New Canadians cherish their right to vote, ICC study finds

ICC Reasons for VotingNot surprising and confirms earlier studies but nevertheless important measure of integration and participation, and further reinforces ‘shopping for the ethnic vote’:

The study released this month by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) examined political participation of new citizens who received their citizenship between May 2012 and November 2014.

Through focus groups across Canada, it also explored this increasingly important block of voters’ reasons for voting and not voting, as well as their civic engagement beyond the ballot box.

“In 2014, Canada swore in more than 260,000 new citizens. As these people enter the body politic, by definition, they are also changing it. The ICC felt an election year was the perfect moment to examine the ongoing evolution of the Canadian voter,” said Charlie Foran, the institute’s CEO.

“We learned that new citizens believe in political participation, and are finding plenty of ways to become involved. We also learned that they definitely value the vote, and want to overcome any practical barriers that might keep them from casting their ballot.”

The key findings of the report, titled “Ballots & Belonging”:

  • 48 per cent of new citizens felt permanent residents should be allowed to vote in municipal elections;
  • 23 per cent reported having emailed or called an elected official about an issue;
  • 26 per cent had personally spoken with a candidate during their first election;
  • 10 per cent had put a candidate sign on the front lawn;
  • 5 per cent had donated money to a political party or candidate;
  • 12 per cent had attended an all-candidates debate/meeting;
  • 7 per cent had volunteered on a political campaign;
  • 6 per cent had become a member of a political party;
  • 46 per cent cited lack of knowledge of the issues and knowledge of the process as reasons not to vote;
  • 6 per cent said they didn’t vote because of the lack of interest and dissatisfaction with the government or political system.

“ ‘Ballots & Belonging’ speaks to how new citizens feel about the most fundamental marker of democracy — the vote,” said Foran.

Source: New Canadians cherish their right to vote, study finds | Toronto Star

Why 13 new citizens decided to become Canadian

Nice profile in the Globe of a number of new citizens at a citizenship ceremony hosted by the Governor General and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship:

‘Canadian citizenship is valued the world over, and with good reason. This is a society that values equality of opportunity and excellence, and that sees diversity as a virtue rather than a weakness. In Canada, inclusiveness is a key value, which means that every Canadian citizen should have the opportunity to help shape this country for the better, regardless of background or ethnicity.’ – Governor-General David Johnston

Why 13 new citizens decided to become Canadian – The Globe and Mail.

Chart of the Day: Sports and New Citizens

Great initiative by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship to raise the profile and encourage more new Canadian citizens to participate in sports, with a really good info graphic (which can be saved in a high-resolution pdf) and report (New citizens, sports & belonging):

Sports Infographic-FINAL


Maytree Survey Research Reveals Canada’s Attitudes towards Citizenship

While over two years old, this survey, conducted by Maytree, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, the CBC and Royal Bank, is nevertheless interesting, as it indicates that in general Canadian citizenship policies are working and little appetite for change.

As the Government moves forward with revision to the Act, it will be interesting whether the debate reflects these findings or not.

Maytree New Survey Research Reveals Canada’s Attitudes towards Citizenship » Maytree.