Post-Election Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility Report>
2022 Markham Municipal Election
Message from Markham's City Clerk
As the City of Markham’s Returning Officer, I’m thrilled to share Elections Markham’s Post-Election Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility Report for the 2022 Markham Municipal Election.
This report builds on our Office’s previous work by highlighting the important progress that we and our partners have made in reducing barriers to electoral engagement in Markham municipal elections, and by proposing actions in areas where we look to improve moving forward.
At Elections Markham, we go to great lengths to plan and deliver elections that respond to the different needs and expectations of Markham’s diverse community and empower everyone to participate as meaningful partners in their local government. As a leader in multi-platform election services and serving one of Canada’s largest and most diverse cities, we’re committed to supporting an election experience where everyone feels welcome, a true sense of belonging, and the freedom to live their best life possible. We recognize that this is not a destination but a journey, and one that demands an ongoing effort to better ourselves as shared understandings around inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility continue to evolve.
The 2022 Markham Municipal Election was a particularly memorable one for us in this journey. Facing a number of new and complex challenges including heightened election fatigue and lingering pandemic conditions, our team responded enthusiastically and in a way that demonstrated our commitment to creating a safe, inclusive, and accessible election experience for everyone. With the help of our community partners, we’re proud to have continued our history of innovation by introducing many exciting and popular service enhancements, which we hope will have a lasting impact on election practice both in Markham and elsewhere.
Elections involve years of planning and outreach to effectively serve the many people who call Markham home. I want to thank everyone who supported us at each phase, and I look forward to hearing your feedback as we continue our efforts to deliver the most inclusive and barrier-free elections possible.
City Clerk and Returning Officer
Elections Markham (City of Markham)
This report has been prepared under Section 12.1(3) of Ontario's Municipal Elections Act.
Elections Markham is the independent non-partisan division of the City of Markham responsible for planning and delivering elections, by-elections, and referenda for Markham’s City Council and local school boards. This includes creating and following policies and practices that make our services inclusive and accessible so that everyone can participate meaningfully in the local democratic process.
Every municipal election, Elections Markham prepares a public report that outlines a plan for identifying, removing, and preventing barriers that might impact voters and candidates. After voting ends, we prepare another report to assess how effective this plan was in actually making the election more accessible, and what might be made better in the future. This is to continue raising the bar for equitable representation in our services and create a more inclusive experience for people of all backgrounds and abilities.
In 2022, Elections Markham worked carefully to develop a service strategy that offered everyone of all abilities, ages, ethnicities, gender identities and expressions, races, religions, socio-economic differences, and other backgrounds:
- Full and equal access to election information and services;
- Full and equal access to Voting Places;
- The ability to independently and privately mark their ballot, either online or in person with a paper ballot or touchscreen;
- The opportunity to receive voting help, if needed and as requested; and,
- The feeling of being welcome and having a sense of belonging.
Our approach to inclusivity, diversity, equity and accessibility in this election was informed by:
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act;
- Building Markham's Future Together: 2020 - 2023 Strategic Plan;
- Markham's Diversity Action Plan (2022 to 2027);
- Markham's Eliminating Anti-Black Racism Action Plan (2022 to 2027);
- Markham's Digital Accessibility Statement;
- Markham's Inclusion Charter;
- Elections Markham's 2018 Post-Election Accessibility & Diversity Report;
- 2016 Canadian Census;
- Voter experience surveys (2003 to 2018); and,
- Consultation with governments, advisory groups, and community partners.
Elections Markham introduced a number of service enhancements to improve local election access in 2022, including:
- A multi-platform communications and community engagement strategy leveraging business and artificial intelligence, and featuring multi-language campaigns on running for office, registering to vote, and detecting fake news and misinformation;
- A new and improved election information website featuring accessibility-optimized content, multi-language resources, a team of AI-powered virtual assistants, an interactive Voter Information Tool, and free embedded assistive software;
- On-demand eSignature services supporting end-to-end online registration for voters, candidates, and third party advertisers;
- A refreshed online voting platform optimized for accessibility and featuring the first use of independent post-vote verifiability technology in a Canadian municipal election;
- A password-protected portal supplying candidates with real-time digital access to the Municipal Voters' List and information on running informed, inclusive, and accessible campaigns;
- A mobile-friendly app allowing candidates to issue certified digital receipts for eligible donations under the City of Markham's contribution rebate program; and,
- Extended in-person paper ballot voting at Elections Markham’s Returning Office from October 12 to 22.
