The public participation scale: Understanding community engagement

Last updated June 4, 2021
Reading time: 1 min

Would you like to take part in public participation processes and learn more about the influence your voice has? Montréal’s public participation scale helps you understand the different roles you can play in making collective decisions.

Different levels of participation

Public participation processes do not all require the same level of engagement and don’t confer the same degree of influence. Montréal’s public participation scale helps you understand different ways that you can be involved when the city or one of its boroughs launch an invitation.

The levels are as follows:

Learning more


This action takes place at every stage of the process. 

You can: 

  • Learn more about current or upcoming processes.
  • Ask important questions during borough or city council meetings. 
  • Gather information about participatory topics and learn more about decisions that will be made at the end of the process, no matter the level of resident participation.

Expressing yourself

Participants voice their opinions and concerns through public consultations on topics that are submitted. 

Example of a process: A resident consultation on a real estate development project.


  • Questionnaires
  • Opinions and position papers
  • Public meetings
  • Field investigations



Participants discuss and improve proposals or develop solutions. 

Example of a process: Call for proposals to find new uses for a vacant lot. 


  • Scenario assessment workshops
  • Expert panels
  • Mediation
  • The “World Café” method
  • Open forums
  • Exploratory steps
  • Co-creation workshops


People who participate have the power to make a final decision on measures or projects. 


  • Participatory budget
  • Resident jury
  • Referendum

Taking action


The population and civil society take initiatives to contribute to the common good and improve living spaces with support from the city. 

Example of a process: Developing a green lane project


  • Participatory resident projects or support programs for resident initiatives
  • Green lane projects and resident cleanups