ASCR: Parameters for a Canadian Approach (November 2021 – August 2022)
Public Safety Canada (PSC) plans to establish a fully digitalized, automated system for the suspension of criminal records. The new system will automatically remove criminal records that meet certain criteria, even without an application from the offender. Before proceeding; however, PSC wanted a better understanding of its stakeholders’ views on several key issues, including:
- Suspension Criteria: Which criteria are appropriate for automated suspensions?
- Privacy: Such a system involves the use of highly sensitive information. Are their risks to personal privacy and, if so, how can they be mitigated?
- Outreach: How can the government best inform people with criminal records about the new system.
This engagement process produced a critical examination of the issues through an online engagement platform and 10 virtual stakeholder roundtables. The final report provides an analytical account of key themes, issues, and arguments raised in the engagement process and at the centre of discussion on developing a Canadian approach to the automated sequestering of criminal records.
Re-Thinking Engagement: Supporting the Shift from Police Force to Police Service
In November 2020, nearly 100 delegates lined up before the Ottawa Police Services Board (the Board) to present their views on the Ottawa Police Service budget (OPS). Many demanded that the OPS be defunded. In June 2021, the Board engaged PACE Public Affairs & Community Engagement and Middle Ground Policy Research to engage leaders from Ottawa’s racialized communities and look for solutions. This report proposes significant reforms the Board’s public engagement process to help strengthen relationships and rebuild trust at the community level. The findings are based on extensive interviews with representatives from these communities and from the executive level of relevant service agencies. The report was unanimously endorsed by the members of the Ottawa Police Services Board.
Driving Dialogue and Debate
In March 2020, the Institute on Governance and Middle Ground Policy Research joined together to launch a series of workshops to explore polarization and fragmentation in Canada’s public dialogues and debates. The project included four half-day sessions, each beginning with a debate on one of the following topics:
- Immigration (session #1)
- Climate change (session #2)
- Western Alienation (session #3)
- A Polarized Electorate (session #4)
Each even included about 40 participants from government and civil society, who then engaged in a facilitated discussion of the lessons to be drawn from each debate. This paper describes the findings from those discussions. Where polarization prevents or limits the ability of government to act, this paper proposes a method for resolving tensions in which people are challenged to examine the different narratives underlying their policy positions.
Stronger Voices, Better Care
Volume II in the New Campus Series examines The Ottawa Hospital’s special relationship with the Territory of Nunavut. Don’s report explores the intimate connection between Inuit culture and health services and outcomes, then proposes ways to improve these in the context of the new campus.
From Buy-In to Ownership
Volume III of the New Campus Series (co-authored by Don) explains how the Campus Engagement Group (CEG) will help resolve complex design issues in the development of the new campus. The CEG is a group of 21 individuals who represent key community interests and institutional partners in the process.
Setting the Stage, Turning the Page
Volume I in The New Campus Series proposes that development of the Ottawa’s Hospital’s new 50-acre campus in the heart of Ottawa include a ground-breaking community engagement initiative to support campus design. Don is a principal advisor on the project and co-author of this series of reports.
Connecting Communities Initiative: Final Report
The Connecting Communities Initiative was launched in April 2014 to test a more personal approach to promoting employment opportunities for social assistance clients by bringing them together with prospective employers. The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services (CSS) invited community organizations to host a series of short, highly focused discussions between employers and stakeholders to help address the awareness and attitude issues that so often become barriers to employment. Six communities across Ontario undertook such a project. Most consisted of a single event, usually lasting from 2.5 – 3.5 hours and involving approximately 15 – 30 participants, mainly clients, employers, and service providers. Middle Ground’s Don Lenihan was CSS’s principal advisor, helping to design and deliver the projects, and writing the final report, which explains the approach and the findings from these projects.
Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services Report of the Client Discussions on Social Assistance Reform
The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services engaged Don Lenihan to conduct sessions with Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program clients in 10 cities across the province. This report provides a unique window on the clients’ experience of the pathway to employment.
Formal/Informal Institutions for Citizen Engagement for Implementing the Post 2015 Development Agenda: Report of the Expert Group Meeting
Don led a UN Expert Group Meeting in Paris, sponsored by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The task was to consider how public engagement processes can support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Don’s final report was based on the discussions at the meeting.
Formal/Informal Institutions for Citizen Engagement for Implementing the Post 2015 Development Agenda
Don led a UN Expert Group Meeting in Paris, sponsored by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The task was to consider how public engagement processes can support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This paper, written by Don, was the backgrounder for the meeting.
Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services Employment-Focused Roundtables: Summary Report
The Ministry of Community and Social Services engaged Don to lead six roundtable meetings with stakeholders and clients from the social assistance and disability communities; and to discuss options for reforming employment services. This report consolidates the findings from those sessions.
Ontario’s Condominium Act Review: Stage One Findings Report
Ontario’s Ministry of Consumer Services engaged Don Lenihan to design and lead an innovative, 18-month, three-stage public deliberation process to review and renew the Condominium Act. This Stage One Findings Report defined the issues for discussion in Stage Two.
Ontario’s Condominium Act Review: Stage Two Solutions Report
Ontario’s Ministry of Consumer Services engaged Don Lenihan to design and lead an innovative, 18-month, three-stage public deliberation process to review and renew the Condominium Act. This Stage Two Solutions Report contains solutions to the issues raised in the Stage One Findings Report.
Report of the National Recreation Roundtable in Fredericton, New Brunswick
Some 200 participants from the Recreation gathered in Fredericton to outline a National Recreation Agenda. Don served as the facilitator and rapporteur for this event. This report provides an overview of the discussion at the Fredericton Roundtable.
Community-Building Through Sport: Final Report of the Community Perspectives Project
This cross-country series of roundtables was part of the Canadian Sport Policy Renewal Process. The sessions discussed whether a policy framework could be created that includes community-building but leaves the core business of sport unchanged.