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March 2017 Newsletter

Volume 10

What's new at Inspire Democracy?

In this issue

  • New research
    • “Civic Engagement in a Digital Age”
      Canadian Parliamentary Review
    • “Educating for Democracy in a Partisan Age: Confronting the Challenges of Motivated Reasoning and Misinformation” by Joseph Kahne & Benjamin Bowyer
  • New tools
    • Civic Engagement Kit—Making Voices Count
  • General updates
    • Filing taxes?
    • Student Vote—CIVIX
  • Upcoming elections
    • British Columbia provincial election
    • Federal by-elections
  • Coming soon
    • Youth research papers

General updates

Filing taxes?

Elections Canada is encouraging Canadians to check the boxes on page 1 of their income tax return to ensure they are registered to vote. For Canadian citizens, consenting to share your name, address and date of birth with Elections Canada is the easiest way to ensure you are on the federal voters list at the correct address. An accurate list helps Elections Canada to better plan for elections and better serve electors.

Student Vote

CIVIX is organizing a Student Vote parallel election for elementary and high schools coinciding with the 2017 British Columbia provincial election. Students from across the province will learn about government and the electoral process, engage in the campaign and cast ballots for the official local candidates. Educators are invited to register their school and receive free educational materials and election supplies:

Upcoming elections

British Columbia

The next provincial election will take place on May 9, 2017.

Federal by-elections

Five federal by-elections were called in February to fill vacant seats in the following ridings: Calgary Heritage, Calgary Midnapore, Markham–Thornhill, Ottawa–Vanier and Saint-Laurent. Election day is Monday, April 3, 2017, and advance voting days are March 24, 25, 26 and 27.

Coming soon

Youth research papers

Elections Canada commissioned five academic papers based on data from the 2015 National Youth Survey. These papers—prepared by graduate students and young academics from McGill University, Université de Montréal and Université du Québec à Montréal—will be published on Elections Canada's Inspire Democracy website in the coming months; stay tuned!

Tell us what you are doing

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


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

What's new at Inspire Democracy?

Elections Canada is hoping to expand its successful Inspire Democracy workshop series directed at youth, which took place in 2014. In spring 2017, Elections Canada will be piloting another workshop series with an emphasis on Indigenous electors. Details have yet to be finalized; however, if your organization is interested in learning more about these workshops, please email us for details. Keep checking our Facebook and Twitter pages in the coming months for updates on the Inspire Democracyworkshopseries.

2015 – A historic election!

  • 2015: Historic Indigenous turnout and highest general population turnout since 1993
  • Significant Indigenous community-led mobilization efforts
  • Broad collaboration between Elections Canada and Indigenous community organizations was instrumental in spreading the word

See new infographics on the Inspire Democracy website!

New research

Civic Engagement in a Digital Age

Canadian Parliamentary Review (2016)

This article explores the trend towards creating digital applications (apps) designed to raise interest and understanding of our democratic systems. Commentators suggest that these applications will be most effective when widely promoted, and that they are only one part of the broader engagement strategies which will focus on open data initiatives and fostering two-way communication between politicians, governments and the public.

Educating for Democracy in a Partisan Age: Confronting the Challenges of Motivated Reasoning and Misinformation”

Joseph Kahne & Benjamin Bowyer (2017)

Recently published in the American Educational Research Journal, this article investigates youth judgments of the accuracy of truth claims tied to controversial public issues. A nationally representative group of 2,101 youth (aged 15–27) were asked to judge the accuracy of one of several simulated online posts. Consistent with research on motivated reasoning, youth assessments depended on (a) the alignment of the claim with one’s prior policy position, and to a lesser extent on (b) whether the post included an inaccurate statement. To consider ways educators might improve judgments of accuracy, the authors also investigated the influence of political knowledge and exposure to media literacy education. The authors found that political knowledge did not improve judgments of accuracy but that media literacy education did. Read the article to learn more!

Check the box when you file your taxes

New tools

We've added new tools and resources to Inspire Democracy.

Civic Engagement Kit

Making Voices Count (2016)

This kit encourages the long-term civic engagement of residents. It helps residents bring community concerns to the attention of City decision makers so that positive change happens. This kit originated from an initiative originally called Making Votes Count, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Catherine Donnelly Foundation, to engage low-income Ottawa residents in elections (2013–2016).

Making Voices Count

Sneak peek of the Making Voices Count Engagement Toolkit