Student Budget Consultation: 2019 Federal Election Edition

November 6th, 2018 by CIVIX

Coordinated by CIVIX, the Student Budget Consultation is a unique classroom program that provides students with an opportunity to learn about government and public finance, debate important issues, and have a voice in our democracy.

The Student Budget Consultation launches next week, and will act as an important precursor to the 2019 federal election. The conversations surrounding the upcoming budget will launch months of debate on what Canada’s priorities should be, and where the money to pay for that spending should come from. The consultation provides Canada’s youth with an important opportunity to be part of this conversation.

To participate, you must register here: http://studentvote.ca/federal_sbc/

The project includes three online lesson plans along with a variety of supplementary tools, including animated videos about the Government of Canada’s budget, interviews with prominent youth advocating for key issues, as well as additional video content providing a cross-partisan pitch from all federal political parties. 

We expect to have videos from the leaders of nearly all of the parties in the House of Commons: Justin Trudeau (Liberal), Andrew Scheer (Conservative), Jagmeet Singh (NDP), Elizabeth May (Green) and Maxime Bernier (People’s Party), as well as a Bloc Québécois representative.

In the culminating activity, students will submit their feedback through a consultation survey. The results will be shared with the Department of Finance and all political parties so that they can see what matters most to young Canadians as they develop their platforms for the October federal election.

We hope you will consider involving your students in this civic education initiative.

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150,000 Ontario youth cast ballots in Student Vote program for the municipal elections

October 22nd, 2018 by CIVIX

Even though they are under the voting age, more than 150,000 elementary and secondary school students from throughout Ontario had the opportunity to consider the future direction of their community and vote for the candidates running for municipal council and school board trustee.

The Student Vote program is a hands-on learning program that enables teachers to bring democracy alive in the classroom, and empowers students to practice the habits of active and engaged citizenship.

Participating schools were supplied with free learning materials and election supplies to help them engage in the campaign and organize a parallel vote.

Students learned about municipal government and boards of education, and researched the issues and candidates through classroom activities, family discussion and campaign events. In the culminating activity, students took on the roles of election officials and coordinated an election within their schools.

At 7:00pm EDT today, more than 1,350 schools had submitted their Student Vote results for the 2018 municipal elections, representing more than 220 municipalities throughout Ontario.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Toronto: In total, 29,319 students cast ballots from 279 schools. John Tory was elected mayor with 49 per cent of vote.
  • Ottawa: In total, 13,648 students cast ballots from 111 schools. Jim Watson was elected mayor with 60 per cent of vote.
  • Mississauga: In total, 8,876 students cast ballots from 69 schools. Bonnie Crombie was elected mayor with 56 per cent of vote.
  • Brampton: In total, 4,053 students cast ballots from 49 schools. Patrick Brown was elected mayor with 38 per cent of vote, narrowly defeating Linda Jeffrey with 35 per cent of the vote.
  • Hamilton: In total, 2,093 students cast ballots from 41 schools in Hamilton. Fred Eisenberger was elected mayor with 45 per cent of vote.
  • London: Paul Cheng was elected mayor.
  • Markham: Frank Scarpitti was elected mayor with 52 per cent of the vote.
  • Vaughan: Maurizio Bevilacqua was elected mayor with 59 per cent of the vote.
  • Kitchener: Berry Vrbanovic was elected mayor with 59 per cent of the vote.
  • Windsor: Drew Dilkens was elected mayor with 51 per cent of the vote.
  • Burlington: Rick Goldring was elected mayor with 40 per cent of the vote.
  • Oshawa: Dan Carter was elected mayor with 40 per cent of the vote.
  • Barrie: Jeff Lehman  was elected mayor with 76 per cent of the vote.
  • St. Catharines: Walter Sendzik was elected mayor with 55 per cent of the vote.
  • Guelph: Cam Guthrie  was elected mayor with 73 per cent of the vote.
  • Cambridge: Kathryn McGarry  was elected mayor with 34 per cent of the vote.
  • Kingston: Bryan Paterson was elected mayor with 51 per cent of the vote.
  • Thunder Bay: Bill Mauro was elected mayor with 30 per cent of the vote.
  • Waterloo: Dave Jaworsky was elected mayor with 60 per cent of the vote.

