WANTED: volunteers for the IAP2 Canada Research Committee

Dr Sherry Campbell, interim chair, IAP2 Canada Research Committee

Integrating research into the IAP2 Canada objectives has been a goal of the organization since it was founded, and the Research Committee has been active since 2013.

The committee is responsible for research such as sharing information on trends, best practices, and innovations; access to national and international P2 research through peer-reviewed journals, special publications and events, and partnering with other organizations and academic institutions to sponsor and conduct research.

The IAP2 Canada Research Committee is currently chaired by Sherry Campbell and includes Sherif Kinawy from the Great Lakes Chapter and other new members, representing different regions of Canada, as well as past members who have moved to other countries.

Some of the work of the Research Committee includes state-of-the-practice surveys of IAP2 Canada members, an environmental scan of other P2 organizations in Canada and abroad, identifying potential collaborators, setting up an online library and commissioning white papers and other articles.

The Committee also contributes to webinars, newsletter features and best practice identification.

What are we looking for in our new members?

  • Commitment to our work together, to contribute, attend monthly meetings, and work with other committee members on our initiatives
  • A curious and engaged mind – we would like you to explore the area of P2 research with us, putting P2 into practice and making the knowledge and information accessible for our members
  • A willingness to contribute your effort to making our initiatives a success through sharing your expertise with us and having an interest in learning from each other

Find out more about the IAP2 Canada Research Initiative here. To apply to be on the committee, contact Anita Wasiuta, Volunteer Coordinator, at anitaiap2@gmail.com.

Meet a Member – November/December 2017: Ken Hardie, MP

KH 5Ken Hardie joined IAP2 in 2001, about 10 years before IAP2 Canada was formed. He has a unique distinction: a life member who’s a non-practitioner. After a career in radio, he went into communications and media relations, with lengthy stops at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) and the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink).

Then, having “retired”, he was elected to Parliament in 2015 as the Liberal Member for Fleetwood-Port Kells in Surrey BC.

Ken Hardie has a unique distinction in IAP2 Canada: a life member who’s a non-practitioner. After a career in radio, he went into communications and media relations, with lengthy stops at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) and the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink). Then, having “retired”, he was elected to Parliament in the 2015 General Election.

What attracted you to IAP2 in the first place?

I was looking for new tools for the toolbox. When I was at ICBC, we had a policy decision coming up that affected a lot of people, but a survey had just been released that showed we had a very poor public image. So I set about rebuilding the public trust, going to all the communities and meeting with people.

When I looked into IAP2, what I saw was interesting and I saw that there would be practitioners available to do this job, so I made the strategic decision to get someone in from IAP2 who knew what they were doing.

At TransLink, there were two projects that come to mind. One was the early work on the Evergreen Line (a mass transit system linking the Northeast Sector of Metro Vancouver with the rest of the transit network). This used more of the “officially sanctioned” P2 tools, like charrettes and open houses to consult with the community on the technology.

The technology came down to a choice between at-grade LRT or grade-separated LRT – SkyTrain. Through the public engagement process, which included “origin-destination” research, it was determined that at-grade would do a good job of meeting the community’s needs. The streetscape design and station locations all emerged from that process.

Was the community surprised at being consulted?

People warmed up to the process: if someone had walked in halfway through the process, they would have been intimidated at the length and breadth of the activities underway. We took everyone through iterative steps and people organically came to understand what was going on. The results and the output started to flow as things progressed.

My role was mainly in media relations, keeping tabs on what was going on and I left it to the public consultation team – the people who knew what they were doing.

What have you learned about P2?

The real key is to make the public engagement genuine. We see examples where it’s not done very well, where organizations think that it’s only about putting up art boards and telling people what they’re going to do. But more and more, people are asking to be engaged. IAP2 folks have known for a long time that communities have been looking for a genuine seat at the table.

The most notable right now is the First Nations. They’ve been treated as colonials for 150 years, and now they’re seeing a process where they can see what the issues are, co-own the solutions and co-enjoy the results; but it’s taken the Canadian government a long time to see that they’re not a colonial power and the First Nations are not colonials.

