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What is P2?

What is Public Participation (P2)?

Public participation is about engaging with the public during the decision-making process, benefiting from their diverse range of ideas, views and concerns, and using that information to make better decisions.

Who is involved in P2?

P2 practitioners are a diverse community of professionals, citizens, academics, and decision-makers who are committed to involving the public in decisions that affect them. Beyond formal practitioners, P2 includes all people involved in public participation including individuals, governments, communities, interest groups, organizations and other entities that affect public interest in nations throughout the world.

Why is P2 important?

Decisions that impact the public should not be made in isolation. Engaging in meaningful P2 can result in:

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increased engagement and inclusion for all people including racialized groups, Indigenous peoples, and other groups who are more likely to be overlooked, identifying a wide range of ideas, views and concerns

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better decision-making that reflects public interests and values making it easier to communicate, implement, and understand the process, decisions, and impact

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building capacity for collaborative decision-making over the long term by improving relationships and increasing trust between decision-makers and the public

The IAP2 Spectrum is a framework designed to enhance collaboration and transparency throughout the decision-making process, increasing the public’s impact on the decision.

According to the spectrum, meaningful P2 and engagement includes:

  • Informing - communicating the issues, options, and solutions to the public by providing clear, balanced, and objective information
  • Consulting - getting continuous input and feedback from the public
  • Involving - ensuring public interest and their diverse views and concerns are understood and considered throughout the process
  • Collaborating - partnering with the public in each aspect of the process by asking for advice and identifying preferred solutions
  • Empowering - placing the final decision-making in the hands of the public and implementing what the public decided

View the pillars of P2

Ultimately, P2 helps decision-makers apply what they’ve learned from the public in meaningful ways to address real-life problems. Here are some outstanding efforts of individuals, organizations, and projects that embody the core values of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) in Canada. Learn more

How can I access P2 training and resources?

IAP2 has set the bar for public participation with practical tools and methodologies that transcend national and cultural boundaries. As part of our mission, we are at the cutting edge of public participation training world-wide.

View all upcoming events & training 

View our learning pathway

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