COMPLETE RESULTS FOR ALL MUNICIPALITIES AND SCHOOL BOARDS: http://studentvote.ca/results/onmuni2018  

BACKGROUND: 

Student Vote is the flagship program of CIVIX, a national civic education charity focused on developing the habits of active and engaged citizenship among young people. CIVIX programming focuses on the themes of elections, government budgets, elected representatives and news literacy.

The Student Vote project for the 2018 municipal and school board elections in Ontario was made possible by the Ministry of Education of Ontario and the Government of Canada.

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Happy 15th Birthday, Student Vote

October 2nd, 2018 by CIVIX

15 years ago today, a very small and very young team of naive and hopeful 25-year-olds managed the first set of Student Vote results to ever roll in from 825 schools throughout Ontario.

The little team couldn’t see at the time how big and successful that first Student Vote was.

I’m not even sure if we should be celebrating today. The world seems like a much rougher place, democracy seems more under threat and, while voter turnout has risen, it is still relatively low compared to where it could be.

But I can smile when I look at where Student Vote has gotten to.

I bumped into a teacher over the summer who told me that all the schools they have taught at over the last decade now permanently expect Student Vote to occur during an election. The teacher said that the program has changed the way teachers teach elections, and built a habit into the school system around using elections as teachable moments to build the skills of citizenship within kids. This isn’t the only teacher to share this with us — we hear this all the time.

As we approach next year’s federal election, in many jurisdictions across Canada, Student Vote is coordinated in as many as 60% of all schools. In last week’s New Brunswick provincial election, 65% of schools registered to take part in Student Vote.

But it still feels to me like the best is yet to come for the Student Vote program.

Disinformation has risen quickly to be one of the most significant threats to democracies around the world. And within the suite of responses being considered by governments, civic education and digital literacy remain a consistent proposition at the top of the list of reports and recommendations from the Public Policy Forum, to CSEC and even the UN.

The thing is, you can’t substantially educate people about disinformation and ‘fake news’ by running a fake news PR campaign on Facebook, or ads on radio and TV. The reality is that verification skills and habits of informed citizenship need to be taught and developed through practice.

We already have the social infrastructure that democracies need so badly to battle against the threat of disinformation right here in Canada. It’s called Student Vote.

Over the next year, the Student Vote program may turn into the best defense that Canada has against disinformation, with an on-the-ground reach that extends classroom to classroom, school to school, in all 338 electoral districts across the country, and literally, 8,000 communities from coast to coast to coast.

If you have an extra second today, please wish this little experiential learning program a Happy Birthday. It deserves it.

If you were able, we would ask that you consider making a donation to CIVIX to ensure the growth of Student Vote, and our other civic education projects: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/civix/

Happy Birthday, Student Vote.

Taylor

Taylor Gunn
President & CEO
CIVIX

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Student Vote Ontario 2018: The Results

June 7th, 2018 by CIVIX

Horwath and the NDP win majority government in province-wide Student Vote

More than 280,000 elementary and high school students participated in the Student Vote program for the 2018 Ontario provincial election.

After learning about the electoral process, researching the issues and platforms, and debating the future of Ontario, students cast ballots for the official candidates running in their local electoral district.

As of 4:00p.m. ET this afternoon, 2,166 schools had reported their election results, representing all 124 electoral districts in the province. In total, 280,691 ballots were cast by student participants; 268,091 accepted ballots, 7,103 rejected ballots, 2,562 declined ballots and 2,935 unmarked ballots.

“What makes this even more incredible is the timing. This is the busiest time of year for schools with culminating activities, assessments and exams, and more than 5,000 teachers have made citizenship education a priority,” said Taylor Gunn, President and CEO of CIVIX. “We are sincerely grateful for the time and energy dedicated to the program by teachers.”

Students elected Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP to form a majority government with 66 out of 124 seats and 32 per cent of the vote. Horwath also won in her electoral district of Hamilton Centre with 49 per cent of the vote.

Doug Ford and the PC Party of Ontario took 45 seats and will form the official opposition, receiving 27 per cent of the popular vote. Ford won in his electoral district of Etobicoke North with 46 per cent of the vote.

Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberal Party won 11 seats and received 19 per cent of the vote. Wynne was defeated in her district of Don Valley West by Ontario NDP candidate Amara Possian; Wynne received 26 per cent of votes cast, compared to Possian’s 30 per cent.

The Green Party of Ontario won 2 seats: Guelph and Parry Sound–Muskoka. In total, the party received 13 per cent of the popular vote. Leader Mike Schreiner won in his electoral district of Guelph with 36 per cent of the vote.

This is the fifth provincial-level Student Vote project conducted in Ontario. The project was made possible by Elections Ontario.

Participation increased by more than 60 per cent compared to the 2014 Ontario provincial election. In the 2014 election, 173,072 votes were reported from 1,388 schools. In Student Vote Ontario 2014, students elected a Liberal majority government.

VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS HERE: http://studentvote.ca/results/on2018

 

RESULTS HIGHLIGHTS:

  • There were many close races across the province, with eight determined by 25 votes or less: Ajax, Spadina—Fort York, Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa West—Nepean, Oakville, Mississauga—Erin Mills, Mississauga East—Cooksville and Kiiwetinoong.
  • The electoral district of Mississauga—Erin Mills had the greatest number of participants with 6,002 students. Mississauga—Malton was second with 4,662 students, followed by Ottawa Centre with 4,571 students.
  • The electoral district of Algoma—Manitoulin had 35 schools report results – more than any other electoral district.

 

BACKGROUND:

Student Vote is the flagship program of CIVIX, a national civic education charity focused on developing the habits of active and engaged citizenship among young people. CIVIX programming focuses on the themes of elections, government budgets, elected representatives and news literacy.

Elections Ontario is the non-partisan agency responsible for administering provincial elections, by-elections and referenda in Ontario.

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How do we beat Fake News?

May 31st, 2018 by CIVIX
Researchers at Stanford University sat three groups of people down in front of computers. They gave Stanford students, professional historians, and “fact-checkers” five minutes to determine which of two websites was more credible. 

The first site was from the American Academy of Pediatrics, an internationally respected organization. The second belonged to the American College of Pediatricians, a lobby group dedicated to advocating against the adoption of children by same-sex couples. 

Here are the results: 65% of the Stanford students could not determine the credible website within five minutes. Fifty percent of the professional historians could not determine the credible website within five minutes.

But 100% of the fact-checkers got the right answer … and they did it within seconds.

Do you know what the fact-checkers did that the others didn’t? (Hint: it is ridiculously easy, and everyone should be doing it.)

Watch this video we’ve just released to find out: 

 
 
And there’s more where that came from. This week, CIVIX launched NewsWise, a news literacy initiative that has been made available to the 2,800 Ontario schools participating in our Student Vote program. 

NewsWise aims to help students understand the role of journalism in a democracy, and develop the habits and skills to find and filter information online. It was developed in partnership with the Canadian Journalism Foundation, with seed funding from Google.

The spread of mis- and disinformation online is one of the most urgent issues facing democracies today, and being able to determine what is fact or fiction has become an essential skill of citizenship in the digital age. 

This new program represents a big move for CIVIX into the news and information literacy space, and we are diving in. We are working to expand this effort significantly over the next year, with new resources and teacher training, as we gear up for the federal election in 2019. 

Lesson plansvideos, and an animated ‘scroll story‘ that introduces the problem of fake news are all housed on this website we’ve built for the project: www.newswise.ca

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300,000 Ontario students expected to cast ballots in province-wide Student Vote

May 31st, 2018 by CIVIX

Even though they are under the voting age, more than 300,000 elementary and secondary students from throughout Ontario will have an opportunity to consider the future direction of the province and vote for the official candidates running in the 2018 provincial election.

Student Vote is an authentic learning program that enables teachers to bring democracy alive in the classroom, and empowers students to experience the voting process firsthand and practice the habits of active and engaged citizenship.

“More than 2,800 schools have registered to participate, representing all 124 electoral districts,” said Taylor Gunn, President of CIVIX. “It is a privilege to work with Elections Ontario once again and be able to offer this program free to Ontario schools.”

Participating schools are supplied with learning materials and election supplies to help them engage in the campaign and organize a parallel vote.

Students learn about government and democracy, and research the issues, party platforms and candidates through classroom activities, family discussion and media consumption. In the culminating activity, students take on the roles of election officials and coordinate the voting process for their peers.