Have you had any “golden learning moments”?

There was a similar situation (to the one involving First Nations and P2) a few weeks ago when we held a townhall on autism. A young woman who had autism stood up and was highly critical of the process. The source of her displeasure was the same: there were very well-meaning people coming up with a process to help autistic people, but the autistic people weren’t being included in the discussions. This isn’t to say that the people trying to come up with solutions weren’t earnest and didn’t have their best interests at heart … but the autistic people wanted to be part of the conversation.

There was an episode in my early days at ICBC and then at TransLink where the power of genuine communication and genuine engagement paid off. I mentioned that ICBC’s approval ratings were poor, right when we had a major policy decision to make. I went around the province, meeting with people in their communities, then playing back “what we heard”. I focused on Chambers of Commerce, too, which helped build the reputation among their members.

At the end, public confidence had moved to an “acceptable/high” level and we had a very good chance of getting approval for those policy decisions.

The decision was photo radar, as a means of keeping auto insurance rates under control.

At TransLink, there was a long and bitter bus drivers’ strike in 2001, and afterwards, we were voted as having the worst reputation of any public agency in BC. So we launched a public involvement campaign that included “Front Room Forums”. We’d have citizens host a “forum” in their home. We’d buy the pizza and people would hash out the transit issues.

It was a very overt way of signalling that we were prepared to employ methods that were effective in getting people engaged in the discussion. We found that the same kind of stresses and forces that we as an organization had to deal with were at play in the neighbourhoods. The people were not all on the same page, so having forums like those helped people understand the challenges involved in coming to public policy decisions. A year later, TransLink got the tax increase it needed, enabling it to expand services.

Having been around Ottawa for a few years now and making some valuable mistakes along the way, I know that we have to ensure that the communication we’re involved with is indeed genuine. You know that, as a politician on the government side, you have to make decisions; some will like it and some won’t.

You have to mind your tone with the ones who don’t like it and not make anybody “wrong”. If you can start with something that gets both sides nodding in agreement, you have something to work with and build on. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll win them over, but you build a connection that allows for further dialogue. And that’s the key: a two-way flow that can be candid, so that at the end of the day, although the person may not vote for you, they can say, “I can talk to this guy”.

I’ve been involved with radio and much of that job is to put yourself in the shoes of the person on the other side of the microphone and add something that’s useful or stimulating. Back in the old days, we found a way to do that without being nasty or contrary: we wanted to be ‘that nice guy on the radio”, and if you look at the world through their eyes you build that critical element in a relationship, which is affinity. Once you have built affinity with somebody, you have trust and you can have difficult conversations and come out the other end with something maybe that’s brand new, synthesized from your combined thoughts and ideas.

As it was then on the air, so it is today on social media and your constituents’ doorsteps.

Webinar Rewind – November 2017: IAP2 Projects of the Year

You have a project. It can benefit a lot of people, but for whatever reason, you run into a major roadblock: hostility from the very people it’s supposed to benefit. How do you approach these roadblocks and overcome that hostility?

The November Learning Webinar featured the winners of the IAP2 Core Values Awards for Project of the Year, and both of these had to address a very skeptical public. In fact, the City of Calgary had to shut down its plan to upgrade the Crowchild Trail – a major transportation corridor from the north end of the city to the south – because of hostility from the public. And the Mental Health Center of Denver learned to change one often-used term and leave out another altogether, in order to create a branch in an impoverished area of the Mile-High City.

When the City of Calgary first set out, in 2012, to improve and upgrade Crowchild Trail, the engagement format was to develop concept options and solicit community feedback on them. This approach was not well received. Indeed, City Council directed Administration to stop the study and develop a new process for these types of transportation studies where those affected by the changes were involved in the development of the plan (Core Value #1).

In 2014, the City set out again to improve and upgrade Crowchild Trail. This time – rather than using concepts to drive the discussion – the City used the discussion with stakeholders to drive the development of the concepts.

