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Why Student Strikes?

Student strikes are a key way that we as students can exercise our collective power in order to force our governments to act. The concept of organized student labour started in the 1960s in France, when students recognized that we do in fact perform labour: the unpaid labour of education and training for the workforce. The government needs us in school, and we need climate action.

In 2012, students in Quebec organized and WON against a 75% tuition increase and greater austerity measures. This is proof student strikes in Canada WORK.

Student strikes are working to pressure government to act on the climate crisis all over the world. Now, it is Canada’s turn.

High school strikes

First Steps

1. Your first and most important step is to establish a solid organizing team! Check out our guide here for our hard-won advice about how to do this.

2. Join the Climate Strike Canada network by registering your strike using this form. Once you have done this, other youth organizers will be in touch with you to help walk through all the next steps!

3. Pick a time and place for the strike. The set time and location should be convenient for students. Think about what time and location will allow the most visibility for the cause.

4. Make a Facebook event and Instagram account for your strike group. Check out this page for our advice about that.

5. Ask students to join your strike by having them sign a petition: the CSC petition is coming soon! This will be evidence of how many people support your strike and what you’re asking for. Give those who signed the petition and agreed to go on strike a green circle

6. Consider trying to set up climate strike teams at high schools represented by your organizing group. Check out this guide for information about how to do that.


Contact your municipality to advise them about your strike and inquire about whether you need a permit. If needed, contact the police, as well and ask them to block traffic.

  1. Find an MC for the event. This individual should be able to clearly articulate your message, as well as energize the crowd!

  2. If you expect a good turnout, consider having a few “peacekeepers”/ marshals to ensure that the strike stays safe, on route, and on time. This is a good role for adult allies.

  3. The route should be pre-planned, with people specifically designated as leaders breaking the students up into groups. This allows for the strike to have a larger presence, while leaving no area untouched. Try and converge in a place that matters, an MP’s office, an Oil Company’s office, a monument in your city, etc.

  4. Make sure you have next steps prepared. Will there be another strike? Are there opportunities for strikers to help organize future events?

  5. Pick speakers. 

    1. Focus on representing a diverse range of youth speakers

    2. Also find a couple of adult leaders to speak, if possible

    3. Examples of adults you could ask to speak, professors, doctors, scientists, (avoid politicians), community leaders, activists from other causes and indigenous leaders.

  6. Make sure you have chants prepared - make some signs too! Chants should be short and simple so that everyone can easily repeat them, but still impactful. Chants are what many people remember at the strike. Examples of effective chants are:

    1. 1.5 to stay alive

    2. Our planet, our future

    3. What do we want? Climate action! When do we want it? Now!

Get people there

Create a social media account (Instagram and Facebook are recommended) and graphics to share. Canva is a free and easy online tool to create graphics and posters! Remember, CSC has graphics you can use as well. Check out our instagram.

  1. Make posters and promote your strike as much as possible! Consider posting your event on community calendars or bulletins to spread the word. Poster your school and make announcements in classrooms. Flyer during lunch or after school and try to get as many people as possible to agree to the strike by signing a petition.

  2. Appoint team members to reach out to elementary schools and universities

  3. Plan your press outreach (check out this document for more info!)

  4. It is a good idea to create a list of strike guidelines to add with your promotions. These are simple tips to ensure that everyone has a good experience at the event. They include reminding participants to dress for the weather, discuss their participation with teachers and parents/guardians beforehand, plan safe and sustainable transportation, and act in a peaceful, positive manner during the event.

  5. Plan community building activities leading up to the strike, this could be a banner drop, workshops on climate justice, environmental racism, protesting, a movie night, picnic or anything to make strike organizing FUN.

  6. Using your petition, post an estimate of how many students will go on strike, this will encourage more people to go.

  7. Send a media advisory to local news letting them know that your event will be happening, so that they show up. More information about how to do that here

Strike day Roles Checklist

  • Delegate a photographer

  • Social media management: post updates about the event, add IG stories, reshare stories participants tagged the organizing account in and respond to messages during the strike. More information here.

  • Police liaison: choose someone to be the city and police contact, keep in mind police aren’t always friendly during demonstrations.

  • Spokespeople: Delegate 2-4 spokespeople to take interviews with the media on behalf of your movement. It’s important to remember sex, gender and racial representation when choosing spokespeople.

  • Media Liaison: While the spokespeople are practicing speeches and giving interviews, it’s good to have someone in charge on contacting the news and planning when interviews will be. This is important for big cities with many different news papers and sites.

Strike day

  • Have a clear route planned and keep people updated via social media. If other schools in your city are on strike, try and organize ahead of time to meet at a central location.

  • Make a strong call to action at the conclusion of the event. Choose a few simple actions like way to reduce personal emissions attendees can take to continue with the momentum from the strike. Be sure to make an announcement asking all the people at the strike to vote if they are over 18 and talk about the Pact for a Green New Deal, currently the only plan in Canada working to take the scale of action needed to fight this crisis.


