Image: knehcsg/Flickr

Election day in Ontario is on June 7, 2018, advance voting starts May 26, and you can vote at your returning office starting May 10. The polls show a tightening of the race but they still are predicting a PC win and that means Doug Ford may become Ontario’s premier. Polls can be wrong, but if we want another outcome, we have to do a lot more than post memes supporting or opposing candidates on social media, and turn out the vote among our friends.    

Right now, candidates are out in our communities holding meet and greets, knocking on doors, coming out to debates and stumping for your vote. Organizations across Ontario have been putting together tools to arm voters and organizers with information and questions about the issues that matter to them. 

Read and share the questions communities and organizations want to ask candidates, find out about debates in your community and learn about the candidates’ positions. If we don’t want to wake up on June 8 feeling like many of our neighbours to the south did in November 2016, we need to get to work. Get out to debates in your community and ask about these issues and perhaps a few more in the audience will be swayed to support a candidate who is working for the public good.

Candidate questionnaires

Find the ones which resonate with you and your friends and use them to talk to candidates in your riding and to your friends about the issues.

  • Are you and your community interested in local food and farming? Sustain Ontario has put together a set of questions and a vision for good food and farming. 
  • Do you want to know the concerns of rural Ontario? The Rural Ontario Institute put together a survey to identify the main concerns in rural communities across Ontario and used this to develop a set of candidate questions. The top ranking concerns were access to health-care facilities and senior care in rural communities, but there are also environmental, addiction treatment, and infrastructure concerns. Check the website to see how the political parties have responded to the questionnaire.
  • Are you interested in what Chief Isadore Day had to say in a TVO podcast about relations between the province’s First Nations communities and the Ontario government, what he thinks of the recent Liberal budget, and what he hopes the party leaders commit to for First Nations?
  • Are you interested in what working families have said is important for them? The Ontario Federation of Labour has put together a set of comprehensive questionnaires, issue-specific guides on womendecent work and public services, and regional guides on Hamilton and the Durham region
  • What must be done in the fight for accessible, quality and public health care? The Ontario Health Coalition has put together this set of questions for candidates. 
  • The Council on Aging has been surveying seniors in preparation for the election to determine their priorities. They have released a priorities guide for seniors and persons with disabilities living in Ottawa and a study focused on housing for aged populations.
  • Three Ontario teacher federations have put together voter information. The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario and Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation have put together publicly available tools and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Federation has put together a guide for its members.
  • OCASI has put together a multi-issue candidate questionnaire to build towards an inclusive Ontario which ensures that visible minorities’, recent immigrants’, and First Nations’ needs are met. 
  • The Canadian Federation of University Women (CUFW) Ontario Council has put together a questionnaire on issues like housing, child care, education and other issues which women have raised. 
  • Islamophobia and xenophobia are being used by racists across the country (and world) as organizing issues; however, Canadians are organizing against hate. Due to public pressure, Doug Ford was forced to drop former PC leadership candidate Tanya Granic Allen as a candidate. Check your candidate’s actions around immigrant rights. has put together a list of Muslim candidates running for provincial parliament to build Muslim representation in all parties.  

There are other guides. Most of the Ontario unions and many of the advocacy organizations in Ontario will have tools for voters. Please send us any that we should share at toolkit[at]

Photo: knehcsg/Flickr

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Maya Bhullar

Maya Bhullar has over 15 years of professional experience in such diverse areas as migration, labour, urban planning and community mobilization. She has a particular interest in grassroots engagement,...