18 citizens were recruited to an Engagement Design Team and worked with the City to develop a public engagement process for the corridor study. A corridor study is a type of transportation plan that allows improvements to be prioritized and funded through the City’s infrastructure program, Investing in Mobility.

Despite the involvement of citizens in designing the engagement process (Core Value #5), the 2012 iteration of the study had left a legacy of distrust. Stakeholder response to re-starting the project was less than enthusiastic.

calgary - nope

Stakeholders were concerned they might be excluded from the engagement process (e.g.: if an advisory group model for engagement were used), that local communities might be compromised for widening the road, or alternatively, that much-needed improvements might not be made due to community opposition.

There was no doubt something needed to be done. Engineering lead Feisal Lakha explained that Crowchild runs north-south through the west side of Calgary and is one of only two crossings of the Bow River on that side; more than 100,000 vehicles use it daily. During the morning and afternoon commutes, traffic lineups could run as long as 12 kilometres (8 miles), delaying transit service and creating concerns for emergency vehicles, as three major medical facilities are located along the corridor, and increasing cut-through traffic in bordering communities

Crowchild Trail runs through several neighbourhoods, some established as many as 70 years ago. Upgrading would mean disruptions for neighbourhoods and businesses along the corridor. Any changes to Crowchild Trail would also have to take future growth into account.

The City had to overcome the sense that decisions had already been made, and to rebuild trust and credibility with stakeholders. As a starting point, the City chose a three-part strategy to acknowledge, that the 2012 study had not gone well and that a different approach was needed; to apologize, for the missteps of the 2012 study and the uncertainty left behind by its abrupt end; and adapt, to evolving stakeholder needs.

As an example of this approach, Communications lead Peggy Chan says one of the early messages they heard was that people did not receive information about the project in the mail. So the City adapted its approach, changing its communications materials from the handout on the left to the invitation-style notice in the middle and the ad on the right.


It was important the project team consider the needs of all participants, including decision-makers (Core Value #3). While planning for communications and engagement the project team explored how, at the surface, the City and stakeholders appeared to hold different positions, but that underlying those were values from both sides that intersected.


Informed by this analysis, the citizen Engagement Design Team and the understanding that decision-making is not a one-time, at the end of a project phenomenon – the City began the 2014 study by working with stakeholders to develop goals for the study that embodied the shared values of stakeholders and decision-makers. These goals were used as evaluation criteria by stakeholders and the project team as the study progressed – ensuring that recommendations for the future of the corridor were grounded in value-based conversation.

Kirsty Neill, the City’s internal engagement lead, described how the approach of engaging early on and throughout the study worked. Each phase of engagement related directly to a phase of technical work. And, the stakeholder input and technical input from each phase informed the phase that followed it.

To be accessible to as many interested Calgarians as possible the City ran online, City-hosted and pop-up sessions concurrently in each phase. The City held face-to-face sessions with the general public – and also invitation-only sessions with targeted stakeholder groups, such as residents immediately adjacent to Crowchild and businesses and institutions along the corridor.

A key to building trust was to ensure that just as people would be told which suggestions would be pursued; they would also be told why a given suggestion could not be pursued (Core Value #7).

In addition to embedding this “if yes, why yes” and “if not, why not” information directly into engagement materials, the City built an online project library. In the library all project information, engagement materials and results as well as technical studies and relevant policies were collected in one place for easy, public access.

The Crowchild Trail Study successfully brought recommendations to Council for approval in May of 2017. The engagement process received input from 89 communities in the City of Calgary, plus participation from four outlying communities, underscoring the importance of this roadway to the City’s transportation network.

The raw numbers for participation are impressive: over 66,000 visits to the project website, story map and YouTube videos; 21,000 interactions on social media; nearly 19,000 URL click-throughs to the online tools.

The commitment of the project team and stakeholders to a process informed by IAP2 Core Values and best practices resulted in a transformation of the atmosphere of stakeholder skepticism at the beginning of the study to a much more trustful one by the end of the study.










Watch the City of Calgary’s Core Values Award video here.

