Online Coalition Building for Environmental Law Reform

Under Prime Minister Harper, Canada’s Conservative Party dismantled key environmental protections. When the Liberals came to power they promised to strengthen the Environmental Assessment Act, the Navigation Protection Act, the Fisheries Act and to fix the National Energy Board.

But, a coalition of national environmental organizations weren’t going to leave all this to chance. They began working together to ensure new versions of these laws bring back strong environmental protections for Canadians. As part of this campaign, Capulet developed a digital, public-facing campaign to put pressure on MPs and Ministers to reform these key pieces of legislation.

Breaking down complex ideas

Environmental law reform is important, but it’s not the easiest topic to engage the public in. We wanted to inform Canadians about the issue but not overwhelm them with legal jargon. It was also important to:

  • Respect the individual work of each organization in the coalition
  • Weave storytelling into the environmental law reform narrative
  • Ensure each reform was given the attention it deserved with messaging customized for specific MPs and Ministers.

United, but not the same

Here’s how we did it. We created four unique landing pages, one for each reform, in English and in French. Each page tells a personal story from Canadians impacted by the law’s current shortcomings. A cohesive visual design linked all four pages under the “Now’s our chance to get it right” banner.

Then, to make it as easy as possible for Canadians to send a letter to their MP and call key Ministers about air, water and land protections, each page was equipped with click-to-email and click-to-call engagement tools by Vancouver-based New/Mode.

Doubling down, and tripling, and quadrupling

Then, the build out began! We cloned version of these sites for 25 different groups across the country. At the height of the campaign, 68 microsites were running “in the wild,” sending emails to MPs and connecting callers with Ministers. Each cloned page functioned independently and so we were able to add a group’s logo, make some content customizations and collect data that went directly to the organization that owned that page.

We also prepared a variety of communications assets for participating groups to use including email blasts, social media and photography.

We also prepared a variety of communications assets for participating groups to use including email blasts, social media and photography.

Darren Barefoot

Better together

This campaign continues as the new laws make their way from Committee to the House and to the Senate. So far, Canadians have emailed over 40,000 letters to MPs, published letters to the editor in 33 publications across Canada and have made hundreds of calls to key Ministers.

We think this campaign’s success is the result of taking a complex issue and breaking it down to the bare bones. The simplicity of the sites and their messaging made it easy for Canadians to take action and addressed individual needs of each group participating in the coalition.


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