City Wants Your Help to Make Government More Open

It’s always a conundrum, does our government do enough to engage its citizens and encourage them to get involved with policy and city matters?

The conundrum is that any effort to engage never seems quite good enough, despite media releases, social media, websites, and ads for local papers and radio, some news seems to always fall through the cracks. If you feel that’s the case more than normal, then it behooves you to take the Open Government survey that City Hall is floating.

It’s pretty comprehensive and only takes about 15-20 minutes (maybe a bit longer if watch all the accompanying videos). In any event, it is an election year so the results may yield some compelling ideas and fodder for the next council to mull over.

Here’s the press release:

Guelph, On, March 21 – Today community members are invited to officially begin sharing what they know about open government with the City, and identifying their priorities for making it a reality in Guelph.

The information provided will shape the City’s Open Government Action Plan (OGAP)—a five year road map of the City’s open government activities, scheduled to go to Council this summer.

“This plan is being developed in a unique and very collaborative way,” said Mayor Farbridge. “What sets this initiative apart is the level of community involvement. Rather than have the City establish the plan’s priorities and then invite the community to select those most important, we’re looking to our community to tell us—through a robust series of engagement opportunities—what these priorities should be based on their interest and willingness to be involved from here on in.”

An interactive online survey, complete with informative videos, asks participants a series of provocative questions based on the City’s Open Government Framework principles. Once complete, the survey provides participants with an indication of their open government readiness. This is just one format available to community members to share ideas, opinions, and feedback on open government with the City. Others include roundtable discussions; community led meetups; a change camp; email or telephone; and an online idea submission, commenting and voting tool called MindMixer.

“We know there’s interest in the community to create a better relationship with the City and participate in civic decisions in more meaningful ways,” said Blair Labelle, Guelph’s City Clerk. “Channelling this interest and willingness to participate in the development of the OGAP allows us to work together towards a more open government and deliver public services in more innovative and better ways.”

Developing the OGAP in this way supports the City’s efforts to establish a learning-based culture, one that allows for exploring new approaches, working hand-in-hand with the community for everyone’s benefit, and looking for opportunities for refinement the next time around.

Visit to learn more and start the survey

About Guelph’s open government

Guelph is setting a new standard of openness in municipal government and aims to be the first in Canada to develop an open government action plan at the municipal level.

At the City of Guelph, open government means becoming a more transparent and accountable government; making the best use of technology; and empowering its staff, Council and the community to actively participate in solutions that improve municipal services and life in Guelph.

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