Toronto’s Participatory Budgeting Pilot 2015-2017

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a specific type of engagement process where city residents propose and vote on community investment projects, funded through a pre-determined portion of the municipal budget.

Toronto piloted Participatory Budgeting (PB) in three areas of Toronto: the former Ward 33, and the two neighbourhoods of Oakridge (former Ward 35) and Rustic (former Ward 12).

The PB pilot invited residents to propose and vote on capital projects to improve their neighbourhoods. Anyone from the community could propose and discuss ideas, and anyone 14 years or older who lived in Rustic, Oakridge or the former Ward 33 could vote for up to three projects on the ballot. City Council pre-approved up to $150,000 for each pilot area in 2015, and $250,000 each year for each area in 2016 and 2017.

Final Voting Results and Projects List – Over this three-year pilot project, almost 1,700 residents cast votes and selected 37 projects worth $1,870,000 in total.

Final Evaluation Report (January 2019) – City Manager’s report summarizes the results of the PB Pilot and makes recommendations to support participatory budgeting as a method of civic engagement.

Participant Feedback and Project Ideas – Data from participant surveys and a list of community improvement ideas suggested by residents during the PB pilot are available in our Open Data Catalogue.

Background Reports

Toronto’s Participatory Budgeting in Action

The City collected ideas in different ways, including online. Local meetings brought neighbours together to hear and discuss ideas with each other and City staff.
The City collected ideas in different ways, including online. Local meetings brought neighbours together to hear and discuss ideas with each other and City staff.
City staff reviewed all ideas for eligibility, then invited residents back to “shortlist meetings” to discuss and choose which ideas made their local ballot for voting.
City staff reviewed all ideas for eligibility, then invited residents back to “shortlist meetings” to discuss and choose which ideas made their local ballot for voting.
Residents were invited to champion their favourite ideas to appear on the local ballot for voting.
Residents were invited to champion their favourite ideas to appear on the local ballot for voting.
Voting locations in community centres, libraries and other busy places attracted participation.
Voting locations in community centres, libraries and other busy places attracted participation.
Site meetings helped residents and City plan out exactly how the winning projects could be designed.
Site meetings helped residents and City plan out exactly how the winning projects could be designed.
Local impact! Residents gather to celebrate the opening of a winning PB project – a new outdoor fitness park.
Local impact! Residents gather to celebrate the opening of a winning PB project – a new outdoor fitness park.