Consultation

Framework for Consultation

The consultation process is key to the development of an effective strategy. The following describes the elements of that process.

In addition to the resources identified below we have developed a mapping tool which will help Service Managers identify methods to achieve the objectives of their consultation process.

Purpose

The objective of the consultation is to increase stakeholder involvement to create a better understanding of issues, gain community support, and develop lasting partnerships within the community

Principles

  • Inclusive, incremental and collaborative process
  • Community based
  • Focused on producing practical and pragmatic solutions
  • Identify best practices

Stakeholders

Assemble a stakeholder database, including the following major groups:

  • Client groups: low and moderate income, special needs clients are the target groups. They are represented through a number of organizations and stakeholder entities
  • Community groups: community associations, Social Planning Council, advocacy groups (disabled, mental health, seniors, youth, ex-offenders, aboriginal/First Nations, churches, Habitat for Humanity, tenants/homeowners associations
  • Government representatives: federal (CMHC, HRDC, Health Canada, provincial (MMAH, MOH, LHIN) and local (Hospitals, school boards)
  • Elected officials: local (Mayors and Councillors) + School Trustees, Provincial (MPP’s) and federal (MPs) and EAs
  • Industry groups: these are the stakeholders involved in the production/delivery/management of housing, including builders, developers, financial institutions, housing providers, architects, planners, realtors, corporate community, business organizations health/social service workers, academics, student housing.

Attached is a framework for maintaining the stakeholder database with some important sector stakeholders who may be involved in your discussions. (under development)

Consultation Process

Consultation with the community will be most effective if it is:

  • educational and communicates the importance of good planning for dealing with housing and homelessness across the whole community
  • participatory giving a voice to all members of the community
  • encourages dialogue between stakeholders
  • allows participation in the identification of issues and solutions by both project participants and the wider community.

The process comprises opportunities for interviews, focus groups and workshops outlined in more detail below.

In addition, an Advisory Committee is also a critical part of the consultation process but the Terms of Reference have been dealt with separately. The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to provide advice to the consultant, Project Manager and Project Management Committee on matters of process and substance in identifying issues, concerns and information to be addressed in the Strategy. The Advisory Committee is intended to be a discussion forum and will not be responsible for directing the consultant. It is also anticipated that the Housing Affordability Partnership (HAP) will have an integral role in the consultation process. Again, this is being defined separately in consultation with the HAP Steering Committee.

Develop methods

There are many ways to engage the public, and each method will have strengths and weaknesses depending on the objectves of the engagement.

Interviews

Focus Groups:

  • an efficient method for assembling and verifying data;
  • an opportunity for sharing information and perspectives and in turn educating stakeholders on the issues;
  • a synergetic experience that can ‘snowball’ and generate ideas.

Key groups are those identified under Stakeholders, plus there will be a General Interest Focus Group. The stakeholder groups will be invited to send a representative to a focus group, and group participants will represent a cross-section of the stakeholders to promote a sharing of experiences and understanding of issues. The General Interest Focus Group will be advertised and interested applicants required to submit a letter of application responding to questions to ensure a cross-section of interests, needs and experience. The Advisory Committee will be responsible for convening a committee to select participants for this focus group.

The agenda will include: an overview of the project; discussion of the data/needs issues; knowledge of policy, legislative and regulatory framework issues; and stakeholder experiences with partnership, financing and tenure arrangements.

Forums, Town Halls

Fact Sheets: these will be compiled to share the information assembled with the stakeholders and the interested public.

Here are some references for developing an approach to public consultation and evaluating variuos methods:

Publishing the results of a consultation is helpful to bring all the stakeholders to the same place. Here is an example from Dufferin – Building Blocks – Housing Forum Results 2012