Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has begun a study on the Ottawa River watershed, and it is engaging Canadians on this initiative. The study is in response to Motion M-104—from Member of Parliament, David McGuinty—which was adopted by the House of Commons, on May 3, 2017.
A healthy watershed is vital to the economic, ecological, and cultural well-being of the people who live around it. The input from Indigenous Peoples, citizens, and organizations is important as it will feed into the study, which will examine the current knowledge about the Ottawa River watershed and how best to protect, manage, and conserve it.
ECCC decided to conduct this public consultation on PlaceSpeak for its ability to authenticate participants online to their physical location (e.g. residential address). This will allow decision-makers to break down the feedback collected by census tract, resulting in a more nuanced and meaningful understanding of how participants use and interact with the Ottawa River Watershed across diverse communities.
A breakdown of the Ottawa River Watershed by census tract, showing the distribution of participants, represented by green dots on the map.
“We’ve chosen PlaceSpeak to host our online public engagement for the Ottawa River watershed because of a few unique features that seemed to be a good fit for the needs of our study – like the way it links digital identity to geo-location, which will let us analyze whether sentiment varies in different parts of the watershed,” said Nancy Pawelek, Government of Canada Free Agent on assignment with ECCC.
“By designing our public consultation around digital, we’ll be able to offer a variety of ways for citizens to provide their input across the public participation spectrum. What’s more, this platform allows participants to connect with each other and not just with us – and to stay connected after our study is over.”
Participants can have their say in a variety of ways: by responding to a poll, commenting on the discussion forum, or adding comments to an interactive map.
Canadians can join the conversation on the Ottawa River Watershed Study in several ways:
- By visiting PlaceSpeak, where information and questions will be updated as the study progresses
- By attending the public meetings to be held in the National Capital Region, on
- Thursday, February 8, 2018, at 90 Elgin Street, Ottawa, Ontario, from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Thursday, March 1, 2018, at 25 Laurier Street (salle des Fêtes), Gatineau, Quebec, from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
See the Government of Canada’s news release here.