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Tools and Resources to Engage Youth

During and Between Elections

Elections Alberta: Creating Sustainable Dialogue Around Elections
Apathy is Boring (2016)
Three helpful tools that will keep the conversations about voting and civic engagement going between provincial elections:

  1. A manual for community organizations includes advice, case studies and other helpful tips to support youth engagement.
  2. A Day in the Life Quiz which is intended to demonstrate how everyday life is deeply affected by municipal, provincial and federal government. Download this quiz today!
  3. This short informative video explains how government works and how issues that YOU care about are affected by voting and relevant policies.

How to Engage Young Canadians
Samara (2016)
An informative poster (available for download) intended for Elected Representatives, with four main intended messages:

  1. "Recognize the diversity of youth",
  2. "Forget talking about 'youth issues'",
  3. "Use social media for meaningful conversations",
  4. "Visit youth where they are".

Enhancing Youth Political Participation Throughout the Electoral Cycle: A Good Practice Guide
United Nations Development Programme (2013)
Identifies the ways in which young people can get involved in politics and elections, with examples from around the world. Ideal for political parties, electoral agencies and civil society organizations.

Territorial Dialogue on Youth Civic Engagement
Public Policy Forum and Elections Northwest Territories (2013)
Provides detailed recommendations on what electoral agencies, parties, governments and youth-serving organizations can do to engage youth during and between elections.

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In the Classroom and Beyond

A Day in the Life of a Member of Parliament
Samara (2016)
An educational video explaining the day-to-day responsibilities and challenges of members of Parliament (MP)

Youth Engagement Toolkit
Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health (2014)
A toolkit intended to help communicate the importance of youth engagement in school curriculums, to provide relevant research and rationale for the implementation of youth engagement in schools, and to act as a "how-to" guide of effective practices to support youth engagement.

Par ici la démocratie
Quebec National Assembly toolkit (in French only)

“Par ici la démocratie”, a website created by the Quebec National Assembly, teaches users about important events in Quebec's democratic history from the 15th century to today. By taking a historical approach, this tool encourages users to expand their knowledge of democratic life. The documents in this section (articles, videos and others) are royalty free for educational purposes when the source is cited.

Being an Active Citizen
Justice Education Society of British Columbia (2014)
A toolkit with a 5-year program with 10 lessons per year for Social Studies grades 7-11. Being an Active Citizen introduces students to the fundamentals of law and how the justice system works, and the structure and operation of our governments.

Resources from Elections Canada
Elections Canada provides free educational resources, tools, activities and information to elementary and secondary teachers, including election simulation kits. Visit our main website for a full list of products. Our Canada's Democracy Week website also provides lesson plans on democracy for both elementary and secondary students.

CIVIX provides experiential learning opportunities in the classroom throughout Canada. In addition to running parallel elections and student budget consultations, CIVIX runs Rep Day, a nationwide civic education initiative that connects elected representatives with high school students to discuss political issues.

Parliament of Canada – Classroom Resources, Teaching Tools and Teachers Institute
Access tools and resources to help you teach about Parliament at all grade levels. The Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy also offers professional development opportunities.

Historica Canada – Lesson Plans
Historica Canada offers dozens of lesson plans on Canadian history, including resources and activities to teach about the prime ministers.

Samara in the Classroom
Samara offers a range of materials to teach about the role of members of Parliament, for high school teachers, elementary teachers and university students.
Youth can keep track of what politicians and Canadians are saying about politics on social media through this daily round-up.

Elections Alberta – Resources
Elections Alberta provides multiple learning resources on provincial elections for grades 6, 9 and 12.

Elections Manitoba – Your Power to Choose
An integrated program including a curriculum guide, hands-on activities, in-class workshops and resources for running student elections, for grades 6, 9, and 11 (can be adapted for grades 4 and 5).

Elections Ontario – Voting Rules!
Developed in collaboration with Elections Canada, Voting Rules! is a toolkit on federal and provincial elections in Ontario for grades 5 and 10.

Directeur Général des élections du Québec (DGEQ) – Democracy Education Zone
The DGEQ provides resources on classroom activities to support learning about democracy, resources for running student elections, and background materials on democracy and elections for primary, secondary and college students.

Elections Nova Scotia – Information and Resources for Teachers
An integrated program including hands-on activities, in-class workshops, a cartoon series, an interactive online game, puzzles and other activities for young voters, and resources for running student elections.

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In Municipal Politics and the Community

How Government Works: Cities, Regions and School Boards
Civic literacy toolkit for training residents on how governments make decisions, and how residents might impact those decisions.

Student Connect Program
City of Toronto (2014)
A program created to connect students with their communities and provide youth with an opportunity to participate in the democratic process by working in a voting place on election day.

Making Votes Count Where We Live: Creating a Culture of Civic Engagement
City for All Women Initiative
CAWI offers a range of tools for women to have their voice heard at City Hall and influence organizational diversity and inclusion. This resource provides strategies for residents, community partners and governments to increase voter turnout and long-term civic engagement.

City of Toronto Election Services – Education
Guides and teaching resources on elections and local government for teachers and students of all ages.

