Creating space for transformative conversations
Since 2006, the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue has designed and facilitated more than 400 events from a local to an international scale, reaching hundreds of thousands of citizens and stakeholders.
Our project highlights include:
BC Provincial Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Stakeholder Engagement
The Mental Health and Addictions Engagement Project sought the perspectives of direct service providers and individuals with lived experience of mental health and addictions from various communities (e.g. people who use drugs, LGBTQ2S+, family members, direct service providers, South Asian Canadians, etc.). The nine consultation sessions were attended in their entirety by the Minister, the Honourable Judy Darcy, to help shape the strategic direction for the first ever Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions in Canada.
Building Public Engagement Capacity across the Public Service
The Building Public Engagement Capacity across the Public Service workshop explored the federal government’s vision for public engagement and generated a 10-year roadmap to increase public engagement capacity across the federal public service. Participants included members of the Privy Council Office Consultations Team and the Treasury Board Secretariat Open Government Team. This workshop marked the debut of the Centre for Dialogue’s ENABLES framework, which provides guiding questions to build organizational capacity in public engagement.
Inclusion in Open Government
The Inclusion in Open Government project produced a series of potential strategies for Canada to embed the principle of inclusion in its 4th Open Government Action Plan with a focus on improving inclusion and engagement for under-served communities. To develop these strategies, the Centre conducted 15 interviews with community-based organizations and undertook a literature review to identify industry best practices.
Citizen Dialogues on Canada’s Energy Future
The Citizen Dialogues on Canada’s Energy Future marked the first ever cross-Canada deliberative dialogue where randomly selected citizens made recommendations on federal energy policy. Approximately 150 citizens were randomly selected to ensure that their geographic location, demographic characteristics and attitudes toward energy issues reflected the diversity of Canadians. Through five regional, 2-day dialogues and a final, pan-Canadian, 3-day dialogue in Winnipeg, participants developed consensus recommendations for the future of energy in Canada.
The outcomes have since been presented in briefings to Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr, as well as Assistant Deputy Ministers and senior policy makers from the majority of provinces and territories.
Reconciliation Roundtable Dialogue with Premier McLeod
The Reconciliation Roundtable Dialogue with Premier McLeod brought together almost 30 thought leaders with Premier McLeod of the Northwest Territories to discuss northern approaches towards reconciliation. The roundtable aimed to illuminate how unique governance partnerships in the NWT might offer ideas applicable to resolving difficult issues throughout Canada.
Reconciling Injustices in a Pluralistic Canada
Reconciling Injustices was one of the most comprehensive events ever held in Canada to highlight the knowledge and expertise that stakeholders themselves bring to reconciling injustices. 109 dialogue participants included community leaders involved in the reconciliation of specific injustices, representatives from three levels of government, decision-makers from major institutions, and members of the public.
The Centre focused its outreach efforts on six historical and contemporary Canadian injustices: Indian Residential Schools, the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act, the Japanese Canadian Internment, the social and legal exclusion of LGBTQ Canadians, the Komagata Maru Incident, and Canada’s refusal of Jewish refugees from the Holocaust. To better understand and engage each community, the Centre for Dialogue employed a participatory process and convened an advisory group inclusive of members from each community.
The Mayor’s Public Engagement Task Force was convened by the City of New Westminster to advise on the creation of a new strategy to enhance democratic participation and build the City’s organizational capacity for high quality public engagement. Centre for Dialogue staff facilitated the Task Force, including residents, elected officials and City staff. Deliverables included developing a set of guiding principles, evaluation metrics, an implementation action plan and a staff toolkit. Events included focus groups with City Advisory Committees, workshops with the public, as well as a workshop that combined existing task force members with additional elected officials and City staff. The public engagement strategy was approved by Council in fall 2016 and the City is now implementing its 3-year action plan.
THRIVE! Surrey in 2030 was a full-day exploratory dialogue that invited residents from across Surrey to provide input into the City’s Sustainability Charter update. In order to create a representative ‘mini-public’, potential participants were asked to register their interest and 125 were chosen based on their demographic profile. The findings from the dialogue were incorporated into Surrey’s Sustainability Charter 2.0, released in May 2016.
THRIVE! was organized by SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, in partnership with the City of Surrey, SFU Public Square and SFU Surrey.
The Delbrook Lands Community Dialogue was an innovative, open and transparent public engagement process to identify options for the future use of the Delbrook Lands, the highly contested site of a community centre scheduled to be decommissioned. The process included designing and facilitating two public events: a generative dialogue workshop for 200 participants and a deliberative dialogue session for 89 community members who together represented the diversity of interests and perspectives in North Vancouver. The project produced a set of broadly-supported recommendations that have since been approved by District Council, including a park, an adult daycare co-located with childcare, and 80 units of non-market housing.
The New Cities’ Agenda for Canada Dialogue
The New Cities’ Agenda for Canada Dialogue brought together senior city thought leaders in Wakefield, Quebec, including the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and his senior staff. This generative session created a number of concrete recommendations, including developing comprehensive and comparable data on cities, the need to explore tripartite relationships in delivering much-needed infrastructure to urban areas, and the potential of creating a “smart cities challenge” to drive innovation and collaboration
The Building QMUNITY dialogue was a community-wide consultation regarding the future programming priorities for QMUNITY, BC’s queer resource centre. The consultation comprised a multi-pronged engagement strategy including a one-day community dialogue, an online survey, and eight small dialogue sessions with focused LGBTQ2S communities. The consultation outcomes are now helping to inform planning for a new $10 million community centre in Vancouver’s West End and have helped to deepen relationships between QMUNITY and its stakeholders.