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 240 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 480,783 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? 79,190 Telephone Townhall Participants; 72,396 Surveys and Feedback Forms; 145,054 Online Ratings;
63,592 Face-to-face Participants at Townhalls or Community Meetings; 4,828 Stakeholder Submissions; 4,057 Phone Surveys;
51,139 Blog Comments; 48,296 Emails and Letters; 480,783 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:
- 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 (81,358), BC Liquor (49,409), Budget 2017 (42,694), Family Day (34,215), Climate Action Leadership (16,176), BC On the Move 10 YR (14,045), Coastal Ferries (7,864), Water Sustainability Act (6,020), 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:
“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.