B.C.’s Engagement Story
Starting in 2012, the B.C. government has put a concerted emphasis on involving British Columbians in the programs, policies and services that directly affect their lives. As a result the Citizen Engagement Team was formalized within Government Communications and Public Engagement to help ministries create engagement opportunities to meet our commitment to transparent, inclusive and responsive governance.
In just four years, the B.C. government has provided more than 230 opportunities for citizens to give input on a broad spectrum of subjects ranging from environmental protection to health and safety. In that time, citizens have contributed their feedback more than 361,000 times and downloaded more than 35,000 consultation documents. Input has come in a number of different ways including face-to-face events, telephone townhalls, blogs, surveys, question apps and email.
How are Citizens Engaging? 37,995 Telephone Townhall Participants; 48,820 Surveys and Feedback Forms; 145,054 Online Ratings;
24,982 Face-to-face Participants at Townhalls or Community Meetings; 3,938 Stakeholder Submissions; 4,057 Phone Surveys;
50,920 Blog Comments; 33,146 Emails and Letters; 361, 087 Total Citizen Contributions.
This site hosts a summary of each of those engagements along with a page dedicated to its results posted under Your Input, Your Impact. Below are some highlights of the changes that have occurred since 2012 as a direct result of the public providing input:
- In response to concerns that were raised in the Help Cut Red Tape engagement, numerous changes have been implemented to improve government services and reduce red tape, such as an effort to shorten vaccination wait times in the Southern Vancouver Island region by introducing evening clinics, increased appointment times, and the addition of same day appointments;
- Liquor sales are now allowed in grocery stores around the province using one of two models: wine-on-shelves or store-in-store;
- The Province announced new sanctions to address distracted driving, with stronger penalties including higher fines, more penalty points and earlier intervention for repeat offenders as a result of the Distracted Driving engagement.
- The provincial government redesigned their website after using card-sorting exercises to better understand how people navigate the site;
- An interactive map identifying 77 publicly nominated sites of historical significance to Chinese Canadians and British Columbia was developed;
- A modernized Guide Dog and Service Dog Act was introduced as a result of the Person’s with Disabilities public engagement; and
- A framework was developed for domestic violence courts to provide guidance on best practices in establishing specialized domestic violence court process in British Columbia.
Engagement by Highest Number of Citizen Contributions: Distracted Driving (87,358), BC Liquor (49,409), Balanced Budget 2014 (37,961), Family Day (34,215), Climate Action Leadership (16,176), BC On the Move 10 YR (14,045), Coastal Ferries (7,864),
EAO 2014-2015 (7,796), BC Education Plan (6,887)
As a part of every engagement, subject matter experts read every comment submitted and pick out themes, suggestions and ideas. One of the things that we often hear across public engagements are personal stories about the struggles that face children, family members, neighbours and communities, for example:
“As an executor of a person’s estate, multiple government agencies must be notified a death, and some require original death certificates. The arduous process of cancelling all the services can be both time-consuming and emotionally taxing during already stressful time.”
– Laura (Help Cut Red Tape Engagement, 2015)
“I discuss my experiences and struggles to share what I know and ultimately inspire change for the future.”
(Persons with Disabilities Engagement, 2014)
“Recently an employee of mine was struck by a distracted driver while returning home from work.
She was killed at age 21. The other driver was 27.”
– Chris, Thompson-Okanagan (Distracted Driving Engagement, 2015)
“I fully support the Enhanced CPP. I am a small business owner and also receive CPP. There are no valid reasons for not supporting the enhancements as the impact on business and workers is minimal but the increased CPP will be a huge benefit for those workers when they retire.”
– John (Canada Pension Plan Engagement, 2016)
This site offers a platform where you can read about the results of the Province’s public engagements, find out what sort of changes are coming soon, or browse through open projects and explore opportunities to contribute your feedback to the issues that matter most to you.
Engagement is crucial to government’s decision-making process, you can visit the site regularly, and follow @govTogetherBC on Twitter for updates on engagements, results and ways to engage with your community.