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Ryerson's Faculty of Arts launches the Institute for Future Legislators in Toronto

January 28, 2019

With the federal election approaching in October, many people are considering throwing their hats into the political ring and running for public office. For anyone with such political aspirations, whether at the federal, provincial, or municipal level, Ryerson University’s Faculty of Arts has a unique program to offer: the Institute for Future Legislators Ryerson (IFLR).

Initially developed by the University of British Columbia’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions (external link, opens in new window)  (CSDI), this one-of-a-kind political “boot camp” is coming to Ontario, thanks to a new collaboration between Ryerson University and UBC.

“With heightened concerns about the political climate in Canada and beyond, we are witnessing strong efforts to mobilize for change through longstanding as well as new and diverse forms of democratic engagement,” said Pamela Sugiman, Dean of the Faculty of Arts. “Democratic engagement is at the heart of our mission – from our students, faculty and alumni who are studying or actively engaged in democratic issues to community partners who have opened up spaces to give voice to various groups in society. We are fortunate to be working in collaboration with UBC’S CSDI to offer this unique program to our students and those who aspire to a career in the political realm.”

Offered over three weekends from May to June, in Toronto and Ottawa, the Institute will provide Ryerson students as well as members of the community both mentorship and practical training for future politicians.

Former elected officials, scholars, and veteran political journalists will share their expertise and experience with participants – from connecting with constituents and learning the process of passing a law, to role-playing in a simulated parliamentary session and fielding questions from the media.

Past instructors of the Institute have featured speakers including Preston Manning, former leader of the Official Opposition; former federal deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan; former BC Minister of Finance, Carole Taylor; and former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Steve Peters.

“We could not be more thrilled to be working with Ryerson University to bring this unique experience to Ontario. For democracies to thrive, those with a vocation for public service must be prepared to step up. We believe public universities can and should work with inspiring practitioners to enable citizens to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to represent their communities,” said Max Cameron, director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions, which is housed within the UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs.

The IFLR demonstrates the Faculty of Arts’ strong commitment to fostering civic responsibility and democratic engagement. Some of the recent initiatives include the inaugural Jarislowsky Democracy Chair (opens in new window)  held by Dr. Sanjay Ruparelia, the Democratic Engagement Exchange (opens in new window) , and the launch of the Women in the House (opens in new window) , a pilot program giving Ryerson students who identify as female the opportunity to shadow and network with Members of Parliament.

The Faculty’s distinguished visiting professors including Toronto Star political columnist Martin Regg Cohn and veteran politician Peggy Nash have also shone a bright light on democratic engagement through their successful panels featuring leaders of Ontario’s main political parties and MPPs.

Program dates for the 2019 IFLR program are:

  • May 25 to 26 (Week 1: Toronto)
  • June 8 to 9 (Week 2: Toronto)
  • June 22 to 23 (Week 3: Ottawa)

For more details, visit: (opens in new window) 

Application to the IFLR program begins in early March.


About Ryerson University

Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education. Urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, it is home to more than 45,300 students, including 2,600 Master’s and PhD students, 3,800 faculty and staff, and nearly 198,000 alumni worldwide.  

About the University of British Columbia’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions

CSDI seeks to advance publicly engaged research, teaching and dissemination of ideas and knowledge about innovation in democratic practice and institutions. It is part of the University of British Columbia, a global centre for teaching, learning and research, consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world and recently recognized as North America’s most international university.

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Suelan Toye
Communications and Media Relations Officer
Faculty of Arts | Ryerson University
Office: 416-979-5000 x3868

Professor Maxwell A. Cameron
Director, Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions
University of British Columbia | UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs
Office: 604-822-3129