Equity in Public Engagement: A Guide for Practitioners

Inclusion is integral to ethical and effective public engagement. Hearing from people with diverse lived experiences leads to more innovative ideas, better decisions and stronger democracies. However, many groups of people remain under-represented in engagement processes due to systemic barriers and inequities.

Beyond Inclusion: Equity in Public Engagement proposes eight principles to support the meaningful and equitable inclusion of diverse voices in public engagement processes across sectors.

Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue developed the Beyond Inclusion guide through a participatory research and consultation process from 2019 to 2020 involving community members, engagement practitioners and representatives from governments and civil society. While we began with a framework of inclusion, participants emphasized the importance of equity—building reciprocal relationships and sharing power with communities to co-create accessible and meaningful engagement processes.

Download your free copy of the Beyond Inclusion guide to learn more about these principles alongside:

  • Concrete strategies to help enact these principles and address barriers
  • Suggested approaches to common challenges practitioners face
  • Real-world case studies illustrating the principles in action
  • A discussion of what inclusion, equity and accessibility mean within public engagement
  • A list of further resources to support inclusive engagement

Additional Resources

The Eight Principles

Principle 1:
Invite participation within an authentic and accountable engagement process

Principle 2:
Plan early and proactively

Principle 3:
Establish respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples

Principle 4:
Engage the internal diversity of a community

Principle 5:
Work in reciprocal relationships with communities

Principle 6:
Tailor engagement plans to the context

Principle 7:
Commit to ongoing learning and improvement

Principle 8:
Advance systemic equity

Beyond Inclusion Team

Primary author

Nicole Armos

Graphic design

Sabrina Azaria


Sandeep Johal

Lead project manager

Grace Lee

Peer reviewers
  • Darine Benkalha
  • Rain Daniels
  • Karin Fuller
  • Ginger Gosnell-Myers
  • Lauren Howard
  • Joy Johnson
  • Thomas Kearney
  • Ruth Mojeed
  • Robin Prest
  • Jennifer Reddy
  • Jewelles Smith
Project support, facilitation and advising
  • Elodie Jacquet
  • Robert Daum
  • Ginger Gosnell-Myers
  • Robin Prest
  • Cicely Blaine
  • Diane Finegood
  • Joanna Ashworth
  • Kareen Wong
  • Janani Ravikularam
  • Anurag Balasubramanian
  • Alice Muthoni Murage

The Centre for Dialogue also thanks those who contributed their time, experience and knowledge as participants in focus groups and roundtables during the research and consultation process. Unless otherwise attributed, quoted statements in this report are drawn from notes taken at these sessions, which were anonymized to encourage free dialogue and critical reflection. Although notetakers strived to stay true to the language used by participants, not all quotes necessarily represent verbatim statements from participants, and the authors have made minor corrections for grammar and syntax. This project was made possible, in part, by the SFU Centre for Dialogue Endowment

Dialogue Dispatch


Dialogue Dispatch is our community of practice newsletter where we share updates on our team's knowledge exchange activities alongside inspiring case studies, suggested readings and practical tools for people and organizations working to transform the field of democratic participation.

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