“You can come and talk to my group, so long as you don’t use the words, ‘mental health’.” Those words were from one block captain in North East Park Hill, when Dr Lydia Prado, MHCD’s Vice-President, Strategic Community Partnerships, first came to the community of North East Park Hill.

The area, where about 25,000 people live, is generally typified by poverty, failing schools and, as MHCD’s Dr Lydia Prado put it, very negative judgment on people who live there. At the beginning, people were not thrilled with the idea of an outsider coming in, telling them what they needed. So creating the Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being involved two parts: creating a focal point to meet the needs identified by the community members themselves, and bringing the local attitude from a position of outright skepticism to enthusiastic support.

Winning that support, Dr Prado says, involved deep listening. There were deep discussions about racism, prejudice, inequity and discrimination. “It was about sitting in the fire long enough,” she says, “so that both people could be in there together – and then cool off together.” She had some of her most informative conversations with gang leaders, finding out that no one understands the impacts of early trauma and early deprivation like members of gangs.

One of the lessons for a P2 practitioner facing a similar situation is to go in with an attitude of “learning from” rather than “learning about”. It’s a nuance many outside researchers – particularly with non-profits — have failed to appreciate in the past, and had led to the foul taste in the community’s mouth. Dr Prado also decided to change a term often thrown-around without much thought: “at-risk”. Instead, she turned to the phrase, “at-promise” – another example of strengths-based thinking.

The resulting project met needs in ways people couldn’t have imagined at the outset. The Dahlia Campus offers a variety of programs, but more than that, conversations with community members found they wanted to be more self-sufficient, so there is food production like vegetable gardens and aquaculture, and, significantly, the Dahlia Campus has never been “tagged” – defaced with graffiti.

But there’s more to the Project of the Year winner than the project: how was it successful and how can that success be amplified? Enter Amanda Trosten-Bloom of the Rocky Mountain Center for Positive Change, which worked with MHCD on engagement. As a specialist in appreciative inquiry, she understands that the way to amplify success is to study it. So they launched a second round of engagement to find out how the attitude of community members shifted so dramatically. It was also necessary to build and enhance the relationship between the community members and the staff – who, up till that point, had not been connected with the project and its planning. Part of this process was intended to keep building on the success to that point; the other part was to provide tools and insights for other practitioners working on similar initiatives.

They set up one-on-one, voluntary interviews between staffers and members of the community; the interviews were transcribed and then a qualitative analysis was done to find out what the short- and long-term implications were and where to go from there.

Six themes emerged from the interviews – themes that defined what was important to people in North East Park Hill, and could be applied to other projects (“not rocket science,” says Amanda):

  1. Assuaging people’s fears
  2. Transparency and truthfulness
  3. Listening, hearing and responding
  4. Honoring the elders
  5. Following through
  6. Honoring local interest and expertise

Point #4 was vital: Dr Prado identified, early on, people who had over eighty years’ experience in the community. She found out from them who needs to be involved and what local expertise and interest needed to be kept in mind. As a result, the many of the programs at Dahlia, such as the community kitchen and activities, are run by people with local interests.

Dahlia is an example, in the words of one local philanthropist, of “a neighborhood taking itself back”. Rather than another program coming in from “outside”, the Dahlia campus is “our thing”.

More (great) reasons to come to the IAP2 Canada Skills Symposium! / Encore des raisons (formidables!) de venir au Symposium des compétences de l’AIP2 Canada!

symposium_webpage_bannerIt’s November. You know March will be here sooner than you know it, and you’re looking forward to spending a week at the IAP2 Canada Skills Symposium, March 19-23, in Ottawa-Gatineau. And that means you’ll be spending a week away from your job. And that means you still have to convince “The Boss” to let you go.

Hmm. Let us help, with Five (count ‘em!) Big Reasons to go to the Skills Symposium:

  1. Good P2 means Good Decisions, so the better you are at your job, the better it is for your organization.
  2. Diversity of training, all in one place.
  3. More tools for your tool-box, like a greater understanding of Social Media and P2 and and Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage (formerly EOP2)
  4. World-class trainers
  5. Networking opportunities with other practitioners: think what you can learn — and what you can share. No need to reinvent the wheel!

