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National Youth Survey Report


1.1 Background

Elections Canada is the independent, non-partisan agency responsible for conducting federal general elections, by-elections and referendums. As part of its mandate, Elections Canada implements public education and information programs to make the electoral process better known to the public, particularly to those persons and groups most likely to experience difficulties in exercising their democratic rights. In 2008, Elections Canada implemented a five-year Strategic Plan 20082013, which identified youth engagement as one of three strategic objectives. To inform its outreach efforts encouraging youth electoral participation, Elections Canada commissioned R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd. (hereafter referred to as "the consultant") to design, administer and analyze the results of the National Youth Survey.

1.2 Objectives and Scope of the Survey

The purpose of the survey, which was national in scope, was to provide research findings to allow Elections Canada to better target and tailor its outreach and educational initiatives to Canadian youth aged 18 to 34, with additional information on subgroups. Specific objectives included the following:

  • Determine to what extent electoral participation varies across key youth subgroups namely, Aboriginal youth, ethnocultural youth, youth residing in rural areas, youth with disabilities and unemployed youth who are not in school.
  • Identify the specific barriers that subgroups encounter that limit their electoral participation.
  • Determine what values, attitudes and behavioural factors are linked to voting and non-voting among youth and determine whether or not these variables are differently related across subgroups.
  • Identify values, attitudes and behaviours associated with voting that can be leveraged through outreach strategies to increase the electoral participation of subgroups.
  • Identify possible causes behind lower turnout among specific subgroups and isolate those causes that can be addressed by Elections Canada and other key stakeholders.
  • Identify possible interveners with the potential to encourage youth to vote.
  • Generate segmented profiles of youth voters and non-voters.