Frequently asked questions
Is Every Day Advocates only for individuals or groups who are new to advocacy?
Definitely not! We hope the network that comes together will include all kinds of groups and individuals who are concerned about the health of our planet as this is how we will show elected officials how broad the base of support for environmental progress is.
Even if you are experienced, we know advocacy takes work. GreenPAC is aiming to make it easier for you to take action by connecting you to experts on how to be an effective advocate and sharing information about timely opportunities to engage your elected officials.
Many local groups are already pros at advocacy and that’s great - you may not need to use all our resources, but you can help organize a town hall and help reach the network’s goal of holding 100 of them this May. As this is almost a third of federal ridings, it is a powerful way to remind our elected officials that Canadians expect environmental progress, not just campaign commitments. Plus, you may find inspiration in being a part of a national network.
How can I get involved?
You can register to join the network on the
website. Once you sign up, we will invite you to join the slack channel and hope that you actively participate in keeping a vibrant but respectful conversation and exchange of knowledge, ideas, information and resources. Right now, we are encouraging folks with the capacity to do so to sign up to host a town hall in May. We also welcome you to join our trainings to start or strengthen your advocacy. Going forward, there will be other engagements you can contribute to.
How much time will be involved?
This will vary based on your team’s experience with advocacy and the actions you decide to take on. GreenPAC is asking all organizers to host a town hall with their MP (and other elected officials, if you’d like). In the lead up to a town hall, the time commitment will be higher. We will provide the resources to help you need to make it easy to reach out to your MP, develop the agenda, promote your event, etc. Other efforts/interactions are up to you to decide based on the interests and capacity of your team.
How will we know what to advocate for/what to ask our MPs?
The decision of what to discuss in your town hall or to raise in other advocacy interactions (e.g. meetings, phone calls) is up to you. We encourage organisers to start by identifying issues of interest to your team.
If your MP took part in one of GreenPAC’s 100 Debates, listen to the recording - you may have questions about the progress they’ve made on their commitments. You might talk to community leaders to find out what they’d like to ask that intersects with the environment (e.g. youth-led or faith-based organizations, the YWCA/YMCA, groups working for racial justice). Or check out the key issues that national environmental organizations are campaigning around. We’ll also connect you with other organizers so you can share ideas and priorities.
What support and resources can GreenPAC and the network provide?
We will be available to support you every step of the way through trainings, our resource portal, on Slack and one-on-one phone calls. Our trainings and toolkit will provide step-by-step guidance to help you organize a great town hall. We will also cover issues such as how to hold an effective meeting with your elected official, how to talk to Conservatives about the environment, how to build and maintain a productive and sustained relationship with your local officials, and how to build support for your advocacy campaign.
We will also be providing tech and organizing support to guide you through using social media, Zoom, slack, eventbrite and other essential digital organizing tools. The network will connect you with other organizers in your province, region, and across the country who will be sharing tips, strategies, and best practices. There will be opportunities for collaboration, provincial and regional coordination.
How do I get into the organizer portal?
We will be providing access to the organizer portal using a password shared in the organizer’s toolkit.
Where can I find the training schedule?
The training schedule will be updated on the Portal and Slack as details are finalized.
How frequently will GreenPAC be in touch?
We want to be responsive to the varied needs of the community so we will offer office hours, most likely on Tuesdays and Thursdays, during which we can discuss and offer support to organisers. We will likely set up a monthly call to talk about network-wide issues, and more frequent check-ins closer to the town halls in May. Please let us know how and when you want to be engaged.
Because GreenPAC will be working to elevate the impact of all of your local efforts through a national storyline and national media coverage, we will occasionally ask for data from you about your local town halls and local actions. But we don’t expect you to show up at trainings or national calls unless they are helpful to your efforts.
Are we having town halls on the same day?
Our goal is to hold local town halls across the country during the same time period, because the significance and scale of this national effort will help to raise awareness of Canadian’s broad concerns for the environment by drawing political and media attention. We want to offer organisers some flexibility for different schedules and commitments, so are planning town halls during the break in the parliamentary sitting calendar from May 17 to 21. As this is a lead up to a long weekend in most parts of Canada, most town halls will most likely be held between the 17th and 19th.
Is this focused on federal ridings only, or can groups extend this to provincial and municipal elected officials?
Our focus is on the federal level but we want to support you at the level that matters most to you and connect you with organisations working at other levels. If you want to invite elected officials from other levels of government to your town hall, we welcome that.
What happens in the event of an election?
Town halls are meant to be an opportunity to drive accountability before elections are called. In the event of an election, we will switch to debates and other interactions with the election process. Similar resources from 100 Debates will be provided again to make it easy to organize a debate.
What do you mean by non-partisan?
This is a strictly non-partisan initiative focused on driving accountability and ensuring that elected officials hear from their constituents. We encourage everyone to organize events and interactions in a manner that is non-partisan, fair and respectful to all parties. It is important that your organizing team is functionally non-partisan (e.g. while individual team members might hold party membership, no one should have a lead role in a party, on a campaign or be a current or recent candidate for office and you should advocate for policy progress not singular partisan solutions).
Is GreenPAC non-partisan? Don’t you endorse candidates during election campaigns?
GreenPAC works with all major political parties to build environmental leadership because we believe that leadership within and across parties is the only way to make sustained progress for the environment. If there is a snap election this year, we will endorse candidates from all the major parties. The candidates that we endorse are selected by an independent, non-partisan Expert Panel. There is no overlap between our election endorsements and Every Day Advocates (i.e. we do not expect you to support our endorsees).
Is involvement in this initiative considered lobbying?
Under Canadian law, “lobbying" is considered to be paid communication with public office holders with regard to things like legislative proposals, regulations, policies or programs, and the awarding of contracts or other financial benefits. The law makes it clear that citizens may communicate with government officials on their own behalf without being considered lobbyists that need to register their activity. If a person is not being paid for their activity, it is not considered lobbying. And even if they are paid, they do not need to register if the total of all their lobbying activity is less than 20% of their duties in a given month (unless they are professional “consultant” lobbyists).
How can I organise without being internet and tech savvy, given the pandemic has moved things online?
Every Day Advocates was initially planned to be in-person but based on current circumstances, we want to take advantage of the opportunity to organise digitally. In many ways, digital organizing is easier as you don’t need to worry about a venue or worry about its capacity (meaning more participants can join). If you are worried about tech, we will support you through training and tools to make organizing online easy with the hope that we can maximise in-person participation in the near future.
Am I going to incur any costs by getting involved? Will GreenPAC help?
Costs of organizing usually relate to the cost to secure venues and print posters. You may have access to local partners to help you cover costs (e.g. loan you their Zoom account for your town hall, storefronts to display your posters). GreenPAC may be able to provide small grants for unavoidable minor costs and should be able to help place ads to promote town halls on social media.