New Opportunities to Provide Feedback on Federal Government Issues

Federal government departments are increasingly recognizing the importance of going beyond traditional means of engaging Canadians on important issues. Currently, many consultations request that public feedback be submitted via email or mail. While surveys and questionnaires are becoming more common, concerns around duplicate submissions and the growing prevalence of bots and other means of interfering with the public input process cannot be ignored.

Developed with the support of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC-IRAP), PlaceSpeak is pioneering an authentic civic network which empowers citizens to provide feedback while providing decision-makers with the assurance that feedback is coming from real and relevant participants. As PlaceSpeak connects participants to their physical location, departments can choose to limit participation on each consultation to individuals residing in specific geographical areas (e.g. province or territory), and segment/compare the feedback data collected across different parts of the country.

Several federal government departments have recently launched new consultations on PlaceSpeak, providing Canadians with a safe, secure and transparent way to provide input on issues that matter.

3 Online Citizen Engagement Lessons from the Cowichan Valley Regional District

At last year’s UBCM Convention, the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) received the Community Excellence Award, Best Practices in Organizational Development & Improvements, for their region-wide approach to citizen engagement.

The CVRD wanted to reach residents who typically didn’t engage with local government, and sought to find a platform that could be used by all local governments in the Cowichan Valley. This would not only benefit residents by having a single “hub” for online engagement, but each local government would benefit by working together in learning a new tool and be able to reach a larger audience.

Here are three lessons from their award-winning approach that any municipality can apply to start making civic participation habit-forming in their communities.

PlaceSpeak at the Code for Canada 2018 Showcase

The two biggest levers for improving people’s lives at scale are technology and government. What happens when we bring them together? PlaceSpeak was honoured to be included in Code for Canada’s 2018 Showcase, which highlights the potential for civic tech to impact government and make a meaningful impact in people’s lives.

Founder and CEO, Colleen Hardwick, shared her insights “as a civic tech entrepreneur, and called on all levels of government to support the country’s growing commercial civic tech sector.” Read the Showcase in Review here.

In Conversation With: Mario Canseco

Each month, PlaceSpeak presents a Q&A with experts in public engagement and civic technology.

This month, we spoke with Mario Canseco, the President of Research Co. Mario has analyzed and conducted public opinion research for more than 15 years, designing and managing research projects for clients across the private and public sectors, as well as non-profit organizations and associations. From 2013 to 2017, Mario established Insights West’s electoral forecasting program, issuing 23 correct predictions of democratic processes in Canada and the United States, including the 2015 Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite, the 2015 Alberta provincial election, the 2016 United States presidential election, and the 2017 British Columbia provincial election.

PlaceSpeak, Privacy, and the GDPR

By now, most are familiar with the Cambridge Analytica revelations, where a third-party company was able to access the personal information of over 87 million Facebook users and target political advertising during the 2016 US presidential election. Additional findings showed that Facebook allowed Mail.ru, a Russian company, to continue collecting user data past May 2015 – past the original cut-off date which Facebook had cited for third party apps to access user data. With these revelations, it is natural that privacy concerns remain at the forefront of users’ minds.