2019
Annual report

The Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) would like to thank all of its collaborators who contributed to the promotion of Office activities in 2019.

The OCPM would also like to take this opportunity to thank the groups, organizations, citizens, civil servants and developers who participated in the various public consultations.

The Office owes the success of its public consultations to the involvement of borough and central department employees, professionals, management personnel and elected officials, who gave their help and expertise to help citizens and commissioners to understand the projects and issues involved.

Without everyone’s good will and co-operation, the OCPM’s public consultations would not have achieved their primary goal of providing Montrealers with pertinent information and data on the various projects, with a view to gathering their opinions and comments.

President’s message

It has become a tradition in recent years to begin the annual report of the Office with observations demonstrating Montrealers’ growing desire to participate and, in answer to that desire, mechanisms that make it possible to receive an ever increasing number of contributions. The year 2019 will be no exception to the rule.

In 2015, we had identified three relevant challenges: the diversification and growth of participation; the appropriation of digital tools and methods and their integration into our processes; and the need for making retroaction mechanisms an intrinsic part of the consultation process. As we begin this new decade, the Office can proudly say, “Mission accomplished,” about two of those three objectives.

Throughout the 12 mandates that we began, carried out or completed in 2019, more than 22,000 participations have been recorded to get informed on a given subject or to express an opinion. This was the second consecutive year where we attained such participation numbers, a phenomenon that we interpret as an indicator of a profound change in the participatory culture.

A good balance in our methods

From the very beginnings of the development of new technologies associated with citizen engagement, to their increasingly widespread use, it has been important for the Office to use digital means to conduct a reflection on conditions for a citizen dialogue that is authentic, productive and useful to public decision-making. The recent years’ experiments have allowed us to revitalize numerous participatory devices while avoiding the creation of new forms of fracture and exclusion.

Our research on participation without exclusion, which led us to develop new ways of putting collective intelligence to work, is also successful in creating tools (role-playing, prototyping, situation simulation exercises, etc.) that render citizen engagement less intimidating through collective fun and/or creative deliberation exercises that are always enlightening in terms of understanding the issues and leading to relevant decision-making. Those elements help to create participatory environments that encourage the involvement of segments of the population that traditionally participate less.

Based on those experiences, we believe that we have achieved an interesting balance between in-person and online participation. In-person participation involves workshops, meetings, open houses, and information and hearing-of-opinions sessions. It remains the major guarantor of the integrity of the process, as nothing can replace the quality of information gathered during such interactions. However, the use of virtual, i.e. online, methods (questionnaires, platforms, 3D visualizations, etc.) has removed most of the material and temporal obstacles to participation.

We have found that, far from competing with each other, the two modes are mutually supportive in promoting greater and better participation. Together, they facilitate access for a larger public, which does not always have time or want to go out to public meetings, while preserving the anticipated and constructive debate that ensures enlightened contributions.

Follow-up mechanisms overdue

Although we have been talking about it for over a decade, the issue of follow-up has become increasingly pressing over the past two years. Among the ten mandates completed in 2018 and 2019, there has been an official answer to the recommendations of the Office for only one. It is rather paradoxical that at a time when the issue is no longer the representativeness of participation, the competence of participants, or the taking into account of opinions expressed, the processes leading to the final decision-making are the ones becoming increasingly opaque.

Without an effort at transparency to justify decisions, participation cannot become a true force for change in public action. Without retroaction, public consultation is a nice democratic exercise, but it has no real impact on the issues at hand.

The main disincentive to participation has always been the people’s impression that it served no purpose, as the decisions had already been made and the principal stakeholders would not change their minds. In reviewing the questions received by the Office, we realize that the population is no longer content with simply participating and waiting to read our reports. To re-establish their trust in our democratic proceedings, the people want to know what has become of the positions they have taken and the ensuing recommendations. It is no longer enough to claim that we want to build the city of tomorrow with the population; decision-makers have to concretely demonstrate that wish by justifying the choices they make and explaining how the citizens’ suggestions have or have not been implemented.

