Meet our new co-chairs of the EDI CoP. In the coming weeks, the co-chairs will be working with the IAP2 Canada operational team to plan the schedule, topics and speakers of the EDI CoP for the upcoming year.
Tanushree Pillai is an anti-racism educator, DEI facilitator, and communications consultant who speaks six languages. Tanushree has more than a decade of experience in communications, and has been doing EDI work in various capacities since 2016. Her professional, lived, and educational experiences in EDI are a strong part of her identity.
Dorsa Jalalian is a passionate urban designer, project manager, and community engagement specialist with over 8 years of public participation experience in the Middle East and North America. Dorsa’s lived experience and strong belief in diversity, equity and inclusion has led her to advocate for designing inclusive cities through community engagement and to initiate EDI conversations in her industry.
Stay tuned in the coming months for the launch of this Community of Practice to sign up for this educational topic.
Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are key priorities for IAP2. The goal being that EDI CoP participants come away feeling that they have gained knowledge and networks to help them advance their own careers, and that they have had the opportunity to share in order to assist others.
Rencontrez les co-présidents de la nouvelle communauté de pratique sur l'équité, la diversité et l'inclusion
Rencontrez nos nouveaux co-présidents de la CdP EDI. Au cours des prochaines semaines, les coprésidents travailleront avec l'équipe opérationnelle de IAP2 Canada pour planifier le calendrier, les sujets et les conférenciers de la CdP EDI pour l'année à venir.
Tanushree Pillai est une éducatrice en matière de lutte contre le racisme, une animatrice de l'IDE et une consultante en communication qui parle six langues. Tanushree a plus de dix ans d'expérience dans le domaine de la communication, et fait du travail d'ÉDI à divers titres depuis 2016. Ses expériences professionnelles, vécues et éducatives en matière d'EDI constituent une part importante de son identité.
Dorsa Jalalian est un designer urbain passionné, un gestionnaire de projet et un spécialiste de l'engagement communautaire avec plus de 8 ans d'expérience de participation publique au Moyen-Orient et en Amérique du Nord. L'expérience vécue de Dorsa et sa forte croyance en la diversité, l'équité et l'inclusion l'ont amenée à plaider pour la conception de villes inclusives par le biais de l'engagement communautaire et à lancer des conversations sur l'EDI dans son secteur.
Restez à l'écoute dans les prochains mois pour le lancement de cette communauté de pratique et inscrivez-vous à ce sujet éducatif.
L'équité, la diversité et l'inclusion (EDI) sont des priorités clés pour AIP2. L'objectif est que les participants à la CdP sur l'EDI repartent avec le sentiment d'avoir acquis des connaissances et des réseaux qui les aideront à faire progresser leur propre carrière, et d'avoir eu l'occasion de partager afin d'aider les autres.
Engaging the public as a project is being developed is one thing; but how to track the engagement and monitor it over time is still an issue. A tool for helping to guide more effective community engagement planning took one of the top honours in the 2022 IAP2 Canada Core Values Award and has now received top honours from IAP2 International.
IAP2 International announced yesterday, at the IAP2 Australasian conference in Melbourne, Australia that the Conference Board of Canada received the IAP2 International Research Award for their project “Empowering Communities to Monitor Major Projects in Impact Assessments”, in which an Engagement Indicators Playbook was developed. The Board’s researchers recognized a need for a tool to help plan and sustain public participation and Indigenous engagement processes, in view of the growing influence of gender, equity, Indigenous reconciliation, climate action, and sustainability on engagement.
The Playbook, its guidance, and its indicators, were developed through an iterative and participatory research process led by a research team, Colin Brown, Marta Bristow, Gillian Kerr, and Twiladawn Stonefish, from May 2021 to February 2022.
Learn more at https://www.conferenceboard.ca/focus-areas/sustainability/community-engagement-indicators
The award winners represent best practice in the field of public participation and serve as model of excellence for others to emulate. Winners and finalists are recognized for their contributions to the field in the areas of indigenous engagement, community development, health, infrastructure, environment, disaster and emergency services as well as for their creativity, innovation and inclusion. This is a testament to the tremendous expansion, professionalism, and impact of our field of expertise.
