Message from the Board – Fall 2021

Terry Koch, IAP2 Canada Secretary

Oh gee, can we get together again
I wanna know, when can we get together
Some day, some way….

I’m praying the day will call when we get together again….

— Natalie Cole “Can We Get Together Again”

To-gether again!

The gray skies are gone….

— Buck Owens “Together Again”

Okay, I know these two songs are not topping the charts right now, but I find myself humming these goldie-oldie tunes as I watch news updates with a growing excitement about reopening plans across the country.  What seemed nearly impossible at this time last year is seeming like a possibility. We hear optimism from our members and trainers that they are beginning to safely gather again. They are cautiously planning hybrid events that combine face to face meetings, while continuing to host virtual meetings and on-line forums.

As practitioners, in our communities, provinces, and across the nation the context of our work has shifted significantly over the past year. Canadians are in a reflective mood as they consider the historic and ongoing impacts for Indigenous Peoples following the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation while learning about the strength and resilience of Indigenous Peoples and communities. 

Canadians are also increasingly concerned about climate change. The COP26 Global Climate Change conference in early November will likely raise the issue of climate change and differing perspectives about potential solutions. Once again public engagement practitioners will be on the front lines ensuring all voices are heard and supporting Canadians to be meaningfully engaged in decisions that affect them.  

IAP2 Canada has built a strong foundation over the past 10 years. As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we are grateful for the contributions of former and current staff, members and volunteers that have contributed to the growth and relevance of the organization. 

We are part of a global association, with IAP2 International being formed in 1990 in response to the rising global interest in public participation. Together practitioners around the world agreed to promote the values and best practices associated with involving the public in government and industry decisions. One of the first concrete suggestions was to have IAP2 (formerly IAP3 – the third P standing for Practitioners) members gather at a mountain retreat and share their stories – and war wounds. How fitting then that over the past 30 years we have had at least three mountain town-based conferences. And next Fall we are moving back into the mountains as the 2022 IAP2 North American Conference is in Banff, Alberta from September 14 – 16. The conference theme, Connecting with Purpose is relevant to the challenges we face today as we focus our impact and align our actions. 

Oh, to be together again!   ♫♪♫♪♫


Terry Koch is the Secretary on the IAP2 Canada Board. He has been an IAP2 member since 1993 and served on many Boards and committees including President of the Wild Rose (Alberta) Chapter, the IAP2 International Board (Treasurer) and several conference planning committees including as the Fun Committee Chair of the recent 2020 North American Conference.

Terry and his wife Adele reside in Nanaimo BC where Terry continues to practice in Alberta and BC as Terrydele Consulting Services, a sole proprietorship.  He also enjoys volunteering with local community groups as a facilitator and mentor to others, but only after their 80 lb. Bernadoodle Sam has had his daily exercise.

P2 Research and Practice Has Gone Digital!

The Research Committee’s 2020 State of Practice Survey results will be presented in bite-sized information and graphics over the next few months. This is the second info bite. (Lisez la version française ici.)

This summer we shared some key findings from IAP2’s semi-annual State of the Practice survey noting that P2 practice in Canada appears to be ‘pandemic proof’. Respondents identified virtual and digital engagement tools as key to pandemic-resilience.

When asked about the impact of COVID-19 on their P2 practice, not surprisingly, almost all respondents reported an increase in virtual engagement and a decrease in in-person engagement. Based on responses, it appears the virtual environment prevented some groups from participating as much as before the pandemic, while other groups found participation more feasible (e.g. young parents).

Less than 12% of respondents indicated they did not use web-based or mobile tools in their engagement practice. Online surveys, questionnaires or polls are most commonly used, however the predominance of these in proportion to other digital tools has dropped since the last survey. Social media tools such as Facebook and Instagram, and to a lesser extent, Blogs and Twitter, have risen in importance as a ‘go to’ for P2 practitioners. The survey results demonstrate that P2 practitioners have seized the challenge of pivoting to online tools and learning new skills and platforms.

However, the complexity of the virtual and digital realm is adding challenge to P2 practice. Respondents identified concern about barriers to virtual engagement for people who lacked access to the online environment or lacked skill or comfort with online tools. Greater effort by practitioners seems necessary to ensure underrepresented groups are included in engagement activities. Losing in-person engagement during the peaks of the pandemic had a noted negative impact, particularly for hard-to-reach groups such as the Indigenous community and rural farmers. Some practitioners identified that meaningful conversations were harder to have online and harder to facilitate. Some also identified that participants overall do not prefer these tools and/or have difficulty using them.