A necessary reflection

The desired new structure of participatory and representative democracy has also increased the number of locations and instances where participatory exercises take place. In addition to consultation activities, our mandate includes two other elements: the monitoring of best practices; and a consulting role. Accordingly, in Montréal over the past couple of years, the Office has provided training in best consultation practices to more than 200 public servants and some 30 elected officials. We are proud to report that the impacts of the teaching materials developed for that purpose have extended well beyond the borders of our metropolis.

In that respect, it is also important to applaud the municipal administration for entrusting us with a first official mandate to assist the Centre d’histoire de Montréal in the development and holding of a consultation process it had undertaken. That mandate from the executive confirms the possibility of the Office sharing its expertise with city authorities, dedicating resources to that end, and acting as a guarantor of the accessibility of processes conducted by other Ville de Montréal bodies.

We need to formalize those new operations. As we mentioned last year, the current context invites us more broadly to fine-tune Montréal consultation mechanisms, to harmonize their application, and to better define their ultimate goals.

Already in 2004, the first president of the Office, Jean-François Viau, called for an increase in the number of cases where recourse to the Office is mandatory. He indicated that independent public consultation should be reintroduced for all amendments to the Montréal Master Plan, and that the Office should be able to intervene throughout agglomeration territory. The consultation on the Namur-Hippodrome sector paired with the controversy raised by the various versions of the Royalmount project is a good example of the advantages citizens would gain from such an increase by making it possible to consider metropolitan issues as a whole and to take into account the interactions between projects.

As suggested by my two predecessors, we should discuss the possibility of the OCPM playing a statutory role in the management of projects affecting more than one borough or city of the agglomeration, and in the management of emblematic and strategic areas. That could also mean that other bodies, such as the agglomeration council, borough councils, and city councils of linked cities may give us mandates pertaining to matters under their respective jurisdictions.

Another item to consider is the increase, over the past year, in the number of rights of initiative and the introduction of the right to collect signatures on line. In 2019, in addition to the ongoing consultation on systemic racism and discrimination, three consultation subjects under the right of initiative were deemed eligible by the city clerk’s office. The disparity in the treatment of those files, depending on the body conducting the consultation, was raised by many citizens, organizations and companies. I believe that the Montréal community would benefit from a new consensus being reached concerning that mechanism, the type of consultations that can be requested, the number of signatures required, and the municipal bodies entitled to carry them out.

A reflection is currently underway on drawing up a new Montréal public consultation policy that may also focus on those issues. After 18 years of operation of the Office, a Montréal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities that has not been revised since 2011, and a tangible expansion of consultation practices, we believe that we can no longer, collectively, forego a discussion on those subjects.

Towards the mutualization of knowledge

It is important for me to mention the operating budget increase allocated to us, in 2019, for 2020. It compensates, in part, for the investment deficits resulting from 15 years of operation without the indexation of budgets. It will allow us to consolidate our processes, increase our visibility and continue to innovate.

So many avenues remain to be explored in order to take full advantage of the wealth of practical knowledge acquired by the Office since its inception. In terms of contents, highlighting points of convergence in its analyses, the Office contributes, on a continuous basis, to the decoding and recognition of common social values. It reports on the city’s evolution and design. Complete neighbourhoods, shared streets, vertical city: so many concepts have been echoed in our consultations and reports. In view of all its years spent moderating public debates, isn’t it time for the Office to also serve as a melting pot to popularize and bring about new reflections, pertaining less to a given theme or territory and more to generic topics? We could focus on debates involving how to permanently inhabit a downtown core, what elements should be included in a housing policy, or how to promote conditions for the co-existence of mixed uses, among other things. Such endeavours would undoubtedly help to shape the priorities of tomorrow, while mutualizing the resources available at the Office and in other networks to promote citizens’ involvement in attaining their right to the city.

The President, Dominique Ollivier

Mission and mandate

Mission

The mission of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal, created under section 75 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal, is to carry out public consultation mandates with regard to land-use planning and development matters under municipal jurisdiction, and on all projects designated by the city council or executive committee.

Mandate

The Office de consultation publique de Montréal, in operation since September 2002, is an independent organization whose members are neither elected officials nor municipal employees. It receives its mandates from the city council or executive committee.

Activities

The work of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal is carried out in light of two sections of the Charter of Ville de Montréal, sections 83 and 89. They provide that the Office must hold consultations on mandates it receives according to criteria provided for under the Charter.

