Campaign School Wellington County offering sessions to encourage diversity

ELORA – While Ontario’s next municipal election is still a year away, organizers of three local campaign schools are encouraging community leaders to think about running now.

To help diversify the candidate pool, they are hosting an online panel to talk about the challenges and rewards of running for office, especially for those who might not have thought about it before.

“We are so excited to be offering this online learning for community leaders who want to explore what is involved in running for municipal council or school board trustee,” shared one of the local organizers Diane Ballantyne, who is currently a Wellington County councillor and provincial NDP candidate in 2018.

“This free session will be full of insights and practical advice from female leaders who have run for office. We hope their voices and experiences will inspire other non-traditional candidates to think about running for leadership positions next fall.”

Are you Election Curious? will be hosted through Zoom on Nov. 10 at 7pm.

The four panellists will include candidates who have won and lost elections at all levels of government.

The 90-minute session will be an opportunity for prospective candidates to listen to other leaders and reflect on their own interest in running for office.

Everyone is welcome to join and can register at

“Running for office is a brave thing to do,” reflected Karen Redman, who is the  current chair of Waterloo Region and former MP for the riding of Kitchener-Centre and one of the session panellists.

“It is especially hard for non-traditional candidates like women and members of the Black, Indigenous and other marginalized communities who might not have thought about running or have an established network to ask for support. I am so excited to be a part of this session to encourage all community leaders to explore what it means to run for office. We need their voices around our decision making tables!”

Campaign School Wellington County wants to diversify the voices of elected officials in local government and school boards. This online forum is the first of three programs designed to encourage, empower and support candidates who come from the female, Indigenous, Black, racialized, LGBTQS2+ and youth communities.

In early 2022, Campaign School Wellington County will be running in-person sessions offering hands-on and practical advice around the details of running a campaign.

In the spring of 2022 it hopes to create a mentoring program that will connect current and past elected officials with those running for office.

Campaign School Wellington County is a volunteer-led initiative to encourage and support members of underrepresented communities, including women, Indigenous, Black, racialized, LGBTQS+ and youth members of our community, to run for office.

Are You Election Curious? is a partnership between the campaign schools in Guelph, Oxford County and Wellington County.