Between May 31 and June 6, students will cast ballots for the candidates running in their school’s electoral district. The results are tabulated by electoral district and released publicly following the close of polls on June 7.

“Student Vote provides a great opportunity for youth to familiarize themselves with the voting process at an early age. Through this program, we hope to encourage more 16- and 17-year-olds to add themselves to the Ontario Register of Future Voters,” said Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa.

A map of participating schools is available here: https://goo.gl/qsvSb1

To capture Student Vote in your local schools and speak to students about the election, please contact Dan Allan at dan@civix.ca or 1-866-488-8775.

 

BACKGROUND:

Student Vote is the flagship program of CIVIX, a national civic education charity focused on developing the habits of active and engaged citizenship among young people. CIVIX programming focuses on the themes of elections, government budgets, elected representatives and news literacy.

Elections Ontario is the non-partisan agency responsible for administering provincial elections, by-elections and referenda in Ontario.

 

RELATED LINKS:

http://studentvote.ca/on2018/

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2018 Student Budget Consultation Results

February 26th, 2018 by Dan Allan

High school students on Budget 2018: Confident about job prospects, but concerned with environment, education and income inequality

Canada’s high school students, the next generation of taxpayers have provided their insight and opinions on the major issues likely to feature in Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s third federal budget.

Some of this year’s notable results include that students believe that making education more affordable and accessible is key to their future success and overall economic well-being. The top issues they believe the government should focus on are healthcare, post-secondary education, the economy, and poverty and inequality. A majority also want a commitment to debt reduction. Overall, students seem to be increasingly positive about the future and job prospects.

For the fifth time, high school students from across the country participated in the Student Budget Consultation, a national initiative coordinated by CIVIX aimed at engaging youth in the federal government’s pre-budget consultation process.

More than 7,000 high school students, from more than 450 schools throughout the country, took part in the 2018 Student Budget Consultation.

Major points of interest include:

  • Environmental protection a key priority – For the second year in a row, 60 per cent of students believe that protecting the environment is a major national priority and that funding in this area should be increased.
  • Increase education and healthcare transfers – Approximately half of students believe that the government should increase funding for education, health care and support for women and youth. Meanwhile, only 15 per cent of students want more investment in arts and culture.
  • Ranking major issues – When asked to rank the issues the government should focus on, students selected health care, the environment, and the economy as their top three concerns.
  • Students confident in their job prospects – 92 per cent of students are confident that they will be able to find jobs which interest them, after graduation.
  • Youth unemployment a concern – 59 per cent of students believe there is a youth unemployment problem in Canada; however, this percentage is noticeably smaller than it was in last year’s survey, when 68 per cent of students believed youth unemployment to be problematic.
  • Upward mobility is possible – 72 per cent of students believe that, with hard work, upward mobility is achievable in Canadian society today.
  • Affordability of post-secondary education – The bulk of students (39 per cent) believe that making post-secondary education more affordable is the most important step that the government could take to assist families.
  • Carbon pricing – Students are increasingly in favour of federal carbon pricing (45 per cent) but a sizeable portion is still reluctant to take a position on the issue (37 per cent).
  • Income inequality a concern – More than half of students believe that income inequality is a problem in Canada and that wealthy individuals, and to a lesser extent corporations, should be taxed at higher rates than they currently are.

To view an infographic of the results highlights, click here.

To view the complete results report, click here.

To view a map of participating schools, click here.

About the Student Budget Consultation

The Student Budget Consultation provides youth with an opportunity to learn about the government’s revenues and expenditures, discuss important political issues and suggested policies, and offer their insights on the priorities of the federal budget. The opinions of students are collected through a survey and the results are shared with the federal Department of Finance.

The 2018 Student Budget Consultation was organized by CIVIX with the support of the Government of Canada.

The 2018 Student Budget Consultation survey was conducted in partnership with Vox Pop Labs between November 2017 and February 2018.

About the Organization

CIVIX is a national registered charity dedicated to building the skills and habits of active and engaged citizenship among young Canadians. CIVIX provides experiential learning opportunities to help young Canadians practice their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and connect with their democratic institutions.

