Winnipeg Budget Consultations

March 9, 2019 Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
September 23, 2018 Aengus Bridgman
September 22, 2018 Aengus Bridgman

Since 2014, Winnipeg has had annual public consultations on the composition of the city's budget, thereby engaging residents in democratic processes and allowing them to have a say.

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Problems and Purpose 

 The City of Winnipeg runs an annual budget consultation to allow democratic participation in the process of creating an annual budget.  

Background History and Context 

In 2009 and 2010, approximately 42,000 Winnipeggers helped create OurWinnipeg, the City’s 25-year development plan. The process that helped create OurWinnipeg received a Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) Award for Planning Excellence, and a Manitoba Planning Excellence Award from the Manitoba Professional Planners Institute. During this time, was a major hub that included: blogs, videos, resources, a calendar of events, user submissions, and questions of the day.

During this time, public consultation was generally part of the budget planning process. The level and extent of consultation varied from year to year, but ideas and comments were generally solicited from the public and an annual citizen service satisfaction survey was sometimes conducted. 

Then, facing budget pressures and building on the earlier success of mass participation in City planning, in 2014 the City launched broader public budget consultations to solicit and compile feedback from Winnipeggers into city budget and planning priorities. This work was contracted out to a consulting firm (MNP) which was generally perceived to have conducted an ineffective process with few shifts in spending as a result of community input. The following year another consulting firm conducted a similar exercise which included a series of town hall meetings and an online survey with the results ultimately not reported to council or released to the public. This rocky start to formal budget consultations in the city caught the attention of the incoming Mayor Brian Bowman (assumed office at the end of 2014), who had made a campaign promise to improve public consultation for both the budget and other projects; thus, he created the Office of Public Engagement.  

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities 

Mayor Bowman established an Office of Public Engagement in 2015 with a mandate to support all City activities and projects through public consultation and engagement. The Office of Public Engagement has conducted annual consultations for the budget since then.

Participant Recruitment and Selection 

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Methods and Tools Used 

These budget consultations tend to include a variety of survey, focus group, wikisurveys, and creative participation mechanisms.

What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

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Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

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Analysis and Lessons Learned 

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See Also 

Winnipeg Budget Consultation 2019


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