Consultation and outreach
Delivering truly inclusive and accessible elections isn’t possible without fostering collaborative partnerships with people who reflect and represent the full diversity of our community in Markham.
Starting in late-2021, Elections Markham actively sought input on its 2022 service strategy through an established and growing network of diversity- and accessibility-serving organizations that included government agencies, advisory committees, community groups, and the City of Markham’s inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility specialists. Presentations, meetings, and workshops were held with these groups to better understand the existing barriers that they or their service users have experienced with past elections, and to develop meaningful solutions based on shared understandings.
These consultation sessions allowed us to work alongside persons with lived experiences facing barriers related to different identities and abilities, and produced a number of practical recommendations that were integrated into our service model, including those related to election communications, alternative voting options, Voting Place layouts, and election worker training.
During the spring, summer and fall of 2022, we continued to consult with partner groups to get feedback on specific services, assess any new or potential barriers, and raise awareness about the election. Resources and promotional materials on accessible services were distributed to groups to share with their service users and amplify across their outreach networks.
Leading up to Voting Days, Elections Markham attended a number of City and community-based events, including:
- Canada Day 2022 (July 1);
- Markham’s Diversity and Eliminating Anti-Black Racism Action Plans Launch Event (July 13 and 14);
- Markham Farmers’ Market (every weekend from July 23 to October 2);
- Night It Up! (August 6 and 7);
- Markham Jazz Festival (August 21);
- Markham Milliken Children’s Festival (September 10);
- Applefest at Markham Museum (September 24); and,
- Age of Literati Culture Festival (October 7).
Between August 31 and October 4, Elections Markham hosted 15 in-person and webinar-based public education sessions for community groups in Markham, covering a range of topics such as the role of local government, the importance of voting, and the accessible services available to voters with disabilities and/or non-native English speakers. These sessions were recorded and sent to community groups to share with their service users and amplify across their outreach networks.
Communications and marketing
With a large and diverse population like Markham’s, we know that one of the biggest barriers people face with elections is getting easy access to timely, reliable, and relevant information that cuts through the distractions of daily life and a crowded media landscape. On the heels of federal and provincial elections within the previous 12 months, and with ongoing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 Markham Municipal Election called for a dynamic communications approach to reach our diverse audiences, combat voter fatigue and misinformation, and relieve concerns about safe and accessible voting.
In response, Elections Markham developed a multi-platform and multi-language community engagement strategy to educate and excite Markham voters about the upcoming municipal election, with a special emphasis on the importance of diverse representation to local democracy and the accessible services available to both voters and candidates. Information was presented in plain accessible language avoiding government jargon, and distributed using a mix of both traditional and new media tactics, including a dedicated election information website, social media, local newspapers and magazines, radio spots, eBlasts, direct mail, and physical displays at City facilities and major community waypoints.
In 2022, Elections Markham re-launched ElectionsMarkham.ca - a dedicated website serving as the official source of information on the 2022 Markham Municipal Election. This website offered voters, candidates, third party advertisers, and the media with a one-stop experience for information on frequently requested topics like who’s running for office, registering to vote, ways to vote, and accessible voting services.
Elections Markham’s website was designed and presented according to the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA so that users of all abilities could read, understand, navigate, and interact with all content and online services. This included:
- Responsive web design scaling page contents to the user’s screen;
- Appropriate page contrast and text alignment to optimize readability;
- Alternative text tags to convey meaning for non-text content;
- Logical, predictable, and consistent reading order and navigation elements; and,
- Compatibility with personal assistive hardware and software like alternate input devices and screen readers.
Recognizing Markham’s rich spoken language diversity, key information and resources were published in plain English, French, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Farsi, Punjabi, Tamil, and Urdu. The website was also integrated with Google Translate to allow users to convert published content into their preferred language from a selection of over 100 different language options.
Website content was regularly updated to reflect the most recent developments in the election cycle, and all posted information was shared in other formats on request. Insights drawn from website interaction analytics were used to inform and adapt our messaging to continuously offer the most relevant and meaningful information to our audiences.
To make it easier than ever to get timely and reliable information about the 2022 Markham Municipal Election, Elections Markham partnered with IBM Canada and Amazon to launch a team of virtual assistants answering election-related questions anytime, anywhere.
IBM Watson powered an embedded virtual assistant on Elections Markham’s official website using artificial intelligence and advanced natural language processing capabilities. This tool offered website visitors real-time 24-hour support, answering questions about the election while learning and improving its own responsiveness with each question asked.
Voters were also given a hands-free option through Alexa-enabled smart speaker devices to learn about voting days, their ward and candidates, how to register, the different ways to vote, and the accessible voting services offered by Elections Markham.
Insights drawn from frequently asked questions were used to inform and adapt our messaging to continuously offer the most relevant and meaningful information to our audiences.
Voter information tool
To offer voters a direct and personalized experience, Elections Markham launched an online Voter Information Tool accessible through our official website giving voters details about their ward, candidates, voting options, steps to register and vote, and accessible services based on their address.
Register to vote tool
For the second election in a row, Elections Markham’s official website featured an online dashboard where voters could check, add, or update their information on the Municipal Voters’ List. Together with Elections Markham’s online voting platform, this tool offered voters an end-to-end digitally accessible experience by allowing them to register, receive a copy of their personal Voter Information Letter, and cast their ballot online.
As the digital landscape evolves, so too does the need to maintain a dynamic social media presence that meets people where they are. In 2022, Elections Markham developed a spirited social media strategy that featured multi-language campaigns on running for office, registering to vote, getting ready to vote during Voting Days, and detecting fake news and misinformation.
Digital ads were promoted across social platforms using a mix of geo-targeted and behavioural marketing to offer the most relevant and accessible information to each specific person, and amplified across our corporate and community partner networks. Translated ads were linked to corresponding translated pages on our website, offering an end-to-end in-language experience for persons whose first language was not English. Insights drawn from ad and post performance were used to inform and adapt our messaging to continuously offer the most meaningful information to our audiences.
Using social listening and sentiment analysis technology, Elections Markham actively followed conversations and trends happening across the digital space. Using honest, organic feedback from our service users allowed us to better understand their needs, expectations and any barriers they may have been encountering, while also responding to misinformation in a way that matched the power and speed of social media.
Elections Markham proactively engaged local, regional, and national media outlets through regular media releases and public service announcements about our accessible service enhancements, major milestones in the election cycle, and thought leadership on multi-platform election engagement.
Recognizing Markham’s vibrant cultural media presence, key news items, blogs, media releases, and public service announcements were prepared and distributed in different languages including Traditional and Simplified Chinese.
- Consulted with a network of over 40 inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility advocacy groups to develop Elections Markham’s service strategy and distribute targeted election information.
- Hosted 15 public education and 6 candidate and third party advertiser information sessions over the spring, summer, and fall.
- Achieved 1.8 million social media impressions on running for office, registering to vote, accessible voting, and fighting misinformation campaigns.
- Participated in 13 interviews with local, regional, and national media outlets.
- Strengthen our relationships with community partners to continuously address gaps in representation.
- Continue to work with community partners on the format and layout of election communications to support content, design, and resources that are easy to access, relevant, and communicated in the most effective way for persons of all abilities, backgrounds, and identities.
- Monitor emerging communications technologies and trends to reach persons of all abilities and backgrounds, including people from historically underrepresented groups.
- Recruit persons with disabilities, persons with different technical skills, and non-native English speakers to participate in the user acceptance testing of Elections Markham’s interactive online services.
- Explore opportunities to offer more interactive voter information resources in different languages.
Candidates and third party advertisers play a critical part in supporting local democracy. By championing issues that matter to their community and campaigning through their local networks, they each have a powerful impact in raising awareness around an election and getting people excited to vote.
To support fair, inclusive, and truly democratic election outcomes, it’s important that people of all abilities, backgrounds, and identities have a meaningful opportunity to become a candidate or third party advertiser, and that they have the support they need to run a successful campaign. Understanding this, Elections Markham worked carefully with our partners to identify and remove barriers that might otherwise stop people from getting involved in this part of the electoral process.
One of the biggest barriers we hear people express about becoming a candidate or third party advertiser is having timely, relevant, and accessible information about the opportunity and what it actually means to run a campaign.
In early-2022, ahead of the candidate and third party registration period, Elections Markham launched a public education campaign on running for Markham City Council and our local school board offices, with a special emphasis on the importance of diverse representation to local government. Advertisements were promoted across a mix of traditional and digital media platforms, and amplified through our corporate and community partner networks to reach the widest and most diverse possible audience.
Elections Markham also hosted 6 candidate and third party advertiser information webinars during the summer and fall, introducing attendees to topics including the role of City Council and local school board trustees, how municipal elections work, how to run an accessible campaign, and the accessible services available to them and voters.
Before someone officially becomes a candidate or third party advertiser, they first have to register with Elections Markham.
In 2021, the Government of Ontario introduced changes to the province’s municipal election law allowing municipalities to accept candidate and third party advertiser registration documents electronically for the first time. Continuing our history of leadership in digitally-accessible services, Markham became the first city in Ontario to make use of this authority and offer a fully online election registration option. Candidates and third party advertisers were invited to register online using forms hosted through Elections Markham’s accessible eSignature platform, and to select their preferred time for a personalized orientation meeting through an online appointment calendar integrated with Elections Markham’s web conferencing solution.
Contribution rebate program
Every municipal election, Elections Markham administers a contribution rebate program designed to reduce the financial barriers that discourage people from running for elected office or donating to a local campaign, including first-time candidates and persons from under-represented groups.
Through this program, Markham voters and permanent residents who donate $50 or more to a participating City Council candidate can claim 75% of it back from the City after the election (to a maximum of $150), lessening the financial hardships on candidates trying to raise funds for a competitive campaign and on people deciding whether they can afford to donate. For the 2022 Markham Municipal Election, 93% of City Council candidates (38 of 41) signed up for the contribution rebate program.
To help candidates undertake safe, accessible, and eco-friendly fundraising, Elections Markham introduced a convenient, mobile-friendly app to create and email PDF receipts for rebate-eligible donations. This tool supported contactless and accessible campaigning during lingering pandemic conditions, allowing candidates to extend their fundraising reach and quickly issue redeemable receipts to their donors without having to exchange physical documents.
To keep candidates informed during the election year, Elections Markham launched a password-protected web portal serving as a one-stop experience for candidate information and resources on running an inclusive and accessible campaign, including shareable multi-language and accessibility-optimized promotional materials on registering to vote, ways to vote, and accessible voting options.
In a municipal election year, the law gives candidates the right to a list of all voters who are registered to vote for their office, including a daily list of those people who vote on each Early Voting Day, to help with their campaigning efforts and to support election transparency. In 2022, Elections Markham introduced a secure online dashboard offering candidates digital access to the Municipal Voters’ List with real-time updates to voter registration, streamlining turnout reporting and enhancing multi-platform voting transparency.
- Ran a multi-language public engagement campaign about running for local elected office and the importance of diversity in local government promoted through a network of over 40 diversity- and accessibility-serving partner groups.
- Hosted 6 candidate and third party advertiser information webinars covering topics like: about local government, running an accessible campaign, election finance, election signs, and accessible voting options.
- Launched a new eSignature platform for candidates and third party advertisers to register and file official legal election documents. 100% of candidates and third party advertisers registered online, with 93% of survey respondents expressing satisfaction with their experience.
- Launched a new online portal offering registered candidates a one-stop experience for digitally-accessible services and practical resources for running an inclusive and accessible campaign.
- 93% of Markham City Council candidates (38 of 41) signed up for the City’s Candidate Contribution Rebate Program.
- Continue to encourage people from diverse groups to run for City Council and school board office through ongoing information and engagement activities in election and non-election years.
- Consult with diversity and accessibility partners on strategies to better engage under-represented groups in running for elected office.
- Continue to build awareness among candidates and third party advertisers about the importance of running inclusive and accessible campaigns, including practical tips for campaign communications and events.
- Continue to explore opportunities to help all candidates raise their public profile ahead of an election while maintaining our independent and non-partisan mandate.
The 2022 Markham Municipal Election took place over 11 consecutive Voting Days from October 14 to October 24. During this time, Markham voters had a number of choices in how to cast their ballot depending on what worked best for them, including:
- Online using a personal computer, tablet, or smartphone (October 14 to 24);
- In person at any Voting Place in Markham with a paper ballot (October 20, 21 and 22) or touchscreen (October 24), or at Elections Markham’s Returning Office (October 14 to 22); and,
- By special ballot through Elections Markham’s Home Visit Program.
In 2003, Markham became the first city in Canada to vote online in a government election. Starting as a limited pilot during advance voting and involving special pre-registration, this effort to modernize was a response to public feedback about conventional in-person voting barriers for persons with disabilities as well as anyone whose life circumstances make voting in person difficult or impossible, including older adults, single and working parents, students away at school, shift workers, people travelling for work or vacation, and military service people.
With increasing levels of uptake among voters and developments in online voting security, Elections Markham has gradually extended online voting service to all Markham voters during all Voting Days. The 2022 Markham Municipal Election was the City’s 6th election in a row to feature both remote and in-person voting options, and represents one of North America's longest-running online voting programs to-date.
Online voting was available anytime anywhere for 250 consecutive hours during the 2022 Markham Municipal Election from October 14 to 24, and open to all Markham voters with a personal Voter Information Letter and internet access.
Elections Markham’s online voting platform was designed and presented according to WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards so that all voters could read, understand, navigate, and mark their ballot independently. This included:
- Responsive web design scaling ballot contents to the voter’s screen; and,
- Appropriate page contrast and text alignment to optimize readability;
- Alternative text tags to convey meaning for non-text content;
- Logical, predictable, and consistent reading order and navigation elements; and,
- Compatibility with personal assistive hardware and software like alternate input devices and screen readers.
To continue fostering transparency and public trust in online voting, Elections Markham’s platform featured the first use of independent online vote verifiability technology in Canada. After casting their ballot, voters were given a digital confirmation receipt with a unique QR code. Using Elections Markham’s mobile app, voters could scan their receipt and access a secure preview of their ballot within the digital ballot box to privately re-verify that their selections were recorded properly and matched how they voted.
On October 20, 21 and 22, Markham voters were invited to vote in-person with a paper ballot at any of 6 Voting Places across Markham. Every Voting Place was equipped with ballots to serve voters registered in any of Markham’s 8 wards and for any of Markham’s 4 school boards.
Voters wanting to vote with a paper ballot but unable to make it to a Voting Place during these days were invited to vote in-person at Elections Markham’s Returning Office. Voting was available by appointment between October 14 to 22 and served voters of all wards across Markham.
The paper ballots used in this election were designed according to the CNIB Foundation’s Clear Print Accessibility Standards, with special attention paid to appropriate type colour, font size and style, character spacing, margin and column spacing, paper finish, and simplified instructional language. Ballot marking instruction graphics were posted inside each voter privacy screen in multiple languages, including plain English, French, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Farsi, Punjabi, Tamil, and Urdu.
Every Voting Place was equipped with assistive ballot marking technology so that voters of all abilities could vote independently and with complete privacy. This technology included:
- Ballot magnifying and contrast adjustment tools;
- Large and easy-grip marking pens;
- Audio ballot narration with adjustable volume, speed, and tempo; and,
- Alternate ballot navigation and marking controls including touchscreens, braille keypads, paddle buttons, and sip-and-puff devices.
Voters looking for personal support when marking their ballot were encouraged to bring a friend or ask an election worker. All election workers were trained in accessible customer service and sworn to protect ballot secrecy.
Voters wanting to vote online but without internet access on Final Voting Day (October 24) were invited to visit any of 10 Voting Places across Markham and vote using a touchscreen. Voters were also welcome to vote using any number of dedicated and secured computers at all Markham Public Library branches.
Home visit program
Voters without internet access and unable to visit a Voting Place due to injury, illness, or disability were encouraged to request a special ballot through Elections Markham’s Home Visit Program. Voters requesting a special ballot were delivered a voting kit by election workers directly to their residence.
