What to Expect When You're Electing
What to Expect When You're:Getting StartedGetting OrientedGetting InformedGetting into DiscussionsGetting InvolvedGetting to the PollsStaying Engaged

What to Expect When You're Electing

Welcome to What to Expect When You’re Electing. Delivered in a clear, concise, and non-partisan manner, this explainer series helps you navigate Canada's federal election by busting common myths, answering frequently asked questions, and supporting healthy political conversations. Look out for a new explainer every Tuesday!

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Prefer to listen to the series instead? Check out our weekly podcast, hosted by the Samara Centre's Yvonne Su.


Getting Started


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1.    Learn about how Parliament works straight from the source

Apathy is Boring’s infographic on the different levels of government

CIVIX’s videos on parliamentary democracy and our electoral system

The Samara Centre’s primer on electoral reform

The Samara Centre’s video on a day in the life of an MP

The Library of Parliament highlights differences in the way Canadians and Americans govern themselves

The Samara Centre’s report on how federal election candidate are chosen

Learn About:



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1.    Party platform trackers (eg. MacLean's, CTV/Canadian Press) provide side-by-side platform comparisons

2.    Websites of the five major parties in Canada include the Bloc QuébécoisConservative Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, Liberal Party of CanadaNew Democratic Party

Elections Canada lists all registered federal political parties

An overview of the strategy behind party platforms from CBC's Canada Votes Newsletter (June 2019)





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1.   Find out how your views compare to party platforms with Vote Compass

2.   For questions to ask candidates who come to your door, check out the Samara Centre’s Stronger Democracy Platform and Door Hanger

3.   Apathy is Boring’s #iSpeakElection Disinformation Campaign can help you evaluate the news

4.   Watch the National Leaders’ Debates: The English debate is on October 7 and the French debate is on October 10

For an example of local candidate debates, see
100 Debates on the Environment





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1.   The Samara Centre’s Field Guide to Online Political Conversations

2.   New York Times’ Angry Uncle chat bot

3.   '#IAmHere' a volunteer campaign to fight hate speech on Facebook

4.   Robb Willer’s Ted Talk on how to have better political conversations





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1.   Work for Elections Canada! A great way to witness democracy in action is to work at a polling station. Each election, Elections Canada hires thousands of people across the country.

2.   If you’re a young person, you can volunteer with get-out-the-vote organizations like Future Majority and Apathy Is Boring.

3.   Organize an all-candidates meeting in your community.

4.   Join an election campaign: Bloc Québecois, Conservative Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada, New Democratic Party.




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1.   Elections Canada’s Voter Information Service provides information about your electoral district, including a list of local candidates, locations of polling stations, and a map of your electoral district.

2.   For a comprehensive list of acceptable voter ID, and other important information about ID, head over to the Elections Canada website.

3.   Still unsure about who to vote for? CBC’s Vote Compass and Future Majority’s Who to Vote For are easy-to-use tools that allow you to compare party platforms and find out how your views align on different issues.

4.   Need help getting to the polls? Try contacting a political party and asking if they can assist you with transportation: Bloc Québécois, Conservative Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada, New Democratic Party, People’s Party of Canada.





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1.   Learn more about different ways that a government can be formed depending on the election results.

2.   Join a political party and play a role in shaping politics from the inside:  Bloc QuébécoisConservative Party of CanadaGreen Party of CanadaLiberal Party of CanadaNew Democratic Party.

3.   Participate in government consultations and make your voice heard on the hundreds of active consultations that take place every day all over our country.

4.   Read the Samara Centre’s Democracy 360 Report to explore the many ways that Canadians talk, act, and lead in politics.

5.   Contact your MP or other political leaders and let them know what you think about an issue. Click here to find your MP.

6.   Keep up-to-date with the laws being considered by Parliament on the Library of Parliament’s LEGISinfo site.

7.   Follow the work of House of Commons committees as they review proposed legislation and study issues that affect Canadians.



Still have a question about Canada's federal election or democracy?
Send us an email at [email protected] and we'll do our best to answer it.




For media inquires, please contact José Ramón Martí at [email protected].