What is the Montréal Dialogue process ?

    In 2019, Montréal rolled out a major consultation process called Montréal Dialogue. It aims to provide a clearer view of Montrealers’ expectations with regard to citizen participation.  

    By inviting citizens, elected officials, municipal employees, as well as members of Montréal’s civil society to voice their opinions, the city aimed to attain the highest quality standards with respect to becoming a participatory city, thus leading to informed decisions in terms of improving the city and its living environments.

    How was the Montréal Dialogue process carried out?

    The process was rolled out over 8 months, between July 2019 and March 2020, and it involved citizens, public and private sector stakeholders, and community leaders who have an interest in our metropolis. The final report details the various components of the consultation process.

    The data collected was tallied and analyzed by experts who have assisted the city in this process. A cross-sectional analysis of all results was then carried out in order to see the points of convergence and divergence, both for conclusions drawn and for the proposals generated. The Montréal Dialogue report thus summarizes all the input expressed.

    What could be concluded from the Montréal Dialogue consultation process?

    Two significant outcomes resulted from this process: we have obtained a clear picture of the city’s participatory bodies, as well as a plethora of suggested improvements to the city’s public participation process, based on the input obtained from citizens, the civil society, members of consultation committees, elected officials and city employees, whose opinions were convergent. All the ideas proposed were formulated in 22 proposals, divided in four key components that are listed in the final report.  

    What will the city do with these conclusions and the proposals derived from them?

    The city is currently working on various proposals made, namely in order to gather and simplify useful information concerning public consultation and participation in one location.

    In the short-term, the city also aims to:  

    • Provide the resources for city employees to strengthen its internal public consultation mechanisms and to support citizen participation, as inspired by the highest standards and best practices in the field. 
    • Provide Montrealers with the tools to improve their participation and support citizen initiatives, in order to give everyone the means to contribute to the development of their city and the improvement of their living environment. 

    In the longer term, the city aims to work towards its Montréal 2030 objectives, namely to enhance democracy and citizen participation.

    At the beginning of the Montréal Dialogue process, the plan was to revise and improve the city’s Public consultation and participation policy. What has been the progress in this regard?

    The city’s Public consultation and participation policy was adopted in 2005, and its content remains relevant. However, practices and tools have since evolved, if only through online participation.  In this respect, the Montréal Dialogue report highlights the need to clarify these technological advancements and to adopt quality standards that meet Montrealers’ expectations. This does require an in-dept revision of the existing policy.  

    This will likely be achieved through tangible civic tools that will strengthen the city’s position in support of its Montréal 2030 goals, namely to increase citizen participation in municipal affairs and to place Montrealers and local stakeholders at he heart of the decision-making process.

    Will referendum approval be called into question?

    No, absolutely not. Montréal has chosen to maintain its referendum approval process in place, as prescribed under the Act respecting land use planning and development, in order to preserve this decision-making power for its citizens. The city simply seeks to improve its participation practices in order to better reflect the progress made over the past 15 years.

    What do you mean by public consultation and participation?

    Public consultation and participation involves the mechanisms whereby the population and representatives of the civil society can voice their onions regarding various projects initiated by the city at different stages of their realization, and also propose their own initiatives for Montréal.

    Participation can relate to urban planning, but also to culture, the environment, mobility, social and economic development, etc. 

    Whether to address a question to city council or to a borough council, table a brief for a standing committee, express their vision for Montréal during an online public consultation on the Making  Montréal platform, or to initiate a project with the support of their borough, Montrealers can participate in various ways to building a city in their image. The city’s objective, by rolling out Montréal Dialogue, is to expand this array of possibilities, while making them more accessible, inclusive and simplified.