Completed ballots were sealed inside a secrecy envelope by the voter, stored securely at Elections Markham’s Returning Office, and counted by a vote tabulator in front of candidates and scrutineers.
- 82% of all ballots in the election were cast online from a personal computer, tablet, or smartphone.
- 4% of online voters re-verified their ballot using Elections Markham's mobile app.
- 15% of ballots in the election were cast online outside of conventional in-person voting hours (8 PM to 10 AM).
- 86% of 13,475 surveyed voters (19% of all voters who voted) said that convenience and accessibility were their main reasons for voting online.
- 11% of surveyed voters said they wouldn't have voted if not for Elections Markham's online voting option.
- 97% of surveyed voters were satisfied with their online voting experience.
- 94% of 65 surveyed voters were satisfied with their in-person voting experience.
- Persons 65 and over voted online more than any other age group.
- 3 voters voted with a special ballot through Elections Markham's Home Visit Program.
- Explore opportunities for additional online ballot navigation supports like embedded screen reader software and multi-language display options.
- Recruit persons with disabilities, persons with different technical literacies, and persons whose first language is not English to participate in the user acceptance testing of Elections Markham’s online voting platform.
- Explore opportunities to further enhance the design accessibility of paper ballots, such as larger font sizes and marking spaces, embedded multi-language ballot marking instructions, and an embedded ballot marking instructional image.
- Continue to support use of personal assistive device technology including smartphone apps so that people can read and mark their ballot in ways that are familiar to them and tailored to their specific needs.
- Continue to consult with accessibility partners when determining needs and goals for next-generation voting technology so that it remains accessible.
Elections Markham performed repeat inspections of each facility selected as a Voting Place using accessibility criteria based on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act’s integrated physical design standards. Assessment criteria covered areas like distance from accessible transit, accessible parking, route of travel, entrances, room spacing, and accessible washrooms.
Distance from accessible transit
Each Voting Place was located along an accessible transit route serviced regularly by York Region Transit during voting hours. At least 1 Voting Place was located within a 7-minute transit trip of every home in Markham.
Accessible parking spaces were reserved close to the entrances of each Voting Place. Each accessible parking space was well lit, clearly marked, and on firm and level ground. Election workers performed regular checks during the day to make sure that enough parking spaces remained unobstructed and available, and to notify facility staff if additional temporary accessible spaces were needed.
Route of travel
Large print signs were posted throughout each building’s parking lot directing voters to the closest and most accessible entrance to the voting room.
Curb cuts were clearly marked so that users of mobility aids could easily access the pathway to the building entrance. Pathways were well lit and had a firm and unobstructed surface with a slope of under 1:20. Where needed, a ramp to the entrance was available with a supportive handrail. Election workers performed checks of these routes during the day to make sure that these areas remained unobstructed and accessible.
The interior path to each voting room was well lit with a firm, level, and slip-resistant surface, and a hallway wide enough for a wheelchair or scooter. Carpets were leveled with the floor to prevent trip hazards, and the entry thresholds to the voting rooms were level to allow easy access.
All Voting Places were located in rooms accessible from a ground-floor entrance that was well lit and wide enough for wheelchairs and scooters, had a level entry threshold and working power assist doors.
Election workers were assigned to each entrance to guide voters along the closest and most accessible path to the voting room.
Each voting room was set up to allow voters, election workers, and scrutineers to physically distance for safety and comfort. Rooms were outfitted with protective shields, hand sanitizer, seating, and multi-language posters offering instructions on IDs, voting steps, and other important election information.
Election worker and voter stations were positioned far enough apart to allow free and easy access for voters using mobility aids, as well privacy for voters requesting help.
All voting areas were well lit and seating was available for anyone waiting for service.
Each Voting Place had washrooms close to the voting area with entrances and stalls wide enough for wheelchairs and scooters, power assist doors, and touchless accessories.
Special voting places
Every election, Elections Markham offers special in-person voting service for voters living in long-term care homes, retirement residences, hospitals, subsidized housing, and other vulnerable settings. In 2022, Elections Markham supported on-site polls at 19 Special Voting Places (an increase of 5 from Markham's previous municipal election), with paper ballot voting taking place from October 14 to 22.