They also mention that the Office must promote best public consultation practices, notably with Montréal authorities. The Charter also stipulates that the agglomeration council may give the Office a mandate to hold a consultation on its territory when a project targeted by section 89 of the Charter falls under the jurisdiction of the agglomeration.

The mandates involving urban planning by-laws are usually given under section 89, while the examination of plans and policies and amendments to the Montreal Master Plan are conducted under section 83. That section also allows us to develop partnerships and provide advice and support for all consultations led by a City body.

A large number of consultations were held in 2019, some involving the continuation of projects that began in 2017 or 2018. One example is the public consultation on the draft Master Plan for Parc Jean-Drapeau, which ended in 2019. The report concluded that Montrealers understand and accept the park’s dual vocation as a natural space and major-event venue, but note a substantial imbalance between those vocations. The commission believes that the pendulum needs to swing back towards the preservation and enhancement of the islands’ natural and built heritage.

The commission recommends that the vision developed for the next Master Plan be based on four premises: the return to the notion of a large, dynamic, green and blue park; the unwavering affirmation of its public and accessible nature; the harmonious co-existence of the park’s various activities and users; and the importance of relying on Montréal know-how to enhance that exceptional site.

The consultation on the pilot project to ban private-vehicle through-traffic on Camillien-Houde Way and Remembrance Road was also finalized in the spring of 2019 with the publication of the report. The consultation, launched in a highly controversial context, drew record participation by Montrealers. The evaluation process established by the OCPM comprised several types of activities allowing people to express their opinions at various times during the pilot project. They attracted more than 13,000 participations, either through virtual dissemination and consultation tools or during information activities, creative workshops and hearing-of-opinions sessions. The commission received almost 2,000 opinions, representing the most important contribution to the formal phase of an Office consultation.

In its report, the commission presented a few findings stemming both from citizen interventions and data provided by the City with respect to the evaluation of the pilot project. From the citizens’ point of view, the traffic reduction resulting from the ban on through-traffic seemed to have been accomplished to the detriment of alternate routes, thereby creating congestion in neighbouring areas. The pilot project created the perception of a more complex access to the mountain. Moreover, it does not seem to have helped the co-existence of users in any significant way. Lastly, the commission underscored the lack of social acceptance of the pilot project resulting from a major polarization in the discussions.

In light of the data provided and the opinions expressed, the commission finds the results of the pilot project somewhat inconclusive in terms of access to the mountain, user experience and safety improvement. Consequently, the commission recommends that automobile circulation be maintained throughout the Camillien-Houde/Remembrance axis, while providing for its redevelopment as a recreational road. That concept would allow the enhancement of the Mount Royal experience and the discovery of its landscape, natural and cultural heritage, while reducing and discouraging through-traffic. In other words, it would become a road that people would use because they enjoy it, not because they are looking for a shortcut.

Two other files followed a similar path, i.e. consultation activities in 2018 and the publication of the report in the first half of 2019: the consultation on the redevelopment of McGill College Avenue; and the one on the nature park project in the Turcot yards sector.

In the case of McGill College Avenue, the commission believes that taking advantage of the work in progress to provide downtown with a unique and dynamic redeveloped public space highlighting views of Mount Royal is a well received project with structuring potential for the city and metropolis. In its opinion, the new vocation of McGill College Avenue should be as the symbolic gateway to downtown Montréal, a relaxing area with a distinctive atmosphere to promote an ambulatory experience while reaffirming its central position in terms of adjacent business networks, transportation infrastructures and public spaces.

With respect to the Turcot park area, the proposed project received broad approval from the people and offers interesting potential in terms of integrating Montréal’s daring and know-how. Nevertheless, to ensure its viability, it should be enhanced. To that end, the commission made some 20 recommendations, one of which involves reviewing the boundaries of the territory in question to incorporate not only the new planned north-south link, but also the green belt near the park, the Saint-Jacques escarpment and Terry-Fox park. The modification would ensure adequate protection for the territory as a whole.

