B.C.’s Engagement Story
The B.C. government has put a concerted emphasis on involving British Columbians in the programs, policies and services that directly affect their lives starting in 2012. 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.
There is to guide to help develop engagement projects within the B.C. government. This Citizen Engagement Handbook is publicly available to those interested in planning a citizen engagement initiative.
Engagement by the numbers: since 2012. 3.5 million visits to BC government engagement web sites; 70,786 face to face participants at events like townhalls or community meetings; more than 717,384 inputs from citizens; 266,620 surveys and feedback forms received
Since 2012, the B.C. government has provided more than 296 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 717,384 times and visited our engagement sites almost 3.6 million times. Input has come in a number of different ways including face-to-face events, telephone townhalls, blogs, surveys, question apps and email.
How have citizens engaged since 2012? 3,577,717 visits to engagement sites, almost 3.6 million; 52,059 blog comments; 266,620 surveys and feedback forms; 74,468 emails and letters; 5,525 stakeholder submissions, 79,190 telephone townhall participants; 6,057 phone surveys; 70,786 face to face participants at townhalls or in community meetings; 3,160 face to face meetings; 34790 downloads of discussion guides/papers; 717,384 total citizen contributions.
This site hosts a summary of results for each engagement 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:
- The B.C. government established legislative framework for the legalization of non-medical cannabis.
- End of Grizzly Bear Hunting. The Province is amended Wildlife Act regulations to enforce the closure on the grizzly bear hunt.
- Government modernizes ICBC rate design to make insurance fairer.
- Stops of interest signs are being installed around the province based on interactive map identifying 75 publicly nominated sites of historical significance to Chinese Canadians and British Columbia.
- By June 2021, British Columbia’s general minimum wage will rise to at least $15.20 per hour.
- To lower costs for families, we reduced MSP fees by 50% this year and will eliminate them completely by 2020.
- British Columbia will re-establish the B.C. Human Rights Commission to address inequality and discrimination.
Engagement by highest number of citizen contributions 2017/18. 89, 859 How we Vote (Electoral Reform); 48,283 B.C. Cannabis Regulation; 34,785 ICBC Rate Fairness; 18,719 Spill Regulation; 6,507 Ticket Buying; 4,365 Professional Reliance Review; 4,200 New Grizzly Bear Regulations; 3,306 Preventing Sexual Violence on Campuses; 3,191 2018 Lake Angler Questionnaire (Vancouver Island); 2,816 Agricultural land Reserve
As a part of every engagement, subject matter experts read the feedback 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:
“Thank you for taking the time to do this. I think BC has a wonderful opportunity to lead Canada in the implementation of a safe and economically viable cannabis program.”
— Cannabis Engagement, 2017
“I appreciate that you are allowing public commentary on the referendum, I hope that the referendum is worded impartially and that there is a greater commitment for change should the electorate want it than the federal referendum.”
— How We Vote Engagement, 2018
“Ultimately the road towards a more just society is long and hard, but I wish the BC Human Rights Commission every success in their efforts to ensure every citizen has the chance to be judged by their aspirations, their actions, and the content of their character.”
— Scott (Human Rights Commission Engagement, 2017)
“I’ve been in and out of homelessness. I’m a recovering addict of 15 years. I’ve seen a lot of good friends die through horrendous situations. It has to stop. We have to figure out a way to stop the whole situation, especially with homelessness. Being a recovering addict and then being homeless and then having a home and then being homeless is depressing and you think about going back [to using].”
— Mental health and Addictions Engagement, 2018
“Everyone needs shelter for stability. Dignified housing that is clean, secure and affordable. Co-ops, supportive housing, social housing and affordable housing are necessary in combination. In all markets, not just Vancouver.”
— BC Poverty Reduction Engagement, 2018
This site offers a platform where you can read about the results of our 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.