Equal Voice NL partners with local community organizations that provide support, resources and assistance to New Canadians. As we continue to advocate for New Canadian’s right to vote, we also help New Canadians better understand local governance systems and build rapport by facilitating smaller, informal group conversation classes between New Canadians and locally elected politicians.
That way, when the provincial government does make this positive legislative change, New Canadians will already have baseline understanding of our governance systems and will feel confident in voting for their preferred candidates.
We hope to see New Canadians voting in the next round of municipal elections (2024-5), and running for election in subsequent elections.
- New Canadians become more familiar with local political and governance systems.
- New Canadians get to know locally elected representatives so they have an individual they can feel comfortable to reach out to, should they need support.
- New Canadians have a direct opportunity to voice their opinions to locally elected politicians.
- Locally elected politicians learn more about the realities/needs of New Canadians, and obtain more knowledge to make better informed decisions.
- We continue to advocate to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to allow permanent residents and non-citizens such as International students to have the right to vote.
- Upon New Canadians getting the right to vote, we will transition the program to help them run.
- Are you affiliated with an organization that supports New Canadians and want to be involved in this program?
- Are you a current/prospective member of Equal Voice NL and want to volunteer with this program?
- Are you a local politician or senior leader in any level of government and want to get to know New Canadians to make more informed decisions?
EVNL advocates for New Canadian’s right to vote.
We ask the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador (specifically, the Office of Municipal and Provincial Affairs) to change provincial legislature so permanent residents and non-residents such as International Students have the right to vote municipally and provincially.
By doing so, Newfoundland and Labrador would lead the way in being the first province to provide this inclusive election practice.
Why is this program important?
New Canadians deserve to have the right to vote.
New Canadians live within and contribute substantially to our community. Many have lived here for decades as International students, workers, and permanent residents, yet, they cannot vote unless they obtain full citizenship.
An easy way to help build population retention amongst New Canadians is to provide them the right to vote on the conditions of the place in which they live. Currently, Montreal is the only Canadian municipality that allows permanent residents to vote. Nordic countries have allowed permanent residents to vote for decades, recognizing that providing this simple legislative change better integrates non-citizen into their community.
If someone does not have the right to vote, they are being excluded from a vital community engagement opportunity. Additionally, if they do not have the right to vote for their community representative, then they may also not feel comfortable reaching out to elected representatives in times of need- especially individuals who come from areas where they were persecuted for having differing political opinions, or women who came from countries where they didn’t have the right to vote.
Newfoundland and Labrador is the most rapidly aging province in Canada, and has staggeringly high outmigration rates, especially amongst youth. It is not enough to create strategies that help bring New Canadians to Newfoundland and Labrador, we also need to create strategies that help keep New Canadians in Newfoundland and Labrador. This includes (but is not limited to) International students, refugees, and individuals who come here for work.