Of particular concern, survey respondents identified a lack of engagement tools and technologies as a significant barrier; in fact this gap had the highest weighted average among noted barriers, surpassing language, policies and meaningful metrics (i.e. those that make the case for future engagement effort). Technical information was also identified as harder to present electronically.

IAP2 Canada is here to help you reduce barriers to practice in the virtual and digital space. Of particular note, the following learning opportunities are available:

To continue your innovation journey in the virtual and digital space, visit https://www.iap2canada.ca/IAP2-Training-Courses to register for the many opportunities available for strengthening your digital engagement skills.

Webinaire – octobre 2020.

Au delà de l’inclusion : L’équité dans la mobilisation publique

L’inclusion fait partie intégrante d’une mobilisation publique éthique et efficace. Être à l’écoute des personnes aux expériences vécues diverses conduit à des idées plus innovantes, à de meilleures décisions et des démocraties plus résilientes. Cependant, de nombreux groupes de personnes restent sous-représentés dans les processus de mobilisation en raison d’obstacles systémiques et d’inégalités persistantes.

Le Centre pour le dialogue Morris J. Wosk de l’Université Simon Fraser a développé le guide Au-delà de l’Inclusion: l’équité dans la mobilisation publique par le biais d’un processus de recherche participatif et de consultation. Bien qu’ils aient commencé par un cadre d’inclusion, les participants ont souligné l’importance de l’équité pour établir des relations réciproques et partager le pouvoir avec les collectivités afin de co-créer des processus de mobilisation accessibles et significatifs. Le Guide propose huit principes pour soutenir l’inclusion significative et équitable de diverses voix dans les processus de mobilisation du public dans tous les secteurs. 

Si vous êtes membre, visionnez nos webinaires et nos séances découvertes dans la section de notre site Web réservée aux membres (note : il faut que vous vous connectiez/« login » pour les visionner). Vous n’êtes pas encore membre? Apprenez plus sur nos avantages (membres) ici.

Mot de la présidente

Catherine Rockandel, présidente de l’AIP2 Canada

Il ne s’agit pas tant de changements à effectuer, mais bien de transitions. Ce sont deux choses bien différentes. Le changement est situationnel : le départ à la retraite d’un fondateur, la réorganisation des rôles au sein d’une équipe. La transition quant à elle est d’ordre psychologique; c’est un processus en trois phases (la fin d’une étape, la période transitoire et le renouveau) que les gens traversent au fur et à mesure qu’ils assimilent et intègrent les détails d’une nouvelle situation amenée par le changement.

— William Bridges, Transitions de vie. Comment s’adapter aux tournants de notre existence

J’ai pensé à cette citation tirée du livre de William Bridges, et à sa pertinence dans le contexte actuel. De nombreuses transitions ont cours au Canada et sont motivées par des changements reliés aux impacts de la pandémie, aux changements climatiques et à la multiplication des incendies et des inondations dans nos communautés, à une prise de conscience et à une compréhension accrues des impacts des pensionnats autochtones et autres politiques d’assimilation du gouvernement et à quel point le racisme systémique est ancré dans les systèmes sociaux, les structures et les institutions canadiennes.

En me penchant sur les dix dernières années chez AIP2 Canada, je constate les nombreux accomplissements, la croissance et beaucoup de changements. Il y a eu chez AIP2 international un processus d’harmonisation mondial qui a donné naissance à plusieurs nouvelles formations. Chez AIP2 Canada, nous avons des départs à la retraite ou vers de nouveaux projets. Nous sommes reconnaissants des innombrables contributions de nos membres, de nos bénévoles et de notre personnel qui ont contribué au succès de notre organisation.

À l’aube de la prochaine décennie, il faut saisir l’opportunité de réfléchir aux moyens nécessaires à  l’organisation pour continuer de grandir et à envisager de nouvelles façons de penser qui nous rendraient encore plus forts. Lors de cette transition, durant laquelle la nouvelle structure n’est pas encore pleinement opérationnelle, il se peut que nous commettions quelques erreurs de parcours. L’équipe de direction de l’AIP2 Canada continue néanmoins de renforcer l’organisation et de consolider l’offre distinctive de l’AIP2 Canada à travers le perfectionnement professionnel, le réseautage, la progression de la pratique et la promotion d’une participation publique efficace.

Ces derniers mois, l’équipe de l’AIP2 Canada a travaillé de concert avec un consultant en gestion organisationnelle à la réalisation d’une étude complète tant du leadership, des employés que du type de  gouvernance et de sa structure. Nous œuvrons dès lors à appliquer certaines des recommandations de l’étude, notamment en travaillant avec une agence de recrutement à l’embauche d’un directeur général pour remplacer Amelia Shaw qui prend sa retraite en décembre prochain.

