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

local government quasi-judicial public hearing and requirements to identify recommendations

for revising the British Columbia Local Government Act and Vancouver Charter.


  1. Analyze the existing legal framework, including relevant case law, with a view to identifying options for legislative reform

  2. Increase understanding of how the public hearing process evolved and how it impacts communities and municipal-decision making

  3. Convene and collaborate with diverse advisors and stakeholders

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

  5. Recommend evidence-based and culturally appropriate/respectful alternatives to laws and policies governing public hearings


What's Next?


We've received CMHC Housing Supply Challenge Stage 1 funding to develop the project, build collaborations and think through how we can identify evidence-based solutions.

Industrial City
Industrial City

3 Planned Streams of Work

2. Pilots

SCDI will co-create and pilot scalable alternative options for quasi-judicial public hearings in four municipalities and regional districts in B.C. 

B.C. Law Institute (BCLI) will prepare a scoping paper and lead consultation and drafting of report on the law and policy regarding local government public hearings.

1. Legal Review

3. Evaluations

SCDI will evaluate the municipal and regional district processes based on the developed principle-based framework and compare them to current public hearing experiences. 

Project 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.

BC Law Institute will lead a 100-150 page study paper on BC public hearing legislation and common law. They will then lead and advisory informed legal reform process to understand opportunities and implications for reform.

Legal Reform


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