You have the power to influence leaders and make your voice heard

Decision-makers are people whose choices affect our day to day lives. For instance, an MP or MPP is there to listen to the concerns of his or her constituents when they’re deciding on policy. Business-owners or managers want to keep their customers happy.

Some decision-makers can seem hard to approach or out of reach, but it’s important to remember that they all depend on public support, and with the right approach your voice can make a difference.

Write a Letter

An oldie but a goodie! Writing a letter to the people you want to influence might seem old-school, but it’s a really effective way of getting your message across. Try to keep your tone firm but polite.

If you're not sure how to phrase it, try using the following structure as a template:

  • Introduce yourself (I am a mother, constituent, caregiver, student, community member, concerned customer, etc.)
  • Sum up how the issue impacts you, your family, or the community and include one or two quick examples to back up your argument
  • Explain what you want them to do to help
  • Sign off, thanking them for their time
  • Suggest a reasonable time frame for them to get back to you. Three weeks is usually enough.
  • Provide your contact information

Tip: If you don’t hear back from them within the time frame you set, give them a call to make sure they got your letter.

Make a Phone Call

Making a phone call is a great way to connect with decision-makers on an issue affecting you or your community. Not only do you get to explain your problem directly, you also get to hear their reactions!

To make sure your phone call is as effective as possible:

  • Always be polite to staff members you speak with, because they are often the gateway to having your requests passed along
  • Prepare a brief script, and be ready to leave a voicemail if no one answers
    • Introduce yourself and your role in the community (e.g., I am a mother, student, new Canadian, teacher, loyal customer, etc.)
    • Tell them why you’re calling, explain the specific issue or issues you would like to see addressed
    • Try to give a specific example of something that they can change which would help
    • You could also give an example of how your family or community is affected by this issue
    • Thank them for their time, and leave your name and contact information so they can follow up with your request

Tip: Follow up with another phone call if you don’t hear back within a week.

Setup a Meeting

Meeting with your MPP, the owner of a business, or another decision-maker is one of the most effective ways to make your message heard. Concerns are far more compelling when they are delivered in-person, and the fact that you felt strongly enough to come and meet in person is powerful in itself.

1. Identify the decision-maker

  • Take time to think about the specific decision-maker who can influence the direction of your issue, and find the contact information for their office

     Psst! Looking for your MPP?

  • Find your electoral district here.
  • Find the contact information of the MPP corresponding to your electoral district here.

2. Set up a meeting

  • Request a meeting via email / telephone
    • Introduce yourself, and your role in the community (i.e., I am a mother, student, new Canadian, teacher, loyal customer, etc.)
    • Tell them why you want to meet and what you want to talk about
    • Give an example of how you, your family, or your local community is being affected
    • Thank them for their time, and include your contact information

Tip: Follow up if you don’t hear back within a week 

Create Your Own Petition

Petitioning decision-makers and demanding change is your right. Petitions are great tools for spurring a government or business into action, because they are organized and quantifiable representations of the public’s support for change.

1. Plan your petition

  • Before creating your petition, consider doing research into what kind of information needs to be collected for signatures to be considered credible
  • Some petitions have to be formatted in a certain way, with the name, address, and telephone number of signees all accounted for
  • Take time to think about the specific individual who can influence the direction of your issue, as well as the proper place to send your petition once it is completed

     Psst! Looking for your MPP?

  • Find your electoral district here.
  • Find the contact information of the MPP corresponding to your electoral district here.

2. Create your petition

  • Take some time to think about your issue. What is the problem you want to solve? What needs to change to achieve what you want? How can the person you’re petitioning help?
  • Next, create the petition itself. Consider using one of the many online platforms that make it easy to craft digital and hand written petitions (ex: Change.Org)
  • If you’re creating it online you’ll need to write a short, compelling statement about why people should support your petition.
    • Remember to tell a story!
    • Explain why this issue matters to you, and don’t be afraid to get personal
    • Try to keep it short to ensure it gets read from start to finish

3. Share your petition online

  • Petitions need signatures! If you’re using an online petition, try these ideas to spread the word:
    • Share with your friends on social media, and ask them to do the same
    • Email your petition to friends, family, coworkers or others in your community
    • Join online message boards or Facebook groups related to your issue
    • Create a hashtag or use an existing hashtag to reach more people on Twitter or Instagram

Keep your supporters updated if anything happens!

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