Une équipe à la transition du leadership, formée à même le comité exécutif, a supervisé toutes les étapes, incluant l’identification des tâches essentielles à la création de descriptions d’emploi, le processus d’embauche de personnel d’appoint et à l’identification d’autres membres du personnel requis pour soutenir l’organisation. Au cours des prochains mois, l’équipe œuvrera aussi tant à la révision des budgets et des modèles financiers qu’à l’évaluation des risques en appui aux décisions des membres du conseil d’administration.

Nous nous engageons à communiquer avec nos membres tout au long de cette transition et sommes enthousiastes face aux possibilités nouvelles et à l’énergie de notre équipe. Si vous avez des questions à propos de la transition, des programmes ou du processus, écrivez-nous à info@iap2Canada.ca.

Webinar Rewind: June 2021

NAC Encore – “Adapting the IAP2 Spectrum for an Indigenous Context”

The principle of “meeting people where they are” applies not just to their physical location or allowing for diverse abilities, but also to a group’s history, culture, knowledge, protocols, language, values, and interests. That’s especially the case when Indigenous communities are included in a P2 process, and our June webinar considered ways of marrying the approach of the IAP2 Spectrum with Indigenous culture and tradition.

Creating a new engagement tool began as a presentation by Jeff Cook and Paula Hay of Beringia Community Planning at the 2018 IAP2 North American Conference in Victoria, BC. They solicited feedback then, and presented another version of the tool at the 2020 Virtual Conference. The June webinar continued that work, giving participants the opportunity to contribute to the tool’s further development.

This tool is founded on Indigenous ways of knowing and engaging, and rather than the linear design of the IAP2 Spectrum, it works in circles, indicating there is really no beginning or end to engagement and empowerment. You’ll note that it also assumes that empowerment is important at all levels, outlines the role of the practitioner in supporting an iterative process of self-determination and puts the responsibility onto the practitioner to facilitate a process that builds on existing community agency.

IAP2 members can view the webinar and obtain the guidebook and other materials here. Please note that much of the session took place in breakout rooms, which are not recorded. However, the ideas that were generated in the breakout rooms were shared in the full recording after participants returned.

President’s Message – Summer 2021

Catherine Rockandel, IAP2 Canada President

It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. They aren’t the same thing. Change is situational, the retirement of the founder, the reorganization of roles on the team. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological; it is a three-phase process (an ending, an in-between time, and a new beginning) that people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the details of a new situation that the change brings about.

— from Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, by William Bridges (2017)

I have been thinking about this excerpt from William Bridges, Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change and how relevant it is to the current context. There are multiple transitions going on in Canada that are being driven by change from the impacts of the pandemic; to the impacts of climate change with increased fires and flooding in our communities; to the growing awareness and understanding of the ongoing impacts of residential schools and other government policies of assimilation; and how systemic racism is embedded in Canadian social systems, structures, and institutions.

As I reflect on IAP2 Canada’s last ten years, there have been lots of accomplishments, growth, and change. At IAP2 International there is the global harmonization process that is resulting in many new courses. At IAP2 Canada, we have retirements and staff moving on to other endeavors. We are appreciative of the many contributions that our members, volunteers, and staff have made to the success of the organization.

As we begin the next ten years, it is an opportunity to consider how the organization can continue to grow: are there new ways of doing things that will make us even stronger? In this transition, where the new isn’t fully operational, there can be some bumps on the journey. We might not always get it right. However, the IAP2 Canada leadership is focussed on continuing to strengthen the organization, and deepen the unique value proposition that IAP2 Canada delivers through professional development, networking, advancing the practice, and advocating for effective P2.

Over the past few months, IAP2 Canada has worked with an organizational management consultant to complete a review of IAP2 Canada’s leadership, staff and governance model and structure. We are now implementing some of the recommendations. These include working with a recruitment agency to hire an Executive Director to replace our Executive Manager, Amelia Shaw, as she retires in December of this year. 

A transition leadership team from the Executive Committee has been managing the process, including identifying key tasks from creating job descriptions, processes for retaining contract support staff and identifying other staff positions that are required to support the organization. This work also involves reviewing budgets, financial models and risk assessments to support Board decision making over the coming months.  

We are committed to communicating with our members through this transition and are excited by the new possibilities and energy that is emerging. If you have questions or concerns about the transition, programs, or processes, please reach out to us at info@iap2Canada.ca

Webinar Rewind: May 2021

May 2021: NAC Encore – “Participatory Budgeting to Promote Resiliency in a Community after Ferguson”

Racially-charged civil unrest can tear a community apart, and that was starkly evident after an unarmed Black teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. Protests started that night and turned violent quickly; police came in with military gear to try to restore order; then-President Barack Obama made a nationwide speech, calling for calm.

