Mayor's Engaged City Task Force

Mayor's Engaged City Task Force

Vancouver residents long for a greater sense of connectedness with their neighbours, and in how they engage and interact with City Hall.

The mandate of the Engaged City Task Force is to increase neighbourhood engagement, and improve upon the many ways the City connects with Vancouver residents.

The task force will focus on the following priority issues:

  1. Enhancing how the City engages with citizens, including immigrants and youth.
  2. Improving the way the City consults with citizens on policy.
  3. Increasing voter turnout.
  4. Enabling community connections at a neighbourhood level.

Progress made by the Task Force and City

Looking back at Engaged City in 2015

January 21, 2016 — Throughout 2015, City staff were busy implementing the recommendations of the Engaged City Task Force. Below is a list of some of the accomplishments. 

Pop-Up City Hall

This was the second year for Pop-Up City Hall — our mobile outreach unit. Over the course of the year, Pop-Up had 52 site visits and interacted with over 9,000 people.

Doors Open Vancouver (DOV)

This was also the second year that DOV was hosted. This annual event invites residents to go behind the scenes of Vancouver's iconic civic buildings.

In 2015, 18 buildings participated in the program. There were 180 volunteers, nearly 200 staff, and over 14,400 visits, a 68% increase over 2014 visitor numbers! In 2016, City Hall was opened a day earlier to give a preview to school groups and language schools. The event was a success because of the energy of all of our committed volunteers and partners.

Talk Vancouver

At the end of 2015, Talk Vancouver, our online consultation platform had 5,860 members, up from 3,106 the year before. Forty-nine surveys were conducted in 2015, with overall submissions reaching 37,388, up from 18,400 submissions from 45 surveys in 2014. 

Development process improvements

Over 48 new site signs were installed over the last four months using our new site sign template. These signs are in colour and provide plan language information with clear process details.

Social Media and 3-1-1

Since October 2013, in response to a Task Force Quick Start Recommendation, 3-1-1 CSR agents actively monitor and respond to requests through the City of Vancouver Twitter and Facebook accounts. In 2015, 3-1-1 responded to 3,828 requests.

Find out more about these projects and the status of our other reports  (248 KB)

Looking back at Engaged City in 2014

Dec 23, 2014 – Throughout 2014, City staff were busy implementing the recommendations of the Engaged City Task Force. Below is a peak at some of the accomplishments. 

Pop-Up City Hall

During Pop-Up City Hall’s pilot period, 12 locations around the City, primarily in South and East Vancouver were visited from May to July resulting in over 1,500 unique interactions with residents.

The initiative was so effective that is was then used for Elections and Budget outreach. In total there were 52 Pop-Ups in 2014, enabling the City to directly engage more than 8,000 individuals. 

View the project overview

Doors Open Vancouver

On October 4, 2014 the City of Vancouver hosted the inaugural Doors Open Vancouver. Doors Open was a one-day event that allowed residents to get a behind-the-scenes look at over 20 popular and iconic Vancouver buildings. Over 8,500 people participated in the first ever Doors Open Vancouver with some venues having line-ups throughout the day.

View the project overview

Block Parties

The City’s Block Party program provides residents with a step-by-step guide to organizing a block party as well as making useful templates available for download, such as posters and invitations.

The target set for 2014 was to have 150 block party applications and the City surpassed this goal with 161 applications – this was a nearly 30% increase from 2013 which saw 125 applications submitted. 

View Block Party guides

Development Notifications

In an effort to provide more clarity around development proposals, a new site sign and notification card template was created that provides detailed images as well as plain-language explanation of development proposals. The new approach won Toronto activist Dave Meslin’s 2014 Dazzling Notice Award.

View the award

Talk Vancouver

In an effort to provide more digital opportunities for engagement, as a mirror to in-person options, the Talk Vancouver panel was launched in September 2013. Since its inception more than 3,500 Vancouver residents and businesses have joined the panel, representing a diversity of perspectives across the city. The Talk Vancouver platform has helped to significantly increase response rates and the reach of City consultation projects.

View Talk Vancouver reports in the library

Vancouver announces Doors Open Vancouver

Sept 5, 2014 – Go behind-the-scenes of Vancouver’s civic, cultural, and historic facilities on Saturday, October 4 at Vancouver’s first Doors Open event. This free, family-friendly event is another quick start action from the Engaged City Task Force.

