Doing research

Being well-informed is an essential part of advocacy. Find out as much as you can about the issue you are passionate about, what is currently being done about it, and the alternatives that have been proposed. The following are some places to begin your research:

  • Newspaper articles.
  • Organizational websites For example, www.cpj.ca. Organization Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, & blogs are also great ways to keep up-to-date!
  • Parliamentary reports on the topic.
  • Websites of government departments – These can be found at www.canada.ca. Each departmental website has press releases outlining current initiatives and stating the government’s rationale for specific policies.
  • Party websites and election platforms will tell you the commitment of the government and the opposition parties
  • The Speech from the Throne and ministerial speeches outline a government’s proposed direction
  • RSS Feeds allow you to be notified when new information is published online. Subscribing to RSS feeds on news websites or relevant blogs will keep you up-to-date on the latest news on a specific topic.
Keep in Mind: Accessing Information. For access to government correspondence or documents pertaining to an issue, contact the government department responsible. You may be able to obtain this information informally, or you may have to submit a formal request under the Access to Information Act. If this is the case, you must fill out an “Access to Information Request Form.” There is a $5 processing fee

Next Steps

When you have spent some time researching your issue (along with the government’s position and the stance other organizations have taken), you will be ready to begin envisioning your advocacy activities. Being informed will give you confidence and credibility and will help you develop clear objectives and an effective strategy. You will also be able to anticipate objections to your cause so you can formulate counter-arguments to those who may oppose your view.

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