Some of the mandates received in 2018 were the object of consultation activities in 2019. One example is the upstream process leading to the adoption of a Special Planning Program (SPP) in the Ville-Marie borough’s Faubourgs sector. The consultation was held on a vast territory in the Ville-Marie borough that presents multiple problems. The territory in question extends from Saint-Hubert Street to the west to Fullum Street to the east, and from Sherbrooke Street to the north all the way down to the river. It comprises areas that are already densely built, as well as areas to be redeveloped, such as the Molson/Coors factory and the Radio-Canada and Porte Sainte-Marie sites. More than 2,600 participations, in person or on line, were recorded for the prospective exercises proposed. The commission received 223 contributions of opinions (105 briefs and 118 online opinions) and heard 58 participants.

In its report, the commission demonstrates that the participants’ expectations are clear, documented and well defined, as the sector has been the object of several public consultations over the past 15 years. It makes various recommendations that will allow the City to prepare a draft SPP in keeping with the area’s strategic importance and the objectives of all concerned. Those objectives include not restricting the SPP to the notions of use, density and prescriptive or discretionary guidelines to structure projects involving public infrastructures or equipment. The commission believes that the SPP should also include the notion of sustainable development with economic, social and environmental dimensions, and that it should be based on the area’s culture and history and the character of the people who live and spend time there.

The commission is also aware that the new islets to be requalified will comprise buildings that are taller than those in the existing living environments, as real estate construction in central areas will necessarily be in line with economic principles. It asserts in its report that taller buildings may be acceptable when they are combined with large, welcoming and open public spaces, local businesses, public equipment, employment, active and public transportation and buildings whose architectural components harmoniously blend in with the character and identity of the surrounding area.

The consultation on the Lachine-Est sector followed a similar path. Again, it involves a vast area, but one that is almost completely to be developed, and one of the last of its kind near downtown. Again, the public consultation activities were held in the first half of 2019. The consultation allowed the participation of some 1,300 people in the proposed activities, including 450 respondents to the virtual consultation dealing with living environments and mobility. More than 150 citizens attended the open house and the information session held on February 24, 2019. Some 60 people participated in the creative workshops; the commission received 127 written opinions (63 briefs and 64 online opinions), of which 34 were accompanied by presentations. Those were in addition to two oral presentations without the filing of a brief.

In its report, the commission recommends that the Special Planning Program being drawn up promote the development conditions of a complete, sustainable and resilient neighbourhood, whose main characteristics target a social and functional mix, adequate availability of public and collective services, the attainment of high energy performance standards for the built environment and developments on public property, the respect of architectural and landscaping standards in line with the heritage aspects of the area and in harmony with the surroundings, as well as the preservation of natural environments. In view of the importance of the archeological and industrial heritage, it invites the borough to err on the side of caution and prohibit all demolition and excavation projects until a heritage interest statement has been completed for the sector. The commission also notes that social acceptance in terms of density and co-existence of uses is intimately linked to transportation and makes a few recommendations in that respect.

The consultation for the Assomption Sud–Longue-Pointe sector was finally held, after the original mandate had been revoked in 2018 to be replaced with another version. The exercise invited the population to reflect on the requalification project for the Assomption Sud–Longue-Pointe sector, which has a rich industrial past and is located within an industrial-port zone in the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. The project submitted by the City aimed to contribute to the economic recovery of the east end of Montréal. To do so, it relied on exemplary urban developments that would help to attract dynamic companies concerned with their new surroundings and gravitating towards sustainable industrial niches that will make it possible to generate stable, permanent and well remunerated jobs, while promoting a healthy co-existence with already established residential environments.

More than 2,600 people participated in the various stages of the public consultation, either in person or on line. The commission received and heard over 165 opinions and took into consideration the points of view of 730 respondents to the online questionnaire.

In its report, the commission underscores the fact that the proposed vision was received differently by the population depending on whether it was examined from a metropolitan or local perspective. The consultation brought to light the enormous challenge involved in bringing together industrial and residential zones traversed by hard infrastructures. The economic communities applaud it, while the sector’s residents and neighbours, who are exposed to high levels of nuisances, remain very concerned by the new proposition.

The vast consultation on systemic racism and discrimination, held pursuant to the right of initiative, lasted throughout the year. A series of meetings were held in the spring and early fall of 2019. Moreover, citizens were invited to participate in citizen contributory activities during the months of August and September. The hearings of briefs were held from November 4 to December 4 and required ten sessions. In total, more than 6,800 people participated in the consultation.

