Renovate the Public Hearing

Renovate: (verb):  to make over again; to restore to freshness or vigor; to renew.



A convener and catalyst

 We are developing a collaboration to pilot changes to the provincial public hearing

requirements as a means to enhance social justice, community-building and strengthen democratic culture


"When I think of the 10 worst days in my personal and professional life in the last 15 years, 7 of them were public hearing days."


Improve municipal efficiencies and increase trust in democracy by piloting renovations to the public hearing format to identify reforms for the Local Government Act and Vancouver Charter.


  1. Increase public understanding of public hearings and ability to access justice 

  2. Convene and collaborate with advisors and stakeholders

  3. Create and evaluate scalable community-involved and policy-informed pilots 

  4. Recommend evidence-based alternatives to the current public hearing requirements  

Proposed Activities


Carry out legal research, comprehensive international scan of municipal deliberative dialogue innovations, and collect data on public, elected official, and public servant opinions to inform public hearing reform.

Advisory meetings will regularly bring different levels of government, legal experts, urban Indigenous groups, private sector, and non-profit organizations together to inform into pilots, evaluation, and recommendations.



Over one year, the Centre will host and test alternatives to public hearing models in two or more cities in British Columbia. Each pilot will build community members' capacity, develop toolkits and provide facilitation education to reduce barriers to community participation. 

Create and use a principles and values based rubric to evaluate pilot alternatives.  The evaluation will track opinions, emotions, and knowledge changes created during the pilots via ethnographic observation, surveys, and interviews. 


Validate Recommend-ations

Use results of scholarly legal and deliberative democracy research, advisory roundtable input, and pilot evaluations to identify recommendations. Validate recommendations with participants of community pilots.

Create public facing communications via website, social media, opinion pieces and traditional media. Host dialogues, activities for high schools and seniors, and community events that celebrate public engagement and democracy to educate residents and build capacity in municipalities.  

Public Education

To learn more, reach out to:  

Jennifer Wolowic, PhD