Ideas for Decision-Making in Toronto
Participate by Hosting a Community Meeting
Community Discussion Guide Overview
City Council created a Special Committee on Governance to consider the impacts of a smaller Council and recommend, as necessary, any further changes to the City’s interim governance structure and processes.
The City wants to hear your views on these changes and ideas for City Council’s city-wide and local decision-making.
The City launched a consultation to hear from residents during June and July. In addition to an online survey and public meetings, this Guide was created to support community-led discussions. Your input will help staff develop recommendations for the Special Committee on Governance.
This guide includes:
- Suggestions for hosting a discussion in your community, on this topic alone or as part of another meeting
- Instructions for how to submit feedback to the City
- A Participant Workbook with background information and questions to collect your feedback. Workbook is also available in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Tagalog, Korean and Simplified Chinese.
Meeting participants can submit their responses individually, or you can submit their responses as a group.
Please send all responses to the City by July 26, 2019.
Thank you for contributing to this important consultation.
Steps to a Successful Discussion
Choose a date in June or July 2019 for your discussion
This timing is important to make sure your ideas are into the City by July 26, 2019. Your input will be included in other public feedback and will help inform City staff recommendations to the Special Committee on Governance.
Invite people to participate
This guide includes sample invitations and social media posts to help spread the word.
Host your discussion
Your discussion can be any format you’d like. For example, you can:
- Have a conversation with family, friends and neighbours over a meal or other social occasion;
- Add it to an existing meeting of a local group or network; or
- Organize a separate meeting and invite members of your community or neighbourhood.
Submit participant feedback to the City by July 26, 2019
Use the questions in the Participant Workbook to collect ideas and comments from everyone. These are the same questions being asked at other public meetings and online to help staff compare responses across the city.
Every participant at your meeting should submit their answers to the questions either in the Participant Workbook or online using the Online Survey.
If someone represents an organization, they can also submit separate responses on its behalf.
Ideas for Hosting a Community Discussion
Use the Participant Workbook to make sure everyone has the same:
- Information about this consultation and about the City’s governance and decision-making processes.
- Questions to help staff draft recommendations for the Special Committee on Governance.
Email email@example.com or call 416-397-0306 in advance if you have any questions.
Consider providing the following to help the meeting go smoothly:
- A short agenda so everyone knows how much time will be used for information, discussion and answering questions.
- Wi-fi so participants to submit their feedback directly using the online survey workbook.
- Printed Participant Workbooks for all participants.
- Pencils and pens so participants can take notes and answer questions in the workbook.
Plan for at least 90 minutes if the entire meeting is on this topic.
Plan for at least 30 minutes if this discussion is part of another community meeting.
If your group is large, it can be helpful to break into smaller groups for part of the meeting and then gather back as a larger group to hear a summary of what was discussed. Many people will find it easier to participant in smaller groups. Each small group should ask for a volunteer to lead the discussion and another volunteer to write down comments and report back to the rest of the room.
It can be helpful to have some ground rules to keep the conversation flowing and make sure everyone has an opportunity to participate. Here are some suggestions to make sure everyone feels welcome and respected–consider posting these on a wall or going through them at the beginning of the meeting:
- Listen to and respect different perspectives.
- Ensure everyone who wants to gets a chance to speak.
- Be thoughtful about how you express yourself — use words that others will be comfortable with.
- Take turns speaking, take time to reflect on what you’ve heard.
- Questions and statements are both valuable contributions to a discussion.
Sample Discussion Agendas
Sample Agenda – 90 minute session
1. Welcome and Introduction: Meeting Leader, 10 minutes
- Take a few minutes to go over the agenda and to let people know what to expect from the meeting, including any ground rules. The agenda may include small group discussions and opportunities to hear from others.
- During the session participants will:
- Review decision-making structures and processes at City Council and in the community.
- Discuss what works and doesn’t work about these decision-making structures and processes.
