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Canada's DemocracyXChange summit returns to Toronto

DXC24 poster

Within today’s chaotic world rife with wars, misinformation and disinformation, Canada’s annual democracy summit is bringing people together from the public, private and non-profit sectors to mobilize positive action to strengthen democracy and civil society.

These issues will be explored at the fifth edition of the DemocracyXChange (DXC24) summit, being held from April 11 to 13. The summit’s theme this year is Courage Through Chaos and is being co-presented by OCAD University, the Dais at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and the Open Democracy Project.

“We are all living in a dangerous information environment where platforms misused by bad actors power the indiscriminate spread of misinformation and disinformation,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano.

“We can’t sustain a healthy democracy in this situation. DXC24 brings together communities of artists, journalists, civil servants, politicians, not-for-profit and industry leaders, students and more who are invested in creating a shared evidence-based reality that is the foundation for a more just and equitable future for all.”

Workshops, panel discussions and plenary sessions will explore trust and mistrust in institutions, social and economic inequality, the role of artists and designers in strengthening democracy, and the integrity of information, with a special focus on the role of democracies in confronting the existential threat of climate change.

Early-bird tickets are available until March 8. Special ticket prices are available for OCAD U students using the code: OCADUStudent@DXC24.


Thursday, April 11 – DXC Opening Night

  • Inside Wired and the Future of Digital News takes place at the Toronto Reference Library and requires separate registration.
  • Wonk Prom is an opening night of networking, music and the nation’s biggest Democracy Dance Party. It all takes place from 8 p.m. to midnight at OneEleven and requires a separate ticket for entry.

Friday, April 12: 8:45 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. – DXC Day 2 

Two workshops, an art tour and an evening of programming, including artistic activations, are on the agenda, as follows.

  • The Democracy Futures Workshop is focused on answering the question, “What might a flourishing democracy look like for all Canadians in the year 2050, and how might we get there?” Back by popular demand, this workshop was introduced in 2023 and reached capacity. Space is limited so don’t wait to register! This event takes place at the OCAD U Waterfront campus, at 130 Queens Quay E.
  • The Emerging Leaders Workshop is geared to students, recent graduates and emerging leaders. Participants will hear from emerging leaders who will share their success stories, practical tips and advice on the secrets of compelling storytelling and how to have meaningful dialogue with those with differing opinions. New for 2024! This event takes place at the OCAD U Waterfront campus, at 130 Queens Quay E.
  • John Hannaford, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, is the opening plenary speaker from 9 to 10 a.m.
  • Join curator Lisa Deanne Smith for an in-depth curatorial tour at Onsite Gallery, located at 199 Richmond St. W., for the power exhibition from 1 to 3 p.m. Explore artworks that challenge dominant colonial, capitalist and state capitalist worldviews by Toronto-based artists using their eloquent sculpture, drawing, painting, installation and video practices to inspire and reflect ways of being that reposition the meaning of power to be grounded in respect, cooperation and emotional intelligence.
  • Timothy Wu addresses delegates from 4:50 to 5:40 p.m. on Platform Capitalism: Beyond the debate over capitalism and socialism. He is a former White House antitrust advisor and one of the most influential thought leaders on the future of the information economy.
  • This year’s summit integrates the global event DXC Night of Ideas: Fault Lines with a kick-off from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. followed by international guest speakers, panels, performers and artistic activations, all centered around the theme of fault lines in our democracy. Together, the event will examine ruptures, upheavals and concerns relating to climate change, misinformation, social and economic disparity in various forms of thoughtful, interactive discussions and artistic expressions, in partnership with the French General Consulate of Toronto and Alliance Française. Speakers will include social and climate justice activist Camille Étienne and François Cusset, historian of ideas and professor of American Studies at the University of Paris Nanterre. 

Saturday, April 13 – DXC Day 3

All events will take place at the TMU Ted Rogers School of Management, 55 Dundas St. W. Saturday at DXC24 will offer 10 panels, six workshops, talks, networking and more, as follows.

  • The Art Power Panel, from 10 to 11 a.m., features Onsite Gallery Senior Curator Lisa Deanne Smith and the seven artists whose works are part of the current exhibition, power. Artists include Rocky Dobey, Natalie King, Jamiyla Lowe, Khadijah Morley, Ekow Nimako, Rajni Perera and Fiona Smyth.
  • Online Harassment's Impact on Democracy takes place from 11:10 a.m. to 12:10 a.m. Online platforms have opened up our democracy, but too often subject politicians, journalists and those advocating for change to online and offline abuse and harassment. The panelists will share their experiences and dig into the federal government's new online harms bill. Moderated by Dr. Emily Laidlaw, panelists include: Fae Johnstone and Dr. Laura Mae Lindo
  • Five participatory workshops will take place on Saturday afternoon, tackling a variety of topics including: Building the Civic Pipeline - Engaging Students in Democracy, Burnout and Activism, Freedom of Expression, Role of Democracy & Changemakers in Climate Action, Get Out the Vote 101, and Social Media Regulation.
  • CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Justin Hendrix will talk about threats and opportunities related to AI and democracy, threats and opportunities from 1:30 to 2:20 p.m.
  • A keynote panel discussion, Agreeing to Disagree in a Democracy, will be held from 4 to 4:50 p.m. Panel members include Dr. Sarita Srivastava, author of the soon-to-be released book, Are You Calling Me a Racist?François Cusset, writer, intellectual historian and columnist who is currently professor of American Studies at the University of Paris Nanterre; and Bob Watts, former Interim Executive Director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission who is an expert in Indigenous policy, negotiations, training and conflict resolution.