In light of heightened and ongoing public health protocols, Elections Markham worked with facility staff to deliver special voting kits to voters at facilities affected by restricted access, so that everyone wanting to participate had the chance to do so.
Election workers play an important part in creating a positive and memorable experience for voters. The level of service a voter receives can have a lasting impact on their impression of the election as a whole, and on whether they decide to participate again in the future. This is why Elections Markham makes every effort to recruit and train workers to demonstrate our values of inclusive and accessible customer service.
Elections Markham hired over 170 election workers to administer voting in the 2022 Markham Municipal Election. Of this number, about 50% were full or part-time City of Markham employees. This offered an opportunity to professionalize our service delivery with persons who serve our community every day and receive annual training in inclusivity, diversity, equity and accessibility.
Other election jobs were actively advertised through community groups, social service agencies, disability- and diversity-serving organizations, and community events to make sure under-represented groups were aware of the opportunity and our commitment to offering meaningful accommodations.
Priority selection was given to applicants who demonstrated an understanding of or experience with delivering accessible customer service, including previous work with under-represented groups and fluency in other languages. Successful applicants fluent in any of the 6 most commonly-spoken languages in Markham were assigned to a Voting Place based on census-reported demographic profiles of the surrounding area to offer the most effective language support to voters most likely to be served by that facility.
Before their first shift, election workers attended an online or in-person training session hosted by Elections Markham on inclusive and accessible customer service. Training content was informed by the City of Markham’s Accessible Customer Service Guidelines and lessons from Markham’s Diversity Action Plan to support our values of serving and showing respect to people from diverse backgrounds and abilities in a way that’s responsive to their individual needs, such as:
- Serving persons with different disabilities;
- Serving a person who is using a helper or translator;
- Interacting with service and support animals; and,
- Using and supporting the use of assistive voting technology.
A copy of the City of Markham’s Accessible Customer Service Guidelines was included in election worker manuals.
- Over 170 election workers worked at a Voting Place during Voting Days.
- 60% of election workers reported fluency in one or more of the most commonly-spoken languages in Markham other than English.
- 94% of survey respondents expressed positive feedback about the level of service they received at Elections Markham’s Voting Places.
- Encourage voters to report any accessibility issues they encounter at a voting place so that they can be dealt with in real-time.
- Explore additional wayfinding tools to help voters navigate larger buildings hosting a voting place.
- Look for opportunities to secure more voting rooms that are closer to the building’s main entrance.
- Work with local accessible transportation services to identify opportunities to improve ease-of-access during in-person voting days.
- Continue to consult persons with disabilities on relevant and meaningful accessibility training for election workers, including recruiting people with lived experiences as accessibility trainers.
- Improve collection of demographic information from election workers to better track and assess progress towards inclusive recruitment outcomes.
Delivering inclusive and accessible elections is a journey, not a destination. At Elections Markham, we understand that removing barriers in our services requires an ongoing commitment to learn from people with lived experiences using them. Likewise, as Markham continues to grow, evolve and change, so will the many and different needs and preferences of the communities that call Markham home.
We welcome all feedback about election accessibility to continue to enhance our services by raising the bar on equitable representation.