Other new projects were also initiated over the course of the year and will be concluded in early 2020.

First among those was an upstream consultation on the future of the Bridge-Bonaventure sector, which covers 2.3 square kilometres and straddles the boroughs of Sud-Ouest and Ville-Marie. It includes the area surrounding the Samuel-De Champlain and Victoria Bridges, the Pointe-Saint-Charles business park, the shores of the river, the Peel and Wellington Basins, the Cité du Havre, the Pointe-du-Moulin, and the Bickerdike Pier.

The Bridge-Bonaventure sector is currently heavily mineralized, divided by transportation infrastructures and not very conducive to active transportation, but it has unique landscapes and heritage. Although the area is home to a variety of economic activities, it has very few residents.

From May to October, many in-person and online consultation activities were held to allow everyone to become informed, discuss the sector’s vocation, better discover it, be inspired by examples from here and other places, and express their opinion. The main topics of discussion were: the vocation of the territory; the heritage elements to be enhanced; travel by active and public transportation; public spaces and their connectivity; the renewal of economic activities; entrances to the city; and the idea of a baseball stadium in the area. The participation was significant and active. The results of the consultation will allow Montréal to prepare a planning document comprising development and enhancement hypotheses.

In September, the Office began the consultation on a draft amendment to the Montreal Master Plan and a by-law pertaining to construction conditions for social and affordable housing, better known as the by-law to make Montréal a mixed metropolis. The commission submitted its report in the spring of 2020.

The consultation addressing a draft Special Planning Program (SPP) for the northern section of Île-des-Sœurs will follow suit. Located in the borough of Verdun, the planning sector involves an area of approximately 79 hectares. This main southern gateway to downtown Montréal lies at the intersection of Highways 10 and 15 and the new Samuel-De Champlain Bridge. The sector includes the Place du Commerce, Île-des-Sœurs’ main commercial hub, the Campus Bell Canada and the Pointe-Nord, a mixed neighbourhood combining residences and businesses.

The draft Program submitted for consultation targets the creation of a TOD (Transit-Oriented Development) type living and employment environment near the future REM (Réseau express métropolitain) station. The consultation attracted significant real-time and virtual participation.

The Office also received a new mandate to examine the development project for the Namur-Hippodrome site in the borough of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. The City plans to repurpose the site of the former racetrack and the area surrounding the Namur metro station. It aims to develop a complete living environment there, inclusive, carbon-neutral, and focused on active and public transportation. The project may involve the construction of over 6,000 housing units. The consultation will lead to a better understanding of citizens’ and local players’ expectations and needs in order to develop a common vision for the future neighbourhood.

The territory of the future Namur-Hippodrome sector comprises the area surrounding the Namur metro station and the site of the former racetrack, which has been owned by the Ville de Montréal since 2017. The 75 hectares of land in question are bounded to the east by Mountain Sights Avenue, to the south and west by the CP railway rights of way, and to the north by the border of Town of Mount Royal. An initial information session was held on November 20 and other activities took place at the beginning of 2020.

Lastly, pursuant to section 89 of the Charter, we received two mandates this year pertaining to by-laws. The first involved an expansion project for St. George’s School, a private secondary school located at 3100 The Boulevard, in the borough of Ville-Marie. The school management was seeking to add to its site a three-storey construction that would include greenhouses and green walls, primarily for educational purposes. The expansion in question was to include classrooms, laboratories and welcoming spaces for learning. The existing building coverage percentage is 48.5% by acquired rights. The current project would raise that figure to 54%, an increase of 5.5%.

The commission recommended that the project be endorsed. In its opinion, the people in charge have strived to present a quality project that takes into account the emblematic environment that is Mount Royal. The report indicates that the project does not present any problems in terms of social acceptance, and the commission has noted only a few objections in principle. However, the report contains some cautionary notes regarding the deadline for completion and draws attention to automobile circulation issues and measures to ensure good neighbour relations during the construction phase.

The second file aims to amend a by-law that has already been adopted under section 89 on the site of the former Montréal Children’s Hospital. The amendment targets a lot on which a housing tower was to be erected under the existing by-law. The mandate was given to the Office in September, but the City did not provide required the documentation in time for the consultation to be held in 2019.