  • Following the strike, write a press release about how many students came out, what your demands are and include some quotes from key organizers. Consider writing an op-ed about the student movement and climate justice from the youth perspective or pitching articles about the climate movement to your local media. Check out this page for more information about how to get your story in the media.

  • Start planning your next strike! The fight’s not over.

University & college strikes


University and college students hold a special position in the student strike movement because we can hold formal, democratic strikes that are legally recognized.

For the March 15 Global Student Strike for Climate, students in Quebec organized 120 student associations representing 150,000 students to vote “yes” to a strike. This show of collective power earned them meetings with provincial and federal politicians.


  • Make a core team. The people on this ideally represent a variety of student associations so you have a member in different associations who can pressure for the strike vote from the inside. Reach out to clubs and community groups you think will support the strike.

  • Make a list of the student association you think will be easiest to convince to vote for a strike on September 27. Start with these and as “yes” votes come in, departments that are harder to convince may be swayed.

Calling a strike vote

  • Identify your school’s demands and incorporate them into a motion to strike.

  • Find the by-laws for the department associations you’ll ask to go on strike. Figure out what you need to do to call a general assembly, do you need to start a petition? Can the execs call a GA? How many days before the GA does it need to be announced? How many students are needed to make quorum? What information must be advertised? What info needs to be advertised, where and how should it be advertised according to bylaws?

  • Make classroom visits and flyer so everyone knows there will be a strike vote, lobby people to vote yes for the strike beforehand. When you arrive at the GA, you should have a good idea if the motion will pass or not.

Getting people to vote “yes”

  • Make sure to advertise about the strike and why it’s important, visit classrooms and try to have profs support the strike. Create social media account and facebook events inviting people to the strike vote. Talk to as many people as possible, but be weary of the associations by-laws.

  • Association should have a contact list of members, if they’re willing to give you list list, use it to make phone calls or send texts and emails reminding people about the strike vote.

  • This many be some peoples first GA, to make it easier for newbies to participate, ask the association’s exec what the rules of order are and make a cheat sheet for people to be sure everyone can participate.

  • Make your GA accessible and advertise accessibility options.

  • Organize something social for afterward, like a pub crawl, drinks, pizza… whatever will get people out.

Plan and execute and effective strike

  • Make a strike mob team in each department that votes “yes”

  • Get the class schedules for each dept. on strike and inform the prof their class is cancelled.

  • Choose someone to coordinate between departments.

  • Get profs on your side.

  • Choose someone to coordinate with the rest of the city.

  • Plan a route through your city, decide whether or not you will contact police

  • Decide if picketing students (students blocking entrance to classes that are on strike) will show ID’s, will they cover their faces?

  • Advertise the strike so all classmates are aware not to attend class.

  • Choose spokespeople for media and speeches.

  • Choose a media liaison to help the spokespeople organize their interviews and speeches, this person and also be in charge of day-of social media posts.

  • Distribute green felt circles to show who will join the strike, others can wear these to show they support the student movement.

Get people excited to strike

  • Organize weekly strike meetings to make sure things run smoothly.

  • Plan social and educational events like pub crawls, happy hours, movie screenings or workshops to prepare people for the strike. Some other ideas to keep the strike on people’s minds are tabling, classroom announcements, social media ads, posters or a banner drop.

Expand your movement

  • Get in contact with other strike groups in your city or province, work together to coordinate demands so we can put real pressure on our provincial and federal governments for climate actions. University, college and high school students should work together to organize for the week of action September 20-27. Consider getting involved on the national level through CSC.

Climate Ribbon



Originally designed for the September 21 People’s Climate March in NYC, The Climate Ribbon ritual was developed by a group of movement artists and also faith leaders as a way to collective process climate grief and the emotional aspect of this crisis. 

As the world begins to truly reckon with the immensity of the threat of climate catastrophe, and our movement grows to the scale of the problem, we ask ourselves: what could move millions of us through our fear and grief and into action? What, in a word, is the Climate Justice movements’ equivalent of the AIDS Memorial Quilt? Our answer: The Climate Ribbon — a massive public art installation and ritual space to grieve all that we stand to lose to Climate Chaos.

How does it work?

Everyone at the event writes on a ribbon their answer to the question: what do you love and hope to never lose to climate crisis? . They then tie their ribbon to a structure, creating a collective sculpture. In our iteration, we plan to tie them to cords strung like a clothesline (this will also make it easy to dismantle, store, and bring to new events). Then, event attendees gather in small groups (~10 people) in a designated space. Each takes a turn picking a ribbon out of the sculpture and reading what is written on it. The other group members then call out - “we got your back”. This creates community bond! Once each group member has a turn, that small group leaves the space and a new one comes in to repeat the process.