Cities take top honours at IAP2 Core Values Awards

September 13, 2017

At a time when members of the general public are demanding to be involved in decisions affecting them, two Canadian cities have received the national honours from the International Association for Public Participation, Canada (IAP2 Canada). The organization presented its annual Core Values Awards at the 2017 IAP2 North American Conference in Denver, Colorado, recognizing significant achievements in engaging the public in projects and policies that affect them.

"It's important to recognize what can happen when decision-makers listen to and work with the people affected by a decision," says IAP2 Canada President Bruce Gilbert.

"The Core Values Awards celebrate those projects and also hold them up as an example for others to follow."

The City of Burlington, Ontario, was named Organization of the Year for applying the "Community Engagement Charter," adopted in 2013. The Charter honours an agreement made between the City and its residents, to consult and engage with them in all matters, and involves creating a full-time staff position for engagement and training communications department staff in IAP2 tools, techniques and methods for consulting with the public.

"We are grateful to be named organization of the year for 2017," says Burlington mayor Rick Goldring, "recognizing that it takes hard work each day to maintain a corporate culture that consistently engages with its community. I want to thank city staff, my colleagues on Council and the residents and business people of Burlington. You know that your opinions matter and have an impact on the decisions we make at the City of Burlington."

The City of Calgary received Project of the Year honours for its "Crowchild Trail Study". Crowchild is a major transportation corridor, running north-south through the city. Any work on that corridor affects many neighbourhoods in a variety of ways, so the City - which was named Organization of the Year in 2014 for adopting a "culture of engagement" among its employees - recognized that engagement had to reach as broad a range of residents and businesses as possible. Methods including online surveys, face-to-face meetings and "pop-up" booths in places frequented by large numbers of people were used to encourage the conversation and come up with the best ways of addressing the issues.

"[The Crowchild Trail Project] has changed the way we incorporate public input in transportation planning," says Mac Logan, General Manager, Transportation. "This award shows how a meaningful public participation process can help us provide a transportation system that best meets the needs of both the adjacent communities and the traveling public today and in the future."

These two honorees will compete against other National award winners from IAP2 Affiliates around the world for the IAP2 Federation's Core Values Awards. The winners will be announced in October in Melbourne, Australia.

The Project of the Year award was selected from winners of three project categories. The City of Calgary also received the award for " Extending the Practice through Creativity, Contribution and Innovation in the Field ." Honourable mention in that category went to the Calgary Board of Education for its Master Transportation Strategy.

Other Project Category winners were:

Indigenous Engagement - Liard Aboriginal Women's Society (LAWS) of Watson Lake, YT, and Beringia Community Planning of North Vancouver, for "Youth for Safety". This initiative is a bottom-up strategy, developed in consultation with local Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, to deal with a rising incidence of assaults on Indigenous women and girls in the Watson Lake area.

Respect for Diversity, Inclusion and Culture - Richmond (BC) School District #38 with Rockandel and Associates, for "Our Schools, Our Students, Our Future - Let's Talk". School trustees were considering closing some schools due to budget constraints, but they recognized the schools were important to their communities and also for many of the families, English is not the first language. The District and Rockandel and Associates designed a public engagement process that enabled people to understand the issues and express their views. As a result of that process, no schools were closed.

Videos describing these projects can be found online at

For more information :

International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)


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