The courses you see on the Schedule-at-a-Glance have been carefully selected to expand our members’ knowledge and abilities, BUT … time is running out. As you approach your boss, bear in mind three deadlines:

  • The early-bird registration rate is only available until January 17, 2018
  • If not enough people register for a course by February 16, 2018 that course will not be offered
  • The special Symposium Rate at our host hotel, the Four Points Sheraton, Gatineau, is only offered until February 17 (subject to room availability)

IAP2 Canada is proud to offer you this unique opportunity to grow, develop and be the best you can be in public participation: it is, after all, what we do.

See you in Ottawa-Gatineau!


Nous sommes déjà en novembre. Le mois de mars sera à nos portes plus tôt que vous ne le croyez et vous vous réjouissez déjà à l’idée d’assister pendant une semaine au Symposium des compétences de l’AIP2 Canada, qui se tiendra du 19 au 23 mars à Ottawa/Gatineau. Cela veut dire que vous devrez vous absenter du travail pendant une semaine, ce qui signifie que vous devrez convaincre le patron du bien-fondé de votre présence à cet événement.

Laissez-nous vous aider en vous donnant cinq excellentes raisons (rien de moins!) d’assister au Symposium des compétences :

  1. De bonnes pratiques de P2 se traduisent par de bonnes décisions, donc plus vous excellerez dans votre travail, plus votre organisation en bénéficiera.
  2. Formations sur plusieurs thèmes variés, regroupées au même endroit.
  3. Formateurs de renom comptant parmi les meilleurs dans le domaine – prenez le temps de découvrir qui sont nos formateurs invités!
  4. Enrichissez votre boîte à outils : familiarisez-vous avec des thèmes tels que des thèmes tels que “Les jurys citoyens et comités conseils” ou “La participation publique au service de l’acceptabilité sociale“.
  5. Occasions de réseauter avec d’autres professionnels de la P2 : pensez à tout ce que vous pourrez apprendre – et partager. Inutile de réinventer la roue!

Les cours inscrits à l’horaire du symposium ont été sélectionnés avec soin dans le but d’enrichir les connaissances et les compétences de nos membres, MAIS… le temps presse. Lorsque vous parlerez à votre patron, ayez en tête ces trois dates :

  • Le tarif pour inscription anticipée est en vigueur jusqu’au 17 janvier 2018.
  • Si le nombre d’inscriptions pour un cours est insuffisant en date du 16 février 2018, celui-ci sera annulé.
  • Le tarif préférentiel offert par l’hôtel Four Points Sheraton de Gatineau, qui accueillera le symposium, est uniquement en vigueur jusqu’au 17 février 2018 (sous réserve de la disponibilité des chambres).

L’AIP2 Canada est fière de vous proposer cette occasion unique de parfaire vos connaissances, de développer vos compétences et d’exceller en participation publique. Après tout, ces activités sont au cœur de notre mission.

Au plaisir de vous voir à Ottawa/Gatineau!

VOLUNTEER — and help in “Growing a Culture of P2” in Canada’s Best Bloomin’ City!


With barely time to breathe after the successful IAP2 North American Conference in Denver, work is already underway for the 2018 North American Conference, Sept 5 – 7 in Victoria. Time now to think about the theme — “Growing a Culture of P2” — and start making plans to come to the coast. Registration will open in December and the Call for Submissions will be issued in January, so watch your inbox and the Conference website for more information.

NOW is also the time to get involved and make this the best bloomin’ conference yet! Volunteer on one of the Conference Sub-Committees: Sponsorship, Program and Local Fun!

SPONSORSHIP COMMITTEE:  secures sponsorship revenue and in-kind support. Your role starts with the development of a sponsorship package and carries through to contacting and encouraging sponsors. Job Description and application.

PROGRAM COMMITTEE: ensuring a great program. Your role starts with the call for submissions and carries through to the selection of session presenters. IAP2 Canada staff is responsible for the implementation. Job Description and application.

