N.B. aims to improve civics education programs in schools

The province says it will partner with teachers and Elections New Brunswick to enhance civics education programs in provincial schools.

It comes a day after the province said it would not lower the voting age to 16 from 18 unless it's approved at a referendum scheduled for May 2020.

Premier Brian Gallant says the province must find ways to boost "unacceptably low" voter turnout rates, especially among younger voters.

Some of the possible initiatives announced by the province on Tuesday include:

  • a mandatory course on civics in high schools;
  • greater accessibility to voting at university and college campuses;
  • an advertising campaign geared toward youth and promoted through social media; and
  • the hiring of youth outreach officers to encourage and assist in youth voting.

"We will ensure that our high school students have the tools available to learn about elections and the importance of voting, and that these elections are as accessible as possible to our youth," Gallant said in a news release on Tuesday.

"We believe it is important for young New Brunswickers to be better informed about our political process and our electoral system so that they might be better prepared when they obtain the right to vote."

A model on civics and enhanced civics education programs in schools were two of the recommendations made by New Brunswick's Commission on Electoral Reform in a report released earlier in March.