire Democracy in Ottawa
Inspire Democracy in Ottawa

General updates

Everyday Political Citizen winners
Samara Canada

Everyday Political Citizen (EPC) is an annual contest organized by Samara Canada that highlights local stories about Canadians participating in their democracy, working to make their community better. The 2017 winners have been announced and, for the first time in the history of EPC, four finalists tied for first place in the Under 30 category, for a total of five inspiring winners!

Inuit Nunangat Taimannganit Storytelling Project
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)

This storytelling project tells the story of Inuit Nunangat (the Inuit homeland in Canada) from time immemorial (taimannganit). Over two years, ITK will be sharing stories about Inuit connections to the land and sea, as well as their legends, histories, and relationship with the environment and all living things within it. Click here to watch the videos that have already been posted!

Ready to RISE?
Apathy is Boring

Apathy is Boring has launched a new initiative called RISE for youth between the ages of 18 and 30. RISE will help young people create community projects and strengthen our civic and democratic fabric by engaging on issues that they care about. Youth from all backgrounds who are interested in the theme of social inclusion are being recruited as volunteer RISE ambassadors.

Over the next two years, RISE will be developing 25 community projects across seven cities: Edmonton, Ottawa, Montréal, Toronto, Iqaluit, Halifax and Vancouver. In each city, the RISE ambassadors will be the lead creatives behind the community initiatives. The first round of regional hubs—Edmonton, Ottawa and Montréal—are about to be launched.