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Don’t just sit there!. On the piece of paper you receive, please describe a public experience that changed the way you think about and understand democracy or equity. Building a Democratic City How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto. Josh Lerner - March 23, 2004 Supervisor:

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don t just sit there
Don’t just sit there!

On the piece of paper you receive, please describe a public experience that changed the way you think about and understand democracy or equity.

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

building a democratic city how participatory budgeting can work in toronto
Building a Democratic CityHow Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

Josh Lerner - March 23, 2004

Supervisor:

Kanishka Goonewardena

Prepared for:

City of Toronto Community Engagement Unit

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

today s agenda
Today’s Agenda

- Why did I research participatory budgeting in Toronto?

- What is participatory budgeting?

- Problem #1: “Participatory budgeting” is used to describe or justify almost any type of budget process

- Problem #2: Perception that participatory budgeting is not appropriate in Canada

- Problem #3: Perception that participatory budgeting is not appropriate for the Toronto City budget

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

why did i research participatory budgeting
Why did I research participatory budgeting?
  • “Democratic deficit”
  • Government decisions not made in the public interest
  • Increasing social and economic inequality
  • People alienated and detached from government
  • People have less control over their lives
  • Budgets directly determine how resources are distributed

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

the porto alegre experience
The Porto Alegre Experience

Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil:

  • year-long ongoing process
  • residents decide capital budget priorities in their own neighbourhoods
  • elected budget delegates integrate local and regional budget priorities into city-wide participatory budget
  • over $40 million US (20% of total budget) allocated each year
  • over 50,000 people participate

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

why did i research participatory budgeting in toronto
Why did I research participatory budgeting in Toronto?
  • Community organizations are organizing and advocating for participatory budgeting
  • Mayor Miller called for a “truly participatory” budget process
  • City organized new Listening to Toronto public consultations in January 2004
  • Miller announced that the 2005 budget process would be more participatory - but how?

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

what is participatory budgeting
What is participatory budgeting?

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

what is participatory budgeting1
What is participatory budgeting?

Some very different answers:

  • The Harris government’s tax cuts
  • Formal public deputations on budget issues
  • Public consultations and focus groups about budget issues, such as Listening to Toronto
  • What they do in Porto Alegre
  • Anything that allows the public to participate in a budget-making process
  • Direct participation of community groups and citizens in the process of setting local government budgets

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

problem 1
Problem #1

“Participatory budgeting” is used to describe or justify almost any type of budget process.

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

what i did
What I did

I developed a definition of participatory budgeting as a distinct participatory governance process.

  • synthesizes existing research and experiences
  • describes the essential design features and core principles of participatory budgeting
  • can be adapted to different local contexts

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

main design features
Main design features

Democratic structures

  • local budgeting units
  • regional budgeting units
  • city-wide budget council

Shared responsibilities

  • residents decide budget priorities
  • elected budget delegates represent residents
  • city staff facilitate, provide technical support
  • participants oversee the process

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

main design features1
Main design features

Empowering activities

  • popular education
  • transparent budget spending criteria
  • focus on local direct-impact budget projects

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

core principles
Core principles
  • Democracy
  • Equity
  • Community
  • Education
  • Transparency
  • Efficiency

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

problem 2
Problem #2

Perception that participatory budgeting is not appropriate in Canada

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

what i did1
What I did

I profiled two city-wide participatory budgeting programs that have worked in Canada:

1) City of Guelph - Neighbourhood Support

Coalition

2) Toronto Community Housing Corporation -

Community Based Business Planning

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

city of guelph
City of Guelph

Neighbourhood Support Coalition

  • Neighbourhood groups deliberate community needs and priority projects (peer support groups, summer camps, language training)
  • Community Services Department and partner organizations contribute to Coalition budget
  • 35 Neighbourhood delegates and partner organization representatives meet to decide which projects are funded
  • Participants annually allocate $600,000 to over 400 community activities

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

toronto community housing
Toronto Community Housing

Community Based Business Planning

  • Tenants deliberate priority projects for their own buildings and grounds (new stoves, playgrounds, roof renovations)
  • Building delegates deliberate project funding at Regional Community Forums and then a city-wide Budget Council
  • During 3-year budget cycle, $18 million allocated on 237 projects
  • Over 6000 tenants participated

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

in their own words
In their own words

“This is the hardest thing to do. There are a lot of emotions here at the table.” - Guelph Neighbourhood Group representative

“Each Group is individual but yet when we come to the table, we need to advocate and make decisions based on the good of the whole. I now understand the statement, what is good for you is also good for me.” - Guelph representative

“Staff were shocked by how much we had to offer!” - TCHC resident

“Once everybody gave a little bit, we all came together as a community.” - TCHC resident

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

problem 3
Problem #3

Perception that participatory budgeting is not appropriate for the Toronto City budget

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

what i did2
What I did
  • Identified potential benefits
  • Identified potential problems and ways to overcome them
  • Compared the current budget process with participatory budgeting
  • Proposed a model for participatory budgeting in Toronto
  • Proposed next steps for moving towards participatory budgeting

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

recommendations and next steps
Recommendations and next steps

Community education and consciousness

1) Sponsor community workshops on participatory budgeting

2) Organize a visioning exercise for the 2005 budget process

3) Establish neighbourhood budget groups

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

recommendations and next steps1
Recommendations and next steps

City staff capacity

1) Host a participatory budgeting workshop for City staff

2) Initiate a facilitator training program

3) Research additional participatory budgeting programs

4) Hire new participatory budgeting staff

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

recommendations and next steps2
Recommendations and next steps

Pilot programs

1) Organize pilot program in a specific geographic area

2) Organize pilot program in a specific city program or service

3) Encourage special purpose bodies to implement participatory budgeting

4) Encourage independent Toronto organizations to implement participatory budgeting

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto

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Questions?

Building a Democratic City: How Participatory Budgeting Can Work in Toronto