Student Vote, the flagship program of CIVIX, is a parallel election for students under the voting age, which coincides with official elections. In the 2015 federal election, 922,000 elementary and secondary students cast a Student Vote ballot from approximately half of all schools in Canada.

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Student Budget Consultation 2018: Youth Voices

February 22nd, 2018 by Dan Allan

The Student Budget Consultation is a civic-education and financial-literacy program for high-school students across Canada. The process gives young people an opportunity to learn about government and current affairs, debate varying viewpoints about public policy, and offer their own opinions on the priorities of the federal budget.

Since November 2017, more than 7,000 young Canadians have participated in the 2018 Student Budget Consultation survey. Results have come from more than 450 schools throughout the country, representing every province and territory. A preliminary report on student opinions was shared with the Department of Finance in December 2017, and a final report will be shared by CIVIX upon the conclusion of the project.

New to this year’s project, CIVIX invited youth representatives to share their views on issues that matter to them, and explain how they could be addressed in Budget 2018. These include issues such as debt, mental health, the environment, women’s representation in government and Indigenous rights.

We also invited student participants to share their own views on important issues through audio or video clips, and we received some great responses. Excerpts are available below:

 

Catharine Laflamme (Grade 11 student)

“I think one of the first issues we should be looking at is tax savings and dealing with the top one per cent avoiding paying their taxes. We cannot balance the budget if we’re not getting the proper income from taxes first. Everyone should have an equal opportunity and be paying their fair share.

“Next, the federal government needs to look at how they’re spending Canadians’ hard-earned tax dollars. Instead of looking at short-term solutions, such as funding the oil and gas sector, we should be looking at long-term solutions to benefit the future generations, such as renewable energy and resources. Canada should be working on lessening the heavy financial and environmental weight we are leaving for our children.

“Finally, Canada needs to make sure the middle and lower-class citizens are being heard. All politicians at every level should be approachable and accessible even to the Canadian citizens who have to work 12 hours a day to support their family.

“There are many ways to get citizens involved, such as open houses, public hearings, delegations, public planning sessions and more. When the federal government starts opening up to public opinion, that’s when we will start to get more diverse budgetary solutions.”

 

Shelby Dirksen and Ashley Williams (Grade 11 students)

“We want the student budget to focus on the environment because we are dependent on the environment and the resources it provides.

“Without the environment, the economy will drastically decline and people will be left without jobs. We want the government to focus their funds on certain issues like pollution, the destruction of habitat and most importantly climate change.

“Climate change is a growing issue and by not putting the environment first we’re endangering all of our lives. The environment hasn’t always been first priority so this year we need to make it one and find a way to save our homes and cut back on our waste.

“We are all capable in contributing to this issue. We’re the ones that started it so we need to end it.”

 

Joey Gilderdale (Grade 11 student)

“Canada’s federal budget should be equally spent amongst all needs, wants and priorities that Canadians have and things our country needs as a whole.

“The upcoming federal budget, I feel, needs to include a wildfire fund. In the past 2-3 years we’ve had horrible wildfires in Alberta, and then in 2017 all amongst B.C.

“Wildfires are becoming more common during our summer months. These wildfires can happen anywhere and the budget should not only cover money to help train people to help deal with fires, but it should give people basic fire-prevention tips and emergency gear, training for firefighters, police forces, the Canadian armed forces and paramedics.

“Support should be given to those affected by wildfires and to help with future problems of wildfires. The budget should include enough money to train those mentioned and fund firefighting and fire prevention, and emergency situations.”

 

Logan Huband (Grade 11 student)

“The environment is one of the most important areas that the budget should support greatly. Creating new ways to reduce waste, and making clean renewable energy the norm, should be a top priority. Because at the end of the day, the budget won’t matter if you don’t have a planet to use it on.

“Secondly, post-secondary education should be made more affordable to increase accessibility to lower economic classes. This is also a key priority to ensure the future stays strong with well-educated people.

“Lastly, affordable housing should be invested in to grow the economy as well as grow cities and the population as a whole.”

 

Looking for more of what Canadian high-school students want to see in the upcoming federal budget? CIVIX will be releasing the 2018 Student Budget Consultation results next week! Results from previous years are available here.

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80,000 Alberta youth cast ballots in Student Vote program for the local elections

October 16th, 2017 by Dan Allan

More than 80,000 elementary and high school students participated in the Student Vote project for the 2017 local elections in Alberta.

