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Engagement to Action: Improving Policy Outcomes Through Better Consultation

December 3, 2019 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

In an era of increasing political polarization, compromise seems difficult to come by. Simultaneously, recent reports show public trust in government is declining. Both conditions can make public consultation more difficult as communities become reticent to engage with one another and with institutions. However, bringing people together in thoughtful dialogue may be especially important in this environment. On December 3, experts from different sectors discussed the role of public consultation in policy development within the context of increasing polarization and erosion of trust. Panelists explored connections between consultation and good governance, and offered strategies for improving policy outcomes in our cities through more effective and inclusive consultation processes.

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Cheryll Case is an urban planner and designer specialized in community engagement and research. She is Urban Design Coordinator with the City of Brampton, where she supports strategic initiatives including the Brampton 2040 Vision, and the Founder and Principal Urban Planner of her own consultancy, CP Planning. Cheryll is an editor of House Divided: How the Missing Middle Will Solve Toronto’s Housing Crisis.

Lindsay (Swooping Hawk) Kretschmer is Executive Director of the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC). Lindsay’s family comes from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She is German and Mohawk; Wolf Clan and her spirit name is Swooping Hawk. Lindsay has worked in the non-profit sector for nearly 20 years, most recently as the Executive Director of the Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy.

John Robinson is a Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and the School of the Environment at the University of Toronto. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Copenhagen Business School, and 2019 Visiting Professor at Utrecht University. At U of T, he is Presidential Advisor on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability.

Nicole Swerhun is the founder of Swerhun Inc. The Swerhun team designs and delivers public consultation processes that make complex, often controversial and high profile, multi-stakeholder projects constructive and manageable. Nicole has led the design and delivery of hundreds of public consultation projects, including work in post-war Bosnia, post-Katrina New Orleans, and in cities across Canada and the US.


Dave Meslin is an activist, artist, and community organizer who inspires better engagement between governments and citizens. He is the author of Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up. He formed the Toronto Public Space Committee, which published the first issue of Spacing Magazine, an award-winning urban affairs publication. Dave appears as an expert on political engagement on national media.


December 3, 2019
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm


Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance


Campbell Conference Facility
Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada
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