Finalists for the ’best of the best‘ international awards were gathered from entries submitted by IAP2 Regions in Australasia, Canada, and United States.
Source: International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)
How can digital and hybrid approaches support engagement when participants are polarized? We have all learned that power, privilege, and the inability to understand one another’s perspectives are key challenges for engagement today.
Risk-averse organizations might turn away from public engagement for fear of contentious online discourse, or lean into highly controlled digital strategies with flat surveys and limited conversation spaces; but many are leaning into the challenge to build digital and hybrid engagement spaces that are dynamic, equity-minded, welcoming, and creative.
Hear from experienced digital engagement practitioners about strategies and tools for bringing diverse voices into conversations and offering opportunities for consensus, while supporting safer/welcoming spaces for a divided public.
Thanks to 76 Engage and The HiVE, this webinar is free for all.
Technology Lead Sponsor
Join us November 10 from 12-1pm Eastern / 9-10am Pacific!
Joseph Thornley is founder and CEO of 76engage. He currently leads the 76engage development team and assists governments at the national, state and local levels to design, build and run effective online engagement initiatives. Prior to founding 76engage in 2015, he founded Thornley Fallis Communications in 1995v and 76design in 1999. He is a past Chairman of the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms and founding Director of IAP2 Canada’s National Capital Region Chapter.
Elizabeth Thornley designs and builds online engagement experiences aimed at providing the public and stakeholders with meaningful input and opportunities.
She has worked with local, provincial and federal governments.
Sophia Robison is an urban planner and advocate for community engagement for The HiVE & Social PinPoint. Sophia works to build a community of best practice in public engagement, particularly around the use of digital technology. Previously, Sophia worked in local government, notably with the City of Pittsburgh's Department of City Planning where she created the City’s first Public Engagement Guide and implemented that program across more than five City Departments. She created the City’s engagement response to the pandemic, EngagePGH, a digital one-stop-shop for all things public engagement for City residents.
Ose Akinlotan is the Neighborhood Planning Manager for the City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning. She serves as the department’s Equity Liaison and has project managed master plans in the City’s Hill District and Hazelwood neighborhoods, as well as creating an educational series for City residents about city planning. She has navigated community engagement throughout the pandemic using various in-person, hybrid, and digital engagement tools. Ose earned a Master’s of Geography and Environmental Planning from Towson University and a bachelor’s in history from The Morgan State University. Before moving to Pittsburgh, Ose worked for the City of Dubuque, Iowa’s Planning Department and the Iowa DOT.
The 2022 IAP2 North American Conference (NAC) offered a unique opportunity to meet, communicate and collaborate with other P2 specialists and champions from across Canada. Our diverse community of professionals, citizens, academics, and decision-makers are committed to involving the public in decisions that affect them.
As the pre-eminent organization for public participation and public engagement in Canada, our conference offers a unique opportunity to meet, communicate with and share stories with other P2 practitioners and champions from across Canada.
Our theme this year is “Connecting with Purpose”: connecting through differences; connecting to achieve diverse representation; connecting with Indigenous ways of knowing; connecting through the screen; connecting with the P2 community.
All of our conference sessions were recorded in Banff and Digital Conference attendees will receive access to the recorded conference sessions in October so you can enjoy them at your own pace later.
At the first meeting of the new board, held in September in Banff, Alberta, the officers for the 2022 - 2023 year were appointed. These four individuals constitute the Executive Committee, whose role it is to manage, or supervise, the management of the affairs of IAP2 Canada between board meetings.
Meet our board of directors
By the IAP2 Canada Research Committee
This third installment of key findings from IAP2’s bi-annual State of the Practice survey shines a spotlight on barriers to inclusion in P2 practice in Canada. Lisez la version française
The survey puts particular emphasis on challenges to providing equitable and inclusive engagement for participants whose first language may not be English. While survey respondents indicated it is common (73%) to translate written material into other languages, the ability to provide real-time in-session translation with an interpreter remains rare (common for only 14% of respondents). These results show no reported progress in ability to include real-time in-session translation services since the 2017 survey and no reported change in translation of written materials.