After learning about government and the electoral process, exploring the issues and candidates, and discussing the election with family and friends, students cast ballots for their local municipal council and school board trustee candidates.

“CIVIX would like to thank all of the dedicated teachers that have made civic education a priority and added democracy to the curriculum,” says Taylor Gunn, President of CIVIX. “With more than 80,000 participants, we have surpassed expectations for our first-ever local elections project in Alberta.”

By 3:45 p.m. MT, 758 schools had reported their election results, representing 124 municipalities throughout the province. In total, 82,284 ballots were cast by student participants.

MUNICIPAL ELECTION RESULTS: http://studentvote.ca/results/ablocal2017 

SCHOOL AUTHORITY RESULTS: http://studentvote.ca/results/home/municipal_results_by_school_boards/22

RESULTS HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Calgary: Naheed Nenshi was elected mayor with 45.9% of the vote, defeating Bill Smith (27.9%), David Lapp (7.5%), Andre Chabot (4.6%) and Stan ‘The Man’ Waciak (4.2%), among other challengers. More than 31,000 students cast ballots from 215 schools representing all 14 municipal wards.
  • Edmonton: Don Iveson was elected mayor with 57.3% of the vote, defeating Justin Thomas (7.4%), Carla Frost (6.5%), Mike Butler (5.1%) and Taz Bouchier (4.5%), among other challengers. More than 18,000 students cast ballots from 193 schools representing all 12 municipal wards.
  • Throughout the province: An additional 30,000 students from 121 municipalities throughout the province cast ballots for their local municipal council and school board trustee candidates.

BACKGROUND:
Student Vote is the flagship program of CIVIX, Canada’s leading civic education charity. CIVIX provides authentic learning opportunities to help young Canadians develop the habits of active and engaged citizenship. CIVIX programming focuses on the themes of elections, government budgets, elected representatives and news literacy.

The Student Vote project for the 2017 local elections was made possible with support from the Government of AlbertaEdmonton Community FoundationAlberta Teachers’ Association, Galvin Family Trust, Elections Alberta and the Government of Canada.

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Student Vote Days for the Alberta Local Elections

October 12th, 2017 by CIVIX

60,000 students will voice their political opinions in first-ever Student Vote program for Alberta local elections

Even though they are under the voting age, more than 60,000 elementary and high school students from throughout Alberta will have an opportunity to consider the future direction of their community and vote for candidates running for municipal council and school board trustee.

The Student Vote program is a hands-on learning program that enables teachers to bring democracy alive in the classroom, and empowers students to experience the voting process firsthand and practice the habits of active and engaged citizenship.

Screenshot 2016-01-20 13.11.58

Participating schools are supplied with free learning materials and election supplies to help them engage in the campaign and organize a parallel vote.

Students learn about local government and democracy, and research the issues and candidates through classroom activities, family discussion and campaign events. In the culminating activity, students take on the roles of election officials and coordinate the election process for their peers.

On Student Vote Day (October 12 and 13), students cast ballots for the candidates running for mayor/reeve, councillor and school board trustee. The results are tabulated and released publicly following the closing of the official polls.

A total of 934 schools have registered to participate in the Student Vote program for the 2017 local elections, representing 158 Alberta municipalities. This is the first Student Vote program to be held for municipal and school board elections in Alberta.

With support from the Government of AlbertaEdmonton Community FoundationAlberta Teachers’ Association, Galvin Family Trust, Elections Alberta and the Government of Canada, the Student Vote program was offered free to schools.

The Student Vote election results will be released at the close of polls on Monday, October 16 (8:00 p.m. MT).

Student Vote is the flagship program of CIVIX, Canada’s leading civic education charity. CIVIX provides authentic learning opportunities to help young Canadians practice their rights and responsibilities as citizens and connect with their democratic institutions. CIVIX programming focuses on the themes of elections, government budgets, elected representatives and news literacy.

Since 2003, CIVIX has coordinated 36 Student Vote projects at various levels of elections. In the 2015 federal election, 922,000 students cast ballots from 6,662 schools representing all 338 ridings.

Posted in English, News, Student Vote | Comments Off on Student Vote Days for the Alberta Local Elections

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