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Civic Engagement & Participation

For too long, systems of power and oppression have discouraged and disincentivized low-income, Indigenous, racialized, trans, and disabled women, Two-Spirit, and non-binary people from engaging in the civic process —from participating in council meetings, advisory committees, voting, sharing their experience with council, to running for and being elected. WTC is committed to addressing this inequity - at the systemic and community level - by increasing the understanding of civic processes of all equity-deserving genders and historically underrepresented communities, and working with municipalities to address barriers to engagement.

  • Civic participation does not reflect the full diversity of local communities due to barriers of time, language, privilege, power and skills. Council chambers are colonial spaces that are not safe, accessible, or inclusive for many community members.

  • As a result - the voices most often heard by councils are those who face the lowest barriers to participation - primarily wealthy, white, high income homeowners. 

  • The ability to participate in democratic processes and see people with similar lived experiences in leadership roles is critical to feeling a sense of belonging in your community.

  • The system requires community input for change to take place. Municipal governments require active participation from communities to make decisions that meet the needs of those made marginalized. 

  • If cities work for equity-deserving genders, they work for all of us.

Our Approach

Mentoring of individuals who have been historically excluded from civic processes through our Watch Council program.
Advocacy in collaboration with community groups and front line service delivery organizations to highlight their concerns to city councils.
Resource development to support engagement and demystify engagement processes.
Workshops in partnership with under-represented groups to build skills and understanding.
Organizing around critical issues and training community members on campaigning.
Research to understand systemic barriers to participation.
Amplifying voices to councils who are otherwise not heard.

"So much gratitude to WTC for the posting a few months back around openings on City Committees. I applied (thanks for the nudge and tips!) and am now on the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee. I would not have known about the openings if it weren't for WTC, and would not have felt confident in applying."

— Kaile Shilling, WTC Member

“If you organize, say 200 people at the federal level you might not have as much sway. But 200 people at the local level? That’s pretty significant leverage! That’s not to say that organizing at the local level is easy. But it is important.”

— Participant at our Civic Engagement Workshops

If you'd like to support our work and help us transform cities into spaces that work for all people, please consider making a donation to WTC.
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