We are engaging with more Ontarians in different ways to get their feedback. We want to hear your input on the government policies, programs and services that affect your daily life.
How we’re engaging with you
We are asking Ontarians to include their voice in the government decision-making process and provide their input and feedback, in order to help us solve problems and create more efficient programs.
This means sharing more information, and consulting, deliberating and collaborating with you to improve public services.
Ontario is regularly holding public consultations across the province to engage with you on important initiatives. To date, we have engaged with Ontarians on topics like the Ontario budget, climate change, the Condo Act, open data and Open Government.
View our Consultations Directory to learn about different public engagement opportunities taking place across the province and find out how to get involved.
Ontario’s Public Engagement Framework
We developed a Public Engagement Framework to help us engage more Ontarians in a meaningful way. Ontario’s Public Engagement Framework lays out the key approaches to public engagement for the government to use: share, consult, deliberate and collaborate. We are working to use newer forms of public engagement, like deliberate and collaborate, when and how it best makes sense. Different public engagement approaches work for different situations, but meaningful engagement takes place no matter which approach is used.
To design a framework that meets the needs of Ontario, we:
- started with a draft framework based on international standards and best practices
- used feedback received from the public during the Open Government Engagement Team’s consultations
- adopted the Open Government Engagement Team’s recommendation to develop a framework to “assist ministries in designing effective engagement processes and popularizing more deliberative and collaborative approaches to public engagement”
- consulted with leading public engagement experts
- conducted public engagement case studies such as the Strategy for a Safer Ontario and Accessibility Certification
We will continue to evolve and improve the framework as we go.
Public engagement case studies
We are using these four projects as case studies to test different approaches and help inform our approach to engaging Ontarians.
Strategy for a Safer Ontario – Deliberation approach
Time period: February to May 2016
Description: We engaged communities to gain insights on public participation during the planning and development of local community safety and wellbeing plans.
A findings document with recommendations from in-person community sessions and online engagement will be used to support community involvement at the local level. This work complements the broader consultations on the development of a Strategy for a Safer Ontario.
Results from the engagement will help us build safer communities.
Accessibility Certification – Collaboration approach
Time period: November 2015 to May 2016
Description: we engaged industry experts, disability advocates, certification experts, municipalities and not-for-profits to develop a voluntary, third-party accessibility certification program to recognize businesses and organizations that have championed accessibility.
A working group was established and an online portal was used to share notes from in-person sessions, working group updates and reports, visitors’ stories, and program prototypes.
The successful certification program will be delivered by the community and will help leaders stand out and promote the economic advantages of accessibility.
Red Tape Challenge – Collaboration approach
Time period: March 2016 to January 2018
Description: As part of Ontario’s Business Growth Initiative, we’re engaging the public to develop modern, evidence-based regulations for businesses.
We are asking industries, businesses and the public which rules should stay, which require an update and which should be eliminated, using an innovative online consultation tool.
The platform identifies regulations within different sectors and asks the public to submit comments on them.
Results from the consultation will be used to improve existing regulations to better support business, while still protecting consumers, workers and the environment.
Poverty Reduction Strategy – Consultation approach
Time period: January 2016 to June 2016
Description: Ontario engaged community leaders responsible for local-level poverty reduction strategies and initiatives across the province to examine data use, needs and gaps that could help drive and support evidence-based decision making in policy, program design and service delivery.
An online survey, as well as in-person and online engagement sessions were used to identify challenges and create solutions for better data collection, analysis and mobilization.
Results from this consultation will help inform how we measure progress on the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Learn about the different engagement approaches
Recognizing that no two issues are the same and that different issues will require different forms of engagement, Ontario’s Public Engagement Framework sets out the key approaches that we can use for different situations.
Here are the kinds of questions the government asks to determine the best way to engage the public:
Does government need to tell the public about a government initiative?
Result: Ontarians receive information about a government program or decision in an accessible way. Communication is one-way from the government to the public.
Example: The government recently welcomed thousands of Syrian refugees, and let the public know the different ways they could help.
Does government need to gather feedback from the public about a problem?
Result: Ontarians have an opportunity to weigh-in and provide their input. Participants advocate for their views on a subject.
Example: The government recently developed an Open Data Directive to help release more government data, and consulted the public on the draft directive to make sure it met the needs of Ontarians. The government used the feedback from the public to help inform the final version of the directive.
Does government need help from the public to frame or solve a problem?
Result: Ontarians help identify the issue and/or develop a strategy that the government commits to deliver. Participants take part in varying degrees to find common ground and collectively arrive at an agreement.
Example: The government asked for the public’s input and ideas to help develop the 2016 Ontario Budget. The public deliberated together on issues and solutions.
Does government need help from the public to find and implement a solution?
Result: Ontarians work with government to define an issue, develop and deliver solutions. Participants share decision-making and implementation of solutions.
Example: The government recently worked with the public to review the Condominium Act, identify issues and develop long-term solutions. The solutions developed were used in a new law – the Protecting Condominium Owners Act. The law provides condo owners, condo tenants, condo boards, and others with the tools needed to govern their own condo.