Consulting with Canadians: Action Plan Commitment 12


  • RSS
  • Cite
Lead implementing department(s)
Treasury Board Secretariat
Privy Council Office
Open Dialogue
Reporting period

End-of-term (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016)


Behind Schedule

Provide direction and next-generation tools and resources to enable federal departments and agencies to consult more broadly with citizens and civil society in support of the development and delivery of government policies and programs.

Deliverables Status / Final Results Lessons Learned Completion Level

Improve the existing Consulting with Canadians website to facilitate easier access to information on federal consultation activities for citizens.

The Consulting with Canadians website was re-launched on on the website with enhancements to facilitate easier access to information on federal consultation activities for citizens.

User testing is invaluable in creating effective online services. There may be opportunities in the future to more clearly link available information and data to ongoing consultation efforts.


Develop and launch a new government-wide consultation portal to promote opportunities for public participation, host online consultations, and share findings from completed consultations.

High-level business requirements have been defined to guide the development of a new consultation portal that Canadians can use to discover, participate in, and monitor the results of public federal consultations of interest to them. Key features of the new consultation portal will include:

  • A unified calendar of consultations across government;
  • Enhanced search;
  • Notifications and subscriptions; and
  • Reports and outcomes.

The Government of Canada participated in Civic Design Jam, hosted by MaRS, on June 26, 2015 in Toronto, ON where the GC received input and design prototypes on an online consultation portal from designers, programmers, other government reps and civil society. Prototypes and artefacts from this event will be used to inform development of business and technical requirements for the new consultation portal.

In addition, to fulfill the need to provide opportunities for meaningful and effective stakeholder and citizen engagement, the Government of Canada has put in place a standing offer for Stakeholder and Citizen Consultation and Engagement Services.

Through this mechanism, departments and agencies can access the services of qualified firms with the capacity and expertise required to undertake the development, planning and implementation of in-person and online stakeholder and citizen engagement and consultation activities, on an as-and-when-required basis.

There can be multiple understandings of the business need. Ongoing communication is needed to best navigate requirements.

Enterprise needs can be complex.

There are a wide variety of needs across the engagement spectrum and no single solution can meet all needs.


Rolled over in 2016-18 Plan

Expand the use of social media across government to enable departments and programs to connect to Canadians in innovative ways and enhance engagement in support of citizen-centric services.

TBS has issued a suite of policy instruments that advocate for the use of social media and ensure that official Government of Canada social media accounts are consistent and respect requirements for accessibility and official languages. 

In support of the implementation of these policies, a number of key activities are underway:

  • : The new Policy on Communications and Federal Identity and the Directive on the Management of Communications place strong emphasis on the use of digital media and platforms, including social media and web (and places emphasis on web/social media analytics to evaluate impact). They provide clear processes, coordination and a common approach for managing social media accounts.
  • Onboarding of federal departments to a hosted Social Media Account Management Solution (Hootsuite) is underway.
  • An Interdepartmental Task Force on Social Media is providing guidance to departments so they can expand their use of official social media accounts.
  • A Social Media Community of Practice (note: GCpedia is not accessible to the public) sponsored by the Communications Community Office is operating to help shift culture and adapt communication processes to the evolving social media landscape.
  • Since 2014, GC Digital Advertising Day has been teaching attendees about the latest social media tools and trends, from Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, etc. 97% of attendees found the information useful to their work.
  • Training in the effective use of social media is now, more than ever, an area of focus, both through the Communications Community Office and the Advertising Coordination and Partnerships Directorate.

Though progress has been made on the adoption of new channels and approaches, there is still work to be done as government officials learn how to best use social media, internally and externally, to appropriately distinguish and engage targeted audiences and better measure and understand customer satisfaction.


Develop a set of principles and standards for public consultations in discussion with citizens and civil society.

An environmental scan of internal and external consultation guidance was completed. Preliminary guiding principles for public consultation were developed and validated with civil society representatives, including through discussions at the Canadian Open Dialogue Forum.

In addition, external consultations to support the development of principles for public consultation were conducted at the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, . Furthermore, internal consultations are underway to identify principles, standards, and best practices for public consultations and use of social media.

We underestimated the extent to which groups inside and outside of government were interested in the development and outcomes for engagement principles and have had to revise our approach to accommodate more needs and interests.


Rolled over in 2016-18 Plan

Conduct targeted consultations on open government themes with key groups in Canada (e.g., youth, Aboriginal populations).

Consultations with targeted groups were undertaken in support of the implementation of key commitments in Canada's second action plan, including the introduction of new legislation of Mandatory Reporting on Extractives, which has been supported by discussions with Aboriginal stakeholders.

Open government consultations for Canada's Third Biennial Plan included specific outreach to young entrepreneurs, innovators, corporate and civic leaders via the National Youth Leadership and Innovation Summit.

TBS has begun a dialogue on First Nations data governance and data sovereignty with First Nations data practitioners, exploring opportunities to collaborate.

The Open Government team is currently increasing its capacity. Previously, the opportunities for targeted consultations were limited due to a lack of dedicated resources. To successfully develop relationships with key populations in Canada, ongoing, dedicated resources are required, as well as long term planning.


Rolled over in 2016-18 Plan

Additional Deliverables Beyond the Action Plan

The Privy Council Office is leading a Digital Communications Project to develop capacity to shift culture, policy and products towards a more digital and social approach. Activities included developing a Digital Communications Playbook (Fall 2015).


Supports the principles of civic participation, and is targeted at helping address the OGP Grand Challenges of improving public services by establishing standards, approaches, and best practices for robust, inclusive, and open citizen engagement in support of the development and delivery of federal programs and services.


Establishes innovative, government-wide solutions to enable Canadians to become more aware of, and more easily take part in, federal consultations of interest to them.

Date modified: