Voting age challenge

The CCRC continues to participate, alongside Justice for Children and Youth (JFCY) and the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights (Asper Centre), and other organizations, as they pursue a court challenge on Canada’s minimum voting age before the end of the year. This project has received second-stage funding from the Court Challenges Program, which helps finance cases of national significance related to constitutional human rights issues.

Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is clear that all Canadian citizens are allowed to vote; however, the Canada Elections Act only permits citizens 18 and over the right to vote. JFCY and the Asper Centre will be working with other child rights organizations and young people to argue that the minimum age requirement is unconstitutional.

There are many international success stories of the voting age being lowered. In Scotland, the turnout among 16- and 17-year-olds was 75 percent their 2014 independence referendum; and 16-year-olds can now vote in both Scotland and Wales. In Austria, lowering the voting age increased civic interest among 16- and 17-year-olds — part of growing evidence that voting early is more likely to result in voting later in life.

If you are a young person, or know a young person is interested in becoming involved, please contact Cheryl Milne at the Asper Centre cheryl.milne@utoronto.ca; or Emily Chan at Justice for Children and Youth chane@lao.on.ca

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