Making Voices Count: A Kit for Engaging City Decision Makers
Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa, City for All Women Initiative
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.

Getting the Majority to Vote: Practical solutions to re-engage citizens in local elections
Norman Gludovatz (Centre for Civic Governance) (2014)
This report provides six simple solutions to increase voter turnout in municipal elections.  These solutions are equally applicable to provincial and federal elections, and can be pursued by many different actors.

Growing Up in Cities Canada – Creative Tools: Civic Engagement of Young People
International Institute for Child Rights and Development
Find out how to develop action plans that involve young people in civic decision-making in partnership with local adults, community planners and municipal government representatives.

Leadership Victoria: Community Leadership Development Program
Victoria Youth Leadership Coalition (2013)
An overview of youth engagement in Victoria with an action plan for greater youth involvement.

Youth Participation in Governance
Halifax Regional Municipality (2013)
Provides recommendations for involving youth in municipal governance to create youth-friendly communities.

A Seat at the Table: A Review of Youth Engagement in Vancouver
McCreary Centre Society (2009)
An exploration of how youth-serving organizations and others can help to ensure young people are meaningfully engaged in decision-making.

Mapped! A Youth Community Mapping Toolkit for Vancouver
City of Vancouver (2009)
A resource manual to get youth interested in community planning by mapping out their physical and social environment.

Petit guide québécois de la participation locale (in French only)
Institut du Nouveau Monde in collaboration with Forum jeunesse de l'île de Montréal
A guide with information on how to become involved in local politics beyond voting.

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In Civic Life

Benefits of Voting Fact Sheets
Nonprofit VOTE (2014)

Fact sheets on several different areas of interest: 1) Benefits for Voters: the benefits that voting has for the elector, 2) Benefits for Nonprofits: how electoral engagement helps build stronger nonprofit organizations, 3) Voting and Health: the health benefits connected to voting and 4) Who Votes Matters: the ways in which non-voters affect public policy and issues of importance to nonprofits. These fact sheets are useful for organizations who wish to encourage electoral participation among youth and other key groups.

Youth-Friendly Service
Apathy is Boring (2015)
A program designed to provide the tools and services your organization needs to stay vibrant for many years to come while making youth feel important, needed and engaged in your work.

Giving a Head Start to Young Women in Politics  
Head Start Ottawa
This activity manual aims to encourage political knowledge and interest among young women. The manual is designed for educators and community leaders to use with young women but the activities can be modified for all ages and genders.

Creating a Civic Rite of Passage to Increase Youth Voter Turnout(In French only) (blog).
Institut du Nouveau Monde
The Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM) believes radical reform is needed to reverse the trend of youth voter apathy. As a first step, INM proposes a debate around a “civic rite of passage” strategy in late adolescence. The strategy is based on a renewed conception of democracy in which voter turnout is not only desired but expected and encouraged, and voting is more than a right; it is a duty and a responsibility.

Three Minute Citizen
Springtide Collective
Springtide has created 11 short videos explaining democracy in Canada. Great for students and anyone else who wants to know how democracy works.

Find Your Voice
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (2013)
A detailed toolkit with a facilitator's guide and teaching modules on engaging Aboriginal youth in politics and civic life.

Change the World (by Having Fun): A Youth Civic Engagement Toolkit
YWCA (2012)
A step-by-step guide on how to empower young women so that they have the tools and skills to engage.

Connect, Contribute, Collaborate, Change: Online Volunteering in Action
TakingITGlobal (2010)
A guide providing young people with the tools and knowledge they need to engage online.

Guide de l'engagement : tant de façons de prendre sa place! (in French only)
Forum jeunesse de l'Île de Montréal
A guide on how young people can become involved in causes they care about. It includes a complete list of civic engagement organizations in Montréal.

Voting Guide for Young Aboriginal Women
Native Women’s Association of Canada.

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Databases for Researchers

Elections Data

Detailed Estimates of Voter Turnout by Age Group and Gender
Detailed estimates for the 2015, 2011, 2008, 2006 and 2004 general elections are available in Excel format on Elections Canada's main website.

The ACE Electoral Knowledge Network – Comparative Data
This useful application allows you to browse election-related statistics and data from over 200 countries. Users can search by country or topic and configure how information is presented: as a map, pie chart, bar graph or table.


Get Out the Vote
This website hosted by Yale University presents the latest results of field experiments into the effects of voter mobilization.

Young Voter Mobilization Tactics
A compilation of the most recent academic research on voter mobilization, courtesy of George Washington University.

Democratic and Civic Engagement

CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
Housed at Tufts University, CIRCLE provides access to a wealth of studies on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.

A wiki bringing together research, news and information about participatory politics and democracy from around the world.

Scholarly Databases for Finding Engagement-Related Articles
A tool to search the holdings of most major libraries around the world. Users can specify their location and find out which libraries in their area have the item they are looking for.

Institute of Education Sciences
The largest US database for research, evaluation, assessment, development and statistics on education. Topics include civic education and democracy. Many full texts are available.

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