The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is launching an initiative to encourage more candidates from diverse communities to run in the 2022 municipal elections.
The campaign, called “We all Win,” promotes the understanding that municipal governments serve the public better when they reflect the diversity of their communities. Having the voice of diverse genders and identities, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, ages, and abilities and more around the council table is key to building inclusive and sustainable communities across the province.
The campaign will spotlight advice and experiences from elected officials who are making a difference through municipal government. AMO is building an online resource page to help connect those considering a run for municipal office with organizations that provide resources and training to candidates. AMO also provides an online resource, “So You Want to Run for Council,” that provides all kinds of advice and insight into getting ready to run and the ins and outs of the role of a municipal councillor.
“AMO’s Board recognizes that more inclusive municipal councils will help create stronger, more equitable communities,” said AMO President Graydon Smith. “Municipal governments provide the services people rely on most, every day. When people with diverse perspectives and experiences run for municipal office, we get a better election and a better debate about the future of our communities.”
Ontario’s 444 municipal governments invest revenues of $50 billion annually in important public services and infrastructure. From clean drinking water, affordable housing and childcare to good roads and safe streets, municipal services shape our communities and are key to creating places where everyone can thrive.
“Municipal government offers the opportunity to make real and positive impact on communities,” said Velma Morgan, Chair of Operation Black Vote Canada a non-profit and multi-partisan organization that supports the election of Black people to public office. “To meet the needs of all residents, it is important that municipal councils have many voices at the decision-making table, reflecting the diverse lived experiences of people in the community.”
Municipal candidates must fund and manage their own campaigns. This can create barriers for those from historically under-represented communities. Programs like Operation Black Vote Canada and others provide critical support to help people run successful campaigns.
There are 2,864 municipal elected positions across Ontario. Demographic data, such as gender, age, race or ethnicity, is not collected for municipal elections or officials. However, an AMO analysis of the 2018 municipal election estimated that 27% of all candidates were women and 29% of those who were successfully elected or acclaimed were women.
“To tap into the best talent in our community and make decisions that serve everyone best, everyone needs to feel welcome at the council table,” Smith added. “This is the first step in AMO’s ongoing commitment to foster more inclusive and equitable municipal government.”
Learn more at: www.amo.on.ca/we-all-win