Some eye popping numbers in a 'satisfaction' survey the city spent $29,000 on

By Pepper Parr

January 10th, 2021


Part 1 of a two part report on how satisfied with citizens are with the services the city provides

Council got off to a fast start this morning. Just as soon as they confirmed that there was a quorum they went into a Closed Session. There were three different matters that had to do with litigation and the public seldom gets to listen to any of that stuff.

Rory Nisan was chairing the CSSRA Standing Committee – he advised that there would be another break in the proceedings for a different closed session later in the day.

The meeting today was virtual virtual. The practice up until this point has been to have the Chair and the Clerk in Council Chambers. This time Nisan got to stay home and run the show from his residence. He was not wearing sweatpants or pyjamas.

On the agenda was a report on how well the city is doing on citizen engagement. A report from MBD consulting, that had a price tag of $29,000 + was presented.

Since 1998, the City of Burlington has conducted community survey since 1998 to uncover resident satisfaction. The surveys typically happen every 2-4 years, the most recent surveys were in 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2021. The survey provides the opportunity for bench marking and to monitor progress of community measures over time with the goal of continuous improvement. In addition to resident satisfaction, the last three community surveys (2015, 2019 and 2021) included asking residents questions regarding communications and engagement with the City.

One of the questions asked related to taxes.


There are additional graphics further along in this article.

The 2021 community survey was conducted using Computer Aided Telephone

Interviews where respondents were randomly selected from the city’s population using a mix of both residential landlines and cell phone numbers. The goal was to complete 750 interviews/surveys, with 125 completed interviews/surveys per ward. The total reached was 755 completed interviews/surveys with a margin of error of +/-3.6% with a 95% confidence interval.

The interviews/surveys were conducted between September 13 to October 18 and it took on average 18 minutes to complete. Responses were weighted based on the population by age and ward. Two items that are important to note one, that satisfaction of city services results were analyzed using a priority matrix that compares performance, room for improvement and the derived importance of each service (a measure which represents the level to which each service is related to overall satisfaction) and two a combination of both randomly selected Burlington cellular and landlines were included in order to obtain a variety of responses.

These were the issues that people were most concerned about

Levels of satisfaction with the services that are being provided





Overall, the results of the survey turned out highly positive across several measures.




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5 comments to Some eye popping numbers in a ‘satisfaction’ survey the city spent $29,000 on

  • Eve St Clair

    2 % in favour of climate change initiatives …..Hey Burlington City council are you listening !!!!!!!!! Stop wasting money on pursuing bogus plans Ironic how our Liberal Mayor spent $29,000 but will disregard citizen input for her take

  • Mozelle Cole

    I gave up with this city and “Get Involved Burlington” after the rainbow crosswalks fiasco. Just the people that were “members” voted and the Mayor ran with it. Burlington as a whole did not have a choice. Obviously this city doesn’t understand the meaning of a conflict of interest. The rest of the world knows that surveys are done independently. It’s not that some of our councillors are ill informed, it’s that they can and they do…

  • Phil Waggett

    The problem with interpreting the results of these “surveys”(???) is that we don’t know two key bits of information: 1. were the administrators of the survey given direction by the City on the results they’d like to achieve? 2. the survey questions, since the design of those questions is often critical to producing specific directed results.

  • Notice there was no survey in 2018 the year the Council lost all but two of its incumbents, one through retirement. Anne was responsible for drafting service satisfaction questionnaires for a large Corporation. Her experience has seen a great interest in Burlington consultant (with a cost attached), rather than staff based questionnaires. The results of the last questionnaire the city conducted (where to put a rainbow cross walk?) was certainly not accepted as the general consensus, how do we know this one is? $29,000+ could, we believe probably along with struggling businesses and families, have been put to better use. Perhaps there should be a question on the questionnaire – do you believe questionnaires tell your City what residents want? and do you think Council should use reserve funds as they did at the beginning of this term ($4m) on items of want rather than absolute need related to the actual fund (this one was hydro). Council members should be able to take the community’s pulse from the correspondence they receive and reading the Gazette comments Section.

  • Penny Hersh

    How relevant is a survey that is answered by 755 residents when the current population in Burlington is 195,284?

    How relevant is a survey that poses the questions in such a way that one cannot disagree?

    How relevant is a survey link that arrived in our email boxes on Friday that did not connect to the information?

    Money spent in the amount of $29,000.00 for citizen engagement. The question that should be answered is was this money well spent?