Also, at the request of the executive committee, the Office accompanied the Centre d’histoire de Montréal in developing the approach and concept of the “Mémoire des Montréalais mobile,” the MEM. Prototyping activities were carried out and a progress report was published; the mandate will continue in 2020. The Office also completed the public consultation training cycle for elected officials, which we carry out after every general election. A first session was held in December 2018 in cooperation with the Ombudsman’s office, and two others took place in February 2019.

The Office also continued its participation in an operation promoting Montréal’s consultation practices, organized by the Bureau de la présidence du conseil municipal. The activity, known as the “Caravane de la démocratie,” allows neighbourhood citizens to familiarize themselves with the City’s public consultation mechanisms and to talk with the people in charge. In addition to the Office, the caravan includes several other members, such as the Ombudsman, advisory councils and council commissions.

In closing, it should be noted that one mandate is still pending. It has to do with a consultation on the report of the interministerial committee on the use of redundant buildings of the university hospitals of the Université de Montréal (CHUM) and McGill University (MUHC). In the absence of the document that is to serve as the object of the consultation, no action has been taken regarding the mandate, which was entrusted to the Office by the executive committee in September 2013.

In total this year, we recorded 22,630 participations in Office activities, consisting in attending consultations, asking questions, filing briefs, or participating using the digital tools increasingly employed by the Office.

Communications

The year 2019 gave rise to a series of successful communications endeavours. We had a record year in terms of media mentions of our consultations, Facebook interactions, and Website traffic.

When the OCPM holds a public consultation, it employs various means of communication to reach people and provide them with user-friendly, accessible information. In 2019, the Office published three public notices in a daily newspaper and issued 24 press releases and media invitations. Furthermore, for every public consultation, an advertising campaign was conducted on Facebook and Instagram. We also added to our advertising habits the placement of inserts on relevant Web sites. Thus, three advertising campaigns were carried out. To that end, we employed Atedra, a Québec network of more than 350 Internet sites using geotargeting to reach citizens in areas that were the focus of our consultations.

The Office also sends out, as required, invitations directly to citizens and organizations concerned with the ongoing consultation project. Usually, the Office distributes an information flyer announcing the consultation to the people affected by a given project. Depending on the consultation, the distribution may cover between 1,500 and 68,000 homes. Last year, more than 177,000 flyers were distributed in areas neighbouring projects that were the subject of consultations. Flyers and posters were also distributed to concerned organizations and in a number of Montréal access points.

The Office also disseminates news of its activities on a very regular basis through its newsletters. This year, 52 newsletters were sent out. As the distribution list includes more than 6,500 subscribers, comprising citizens and organizations, some 322,000 messages were delivered this year.

The Office makes sustained use of social networks to promote its activities with Montrealers. We regularly use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr.

Facebook remains our most dynamic community and the most effective means to interact with Montrealers, inform them and encourage their participation. It also provides us with valuable advertising tools allowing us to precisely target citizens concerned with the subjects of our consultations. By the end of 2019, our Facebook page surpassed the 10,000-subscriber mark. This year, more than 37,000 people interacted with our page, while the total reach of our publications rose to more than 1.1 million, i.e. the number of people who saw content associated with our page (the last two figures compile unique users/day).

CCA: How does it work?

A citizens’ contributory activity (CCA) is a self-organized activity from a downloadable kit. The one that has been proposed as part of the systemic racism and discrimination consultation was lasting two and a half hours. It involved discussions in small groups seeking concrete, innovative and mobilizing solutions to be implemented by the City to combat inequality. It was addressed to all who wished to contribute to the debate, including individuals, corporations, community organizations, unions and associations, allowing them to organize their own consultations and then send us the results.

Two consultations provided opportunities for major special communications projects. Firstly, the consultation on the Des Faubourgs sector, with the campaign #101histoires1territoire, where we invited citizens to tell us about the identity of their neighbourhood through storytelling and images. A dedicated Website was created to bring together, using refined infographics, the consultation process, the main contents, the interactive map that we developed at the end of 2018, and the citizens’ contributory activities (CCA) kit developed for #101histoires1territoire. Then, for the consultation on systemic racism and discrimination, we developed a dedicated site as well as a CCA kit.