If you have any comments or suggestions about your experience with the 2022 Markham Municipal Election, please share them with us in any of the following ways:
- Using our online feedback form;
- By email to firstname.lastname@example.org;
- By phone at 905.477.7000 x8683 (VOTE); or,
- By mail to the Markham Civic Centre (c/o Elections Markham), 101 Town Centre Boulevard, Markham Ontario, L3R 9W3
We thank the groups listed below for their contributions to Elections Markham’s 2022 Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility Plan for the 2022 Markham Municipal Election:
- 105 Gibson Centre
- A1 Chinese Radio
- Across U-hub
- Advisory Committee on Accessibility (City of Markham)
- Alliance Canada Hong Kong
- Alzheimer Society of York Region
- Amica Swan Lake
- Amica Unionville
- Annswell Court Senior Citizens Apartment
- Association of Municipalities of Ontario
- Bethany Christian Living
- Biindigen Healing and Arts
- Black Foundation of Community Networks
- Canada Hong Kong Alliance
- Canada Hong Kong Link
- Canada One Family Network
- Canadian Friends of Hong Kong
- Carefirst Seniors and Community Services Association
- Cavalry Manor
- CAYR Community Connections
- Cedarcrest Manor
- Centre for Dreams
- Centre for Tamil Heritage & Culture
- Chapter 21
- Chartwell Rouge Valley Retirement Residence
- Chartwell Woodhaven
- Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto
- Circles Enrichment
- Community Family Services of Ontario
- Council of Agencies Serving South Asians
- DANI Toronto
- Democratic Engagement Exchange
- Elections Canada
- Elections Ontario
- Fairchild Radio
- Federation of Chinese Canadians in Markham
- Formosa Evergreen Senior Citizens Care
- Fujian Community Association of Canada
- Hagerman Corners Community Homes
- Hand Over Hand
- Hilltop Place Retirement Community (Spring Living)
- Hong Fook Mental Health Foundation
- Indian Canadian Organization
- Islamic Society of Markham
- Markham African Caribbean Canadian Association
- Markham Museum
- Markham Muslim Association
- Markham Public Library
- Markham-Stouffville Hospital (Oak Valley Health)
- Markham Tamil Seniors Association
- Markham Village Business Improvement Area
- Markhaven Home for Seniors
- Memory & Company
- Metroland Media
- Mon Sheong Foundation
- Mosaic Home Care
- New Hong Kong Cultural Club
- OMNI TV Chinese News
- Ontario Hong Kong Youth Action
- Participation House
- Pflag York Region
- Power Unit Youth Organization
- Race Relations Committee (City of Markham)
- Radio Canada International
- Revera Glynnwood Retirement Residence
- Sanatan Mandir Cultural Centre
- Seniors Advisory Committee (City of Markham)
- South Markham Community Action Table
- Spirit of Life
- St. Luke’s Lodge
- Sunrise of Unionville
- Support Enhance Access Services (SEAS) Centre
- Taiwanese Canadian Community Service Association
- Thomson Court Apartments
- Thornhill United Church
- Tony Wong Place
- Union Villa Long-Term Care
- Unionville Business Improvement Area
- Unionville Home Society
- Varley Art Gallery of Markham
- Women’s Support Network of York Region
- Yee Hong Foundation
- York Catholic District School Board
- York Region District School Board
- York Region Alliance of African Canadian Association
- Youth Leaders of York Region
Elections Markham is the independent, non-partisan division of the City of Markham responsible for delivering elections, by-elections, and referenda for Markham's City Council and local school boards.
We can answer questions about running for office, voting, specific services for persons with disabilities, and community outreach for municipal elections in Markham.
Elections Markham Website
The Elections Markham website is the official source for the latest and most reliable information related to the 2022 Markham Municipal Election.
News releases and public service announcements
Get the latest news about the election, right to your inbox. Sign up for Markham News!
Follow us on social media
Stay connected! Follow the City of Markham on:
Be a part of the conversation by using #MarkhamVotes, #MarkhamElection and #MkmPoli.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Get information about municipal elections, the Province of Ontario’s “2022 Municipal Elections Candidates Guide,” and the Ministry’s commitment to promote greater accessibility for eligible voters and candidates with disabilities.
Visit Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing website
Ministry of Community & Social Services
The Ministry of Community and Social Services has prepared several quick reference guides around the overall management of an accessible election campaign. For more information, candidates can visit:
Visit Ministry of Community & Social Services website
Service Ontario eLaws
Access all current statutes including the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001, and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.
- Building Markham's Future Together: 2020 to 2023 Strategic Plan
- Markham's Diversity Action Plan (2022 to 2027) [PDF]
- Markham’s Eliminating Anti-Black Racism Action Plan (2022 to 2027) [PDF]
- Markham's Digital Accessibility Statement [PDF]
- Markham Inclusion Charter [PDF]
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA)
- Free assistive technology
Markham Civic Centre
101 Town Centre Boulevard
Markham, Ontario, L3R 9W3
905.477.7000 x8683 (VOTE)