LOCAL FUN COMMITTEE: plans the social portions of the conference. Your role includes the planning of an opening reception, identifying a venue for the Awards Gala, and promoting other local activities such as dine-arounds or site visits. Job Description and application.

Interested? Check out the job description and submit your Expression of Interest (see link at the end of each job description)  by November 18, 2017.

IAP2 Great Lakes launches Book Club!

The IAP2 Great Lakes Chapter is trying something new to bring our community of practice together for dialogue.

We are launching a Book Club through our “IAP2 Great Lakes Chapter” IAP2 members from across Canada are invited to cozy up with us and a thought provoking book!

Each week, we’ll read a chapter whenever we can.  Then, at the start of the next week, we can exchange ideas, and post and respond to questions in our LinkedIn group.  If this has piqued your interest, why not join the IAP2 Great Lakes Chapter on LinkedIn for further updates.

We have shortlisted 4 books and would like your feedback on which book you think is best to get started.

The shortlisted books are:

  1.    From Voice To Influence: Understanding Citizenship In A Digital Age

Edited by Danielle Allen and Jennifer S. Light (nonfiction)

  1.    The Psychology of Citizenship and Civic Engagement

By S. Mark Pancer, Ph.D. (nonfiction)

  1.    The Break

By Katherena Vermette (fiction)

  1.    The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative

By Thomas King (nonfiction)

If you are interested please email greatlakeschapter@iap2canada.ca and let us know which book you would like included. Once we hear back, we’ll announce the book and start reading!

IAP2 Canada Research Update

The latest State of the Practice Survey by the IAP2 Canada Research Committee has some good news on a number of different fronts. Sherif Kinawy and Sherry Campbell of the Committee discussed the findings of the 2017 State of Practice Survey and Environmental Scan of P2 Research in a special webinar on September 12. (IAP2 Canada members can watch the full webinar here.)

SherifKinawy (1)
Sherif Kinawy

The survey and environmental scan follow up on the 2013 survey, which looked at P2 trends, activities and best practices, following the statement in the IAP2 Canada Strategic Plan, that IAP2 Canada is a source and developer of knowledge and resources. (Read more) The environmental scan looked at the challenges and opportunities in the profession, with a view to expanding the knowledge base of P2 research activities and enrich collaboration with other organizations.

Sherry Campbell


The good news?

  1. More practitioners – members and non-members alike – responded to the survey in 2016
  1. More organizations – with similar and/or complementary goals — appear willing or have the capacity to partner with IAP2 Canada in future research projects
  2. The environmental scan rated organizations as “low”, “medium” or “high” for their P2 activities and potential for collaboration with IAP2 Canada; the number of organizations rated “high” in 2017 increased over 2013.
  1. The attitude of respondents – which had been positive to begin with in the 2013 survey – is even more positive now toward IAP2 Canada activities and research.

In 2017, as in 2013, the survey set out to bridge research and practice, determine priority areas, identify practitioners’ needs, advise the board on those needs and also inform trainers of those needs.

The Research Committee found that in the four years in-between the surveys, areas of concern shifted. Managing conflict – which had been the top concern in 2013 – was still high on the list, but inclusion has become a higher priority. That is, practitioners are increasingly looking for tools and techniques to bridge gaps in language, culture and ability. There was also an increase in the number of P2 practitioners and facilitators who identified that as their primary role.

The 2017 Survey presented statements about P2 for respondents to rate. For example, “P2 is often used as a tool to delegate decision-making to the public”: about 65% either disagreed or strongly disagreed with that; “P2 is often used to extract local knowledge and understand issues and concerns”: 50% agreed; “Public feedback rarely affects the outcome”: just over 60% either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

The survey also identifies important trends in P2 practice in Canada, and you can read the full report here.

Would you like to be part of this important effort to support the P2 practice in Canada? The Research Committee is made up of volunteers and is currently looking for individuals who would like to join the committee. Please contact info@iap2canada.ca for more information.