Our May webinar was an “encore presentation” of a session given at the 2020 IAP2 North American Virtual Conference, and by the time the abstract was submitted to the Conference organizers, more racial unrest had taken hold, following the killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minneapolis. How do communities recover from such trauma?

Among the actions that followed the unrest in Ferguson, the Governor of Missouri appointed a commission to look into the economic and social factors affecting the area, and out of that grew St Louis ReCAST — Resiliency in Communities After Social Trauma — an initiative funded with a five-year, $4.7-million grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA).

The Ferguson Commission report provided an unflinching review of racial inequities in the region and identified core areas of focus, along with recommended calls of action (e.g., policies, investments, and strategies). This report and several other community-based, participatory studies were reviewed to help advise and shape St. Louis ReCAST.

In the webinar, Paula Southerland and Eboni Hooper of St Louis ReCAST discuss how participatory budgeting — giving community members control over how a certain amount of money is to be spent — provides that needed resiliency. The ReCAST campaign asked people living in the “St Louis Promise Zone” — 11 wards of the city of St Louis and 28 municipalities in St Louis County — how they would spend $650,000.00. The spending was to go into five specific areas: mental health, peer support, violence prevention, trauma-informed care, and youth engagement.

People involved with ReCAST say there needs to be a systemic change that is both sustained and sustainable, and that positive shifts people are seeing already are due to that citizen participation. At least one youth member says he now feels like his voice matters.

Participatory budgeting (PB) can be applied not just in cases where civil unrest has taken a toll on the community, but also as communities recover from the pandemic. How can that happen? IAP2 members can find out by watching the webinar here.

Webinar Rewind: July 2021

July 2021: NAC Encore – “Creating a Better Future for Everyone, Using Transgenerational Thinking Techniques” 

The July webinar introduced — for many participants — a different way of approaching P2 processes. Sheila Shockey, Erin Esposit and Tyler Waldorf of Shockey Consulting Services reprised their session from the 2020 North American Virtual Conference, demonstrating ways of expanding one’s thinking when approaching a project. The project itself might seem smaller-scale and localized, but adopting a global view can bring a more sustainable outcome.

Recognizing that different generations have widely differing viewpoints is one way to achieve this view. Each of the three presenters identifies with a different generation, each with its particular challenges and values. Storytelling is one way to explore those positions. Trend identification is another way: this involves “educated speculation” on where things are likely to be headed, based on the past. In the presentation, Sheila points out that futurists — people whose stock-in-trade is trend identification — predicted the events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

There are psychological barriers that need to be overcome in order to think like a futurist, not least being the “permanent present”, the tendency to base our thinking about what’s coming on what’s current — a function of our desire for certainty in our world. Transgenerational thinking, on the other hand, is a way to expand our thinking to consider the ways other generations — “older” and “younger” — process events and situations. 

Another tool discussed in the webinar is “Telos” — coming from the Greek word meaning “ultimate aim”. As Sheila puts it, “We need an aim, a vision to pivot from the past and the present, to think proactively about the future.”

IAP2 members can view the webinar video and download the material provided by Shockey Consulting here. There is a lengthy section where attendees went into breakout rooms to do an exercise involving housing issues for three different types of communities — rural, suburban and urban. This portion was not recorded, but the discussion period afterwards, in which the participants shared what was discussed, was recorded.

La recherche et la pratique dans le domaine de la P2 ont résisté à la pandémie

Les résultats du sondage sur l’état de la profession réalisé en 2020 par le comité de recherche seront présentés sous forme d’informations et de graphiques fragmentés au cours des prochains mois. Voici un premier fragment. (Read the English version here.)

À l’heure où les leaders mondiaux commencent à évoquer une transition vers la normalité, nous nous penchons sur les répercussions qu’a eues la COVID-19 sur la pratique de la P2 au Canada. L’automne dernier, au moment où nous étions confrontés aux confinements, vagues, « pivots » et autres enjeux liés à la COVID-19, l’AIP2 Canada a consulté les praticiens de la P2 dans le cadre du sondage biennal sur l’état de la pratique. Nous vous avons demandé quels étaient les impacts de la pandémie de COVID-19 sur votre travail, et vos réponses ont été empreintes d’optimisme et de courage. Ce que vous nous avez dit n’est pas surprenant : la recherche et la pratique dans le domaine de la P2 ont fait preuve de résilience pendant la pandémie!

