Teaching about electoral integrity

Published Date

In the current social media environment, it can be difficult for students to know what information to trust, including when it comes to elections. Where can they find accurate information? What are the measures in place to protect an election? How can they know if an election was conducted with integrity?

Educators play a special role in safeguarding our electoral democracy. By teaching students how to identify accurate information, how the overall electoral system works and about the measures in place to secure it, they are equipping students with the tools they need to become informed future electors.

Electoral integrity is at the core of everything that Elections Canada does. Six integrity principles guide our vision and operations. Educators can bring these principles into the classroom through hands-on resources that support their curriculum, no matter where they teach in Canada.

Digital Skills for Democracy

How can we find out if information about elections or political issues is something we can trust? In this activity, students learn where to find trustworthy information online through an engaging activity and discussion using scenario cards.

Students learn that Elections Canada is the official source for the most accurate and timely information about the federal electoral process, including how to register and vote. The agency takes steps to monitor the information environment and to counter inaccurate information with facts. When all Canadians have reliable information, that makes our elections more accessible to all.

Choosing our Mascot

For the very youngest learners, Choosing our Mascot allows students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 to experience a simulated election. They mark a ballot to choose a class mascot and learn how the secret ballot is fundamental to a secure electoral process. They are free to vote for their favourite candidate. Maybe it’s Max the Walrus or Neevee the Caribou—it’s their choice!

Election Simulation Toolkit

Through Election Simulation Toolkit, older students can also experience first-hand many of the security measures of a federal election. In this role-play activity, they learn about the duties of election officers and must ensure the integrity of the vote by following security procedures, such as checking ID to make sure each student-elector is eligible to vote and crossing their names off the voters list once they have voted. They also learn about acceptable and unacceptable ways to mark a ballot. The simulated election materials help the students to appreciate the complexity and seriousness of election officers’ tasks and the professionalism required of them. All this shows students the reliability and transparency of the work that Elections Canada does.

Mapping Electoral Districts

This activity invites students to consider what makes an electoral district fair. Through a simulation, students learn how electoral boundaries are adjusted every ten years. They also learn about Elections Canada’s non-partisan role in supporting this redistribution process. Once they understand how fairness is maintained, students’ trust in the integrity of the process is likely to increase.

Geography of Elections

In Geography of Elections, students learn about the cultural, linguistic and geographic diversity of federal electoral districts across Canada. Using maps and fact sheets, they compare their own electoral district with others. They consider the challenges faced by returning officers and candidates in serving the varied needs of Canadians in each district. Returning officers work with their communities to make sure that they receive election services that meet their cultural, linguistic and geographic needs, ensuring the accessibility of the electoral process for all.

Order or download Elections Canada’s educational resources for your classroom, and visit the Elections Canada website to learn more about the Electoral Integrity Framework.