IAP2 Training Harmonisation Project – IAP2 International

Training Harmonisation Project: Our training past meets our training future

As you may have seen from Kylie Cochrane’s recent notices, we have kicked off the project to “harmonise” IAP2’s international training offering. Over the next six months, a global curriculum will be developed as THE international standard in public participation professional development. This will include entry level training and a pathway to more advanced learning opportunities for our more experienced professionals.

The consultant team – comprising practitioners, trainers, project officers and academics from Australia and Canada – will identify the best-of-the-best in our current offerings to create a single, internationally applicable, entry level program. There are many other deliverables for the project as well, which you can see in the table below as well as on the dedicated project webpage Let’sTalkIap2.

This is an historic moment for IAP2

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Bonne année chers amis et collègues!

Sarah Rivest

J’espère que vous avez passé d’excellentes fêtes de fin d’année. Dans notre famille, cette période a été marquée par l’introduction de nouveaux aliments dans l’alimentation de notre fille, en plus d’un premier épisode de maladie – ce qui n’est jamais une expérience agréable pour de nouveaux parents (ou pour tout autre parent). Heureusement, Claire prend du mieux et se rétablit, mais nous avons eu droit à quelques nuits blanches et je dois donc apprendre à ajuster mes attentes envers moi-même. Je crois sincèrement qu’il s’agit de l’aspect le plus difficile de toute nouvelle expérience : se donner la permission de ne pas être parfait, et simplement essayer de faire de son mieux. Nous sommes parfois nos propres champions et nos pires ennemis. Je souhaite donc, pour cette nouvelle année 2020, que vous puissiez faire des erreurs et apprendre de celles-ci afin de ne pas les répéter. En ce qui me concerne, je vais essayer de ne plus mettre mon cellulaire dans le frigo!

Je suis très fière du travail réalisé dans le cadre de la transition entourant la formation au sein de l’AIP2. Jusqu’au 31 décembre 2019, de nombreuses tâches étaient effectuées au niveau de la fédération et au niveau international. Un nouveau cadre est en cours d’élaboration et permettra à l’AIP2 Canada de travailler directement avec des formateurs et des partenaires de prestation sur une nouvelle voie à suivre.

Par ailleurs, le Conseil d’administration de l’IAP2 International travaille à la réalisation d’une évaluation de la diversité de l’organisation, celle-ci s’inscrivant dans notre processus de changement.

C’est dans ce contexte que l’AIP2 souhaite s’assurer d’être une organisation de renommée internationale, à la fois représentative, inclusive et d’une grande pertinence. L’AIP2 estime qu’afin de réaliser sa mission en tant qu’organisation professionnelle dédiée à la promotion et à l’avancement de la pratique de la participation publique et de continuer à être un acteur influent pour les années à venir, elle doit compter sur la représentation éclairée et active de différentes perspectives, idées et influences.

L’objectif général de cette évaluation est de guider la mise en place de changements organisationnels destinés à accroître et à soutenir la diversité au sein de l’AIP2.

Bien que le travail soit réalisé au niveau international, nous nous attendons à ce qu’une grande partie des enseignements tirés soient utiles pour l’AIP2 Canada. Le processus d’évaluation de la diversité débutera prochainement et devrait se conclure au printemps.


Sarah Rivest

Présidente, AIP2 Canada

President's Message – January-February 2020

Happy New Year et Bonne année, mes collègues!

Sarah Rivest, IAP2 President / Présidente, AIP2 (version française en bas)

I hope you enjoyed the holiday season. In our house we started trying new foods and had our first fever and illness, no fun for any first-time (or any) parent. Happy to say Claire is on the mend but our days slipped into nights and slipped back to days a few times, so I’m learning to adjust my expectations on myself. I really feel this is the most difficult part of any new experience, the permission not to be perfect and just to try. We are our own champions and worst enemies at times, so for 2020 I hope you are able to make mistakes and learn from them and not make them too often again. I’m going to start by trying to not put my cell phone in the fridge again!

I am very proud of all of the work going on for the transition for IAP2 training. Up until December 31, 2019 many tasks were performed by the federation/international level. Today, a new framework is underway that has IAP2 Canada working directly with trainers/delivery partners on a new path forward. 

As well, the International Board of IAP2 is currently working on a diversity audit of the organization as part of the change process. 

In this context IAP2 is seeking to ensure that it is a world-class representative, inclusive and widely relevant organization. IAP2 believes that in order to achieve its mission as a professional organization dedicated to advancing and extending the practice of public participation, and to remaining influential in the future, it needs the informed and active representation of diverse perspectives, ideas and influences.

The broad objective of the audit is to inform organizational change measures that will enhance and sustain diversity in IAP2.

The work being done is at an international level, however we expect many of the learnings to help IAP2 Canada. The audit will be underway soon and is expected to be completed in the spring.


Sarah Rivest

President, IAP2 Canada

Webinar Rewind – January 2020

Our January webinar was truly a “tale of two cities” — cities that made a commitment to up their game when it came to public engagement. Kingston, Ontario, was named IAP2 Canada Organization of the Year, while Boulder, Colorado, took the honours in both the USA and the International Core Values Awards. 

Kingston was already delivering public engagement, and “Foster Open Government” was part of the City’s 2015-2018 Strategic Plan. But the system was seen as inconsistent from one department or project to the next. So the City developed a Public Engagement Framework, to eliminate any doubt about process and responsibilities. The Framework — which served as the policy document — helped ensure transparency. 

The Framework recognized that there were three ways that ideas and policies could be brought forward: they could be resident-driven, council- or councillor-driven, or City-employee-driven. They then used a variety of tools and techniques, including open houses, face-to-face meetings, workshops and focus groups to develop the framework. The City also heard from residents that an implementation plan was also needed, in order to take the “concept” of the framework and turn it into action. 

The resulting document defined roles and responsibilities

and laid out a five-step process, from defining the project, through the P2 phases, right to evaluation.

As part of the implementation plan, the City of Kingston has now trained over 100 employees in the IAP2 Foundations course, Council and senior leaders participated in the IAP2 “P2 for Decision Makers” session. To assist residents in raising awareness for P2, the City worked with residents to determine what communication was needed. The Communications department expanded to include public engagement and increased the staff in the department.  

Kingston also put an online tool to work: Get Involved Kingston provides an opportunity for residents to give input on current projects, policies and initiatives and to review an archive of previous projects.

The City of Boulder, Colorado, had considered itself an example of good public participation, but an incident a few years ago showed that more work was needed. A traffic lane was closed off to create a bicycle lane, and Sarah Huntley, the City’s Engagement Manager, says it did not go well. The angry response showed that they did not consult with all the groups that should have been involved, so in 2016 the City decided to engage with the public on engaging with the public. 

A Public Participation Working Group to assess the City’s practices and come up with recommendations. The group consisted of 14 residents, one council member and two staffers, and its report came out just over a year later.

The changes recommended were not simply “change at the top” demands. The key recommendation was that the culture of P2 had to change, so that the City recognized that Public Participation leads to better decision-making and the city had to “lean in” to the notion of giving up some control.

But the change in culture, the working group decided, also had to happen at the community level: that community members had to be more realistic about the complexities of decision-making and how much community input could be expected to influence those decisions.

Another recommendation was that there had to be more clarity and consistency about the process. This “process wheel” was enlarged and laminated and sent to all the P2 projects, along with dry-erase markers, so staff could indicate where the project was on the wheel.

One critical recommendation was that P2 had to have resources to back it up. Someone had to steward the process across the organization. Council responded by changing its budget to make sure there was a centralized P2 division and liaisons were named in each department.

IAP2 members can watch this webinar and learn more from the “best of the best” in P2 here.

Webinar Rewind / Revue du wébinaire – December/Décembre 2019

“Respecting Indigenous ways of being and knowing” (version française en bas)

2019 closed out with a webinar, presented in cooperation with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. The subject was one increasingly important to P2 practitioners: relations with Indigenous peoples and how to be inclusive in our public engagement processes. Nadine St-Louis, Executive Director of Sacred Fire Productions explained that a key to understanding Indigenous ways of being and knowing is to understand the relationship Indigenous people have with the land and how the process of colonization in North America removed that connection, leading to generations of hurt and degradation.

Understanding the present, Nadine contends, is to understand the past, and the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission TRC”, which used the term “cultural genocide” to describe the impact of Canadian government policies and practices, was a big step in creating that understanding. 

The “Truth” part, she says, is acknowledging harms done and healing the relationship between peoples within Canada.  The legacy of residential schools has weighed heavily on the lives and wellbeing of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis individuals and communities for generations. If we are to achieve true reconciliation, have sustainable social impact and decolonize mentalities and structures, collaboration between Indigenous organizations, civil society and public policy makers is most necessary. “Reconciliation” is having Indigenous voices part of this process.   

Nadine states that facing the complexity of contemporary issues related to living together and pluralism, it is often difficult to implement the various recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission however, it is imperative to work together and break down barriers to support Indigenous voices and look at ways to implement action for Indigenous representation and inclusion.

Therefore, including Indigenous people in a P2 process, it’s important to understand the differences in worldviews between Indigenous and European-descended societies. The latter tend to be hierarchical in their approach, with top-down decision-making and theory-based learning systems. Indigenous societies, she says, are “circular”, in which decisions are taken by consultation with the leader of the community in the centre, facilitating rather than imposing. Learning is gained from experience.

IAP2 members may watch the entire webinar here.

“Respecter les façons d’être et de savoir autochtones”

L’année 2019 s’est terminée par un webinaire, présenté en coopération avec le Conseil canadien pour le commerce autochtone. Le sujet était de plus en plus important pour les praticiens de la P2 : les relations avec les peuples autochtones et comment être inclusif dans nos processus d’engagement public. Nadine St-Louis, directrice générale des Productions Feux Sacrés a expliqué qu’une des clés pour comprendre les modes d’être et de savoir des autochtones est de comprendre la relation que les autochtones ont avec la terre et comment le processus de colonisation en Amérique du Nord a supprimé ce lien, entraînant des générations de souffrance et de dégradation.

Comprendre le présent, affirme Nadine, c’est comprendre le passé, et la « Commission de la Vérité et Réconciliation », qui a utilisé le terme “génocide culturel” pour décrire l’impact des politiques et des pratiques du gouvernement canadien, a été une étape importante dans la création de cette compréhension. 

La partie “Vérité”, dit-elle, consiste à reconnaître les torts causés et à guérir les relations entre les peuples au sein du Canada.  L’héritage des pensionnats a pesé lourdement sur la vie et le bien être des individus et des communautés des Premières nations, des Inuits et des Métis pendant des générations. Si nous voulons parvenir à une véritable réconciliation, avoir un impact social durable et décoloniser les mentalités et les structures, la collaboration entre les organisations autochtones, la société civile et les décideurs politiques sont des plus nécessaires. La “réconciliation” consiste à faire participer les voix autochtones à ce processus.   

Nadine déclare que face à la complexité des questions contemporaines liées au vivre ensemble et au pluralisme, il est souvent difficile de mettre en œuvre les différentes recommandations de la Commission Vérité et Réconciliation ; cependant, il est impératif de travailler ensemble et de briser les barrières pour soutenir les voix autochtones et examiner les moyens de mettre en œuvre des actions pour la représentation et l’inclusion des autochtones.

Par conséquent, en incluant les peuples autochtones dans un processus de P2, il est important de comprendre les différences de vision du monde entre les sociétés autochtones et les sociétés d’origine européenne. Ces dernières ont tendance à adopter une approche hiérarchique, avec des processus décisionnels descendants et des systèmes d’apprentissage fondés sur la théorie. Les sociétés autochtones, dit-elle, sont “circulaires”, dans lesquelles les décisions sont prises en consultation avec le chef de la communauté au centre, ce qui facilite plutôt qu’impose. L’apprentissage s’acquiert par l’expérience.

Les membres de l’IAP2 peuvent regarder l’intégralité du webinaire ici.



Le Symposium des compétences de l’AIP2 Canada, qui se tiendra du 4 au 8 mai à Regina, offre aux praticiens une variété incomparable de formations approfondies. Toutefois, peut-être devez-vous convaincre quelqu’un – par exemple, votre patron – que ce temps passé à l’extérieur du bureau sera bénéfique. Vous savez qu’il s’agit d’un investissement rentable, alors laissez-nous vous aider à présenter vos arguments.

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