Are we engaged? Is this the Shape of things to come? We should know in two years – that night when we all dance on the Pier.


Is this what staff means by an “engagement charter”?

Is this what staff means by an “engagement charter”?

By Pepper Parr

John Boich, one of the co-chairs of the Shape Burlington committee, was a very strong advocate of an Engagement Charter for the city of Burlington and while there wasn’t a very clear definition of just what an Engagement Charter was, there was no doubt in John’s mind what it meant – engage the people, John would almost shout, “involve them and tell them what the hell going on”.  That’s John Boich.  And the following is the document that will get taken to the Budget and Corporate Services Committee for discussion.

Working paper on ‘Burlington Engagement Charter’


  1. Provide a framework for the City of Burlington to support planned and consistent approaches to public involvement.
  2. Inspire meaningful dialogue and informed participation about City of Burlington priorities and services.
  3. Enhance the City of Burlington’s commitment to inform citizens and respond to their ideas and contributions so that Burlington remains a great community in which to live, work and play.


  • Clear communication
  • Transparency and trust
  • Inclusion and demographic diversity
  • Informed decision making
  • Continuous improvement

Key Principles

  1. Careful planning and preparation
    Engaging people around the issues that affect their lives is a key component of a strong democratic society.  Public involvement encourages action, personal responsibility, and has a positive impact on decision making.
  2. Shared purpose
    Support and encourage individuals, groups, government and others to work together to advance the common good.  There must be a reasonable balance between the city’s legislated professional responsibilities and meaningful public involvement.  The shared purpose is community building in Burlington.
  3. Openness
    Help all involved listen to each other, explore new ideas, learn.  Diverse groups of people discussing information from a variety of viewpoints can lead to better, more creative decisions.  Face to face and online dialogue provide ways for citizens, staff and council to share timely information and discuss ideas and options.2)

Public is a general and inclusive term that includes individuals, not-for-profit and corporate organizations, and institutions.

Involvement represents the range of ways that the public can expect to participate in decision making with the City of Burlington.

Burlington’s Continuum of Public Involvement

City of Burlington Inform Consult Involve/Collaborate Empower
Public Involvement Goal To provide information to assist the public in understanding the topic, options, opportunities,  solutions and/or decisions To obtain public feedback on analysis, alternatives and/or recommendations To work directly with the public throughout the process including developing options and identifying the preferred direction To place final decision-making in the hands of the public
Promise We will keep you informedWe will provide timely and reliable information that is easy to find and understand We will keep you informed, listen  to and acknowledge input, and provide feedback about how public input influenced the outcome We will work with you to ensure your input is understood, reflected in the options developed and will look to you for advice.  We will include your input and advice into the outcome to the maximum extent possible. We will implement what you decide
  • Fact sheet
  • Open house
  • City Talk
  • Education session
  • Advertising
  • Twitter
  • Survey
  • Electronic opinion gathering
  • Public meetingInterview
  • Focus group
  • Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee


  • Referendum question
  • Committee of Adjustment


More detailed information outlines “Use When” and “Don’t Use When” information.

Measuring and Monitoring Success

Section to be developed:  involve/collaborate


Section to be developed:  involve/collaborate.


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