Comparing Electoral Systems: Canada and the United States

Introduction 

Canada has a unique federal electoral system. While Canada and the United States (US) share similarities, their federal electoral systems are quite different.   

In the weeks before and after the 2020 US presidential election, teachers can use this activity to help students better understand Canada’s system by comparing it to that of the US. 

Activity sheets are featured in Google for ease of use in blended learning environments.

Level: Secondary

Inquiry question: How do Canada’s federal elections compare to those of the US? 

Getting ready 

The following materials are provided in different formats to help meet your needs. You can access the Google Drive folder with all of the online materials.

Materials:

Teacher instructions

Using the Thinking Guide, ask your students to reflect on and answer the What Do You Know? questions. Once students have noted their answers, have them share some ideas with the class. 
Distribute the Federal Elections Comparison Table and the Backgrounder. 

Have students review the information. They may notice that while there are many similarities between Canadian and US federal elections, there are also many differences. They can note their observations in the Federal Elections Observation Chart online.

  • If working offline, students can create their own observation chart (such as by using a Venn diagram) to compare the similarities and differences. 

Once students have completed this activity, have them reflect on what they learned by answering the review questions in the Thinking Guide.