P2 practitioners responding to the survey are commonly making use of partnerships to meaningfully engage with non-English-speaking participants (62.5%), however this is also lower than reports from 2017, when 72% were commonly consulting community associations for the best approach. Respondents identified online materials and web tools (78%) and printed materials (74%) as the most popular tools for engaging with non-English-speaking participants. Tools reported as least commonly used include hands-on activities (24%), virtual site tours (26%), facilitation or consensus building tools (31%), images/videos of sites (32%), paper-based or in-person surveys/questionnaires/polls (33%), and interactive maps or other tools (39%).
Forty-two percent (42%) of respondents indicated it is common to have no support or procedures in place to work with non-English-speaking participants. With the 2016 Census reporting that a slim majority (58.1%) of all Canadians have English as at least one of their mother tongues, this reality does not match linguistic trends in Canada. According to The Canadian Encyclopedia: (https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/languages-in-use)
Although French and English are Canada’s only two official languages, the country’s linguistic diversity is very rich. According to the 2016 census, an increased number of Canadians are reporting a mother tongue or language spoken at home other than English or French compared to in previous years. This is in addition to a large diversity of Indigenous languages.
Survey respondents indicate language diversity in social media and online engagement has improved, rising from 30% in 2017 to 43% in 2020. Interviews, surveys, questionnaires and polls in other languages are also more common (now common for 50% of respondents).
Beyond language-related barriers to inclusion affecting P2 participants, respondents noted the following issues:
IAP2 Canada’s Research Committee noted several barriers to participation in the design of the State of Practice survey. Several comments by respondents supported our observations. We also note that while insights about barriers to inclusion related to language can be gathered from the survey, other aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are not. The Committee looks forward to making improvements to future surveys to improve both the experience of participants and the value of the results to practitioners.
IAP2 Canada is here to help you reduce barriers to inclusion in your on P2 practice. Of particular note, the following learning opportunities are available:
We live in interesting times, and this is especially true for elected officials and/or policy makers. The public expects them to step in to mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events on infrastructure, and address the ever-increasing number of people struggling with mental health issues, poverty, homelessness, traffic congestion and other complex issues that keep growing.
In the context of a local government or public agency, decision-makers provide direction to staff by putting in place strategic plans and defining goals and values to inform policy development and of projects. It is a complex process that often requires the search for compromises. This is where things get interesting, as residents realize how certain issues are affecting their lives and what they might have to give up to fix them. Members of the public have different opinions about development, zoning changes, official community plans – especially if they affect marginalized communities – or intensification.
Diverse interests are often accentuated by coordinated digital campaigns that have the potential to refocus the conversation, shifting a dialogue about choices and trade-offs into a polarizing campaign intended to promote different perspectives and even attack decision-makers at individual title. This means that decision-makers may feel increasingly isolated and challenged to oppose a plan they originally supported; in some cases, they may even be bullied. Not all dissenting opinions manifest as a coordinated digital disinformation campaign designed to amplify and propagate hate speech, systematically manipulate political discourse, or disrupt decision-making,
As practitioners of public participation, we are frequently asked for advice. What strategies do you find most effective? What techniques have you learned, during AIP2 Canada training or through the organization's networks, and which have proven to be effective? How can we convince decision-makers to involve the public and residents early in the process – before a plan is developed – so that these people realize the value they bring to the process and the compromises they are willing to make? Are we able to organize community conversations to explore the impact of choices on other people and on the system as a whole? Can we help participants see beyond their own interests and become aware of certain things (for example, “Ohhh…Icontributes to traffic jams" rather than "Traffic jams make me late", or "It is advantageous for me to buy a house in an area where prices are lower, but the price of housing increases, which which means that people who occupied accommodation in a basement or a less expensive rental house will have to find accommodation elsewhere”).
