The Toronto Planning Review Panel was created so that a representative group of Torontonians could help the City Planning Division guide growth and change in Toronto.

The Panel is made up of 28 members randomly selected via Civic Lottery. They have been asked to work together over the course of two years to provide City Planning with informed public input on major planning initiatives. Members are tasked, in particular, with helping to ensure these initiatives are well-aligned with the values and priorities of all Torontonians.

The members of the Toronto Planning Review Panel were selected through a process called a Civic Lottery. A total of 12,000 invitations were sent to randomly selected households across Toronto in early September 2015. Invitations were distributed across the city in rough proportion to the population living in the different areas of Toronto, and were transferable to anyone aged 18 or over living in the household.

Those who received a letter were asked to donate their time as a form of public service. Volunteers were not offered payment to participate, but any cost incurred (such as childcare, eldercare, food and travel) would be covered. Employees of the City of Toronto, contractors currently working for the City Planning Division, members of another official City of Toronto Advisory Body, elected municipal, provincial, or federal officials, and declared candidates seeking public office were ineligible to participate in the Panel.

From the 503 people who volunteered to participate in the Panel, 28 names were randomly selected in a blind draw that balanced six criteria. The selection guaranteed gender parity, matched the age profile of Toronto, ensured equal representation from each of the four Community Council Districts (with two young people from each), balanced for visible minority status, included a proportionate number of renters and owners, and ensured the inclusion of at least one Aboriginal member. Proportions were established based on the most recent available census profile.

The Panel was created to complement, not replace, other methods of public consultation. City Planning undertakes thousands of hours of public engagement every year, hosting hundreds of community consultations in every corner of Toronto. In public meetings, online forums, and open houses, thousands of residents take time to share their experiences, perspectives, priorities, and concerns about their neighbourhoods and their city, helping us to guide growth and change in ways that serve local residents and Toronto as a whole.

Yet we realize that our traditional consultation methods don't always allow us to hear from Toronto's many diverse communities equally. We also know that consulting the public on major city planning initiatives can prove especially challenging, especially when they seek to address several complicated, intertwined city-building challenges. For those unfamiliar with city planning, it can be difficult to find a satisfying way to contribute to the conversation.

The Planning Review Panel has been specially designed to bring a balance of new voices into the planning process, to offer members access to city planners, independent experts, and stakeholders over the course of sixteen day-long meetings, and to support members as they work together to produce informed, representative public input on major city planning initiatives shaping Toronto.

For more details, please visit the City of Toronto website.