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Apply now to the Institute for Democratic Leadership 2024

IDL participants at the Senate of Canada
Join the next generation of future legislators

The Institute for Democratic Leadership 2024: Doing Democracy Differently

The Institute for Democratic Leadership is a 6-Week program that seeks to engage thoughtful community members who are interested in exploring not only what today’s legislatures look like, but what could be - particularly those from groups underrepresented as legislators today. The Institute welcomes anyone who wants to understand what it looks like to be elected to office, leading with authenticity grounded in values, and transforming political representation. That includes people who may not see themselves or their aspirations reflected in today’s legislators, those who want to create change, and those who want to better understand how our governments work. 

The Faculty of Arts hosts the Institute for Democratic Leadership annually. This innovative leadership program for aspiring legislators and advocates was inspired by the highly successful program developed by the University of British Columbia’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions (external link) .

Over three weekends participants will 

  • learn about political processes and the pathways to becoming an elected official
  • engage in an experiential learning simulation in the House of Commons
  • build critical skills required in democratic leadership
  • gain a deeper understanding of the work of elected officials
  • enhance their public speaking skills

Change is possible-let’s do democracy differently.

An Educational, Engaging and Immersive 6-Week Program

As a participant in the Institute, you will engage in intensive, hands-on workshops, and mentoring and training from current and former legislators, senior civil servants, high-profile journalists and successful advocates. The program, which runs over three weekends in May and June, culminates in a trip to Ottawa (pandemic permitting) and where participants put their learning into practice in an intensive parliamentary simulation.

The Institute encourages youth, women, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour and 2SLGBTQ+ folks to apply, and learn more about the role of gender and intersectionality in politics and the current political climate.

Participation spots are limited. 

Program Fee: $2000

This fee provides full access to Institute for Democratic Leadership at TMU programming, including interactive sessions with current and former legislators and other high-profile civic leaders, and all course materials.

The fee also includes breakfast for each day the Institute is in session, as well as travel and accommodation for the trip to Ottawa.

Scholarships & Bursaries 

The Faculty of Arts is committed to making this program accessible to successful applicants. Limited number of bursaries will be available for people who are experiencing financial difficulties and would not be able to take part in the program without financial help.

We encourage anyone interested in applying to explore grants and sponsorships from their organizations, such as corporate development fund and student union conference funding. 

For TMU Faculty of Arts undergraduate students, the Society of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (SASSH) has limited reserved spots and full bursaries ($2,000 each). SASSH is a student-led society that is responsible for serving the interests of 4,900+ Arts undergraduate students at Toronto Metropolitan University.

For non-TMU FoA students, you are still eligible to apply for a bursary, and we encourage you to do so if you require financial support. There are limited spots available.

Successful recipients of scholarships, a $200 fee is required for participation. This is to guarantee your full participation in the program.

Application information coming soon.

Please direct any questions to