City to hold Citizen Action Labs to get a better grip on just what role citizens should play in the setting of the agenda.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 1st, 2019



City Hall has decided to take a hard look at what exists in the way of Advisory Committees and who sits on them. A Citizen Action Labs has been created that will start with an online survey to study Citizen Advisory Committees.

The City of Burlington is reviewing Council-appointed Citizen Advisory Committees to determine the best way to use the knowledge and diversity that citizen advisory committees can bring to the city.

Throughout May, staff will be seeking input online and in-person from current citizen committee members and members of the public as well as researching how other municipalities use citizen groups for feedback and advice.


A budget review meeting in 2010 – well attended – took place a bit before the election. Problem with this meeting was that the budget had basically been decided upon by the finance people – the public was being asked to comment.

Budget public Angelo Benivenuto and Carol Gottlob

Citizen involvement in public issues runs from terrible to quite robust. Here Angelo Bentivegna  and Carol Gottlob, both candidate in the 2010 municipal election take in a budget meeting at which they were the only “public” at the meeting. It was a snowy night. Bee went on to win his ward seat in the 2018 election.

Citizen Action Labs are where people work together in small, welcoming groups to engage, discuss, share and explore new ideas.

Three Citizen Action Labs are planned. Current and past citizen advisory committee members and members of the public are encouraged to attend. Registration is required as there is a maximum capacity of 80 people at each session.

The registration link can be found at

Citizen Action Lab – May 25, Saturday session – Mainway Recreation Centre – 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Citizen Action Lab – May 29, Wednesday afternoon session – Central Library – 2:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Citizen Action Lab – May 29, Wednesday evening session – Central Library – 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Current and past citizen advisory committee members and members of the public are encouraged to attend. Registration is required as there is a maximum capacity of 80 people at each session.
Online Survey

An online survey is available at for anyone interested. The survey will be available until May 14, 2019.

Once the information has been collected and analyzed, staff will share a report with City Council.

Citizen Lab poster

About Citizen Committees
The City of Burlington citizen advisory committees play a key role in providing advice and feedback to Council and staff on a variety of issues in the City.

The following is a list of the Council Appointed Citizen Advisory Committees:

• Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee
• Burlington Cycling Advisory Committee
• Burlington Downtown Parking Advisory Committee
• Burlington Inclusivity Advisory Committee
• Burlington Integrated Transportation Advisory Committee (ITAC)
• Burlington Seniors’ Advisory Committee
• Burlington Sustainable Development Advisory Committee
• Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee


• Audit Standing Committee
• Burlington’s Best Committee
• Burlington Mundialization Committee
• Committee of Adjustment
• Greater Bay Area Sub-Committee
• Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee
• Charter Action Team

“Keeping our fingers on the pulse of our community helps set us all up for success” said  Mayor Marianne Meed Ward . “We value the feedback we get from our residents and various committees, and we want to make sure Council and City staff receives that public input in the most effective way possible. Other municipalities use their citizen committees differently, so we want to learn from our own residents which ways they feel would be best for them and Burlington moving forward.”

Danielle Mantin COB

Danielle Manton delegating at a Board of Education meeting.

Danielle Manton, Manager of Committee Services who will be overseeing the data collection said: “The Citizen Action Labs are a new way to brainstorm, share ideas and discuss topics.

“We’re hoping this format will allow us to get as many new ideas as possible from participants and will form the basis of our engagement and research.

“The Labs will be run by a professional, independent facilitator who will ensure we get the best discussions and ideas from everyone. Anyone unable to attend is encouraged to go to to give us their feedback.

“We are excited to begin a new conversation with citizens and to further explore ideas on how we might provide advice to Council and staff differently than we are today.”

Survey location CLICK here

Jim Young

Jim Young

The use of Advisory committees has been a concern to some:  Jim Young had some very pointed observations that he made during a city hall delegation.  Well worth reading if what happens with the concept of citizen participation matters to you.

Jim Young column

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