Learn more about Doors Open Vancouver

Mapping Vancouver's cultural spaces

June 25, 2014 – The City is now sharing information about cultural spaces, the places where people express themselves through art and culture.

Learn about cultural spaces and view the online map

Vancouver launches Pop-Up City Hall

May 8, 2014  The City launches Pop-Up City Hall, a pilot project that will bring select City Hall services to neighbourhoods, with a focus on south Vancouver. Pop-Up City Hall is one of the Engage City Task Force's quick-start recommendations. From now until the end of June, Pop-Up City Hall will visit eleven locations. Visitors will be able to register to vote, pick up blue boxes, learn how to access our many services online, and much more.

Learn about Pop-Up City Hall locations and services

Engaged City Task Force final report goes to Council

April 2, 2014 – The Engaged City Task Force was thanked by Council today for their contributions to a ground-breaking final report. The report was officially received unanimously by Council. Staff have been requested to report back with recommendations for implementation.

March 31, 2014 – On Wednesday, April 2, the final report will go to Council.

View the meeting agenda

This report outlines 19 priority actions that Vancouver City Hall can undertake to make Vancouver an engaged city, including:

  • Increasing voter turnout
  • Enhancing consultation
  • Better engaging with newcomers and new immigrants across the city

The report also includes six recommended ideas for community action that residents can do to contribute to making Vancouver a more engaged city.

Read the final report pdf (5 MB)

Questionnaire on three Mayor's Engaged City Task Force quick start recommendations

March 24, 2014 – To help develop pilot programs for three Engaged City quick start recommendations, staff have created a short questionnaire to get your feedback. Share your thoughts and help shape Mobile City Hall, City Hall 101, and Block Party Days. This questionnaire will be open until midnight on April 14 and should take approximately 10 minutes.

Mayor's Engaged City Task Force releases final report

January 30, 2014 – The task force released its final report today.

3-1-1 begins pilot project of limited service on Twitter

November 2013 – 3-1-1 begins a pilot project of limited service on Twitter from Monday to Friday, as outlined in the Engaged City Quick Starts guide.

During the pilot period, 3-1-1 aims to understand the workload required for staff to provide Twitter service, as well as identify training needs, collaboration processes, and appropriate service levels to ensure citizen needs are met within our means. 3-1-1 will be continually evaluating its work during the pilot.

Engaged City Task Force working on final report

November 2013 – Thank you for your feedback! The Engaged City Task Force is drawing on stakeholder conversations, public feedback, and best practices to create their final report. These recommendations will go to Council in early 2014.

City launches new online space for public engagement

September 11, 2013 – As part of the Engaged City Task Force's quick start recommendations, we invite you to be a part of Talk Vancouver, an online space for civic participation. Help us build a better Vancouver by becoming a member of the City's online community of trusted, local advisors. We will keep you connected to the latest City initiatives and invite you to participate and voice your ideas.

We have launched this online community panel to enable citizens to engage regularly with the City and provide feedback on civic issues. Using interactive survey and dialogue tools to collect feedback, this panel – with membership in the thousands – will provide a new avenue for citizen input that builds on existing structures for engagement. The online panel will allow for more in-depth feedback and the ability to ensure that responses are demographically reflective of Vancouver.

Join Talk Vancouver

City implements Task Force quick start recommendations

Make it easier to register to vote

June 20, 2013 – With only 35% of eligible voters casting a ballot in the 2011 municipal election, how do we increase low voter turnout in Vancouver? By encouraging early voter registration! It makes you much more likely to vote in the 2014 election.

To promote registration, The Task Force urged the City to make signing up simple and easy. Today, our website includes a permanent link to the Elections BC Online Voter Registration website.

Register to vote

Improved development signage

June 19, 2013 – A key recommendation in the Task Force Quick Starts Report is to improve communication around property development. The City is introducing a clean, engaging design for rezoning and development signage that features:

  • Easy-to-understand language and details
  • Improved visuals (a sketch and site map)
  • Information on how residents you can give input online or in person

The questionnaire closed on July 26, 2013.

The first site with the new signage is 720 – 730 East Hastings, where Vancouver Public Library (VPL) and YWCA Metro Vancouver seek rezoning for a proposed six-storey mixed use building.