Soulignons tout d’abord que la majorité des répondants au sondage se sont dits optimistes quant à l’avenir de la P2, malgré le contexte de pandémie actuel. Les praticiens estiment que la COVID-19 a eu des répercussions importantes et durables sur leur travail de P2, notamment en les incitant à utiliser davantage d’outils de participation virtuels et numériques. Ils s’entendent pour dire que ce changement sera durable.

En revanche, un répondant sur dix a affirmé que la COVID-19 a eu des répercussions financières sur son travail de P2, et un cinquième des répondants estiment que la pandémie a engendré un déclin de la qualité du travail de P2. 

L’AIP2 Canada continue d’examiner les tendances qui influent sur la pratique de la P2 partout au pays et a commandité un rapport de recherche rédigé par Stephanie Yates et Hugo Mimee sur la COVID-19 et ses répercussions sur le domaine et la pratique de la participation publique. Ce rapport, qui permettra de mieux comprendre l’utilisation d’approches participatives à distance dans notre nouvel environnement de pratique virtuel et numérique. Ce rapport sera publié en septembre. 

L’AIP2 Canada continue d’adapter de façon active les possibilités d’apprentissage et de réseautage afin de permettre aux membres de rendre leur travail de P2 « résistant à la pandémie », ce qui comprend notamment la transformation numérique et le renforcement des capacités en matière de diversité, d’équité et d’inclusion. 

Si vous souhaitez poursuivre votre parcours d’apprentissage afin que votre pratique « résiste à la pandémie », visitez le https://www.iap2canada.ca/IAP2-Training-Courses pour vous inscrire aux nombreux cours proposés.


À l’épreuve de la pandémie

64 % des répondants se sont dits optimistes quant à l’avenir de la P2.

78 % des répondants utilisent davantage d’outils numériques et virtuels qu’avant la pandémie, et s’attendent à continuer de le faire lorsque la pandémie sera terminée.

75 % des répondants sont d’accord ou tout à fait d’accord pour affirmer que la pandémie actuelle de COVID-19 a eu des répercussions importantes et durables sur leur travail de P2.

Points à surveiller

10 % des répondants sont d’accord ou tout à fait d’accord pour dire que la pandémie actuelle de COVID-19 a eu une incidence négative sur leurs revenus en tant que praticiens de la P2.

13 % des répondants estiment que la pandémie actuelle de COVID-19 engendrera un déclin de la qualité du travail réalisé dans le domaine de la P2. 

P2 Research and Practice Emerge Pandemic-Proof

The Research Committee’s 2020 State of Practice Survey results will be presented in bite-sized information and graphics over the next few months. This is the first info bite. (Lisez la version française ici.)

As world leaders begin to talk about a future transition to normalcy, we reflect on the impact COVID-19 has had on P2 practice in Canada. Last fall, while still in the thick of lockdowns, waves, ‘pivots’, and other things pandemic, IAP2 Canada reached out to P2 practitioners with the bi-annual State of the Practice survey.  We asked you how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacted your work – and you spoke up with courageous optimism.  What you said is not surprising: P2 research and practice has been pandemic-resilient!

First and foremost, the majority of survey respondents are optimistic about the future of P2 despite the ongoing pandemic. Practitioners believe that COVID-19 has had a significant and lasting impact on their P2 work, including driving them towards using more virtual and digital engagement tools. They agree that this shift is here to stay.   

On the flip-side, one in ten survey respondents agree that COVID-19 has financially impacted their P2 work and one-fifth believe that there has been a decline in the quality of P2 work as a result of the pandemic 

IAP2 Canada continues to examine the trends affecting P2 practice across the nation. IAP2 sponsored research by authors Stephanie Yates and Hugo Mimee into COVID-19 and Its Impact on the Field and Practice of Public Participation. This paper builds understanding of remote participatory approaches in our new virtual and digital practice. Watch for the release in September. 

IAP2 Canada also continues to actively tailor learning and networking opportunities to support members in ‘pandemic-proofing’ their P2 work, including digital transformation and building capacity for diversity, equity and inclusion. 

To continue your own learning journey to ‘pandemic-proof’ your practice, visit https://www.iap2canada.ca/IAP2-Training-Courses to register for the many opportunities available.


Pandemic-Proof

64% of respondents are optimistic about the future or P2.

78% of respondents are using and expect to continue to use more digital or virtual tools than before the pandemic.

75% of the respondents agree or strongly agree that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant and lasting impact on their P2 work

Areas to Monitor

10% of respondents agree or strongly agree that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their financial income as a P2 practitioner.

13% of respondents believe that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will lead to a decline in the quality of P2 work undertaken.