The provincial election is the most important time to speak up and influence Ontario’s priorities for the next 4 years. Your vote on June 7th will influence decisions on how the government addresses the affordable housing crisis, supports job growth, prioritizes transit strategies, and other important issues.
But sometimes with all the information out there it can be as clear as mud. Whether you’re a young person about to head to your first poll, a new citizen diving into local politics, a seasoned voter looking for the right information or just someone looking to make your voice heard, we’re here to help.
Here are eight things you can do to get informed and get ready to make your voice heard on Election Day with voting, candidate and issue focused resources to help you along the way!
1. So, what does the provincial government do again?
If you’re Canadian you’ve probably forgotten most of your grade 9 Civic class or if you’re a newcomer you may have missed some of the details in the excitement of getting here. Either way, the upcoming election is a good excuse to brush up on your political knowledge! By familiarizing yourself with how the government works you’ll understand what positions you’re voting to fill.
Here are a few resources that explain everything you’d need to know:
- TVO teaches Civics 101 through a series of web videos
- Ontario Nonprofit Network shares an informative infographic on the Ontario Government
- The Canadian Encyclopedia lists everything you need to know about provincial government
2. Cast your vote in the way that’s easiest for you!
Elections Ontario makes it really easy to vote. If you’re at home, away, or won’t be available on the day, there are number of ways to vote. You can vote in advance, mail in your ballot, or visit the polling station on June 7, 2018 – Election Day, and there are accessibility supports in place if you need them.
A common myth: The need to pre-register. While registering in advance will make it easier to vote you can also register at the polls by bringing along one piece of identification that has your name and residential address.
And if you can’t vote because of your age or immigration status, you can still get close to the action by applying to work the election.
3. Plan out your voting expedition.
No adventurer sets out on a journey unprepared, and neither should you. Look up the location of your polling station and plug it into your Google Maps. Get all of your documents together so you’re not scrambling as you head out the door. Arrange your work schedule to give yourself time to vote. By law, all eligible voters are entitled to have three consecutive hours to vote which must be accommodated by your employer, so working isn’t an excuse.
4. Find your perfect political match.
If you’re addicted to Buzzfeed quizzes, then taking a political quiz is just what you need to find which political party best aligns with your values. If you’re heading to the polls on June 7th, this may help you decide which way to vote and if you can’t vote yet this is a good way to get a sense of which party reflects your ideals.
5. Find the top issues that everyone’s talking about.
Key issues can decide elections, so you’ll want to know which topics are up for debate.
CBC held a voter engagement survey indicating what voters feel are the most important issues; currently the economy, healthcare, education, the environment, and energy are the top 5.
Dive deeper into why these issues matter and what’s currently being done with helpful infographics on jobs, post-secondary education, transit, affordable housing, and childcare.
You can also catch up by watching TVO’s The Agenda, which covers election issues almost every day and hosts lively debates with diverse perspectives and guests.
6. Discover which party has the best laid plans.
We can all agree that issues like employment and the economy are important, but when it comes to actually making an impact each party has their own idea and strategy. If you just want the bullet points, you can get an overview from Maclean’s Ontario election 2018 platform guide or I Can Party’s website, which explain each party’s stance.
Interested in specific issues? See where each party stands on marijuana legalization, minimum wage, housing, transit and infrastructure, and taxes and hydro hikes in the latest Pressed News cheat sheet.
If you want to hear the ideas straight from those looking to implement the changes, see what Party Leaders have to say about key issues in a series of video interviews by The Canadian Muslim Vote. Want to dive into the details? Visit the website for the NDP, PC Party, Liberal Party, or Green Party.
7. Get the popcorn ready for a night of debates.
Probably the most entertaining way to catch up on the party leaders and their platforms is by watching them duke it out on the debate floor.
All of the debates have already aired, but you can catch the recordings online. Grab a bucket of popcorn and switch on the May 7th CityVote debate, tune into the May 11th debate in Parry Sound, or catch the last May 27th debate. Don’t have an hour to spare? Breakfast Television gives the highlights from the first debate in under 3 minutes, and CBC gives you a 90 second recap of the last debate.
8. Who’s your friendly neighborhood representative?
All the focus is on the party leaders but you won’t see their names on the ballot. Your local candidate may not be in the newspaper headlines, yet they’ll be the one representing your community in the Ontario legislature so make sure you know what they stand for too.
First you’ll want to find your riding so you can identify who’s running in your riding and look them up on their party’s website. Check out the lineup of the Liberal Party, PC Party, NDP, and Green Party candidates.