Share your ideas with the Task Force

May 24, 2013 – How do we become more connected to our neighbours and our communities? Double voter turnout in Vancouver’s next municipal election? Increase more positive and meaningful civic engagement in Vancouver?

The Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force wants to hear your ideas – big and small – to help answer these questions and to improve the City’s role in creating a more engaged community. Your ideas and comments will inform the final report and set of recommendations that the Task Force is preparing this summer, to be presented to Council.

The questionnaire closed on September 9, 2013. Thank you for your interest.

First report released

May 22, 2013 – The Engaged City Task Force released their first report that contains a set of 16 recommendations that the City can take to enhance public consultation, improve the effectiveness of civic communications, and foster collaboration and connection within neighbourhoods. These quick starts are recommendations that the taskforce believes could be accomplished by the City within a six-month time frame.

Read the report


Members selected

December 5, 2012 – The Mayor announces the 22 citizens who will serve on the Engaged City Task Force. The members were selected from 117 applicants.

Task force established

October 3, 2012 – Vancouver City Council passed a motion to establish the Mayor's Engaged City Task Force, with the mandate to increase neighbourhood engagement and improve upon the many ways the City connects with Vancouver residents.

Making the City a leader in civic engagement

The task force begins work in December 2012, and will report to City Council in June 2013.

Made up of a diverse group of citizens from all corners of Vancouver, the task force will examine innovative best practices for civic engagement, and work to improve the ways the City engages and communicates with citizens.

Task force co-chairs

  • Mayor Gregor Robertson
  • Councillor Andrea Reimer

Task force

  • Waldo Brino: Vice president, Vancouver Latin American Cultural Centre; member, City Multicultural Advisory Committee
  • Mark Busse: Host, Creative Mornings Vancouver; past president, Society of Graphic Designers, BC Chapter
  • Mary Elisa Campbell: Former executive director, UBC Centre for Sustainability; past chair, Trafalgar Elementary PAC
  • Dennis Chan: Former chair, current director of S.U.C.C.E.S.S.
  • Samuel Chen: SFU PhD student, studying transformational change in the Faculty of Education
  • Hannah Cho: Curator of engagement and dialogue, Museum of Vancouver; former project manager Youth Outreach, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
  • Catherine Clement: former vice president public engagement and communications, Vancouver Foundation
  • Curtis Davey: Volunteer/operations director, KitsFest
  • Richard Delaney: President, Canadian Institute for Public Engagement
  • Olive Dempsey: Facilitator and engagement strategist; former communications coordinator, Get Your Vote On
  • Meharoona Ghani: Director of strategic planning, community engagement and outreach at Reel Causes
  • Jennifer Gray-Grant: Executive director, Renfrew Collingwood Neighbourhood House
  • Peter Greenwell: Chair, Vancouver City Planning Commission
  • Lizzy Karp: Creator, Rain City Chronicles, a fun way for residents — both new and long-standing — to meet and share their stories about Vancouver
  • Tara Mahoney, Creative Director, Gen Why Media
  • Colleen McGuinness: Current member, City Seniors Advisory Committee; director, Dunbar Residents Association
  • Lyndsay Poaps: Former Vancouver Parks Commissioner; former communications specialist on public engagement, City of Toronto
  • Scott Sheldon: Co-Founder, Vancouver Change Camp, which seeks to renew relationships among citizens and government through innovative dialogue approaches and internet tools
  • Marten Sims: Design specialist, Vancouver Design Nerds and Civic Renewal Lab; lecturer, Emily Carr University and Vancouver Film School
  • Paul Taylor: Executive director, Gordon Neighbourhood House; former executive director, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House
  • Julien Thomas: Arts-based community engagement specialist; facilitator, Late Night Art series, and Gather Round and Stick Shift public art projects
  • Tesicca Truong: SFU student in Environmental Science; facilitator for citizenU, an anti-discrimination program for youth


The Task Force will be supported by staff from the offices of:

  • The Mayor's
  • The City Manager's
  • Corporate Communications

Read the final report

Share your views about a current public consultation

Public consultation

Find out all the ways that you can join the conversation about the issues that matter the most to you.

Contact the Task Force

Questions for the Engaged City Task Force?

Email public.engagement

Follow Engaged City