- Individually complete a written or online Participant Workbook to provide ideas and suggestions for any changes the Special Committee on Governance should consider to improve decision-making.
- Encourage participants to provide their feedback before they leave the meeting, but they can also submit their responses to the City themselves online after the meeting. All responses need to be received by July 26, 2019.
- Ask participants to introduce themselves.
2. Review information: 30 minutes
Meeting leader (or other volunteer) reviews the background information in the Participant Workbook on the City’s decision-making structures and processes.
- Invite participants to ask questions. Remind them that all questions are welcome, as it is likely that others in the room have similar questions or can help provide answers. More information is online at www.toronto/TOgoverance
3. Group or Smaller Discussion: 30 minutes – Ideas and Suggestions on Council’s city-wide and local decision-making
Meeting leader reads through the questions in the back of the Participant Workbook.
- Invite people to share their thoughts and ideas among the entire group or break into smaller groups to discuss specific questions. This allows people to contribute to the topics that they most prefer to discuss.
- If in smaller groups, you should reconvene in last 10 to 15 minutes and have a volunteer report back on what was discussed in groups, and invite reaction from others
- Discussion is not intended to reach agreement or consensus on any topic. It is meant to be an opportunity for participants to ask questions and see how others feel about the issues as they develop their own answers to the questions in the Participant Workbook.
4. Questionnaire Response: 15 minutes
Individuals should respond to the questions in the Participant Workbook by either:
- Going online to www.Toronto.ca/TOgovernance and responding to the online questions.
- Writing their responses in the printed Participant Workbook and handing them to the meeting leader.
- Submitting responses at a later date, either online or in print, before July 26, 2019.
5. Wrap-up and Next Steps: 5 minutes
Meeting leader can provide their reflections on what they’ve heard, the ideas, and the discussion
- Remind participants that they can follow this consultation (reports, Committee meetings and other opportunities for comment) on www.toronto.ca/TOGovernance or by providing their emails on the Participant Workbook
- Thank participants for their time and input
Sample Agenda – 30 minute session
1. Introduce the Issue: 10 minutes
Meeting leader can provide the context for this discussion:
- In 2018, the Province of Ontario reduced the size of Toronto City Council from 44 to 25 Councillors, and the new City Council formed a Special Committee on Governance to review how decision-making structures and processes work under this new Council.
- This Special Committee is seeking public feedback, and has launched a consultation period until July 26, 2019 that allows the public to offer input in several ways:
- In person at public meetings hosted by the City between June 10-17
- Online with a public survey
- By hosting their own discussion with organizations, friends or neighbours
- All input submitted to the City will be collected by City staff in the City Manager’s Office. It will be summarized in reports for the Special Committee on Governance and all data (except any personal information) will be posted in raw form to the City’s Open Data website.
2. Review Information: 10 minutes
Meeting leader reviews the background information in the Participant Workbook that summarizes the City’s city-wide and local decision-making structures and processes
3. Review Questions and How to Submit Information: 10 minutes
Meeting leader reads through the questions in the back of the Participant Workbooks
- Advise participants to provide feedback online through Participant Workbooks available at www.toronto.ca/TOgovernance (in English and 7 other languages)
Submit Feedback from the Discussion
Every participant at your meeting should submit their answers to the questions in the Participant Workbook. If someone represents an organization, they can also submit separate responses on its behalf.
Participants can provide their answers in two ways:
- With our online Participant Workbook on www.toronto.ca/TOgovernance from their smartphone or computer.
- Write their answers in their Participant Workbook and hand to the meeting organizer.
Meeting leaders can submit written Participant Workbooks to the City in two ways:
- By Email: Send a scan or photo of written responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
- By mail: Send completed workbooks to the City at 100 Queen Street West, 10th Floor East Tower, Toronto ON M5H 2N2
Note: Email addresses are personal information. Meeting leaders that collect workbooks containing a participant’s email address should submit responses to the City, then cross out emails before recycling the workbooks.