Planning an all-candidates event

Why sponsor an all-candidates event?

  • They are excellent opportunities to place postsecondary education issues before the public.
  • They place candidates in a situation where they must make statements on faculty issues for which they can later be held accountable.
  • All-candidates events provide a forum where faculty association members can make important personal contact with candidates.
  • The events provide faculty associations with increased visibility to the candidates, the media, and the public.

Types of all-candidate events

All-candidate events can take several forms.

All-candidate debates (these can only be hosted during the election period):

  • Invite the candidates to participate in a debate on campus or online about postsecondary issues and other matters of concern to the university community.
  • Decide on a format. A series of short 5–7 minute speeches by the candidates, followed by questions from the floor is standard. It is also good to give candidates 2–3 minutes at the end for to make closing remarks. Typically, you should use a moderator familiar with both the rules of order and higher education issues.
  • Have some people prepared to ask questions to get things going. If possible, record the event.
  • Consider holding a reception or a virtual coffee hour, either before or after the event, for the candidates and the key event organizers. This provides an opportunity to informally discuss issues and meet the candidates.

All-candidate meet and greets:

  • Organize a social event on campus or virtually and invite the candidates and your members.
  • Let the candidates know that your members want to hear specifically about postsecondary issues so they are able to prepare properly.
  • Give each candidate 5–7 minutes to speak.
  • Provide time for your members and the candidates to mingle.

If your institution or faculty association is already hosting an event, consider inviting the candidates.


Tips for planning a successful all-candidates event

In addition to the tips for organizing a successful event detailed in the Action Toolkit, here are some useful tips for organizing a successful all-candidates event.

  • When inviting candidates, offer several possible dates and try to have some flexibility.


  • Approach the public access television station to see if they would be prepared to broadcast the event.
  • Ensure your media table is stocked with OCUFA election materials and candidate information.

Follow up:

  • Send “thank you” emails to the candidates and moderator.
  • Sample moderator questions
    • What distinguishes your party’s higher education platform from those of the other parties?
    • What will your party do to ensure our universities have the funding they need to provide a high-quality education to every student?
    • How does your party plan to address the full-time faculty shortage in the province and the need for faculty renewal?
    • Will you commit to improving Ontario labour law to ensure contract faculty have job security, and fair pay?
    • What are your party’s plans for addressing the high tuition fees and the student debt crisis in the province?