Advisory Circle of Educators - Terms of Reference
The Advisory Circle of Educators (ACOE) is mandated to provide advice to Elections Canada:
- on future directions for the agency's program in civic education that is based on their specific education landscape and regional audiences;
- on specific educational resources and initiatives; and
- on best ways to ensure uptake by educators and key stakeholders across the country.
At the invitation of Elections Canada, ACOE members serve as advisors on programming in civic education that the agency develops for schools.
More specifically, ACOE members advise on the development of new educational resources and specific initiatives.
ACOE members are expected to advise Elections Canada on relevant changes or developments in their educational landscapes, on curriculum development, and on opportunities in professional development in their communities.
ACOE members advise on best practices and help increase the effective promotion of the agency's initiatives in civic education in schools across Canada; and raise awareness among their colleagues through provincial or territorial education and interjurisdictional networks, including among Indigenous learners and in First Nations schools.
Members are appointed for a term of three years, beginning in June 2023 and ending in June 2026. Should a member need to withdraw, a replacement will be found. Members may have the opportunity to stay beyond their term in order to maintain continuity of the committee.
Membership and chair
ACOE members are invited as experts and participate in a personal capacity. They are selected based on their expertise in teaching social studies or a related subject at any level; and on a desire to balance expertise in civic literacy, developing curriculum, developing and delivering professional development, and evaluating programs, among others. See the Annex for Representation and Expertise.
Elections Canada will serve as a secretariat for the ACOE, which will be chaired by senior management of the agency's Public Affairs and Civic Education branch. The agency will organize meetings, including agenda items and material, and invite all participants to be equal contributors. Elections Canada will provide logistical, reporting and general support for ACOE meetings as well as for ad hoc engagement or targeted consultation.
During their term, ACOE members will be asked to attend up to two consultation sessions per year, one virtually and one in-person in the National Capital Region (Ottawa–Gatineau), usually in the fall and winter. Throughout the year, ACOE members may also be consulted from a distance, either individually or in a virtual discussion group, as required. They may be consulted for meeting preparation, for direction or details on specific initiatives, as provincial liaisons, or for a meeting follow-up.
It is expected that meetings will last two days, requiring four days' commitment per year, plus travel time. Elections Canada will determine the structure of the meetings, depending on the status of initiatives under development, current issues, the need for particular consultations, and any other matters that might be raised by ACOE members. The time commitment for consultation between meetings will vary from year to year, but it is expected to be a maximum of 20 hours annually.
During their term, ACOE members are asked to help expand the reach of Elections Canada's program in civic education and share within their network their experience in using Elections Canada's resources in civic education. Their contribution helps to support hard-to-reach audiences such as, but not limited to, Indigenous learners, First Nations schools, linguistic minority communities, and students and teachers with disabilities.
Location, travel and expenses
The meetings will take place in the National Capital Region (Ottawa–Gatineau). Elections Canada will coordinate the travel and fully cover the expenses associated with participating in face-to-face meetings. Travel expenses will be reimbursed as per the Treasury Board of Canada's Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures for non public servant travel. Should practising teachers require supply teachers while they attend meetings in the National Capital Region, reimbursement for this expense would be considered on an individual basis, where appropriate.
Confidentiality and impartiality
In accepting to be part of the ACOE, members agree that they will not disclose any information or documents that are in the planning phase. Members serve as subject matter experts and provide advice that is non-partisan and impartial. Meetings are held on a not-for-attribution basis to encourage candid discussion.
As members are invited to participate based on their knowledge and expertise, no alternates or other representatives may replace ACOE members at meetings. This also helps to ensure the continuity of discussion.
Annex – Representation and Expertise
Criteria for Selecting Members
Representation (total of 17 advisors)
There shall be one representative from each province and territory (total of 13). There shall be two representatives teaching in First Nations schools and in Indigenous communities (e.g. First Nations schools, Inuit or Métis communities).
There shall be two advisors at large who might be (but are not limited to being) curriculum specialists, academics, education ministry officials or award-winning teachers of citizenship.
The ACOE shall at all times include members who are Anglophone and Francophone; are relatively new to the classroom and seasoned educators; are from large and small schools in urban and rural settings; offer a balanced gender representation; and represent multiple ethnic (e.g. new Canadian) and accessibility perspectives.
The ACOE shall at all times include at least eight educators who currently teach in the classroom in social studies or a related subject at any level from grade 4 to 12 (in Quebec, level 4 to CÉGEP).
The 17 representatives shall have among them a balance of the following expertise:
- teaching social studies at a secondary level
- teaching at an elementary level (grade 4 to 8)
- teaching newcomers to Canada
- teaching students with special needs and/or are teachers living with a disability
- teaching at the post-secondary level (college or university) in a faculty of education
- having experience teaching or developing civics courses
- developing curricula
- piloting new initiatives
- creating and delivering professional development
- presenting at education events and conferences
- serving on executive boards of organizations for provincial or territorial social studies
- working with teachers' associations/federations
- participating on planning committees for new teaching initiatives
- participating in committees evaluating and/or developing programs
- engaging actively through online networks