At the City of Mississauga, community engagement means being intentional about involving those who will be affected by decisions at the time when we’re making those decisions. We engage our community to give them the opportunity to propose ideas and come up with solutions on matters like the future of the waterfront, transit or a neighbourhood park.
Engaging the community is a good process for making decisions. It’s also smart business. Following a robust consultation with our community, we developed and launched our Community Engagement Strategy in 2017. The strategy provides a consistent approach to engagement that is based on an internationally recognized framework. We make it easy for our community to participate and include diverse voices to make the process as inclusive and accessible as possible.
Through a City-wide program, staff receive training and coaching on best-practices as well as tools and resources to create engagement opportunities. And stakeholders can now choose from a variety of ways to provide input. Available engagement opportunities include workshops, community meetings, online surveys, Q&As, sharing stories and discussions.
In 2018 we held 109 in-person events with 11,000 stakeholders attending in person and 18,000 engaging online and by phone. Some of the key engagements include our 2019 Budget, Climate Change Action Plan, Legalizing Recreational Cannabis, MiWay 5 Strategy and a pilot project for ride-sharing networks such as Lyft and Uber.
So, what’s in it for the community? For starters, it gives our valued community members an opportunity to get involved in issues that are important to them. They’re able to help shape the decisions we make about city planning, policies, services and programs. It’s also their chance to make sure that as a City, we remain open, transparent and accountable.
In addition, we provide the community with free resources such as a presentation template, Facilitator’s Guide and summary report and encourage them to carry out their own community engagement initiatives.