Institute for Future Legislators

Important update on the 2022 IFL program:

Due to unforeseen funding challenges, we have made the difficult decision to put the Institute for Future Legislators program on hold this summer. We make this decision with a lot of regret. IFL has been an important part of our team and CSDI’s raison d’être over the last number of years and we are committed to its continued success and flourishing both for our participants and for the UBC community of graduate students who have trained and delivered the program with us. The prospect of halting the program when public health orders would allow it to be conducted in the manner that it was intended is especially disappointing.

We will take this pause as an opportunity to reset and rebuild our capacity so that we return next year to deliver the IFL in a way that continues to guarantee low barriers to participation and ensures a valuable experience for all who take part. The IFL team, our excellent team of facilitators, practitioners, and faculty members look forward to welcoming you back the program next summer.

For updates, please email to request to be added to the mailing list.


More about the program:

Have you ever thought about running for public office? Do you wonder what it would be like to serve as a legislator? If you have political aspirations, but want to know more about what being a legislator means and how to be most effective in that role, apply to UBC’s Institute for Future Legislators (IFL). The Institute provides intensive hands-on mentoring and training for anyone who seeks the experience and knowledge necessary to make a difference—whether at the local, provincial, or federal level.

Every year, the UBC Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions (CSDI) at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA) invites applications from a diverse and cross-partisan group of people, including all ages and backgrounds. The only prerequisite is legislative aspirations and a readiness to learn from highly experienced practitioners. Anyone can apply – you do not need to be a student enrolled at a Canadian university to participate, and we also accept international applications. 

The IFL will expose you to a repository of seasoned practitioners who will share their insights, experience and expertise on effective leadership, parliamentary democracy, communications, and how to engage with people and decision-makers. Veteran political leaders share their knowledge and hard-won wisdom from years of service in public office. Academic experts provide instruction and guidance through the issues and institutions you need to know to be a legislator. Journalists and professional communicators will challenge and refine your media skills.

Participants will engage in simulations and role playing – both in discrete exercises and as part of a program-long simulation which culminates in a weekend legislative session. Each participant will represent a constituency, be assigned to roles in political parties and committees and work through draft legislation on salient issues. Reflective dialogue sessions provide the opportunity for participants to step back from the simulations and reflect on their experiences, good and bad practices, and imagine the kind of practitioner they want to be.

For a closer look at the IFL, watch this teaser:

PROGRAM DATES: Three alternating weekends in July – August.
COVID-19 notice: We are closely monitoring and responding to UBC COVID-19 policy changes as they are announced. Updates on the program will be posted on our website and we will notify all applicants by email about any changes in scheduling.

Financial assistance may be available. If the program fee poses a barrier to your participation, please indicate this on your application form.

Past practitioners include: George Abbott, Dawn Black, Larry Campbell, Ujjal Dosanjh, Mike Harcourt, Joy MacPhail, Preston Manning, Anne McLellan, Lisa Raitt, Carole Taylor and many others.

Topics include:

  • Legislatures & Legislative Life
  • Parliamentary Relationships
  • Political Ethics & Judgement
  • Working in the House
  • Gender in Politics
  • Communications
  • Representation
  • Committee Research & Investigation
  • Question Period preparation
  • Constituency Service & Constituency Communications

Our alumni have gone on to run for and hold municipal and provincial office, work as political staffers, work on electoral campaigns, and apply the skills and perspectives they learned at IFL to pursue their advocacy work.

“Attending the Institute for Future Legislators was one of the best educational experiences I have had in my life and truly a proud accomplishment. Not only did I meet amazing people along the way, but I was able to gain new knowledge and learn about my personal strengths. I received hands-on training on how to be a member of caucus and a Member of Parliament. The program not only inspired me to run for office but prepared me for my next election for Squamish Nation Chief and Council. From this experience, I learned how be an accountable, transparent leader and politician. I am grateful to have been recognized as one of the most inspiring leaders and future legislators. Thank you UBC for granting me this amazing opportunity! Huy chexw!” ~ Crystal Lewis, IFL 2018 Participant

For more testimonials, hear from other past participants: Sara Eftekhar, Ali Versi, Mariana BarreraTaranjit SinghNathan Bowles.

If you have questions or would like to be added to our mailing list, please contact:

Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions
School of Public Policy and Global Affairs

The University of British Columbia, Musqueam Traditional Territory