TVO website helps boost Ontario's political literacy

    Civics 101 at launches May 19 2009

    TORONTO, May 19 /CNW/ - Do you know what a party whip does or what goes
on at a committee hearing? And how does a bill become a law? For all but the
keenest political junkies, how our provincial parliamentary democracy works
can be mystifying. Civics 101, which launches today in beta, is a new TVO
online resource designed to help boost the political literacy of every citizen
in Ontario.
    "Whether you're a newcomer to Canada, someone already working in public
policy decision making, or anyone with an interest in the political process,
Civics 101 offers an engaging and fun way to learn about the workings of our
provincial government and how it impacts our everyday lives," says TVO's chief
executive officer Lisa de Wilde. "We predict it will even get some Grade 10
civics students excited!"

    Visit to find a suite of multimedia resources:

    -  Civics Explained, animations that, in the spirit of Schoolhouse Rock!,
       describe some of the fundamental concepts of government, such as how a
       budget is created, how Ontario's first past the post electoral system
       works and the difference between majority and minority governments.
       You may find yourself laughing out loud!

    -  an interactive glossary of terms to broaden understanding of our
       electoral system, how legislative proceedings unfold and the roles of
       MPPs and key government staff.

    -  video interviews from The Agenda with Steve Paikin with politicians,
       policy makers, authors and advocates.

    -  the interactive Ask an MPP, featuring video clips of MPPs answering
       questions about what they do and how they do it. Anyone can submit a
       video question via cell phone or webcam.

    -  for the first time anywhere, a current video archive of Question
       Period along with downloadable transcripts, providing a convenient
       research and reference tool for past policy discussions and debates in
       the Ontario legislature.

    TVO's Civics 101 was developed in partnership with a group of
organizations and individuals whose expertise has helped to form the content.
Among them are the Maytree Foundation, a private Canadian charitable
foundation committed to reducing poverty and inequality in Canada and to
building strong civic communities;, an award-winning website
that provides newcomers with settlement information and resources; and
Jonathan Rose, associate professor of political studies at Queen's University
in Kingston, Ontario.
    "We strongly believe that all residents should have a role in government
decision-making - not only at election time but on a day-to-day basis," says
Alejandra Bravo, Leadership and Learning manager at the Maytree Foundation.
"This can only happen if citizens are well-informed and understand how
government processes work."

    About TVO

    TVO is Ontario's public educational media organization and a trusted
source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and
stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO's vision is to empower people to be
engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. For more information,

    Where to find TVO

    Cable channel 2 (channel may vary in some areas), Bell TV channel 265,
Star Choice channel 353.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Paul Ginis, TVO Communications,
(416) 484-2600 ext. 2445,; Jill Javet, VP, Corporate Relations,
(416) 484-2630,

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