Increasingly watched broadcasts

Since last year, we have broadcast all information sessions on the Web and on Facebook. This year, we added Twitter/Periscope and have also broadcast synthesis evenings, the storytelling presentation for the Faubourgs sector consultation, and all the presentations and panels at the meetings for the consultation on the Bridge-Bonaventure sector. Those broadcasts generated 12,395 live and delayed views. A large number of citizens shared with us their enjoyment in being able to watch and re-watch those sessions at their convenience.

Internet site

The OCPM Web site continues to inform citizens and groups interested in public consultations, and remains an important source of documentation on urban development with close to 18,000 documents.

This year, the Office Web site experienced major growth at the sustained pace of the consultations. The number of visits and documents steadily increased. More than 60,000 visitors consulted the pages of the site, an increase of 33% over the previous year, making this our best year ever. We also developed dedicated sites when mandates called for a more complex process. That was the case for the consultation on the Faubourgs sector and for the one on systemic racism and discrimination, both of which required the development of a site presenting the information and consultation process in an attractive and illustrated manner, on a single page, as well as the development of pages devoted strictly to the presentation of citizens’ contributory activities kits.

Since 2018, the opportunity to present one’s opinion on line during the hearing-of-opinions phase has been extended to all consultations. Thus, almost 1,000 contributions of opinions were gathered on line using thematic forms and questions suggested by the commissioners in order to ascertain what the citizens were thinking.

Lastly, the Office is maintaining its efforts to improve access to its Web tools, their user-friendliness, and their capacity to adapt to various mobile devices. In 2019, a great deal of work was carried out to prepare for an update of the Website in 2020.

Outreach

Since its establishment in 2002, the Office has developed a network of contacts with Organizations with missions similar to its own, contacts that have helped to improve the OCPM’s methods of operation. The external activities of the Office promote skill dissemination, development and the sharing of Montrealers’ experiences.

Over the course of the year, locally and throughout Québec, the Office is asked to present its role and activities to various groups. Firstly, to the Commission de la présidence du conseil municipal, before which the president of the Office presents the report of activities and discusses the work and future orientations of the OCPM with the members of the commission. The president of the Office also made a presentation at the conference of the Jacques-Viger committee on discretionary urban planning processes. For his part, the secretary general had the opportunity to present public consultation mechanisms to people responsible for the Council of Europe’s “Intercultural Cities” program.

Again, on a local scale, our president served as keynote speaker at the Forum of “Rues principales”, a Québec City citizens’ organization. She also participated in a panel at that event. Moreover, she was asked to participate in a webinar on public participation under the responsibility of the Privy Council, in Ottawa.

Meetings were also held with a wide variety of groups: students; groups of citizens interested in public consultation, in a number of boroughs; and groups from other organizations. In the latter category, it is important to mention visits from a delegation from Strasburg, the federation of Swedish cities, the Minister of the Interior of the Slovak government, and a delegation of Senegalese mayors.

The Office also welcomed two French speakers who came to offer an inspiring sharing of experience. In both cases, the participants in the hall were delighted, and there were numerous delayed viewings of the webcasts. We would like to thank Julian Perdrigeat, the director of the mayor’s office in Loos-en-Gohelle, who shared with us the storytelling experience about his city during the consultation on the Faubourgs sector, as well as Julien Lahaie, director of the Mission Vallée de la Chimie for the Greater Lyon Area, who gave the opening presentation at the meeting on the future of the Bridge-Bonaventure sector.

We also note the participation of the communications director of the Office in a mission to Ukraine, from May 23 to June 1, at the invitation of Open North, within the framework of a program of the National Democratic Institute (NDI). She presented the work of the Office at a national forum organized by the NDI and Uk-Aid, and discussed main principles promoting citizen participation in that country as a step towards greater democracy. Several meetings in Lviv and Kiev provided opportunities for exchanges with organizations that develop public consultation projects in the field, representatives of the Ukranian government, and communications professionals.

