How public consultations work

Last updated November 27, 2022

Each year, Montréal’s municipal administration consults residents on a wide variety of subjects that are local or general in scope, including development projects, special planning programs, draft by-laws, or policies. Residents are invited to join the public debate by expressing their views on the projects that are shaping their experience in Montréal. Learn more about public consultations.

Consultations led by the city may take multiple forms and may be organized by various bodies:

  • the commissions permanentes of city council
  • borough councils and their commissions
  • any other committee or group designated by city council, the executive committee or borough council

The city may also mandate the Office de consultation publique de Montréal, a neutral organization, to lead the consultation.

The right of initiative allows citizens to request that the city hold a public consultation on a subject that comes within its jurisdiction.

Method of consultation

The method of consultation varies. In general, it includes public meetings open to all residents, together with online tools such as questionnaires or interactive maps. Some consultations may be carried out online only, on the Making MTL Web site.

Steps in a public consultation

In general, a public consultation involves three steps:

  1. Announcement of the public consultation
  2. Consultation of the public through various means 
  3. Findings of the consultation

Step 1 : Announcement of the public consultation

In general, the city issues a notice on its Web site and in the newspapers at least 15 days prior to the start of the  consultation. Documentation on the subject is also made available online.

These documents allow residents to form an opinion and prepare their questions before they participate in a consultation.

Step 2: Consultation of the public

The method of consultation varies based on the subject and the bodies leading the consultation. 

Most consultations include meetings open to the general public. During these meetings, municipal stakeholders present the file and respond to questions from the public.

In the case of a consultation led as part of a right of initiative, the person in charge of the project presents the arguments in favour of their idea. 

During the public meetings, residents may submit questions concerning the project and express their opinions by taking the floor or tabling a memorandum, after they register. The registration procedure is explained in the notice issued by the city. There are no standards to respect regarding the length or form of the memorandum. It should simply state the person’s position by presenting arguments and recommendations. 

Step 3: Findings of the public consultation

The body responsible for the public consultation must table a report citing its findings and recommendations within 90 days of the end of the consultation. The city publishes reports on the consultations it leads on its Web site.

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