Priority to Increase Public Involvement in Civic Affairs
Good engagement requires clear roles, objectives and measures so that the public can see their ideas and perspectives considered during decision-making by City Council and the City, their input reflected in the outcomes and their contributions recognized. The challenges are compounded by confusion about which level of government delivers which public services, leading the public to be unsure of their role and opportunities for decision-making. Transparency, clear information and quality public education and consistency across City divisions and programs will go a long way to not only creating a public engaged with their municipal government, but also an engaged public within Toronto’s communities and neighbourhoods.
The Governing Toronto Advisory Panel recommended that attention needed to be paid to enhancing civic engagement and increasing the role of the public in local decision making. In particular the Panel suggested that the City is lacking a shared, common civic engagement strategy and that one should be developed in consultation with the public. The Panel’s research also suggests that the effects of amalgamation still influence public participation, with an ongoing sense of loss or disconnect with a single seat of government located in the downtown.