Furthermore, our cooperation with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) continued this year with our president’s participation in missions to both Morocco and Tunisia. An important delegation from Tunisia was also able to observe Office consultations during a mission under the Program for Inclusive Leadership of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

In 2019, the Office became an institutional partner of the Centre Jacques Cartier. Founded in 1984, the Centre Jacques Cartier brings together a great variety of institutional, university, cultural and social partners from Québec and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and their major urban centres, i.e. Montréal, Lyon, Saint-Étienne and Clermont-Ferrand. The Centre is responsible for organizing the Entretiens Jacques Cartier, the largest gathering for exchanges among French-speaking communities. Alternating between Québec and France, the discussions, held every year, allow the enhancement and exchange of the participants’ best practices. In 2019, the discussions were held in Montréal and, for the event, the Office organized a workshop with its Greater Lyon partners on new challenges in citizen participation. The Office has been developing relations with the Direction de la prospective et du dialogue public du Grand Lyon since 2011, and discussions take place on a regular basis to share our respective expertise.

Again this year, we continued our important collaboration with MTElles, a project initiated by Concertation Montréal. In partnership with the “Coalition montréalaise des Tables de quartier” and “Relais-femmes”, MTElles supports the implementation of innovative practices within the borough councils, city councils (Montréal agglomeration), Montréal consultative bodies, and Tables de quartier. The aim is to promote the equal participation in democratic and community life of women of various origins and from all social and economic backgrounds. The initiative, launched in 2017, will continue over the coming years.

The Office also provides a presence at various international forums focusing on issues of participatory democracy. The most important of those forums is the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy, the IOPD. The Office has been a member of the network for many years. In 2019, the Office participated in the 19th Conference of the IOPD in Mexico, where it was responsible for two workshops. The first dealt with the success and limitations of role playing in public debates, and the second with citizen initiative as a source of democratic innovation.

Lastly, the president of the Office was invited by the World Association of the Major Metropolises to a meeting on social cohesion indicators, which was held in Barcelona in June, while the secretary general met with the people in charge of the Cabinet du ministre-président de Bruxelles-Capitale, who wanted to gain a more in-depth understanding of the mission and operations of the Office.

Budget

In compliance with the Charter of Ville de Montréal, the city council provides the Office with the funds required to carry out its mandate. Under sections 83 and 89 of the Charter, the Office must hold all consultations requested by the executive committee or city council. The financial statements of the Office are audited by the auditor of the city and presented to city council.

In 2019, the number of mandates received and the scale of the various activities of the Office resulted in the funds allocated at the beginning of the year in the annual City budget being insufficient to carry out all of the mandates. Consequently, the executive committee granted the Office additional credits of $840,000, as provided for under section 82 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal. It is the third time since 2013 that additional credits have been required over the course of the year, but the seventh time in the history of the Office.

The following is a breakdown by major categories:

2019 Budget

Remuneration

$850,000

Employee benefits

$170,000

Transportation and communications

$210,000

Professional and administrative services

$1,600,000

Rent and maintenance

$280,000

Non-durable goods

$56,000

Total

$3,166,000

List of employees and collaborators in 2019

Employees

  • Brunelle-Amélie Bourque
  • Louis-Alexandre Cazal
  • Luc Doray
  • Elisabeth Doyon
  • Laurent Maurice Lafontant
  • Lizon Levesque
  • Élise Naud
  • Faustin Nsabimana
  • Anik Pouliot
  • Gilles Vézina

Collaborators

  • Sheba Akpokli
  • Eduardo Alvaro Toledo
  • Matthieu Bardin
  • Alain Benoit
  • Andréanne Bernier
  • Abdelmadjid Bourada
  • Laurent Canigiani
  • Hadrien Chénier-Marais
  • Reinaldo De Freitas
  • Joanne Gibbs
  • Pierre Goyer
  • Guy Grenier
  • Dylan Hervé
  • Marina Jolly
  • Ousmane Kouyaté
  • Marc-Olivier Lamothe
  • Marc-André Lapointe
  • Christelle Lollier-Théberge
  • Patrick Marais
  • Paul Marchand
  • Denise Mumporeze
  • Youla Pompilus-Touré
  • Olivier Rinfret
  • Gilles Rioux
  • Vincent Roy
  • Joseph Tchinda Kenfo
  • Marie-Odile Trépanier
  • Nicole Uwimana
  • Akos Verboczy
  • Henri Vézina
  • Stéfanie Wells
  • Mohamed-Ali Yanouri