(PORTLAND, OREGON – Sept. 11, 2015) A community-based effort to address mental health issues in an Ontario First Nation and the City of Victoria’s moves to involve its citizens in the city’s processes have received top honours from the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), Canada. The 2015 IAP2 Canada Core Values Awards were presented at the fourth annual IAP2 North American Conference Thursday night in Portland.
Beringia Community Planning and the Pikangikum Health Authority won Project of the Year and the Award for Indigenous Engagement; Victoria, BC, was named Organization of the Year.
IAP2 Core Values Awards celebrate work in the Public Participation (P2) field, which exemplify P2 principles. These include the belief that people affected by a process have a right to be consulted on the process and to know how their input influenced that process.
The Pikangikum First Nation, located approximately 300 km northeast of Winnipeg with a population of about 2400, began working with Beringia in December, 2013, to take control of its own health care situation. Through a variety of consultation methods, including community feasts, open houses, story-telling and story-listening, the First Nation developed its own Comprehensive Community Health Plan. This Plan translates the needs identified through the consultation process into tangible action.
“Issues such as community health need to be worked-through by community members, in concert with professionals in the field, rather than a top-down, one-size-fits-all solution,” says Bruce Gilbert, President of IAP2 Canada. “The Pikangikum project demonstrates brilliantly the principles of public participation at work.”
Victoria’s entry, dubbed “Foundations for Success,” is a 10-year journey to increase citizen engagement and involvement in civic decisions. P2 principles have become part of the City’s organizational culture and voter turnout jumped to 39 percent in the 2014 election, from 26 percent in the previous vote.
The Pikangikum and Victoria projects will now compete against winners from other Affiliates in the worldwide IAP2 Federation: the International Project and Organization of the Year awards will be announced at the IAP2 Australasian Conference in Perth, Australia, in October.
Other P2 projects in Canada also received national honours:
Extending the Practice through Creativity, Contribution and Innovation in the Field – to the City of Calgary, for “Action Plan 2015-2018”, using a variety of means to improve citizen input on civic issues.
P2 for the Greater Good – to the Hawkwood Community Association in Calgary and Forum Stakeholder Relations, for “Our Hawkwood”, a project to gather input to help make the community in Calgary a vibrant place to live, work and play.
Honourable mentions went to the City of Vancouver, for “Engaged City”, an effort to remedy a sense of loneliness and disconnection among citizens, which was identified in a 2012 study by the Vancouver Foundation; and to the City of Edmonton, for “What the B*ke!”, a “re-starting” of dialogue on the development of bicycle infrastructure.
Video presentations describing the award winners can be viewed online at www.iap2canada.ca/2015CoreValuesAwards.
Also honoured at the Portland Conference were the IAP2 USA Organization of the Year, St Vrain Valley (Colorado) Schools, for “Embracing Public Participation: A Whole-Systems Approach to Organizational Change”; Metro Oregon, and its partner cities, Portland and Gresham, was named Project of the Year, for the “Powell-Division Transit and Development Project”, and will also go on to compete for the Federation Project of the Year award. Read more about the winning entries here.
photos by Hugo Mimee