Ontario Report Card 2022

It's almost Election Day in Ontario!  If democratic reform is important to you, you may want to take a close look at each party's commitments on this topic. 

And to make it easier for you, we've already researched and evaluated the platforms of thirteen parties (every party with more than ten candidates), based on seven unique criteria.

[Details and methodology below the report card]


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Resources and links from Duff Conacher event



We had an incredible two our chat this week with Duff Conacher from Democracy Watch!  Duff was the second guest in our Voices from the Movement series. 

Democracy Watch is a national citizen advocacy group in Canada who have been advocating for reforms since 1993. They have won more than 180 changes to federal and provincial good government and corporate responsibility laws, many of which are world-leading.

Duff and Dave talked in detail about democratic reforms that effectively require everyone in politics and big business to be Open, Honest, Ethical and Representative.



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Resources and links from Desmond Cole event






We had an amazing two-hour conversation with Desmond Cole talking about authentic activism, advocacy tactics, intersectionalism, the limitations of electoral organising and finding room for humour in our work.

Watch the full event and check out our list of links + resources below!



(Full schedule for our Voices from the Movement speakers series)



The Skin We’re in (book)   Learn More   BUY

The Skin We’re In (CBC film)  Watch

Maclean’s Interview


Austin Clark  |  Catherine McKittrickChristina Sharpe   |    Dionne Brand  |   El Jones  |  Idil Abdillahi   |   Nourbese Philip   |  Lorainne Lam (Sanctuary Toronto)  |    Kyrell Grant  |  Rinaldo Walcott  |  Skyler Williams  (Landback Lane)Vicky Mochama  


Black Lives Matter (Canada)   |   Encampment Support Network   |  Hamilton Encampment Support Network   |   Land Defenders of 1492 Land Back Lane  (GoFundMe) |  Sanctuary Toronto  |  Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction


1) Repealing the “Safe Streets” Act


2) De-funding police:

Explainer (by Amira Elghawaby, Press Progress)



Doctors For Defunding Police

Interrupting Criminalization

3) Proportional Representation

Lego my Vote (Unlock Democracy)

CBC; “What would election results have looked like with proportional representation?”


3) Non-Citizen Voting

CCLA: Non-Citizen Voting Rights

NPR: NYC will allow legal non-citizens to vote in local elections

Law Now: Should non-citizen residents be allowed to vote in Canada?


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2021 Wrap Up

2021 was a huge year for us at Unlock Democracy Canada!

We launched the inaugural Ontario Municipal Democracy Index, expanded our coast-to-coast Local Choice campaign, held eleven Better Ballots 101 workshops and supported Canada's growing Vote16 campaign!

We attracted significant media coverage, including TV interviews about ranked ballots and national voting reform.

234 Canadians supported our autumn Fundrazr campaign and each month more and more people are joining us on Patreon.

Thank you for your support, and thank you for caring.

We're making the future brighter, together.  Happy New Year!


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Pink Paint and Politics: Reforming Police Governance in Canada

By Maanvi Dhillon 

Standing in front of a statue dripping with pink paint, Ravyn Wngz looked into a dozen television cameras and explained why Black Lives Matter activists felt they had no other choice but to turn to dramatic tactics. In a speech that quickly went viral online, she softly described her frustration. “We’ve tried many different ways to get the attention and the conversation of those in leadership roles and positions.  It took us having to do this, to get you all to show up” she said, pointing at the pink statue. 

Ten days later, she further expanded on those thoughts, writing “I needed people to understand that we had tried everything—that we had appealed to every aspect of white humanity through books, essays, TED talks, plays, music and protests. Still, we are murdered, while sleeping like Breonna Taylor or while out buying Skittles like Trayvon Martin.”

Ravyn’s frustration raises an important question: why is policing so resistant to public critique?  During the past year, many institutions acknowledged structural racism and reflected on how they needed to change. From sports leagues to school boards to awards shows, there were swift responses to the dialogue and protests that followed the murder of George Floyd and others by police, such as Ejaz Choudry in Canada. Yet police forces, despite the wave of protests from coast to coast in Canadian cities, refuse to budge.  

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ACTION ALERT: Crucial BC vote on Thursday!





Our Amazing Race is heating up across Canada, with grassroots community leaders trying to secure Local Choice for their city councils!

Municipal voting reform is the first step towards democratic renewal in Canada as well as a strategy to increase voter turnout and boost diverse representation on all of our city councils.  

If you live in BC - or know anyone in BC - we have an important action item for you:

On Thursday May 13, local politicians from 33 cities will be voting on Resolution #5, Local Choice: Tools to Improve Representation in Local Government Elections. This is one of the most important resolutions we've seen in years, designed to strengthen local democracy.

There's no one-size-fits-all election system, so Local Choice simply gives each city or town the ability to experiment with democratic reform based on their own local needs. But, sadly, the Lower Mainland Local Government Association has published a recommendation against Resolution #5.

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Across the Pond • April 29

Join Unlock Democracy UK and Unlock Democracy Canada for this transatlantic discussion about democracy!

What can activists in the UK and Canada learn from each other?  RSVP here.

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Call for Directors!

Unlock Democracy is a non-profit organization advocating for democratic renewal across Canada.  Our goal is to rebuild democracy in Canada through inspiring campaigns that foster grassroots participation to overcome apathy and create meaningful change through political and legislative reforms.

Led by the our Creative Director Dave Meslin, our current projects include Local Choice, Lego my Vote, #Vote16 and Better Ballots 101 . We are also looking at new campaigns as they relate to Covid-19’s impact on democracy, including a greater willingness to build bridges across partisan divides and the need to build virtual networks for community collaboration.  

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TORONTO STAR: "if we do not get serious about fixing our democracy, Jan. 6 has shown it’s possible we could lose it."

Important piece in today's Toronto Star by Kofi Hope, featuring a blunt diagnosis of our democratic deficit, featuring analysis and remedies from Brittany Andrew-Amofah as well as our own Creative Director Dave Meslin.

Read and Share!


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Call for Board of Directors!

After seven years as an informal grassroots organsation, we’ve decided to formalize and incorporate as a non-profit! That means we’ll need a Board of Directors. We're looking for fun, dedicated, democracy-loving individuals who have some of the following skills or background:

  • Fundraising / grant writing 
  • Legal background
  • Finance
  • Communication
  • Administration
  • Digital platforms
  • Non-profit experience (professional or Board of Directors)

Our goal is simple: to create campaigns that foster grassroots participation to overcome apathy and create meaningful change through political and legislative reforms.

Along with our Creative Director, Dave Meslin, Unlock Democracy is currently being led by an informal steering committee. Our current campaigns include #TimeToTopple (a municipal voting reform initiative in Ontario) and LEGO my Vote!  We are also looking at new campaigns as they relate to Covid-19’s impact on democracy, including a greater willingness to build bridges across partisan divides and the need to build virtual networks for community collaboration.  

Anyone residing in Canada (18 and over) is eligible to apply. We ideally would like to build a diverse organization that is reflective of the country we live in.
The time commitment will vary, but will roughly be 10-12 hours a month including focused, action-oriented Board meetings. 
Please send a concise expression of interest to [email protected] to find out more.  Feel free to be creative!  

Application due date: Monday, May 25, 2020

Colum Grove-White and Jeff Dennler,
on behalf of the Unlock Democracy steering committee
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