About Civics Boot Camp

If you want to have a positive impact in Ottawa, it helps to know how things work at City Hall and in our community. Twice a year, Citizens Academy organizes its Civics Boot Camp to offer you the skills, knowledge, and networks for success. It’s everything you should know but didn’t know how to ask!

What will I learn?

Citizens Academy encourages constructive problem-solving between citizens and their city, and we see dialogue and understanding as the first essential step. Civics Boot Camp is interactive, experiential, and has been co-created by citizens, specialists, and community developers. It teaches the basics of how to navigate the local context in municipal government, how to understand and influence where the City spends money, and explains how cities and communities are built.

Learning alongside new contacts and neighbours, you’ll explore ways to identify and work with local champions about issues you care about, and gain fresh perspectives on ways to interact with elected officials and city staff, community associations and other civic groups.

Who or What is Citizens Academy?

Citizens Academy is a grassroots movement in Ottawa. Its mission is to help accelerate change for the common good, and inspire new ways for people and organizations to engage with and create change in their cities. Our work focuses on creating the space for inquiry, learning, reflection, inspiration, and action. Civics Boot Camp offers the foundational knowledge citizens need to understand and get involved in Ottawa.

Citizens Academy is not a City of Ottawa program.  We are a young, volunteer-lead organization, which operates thanks to the generous support of community donors and foundations.

How does Civics Boot Camp work?

The program includes six 3-hour evening sessions over six weeks, and is a combination of in-person workshops and online learning. The workshops will start and end at City Hall on April 8th and May 13th. The four sessions in between will be held at the University of Ottawa, downtown campus.

Each evening begins at 5:30pm with a donation-based light supper, and an opportunity to relax and chat with other participants. Expert guest speakers, presentations, and practical group work take place from 6:00 to 9:00pm.

As a program participant, you will have access to our free online learning portal on “Canvas“. Each week, you will be expected to read and review materials on your own time before the following workshop. This represents approximately 1 to 2 hours, with reading, videos, quizzes, and games. Please be sure you can have periodic access to a computer and internet during this time (your local Public Library can be a great resource for this!).

As part of the program, you will have an opportunity to work on a topic you care about, and develop a possible action plan with a small team of other participants. After meeting your team on the first night, you will work together over the course of the program. On May 1th, you will be able to meet and discuss your idea with a small group of passionate and knowledgeable community leaders.

What to expect

You are expected to:

  • Attend all six workshops sessions, and participate in group work for the final presentation;
  • Review online learning materials between sessions (1-2 hours per week);
  • Show up with an open mind;
  • Be willing to listen and share with fellow citizens of diverse backgrounds; and
  • Bring a desire to make a difference in what Ottawa can become.

What you can expect from us:

  • A broader understanding of how Ottawa (the city) works;
  • Essential knowledge and practical tools for change in our city;
  • Support as needed online and throughout the program;
  • An opportunity to put what you learn into practice with group project for change;
  • Feedback from an outstanding panel of Ottawans who know how to get things done in this City (May 13)
  • A lifetime membership into the network of Civics Boot Camp graduates, access to special events and mentorship

How much does it cost?

The Civics Boot Camp is offered free of charge to participants, but the cost is on your time and your energy to participate actively. A light healthy supper, tea and coffee are offered to all participants at the start of every session. A suggested donation of $10-15 per meal is graciously welcomed to help offset these costs.

If the cost of public transit or child care makes it hard for you to attend the Civics Boot Camp, we can help with these expenses. Please let us know in your application.

You have my attention! How do I apply?

Participants must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of the Ottawa area.

Apply online or by telephone.

**Please note that an application does not guarantee a spot in the program. Due to capacity and resource limitations, only forty (40) participants will be selected to represent the age, gender, ethno-cultural and regional diversity of Ottawa. Please SAVE THE DATES of the program, and you will be notified by April 1st at the latest. If we can’t offer you a spot this round, you are welcome to reapply in the future.