As practitioners of public participation, we can design processes that raise these kinds of questions, explore trade-offs, and help people see beyond their own interests. Also, when people see their views taken into account, they tend to be more accepting of policies and decisions that they may not fully support. We are all part of the problems we face, which means we all have a role to play in finding a solution.
The IAP2 Canada Research Committee presents bite-sized information and graphics from the 2020 State of Practice Survey results.
This summer we shared some key findings from IAP2’s semi-annual State of the Practice survey noting that P2 practice in Canada appears to be ‘pandemic proof’. Respondents identified virtual and digital engagement tools as key to pandemic-resilience.
When asked about the impact of COVID-19 on their P2 practice, not surprisingly, almost all respondents reported an increase in virtual engagement and a decrease in in-person engagement. Based on responses, it appears the virtual environment prevented some groups from participating as much as before the pandemic, while other groups found participation more feasible (e.g. young parents).
Less than 12% of respondents indicated they did not use web-based or mobile tools in their engagement practice. Online surveys, questionnaires or polls are most commonly used, however the predominance of these in proportion to other digital tools has dropped since the last survey. Social media tools such as Facebook and Instagram, and to a lesser extent, Blogs and Twitter, have risen in importance as a ‘go to’ for P2 practitioners. The survey results demonstrate that P2 practitioners have seized the challenge of pivoting to online tools and learning new skills and platforms.
However, the complexity of the virtual and digital realm is adding challenge to P2 practice. Respondents identified concern about barriers to virtual engagement for people who lacked access to the online environment or lacked skill or comfort with online tools. Greater effort by practitioners seems necessary to ensure underrepresented groups are included in engagement activities. Losing in-person engagement during the peaks of the pandemic had a noted negative impact, particularly for hard-to-reach groups such as the Indigenous community and rural farmers. Some practitioners identified that meaningful conversations were harder to have online and harder to facilitate. Some also identified that participants overall do not prefer these tools and/or have difficulty using them.
Of particular concern, survey respondents identified a lack of engagement tools and technologies as a significant barrier; in fact this gap had the highest weighted average among noted barriers, surpassing language, policies and meaningful metrics (i.e. those that make the case for future engagement effort). Technical information was also identified as harder to present electronically.
IAP2 Canada is here to help you reduce barriers to practice in the virtual and digital space. Of particular note, the following learning opportunities are available:
To continue your innovation journey in the virtual and digital space, visit the IAP2 Event Calendar to register for the many opportunities available for strengthening your digital engagement skills.
As world leaders begin to talk about a future transition to normalcy, we reflect on the impact COVID-19 has had on P2 practice in Canada. Last fall, while still in the thick of lockdowns, waves, ‘pivots’, and other things pandemic, IAP2 Canada reached out to P2 practitioners with the bi-annual State of the Practice survey. We asked you how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacted your work – and you spoke up with courageous optimism. What you said is not surprising: P2 research and practice has been pandemic-resilient!
First and foremost, the majority of survey respondents are optimistic about the future of P2 despite the ongoing pandemic. Practitioners believe that COVID-19 has had a significant and lasting impact on their P2 work, including driving them towards using more virtual and digital engagement tools. They agree that this shift is here to stay.
On the flip-side, one in ten survey respondents agree that COVID-19 has financially impacted their P2 work and one-fifth believe that there has been a decline in the quality of P2 work as a result of the pandemic
IAP2 Canada continues to examine the trends affecting P2 practice across the nation. IAP2 sponsored research by authors Stephanie Yates and Hugo Mimee into COVID-19 and Its Impact on the Field and Practice of Public Participation. This paper builds understanding of remote participatory approaches in our new virtual and digital practice. Watch for the release in September.
IAP2 Canada also continues to actively tailor learning and networking opportunities to support members in ‘pandemic-proofing’ their P2 work, including digital transformation and building capacity for diversity, equity and inclusion.
To continue your own learning journey to ‘pandemic-proof’ your practice, register for the many opportunities available through IAP2 Canada. Learn more
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