Guidelines on public engagement 2023: Glossary of terms

For the purposes of the Guidelines on public engagement, we use these meanings for these words:

Consulting with Canadians
A Government of Canada website that informs Canadians of open and closed consultations hosted by Government of Canada departments and agencies.
Continuum of public engagement
The 4 levels of increasing public engagement approaches to inform decision-making.
Consultation and Stakeholder Information Management System (CSIMS)
CSIMS is a web-based, centralized stakeholder registry for HC and PHAC. The registry can be used to broaden the reach of public engagement activities through distribution to stakeholders who have self-registered to stay informed of consultation and survey opportunities. For more information, please consult the CSIMS FAQs.
To engage in a multi-party discussion to deepen a shared understanding of views, impacts and solutions, and deliberate, debate and shape decisions.
To exchange information with each interested group where there is an opportunity to clarify, understand and influence the issues, considerations, alternatives and solutions.
External advisory body (EAB)
Established by the Minister of Health or the department/agency to provide advice on specific medical, scientific, technical, policy or program matters within the scope of its mandate. All members are external to the federal government and provide advice as a group, and not as individuals or representatives of organizations.
An assessment of a public engagement activity to determine whether the objectives were met and to identify lessons learned.
A gratuitous payment. Should not be used as an alternative or replacement for salary, wages or contractual payments. There should be no expectation of receiving an honorarium by the recipient, and the use of honoraria payments should be the exception rather than the rule. The operational authority approving each honorarium payment is responsible for determining the appropriateness of each payment and amount, and ensuring that each decision is well documented. Honoraria are not to be paid to public servants or other public officials already receiving salary for the conduct of public business.
When a combination of in-person, virtual and online approaches are taken for public engagement.
Indigenous consultation
As defined in Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation - Updated Guidelines for Federal Officials to Fulfill the Duty to Consult, the duty to consult is an obligation of the government as a whole. In Haida, Taku River and Mikisew Cree, the Supreme Court of Canada held that provincial and federal governments have a legal obligation to consult when the Crown contemplates conduct that might adversely impact potential or established Aboriginal or Treaty rights.
To provide the public with balanced and objective information to help them understand the issues, alternatives and solutions.
Online engagement
Any form of engagement that takes place over the internet where people are not meeting. Examples include online questionnaires and posting consultation documents online and inviting people to review and provide input by email.
Examining how the public engagement activity informed the decision-making on policies, programs and initiatives.
Refers to any individual or unorganized group that is interested in or affected by, or has the potential to be affected by, an issue, decision or action.
Public engagement
Planned two-way discussions with individuals, organizations, or groups, external to the Government of Canada, designed to gather input, clarify information and foster understanding among those interested and affected by an issue, decision or action and to better inform HC and PHAC's decision-making.
Public engagement approaches
A broad range of strategies, methods and techniques used to facilitate a variety of interactions with the public for the purpose of information sharing and to inform decision-making.
Public opinion research (POR)
As defined in the Directive on the Management of Communications, public opinion research is the planned, one-way systematic collection, by or for the Government of Canada, of opinion-based information of any target audience using quantitative or qualitative methods and techniques such as surveys or focus groups. Public opinion research provides insight and supports decision making. The process used for gathering information usually assumes an expectation and guarantee of anonymity for respondents. Public opinion research includes information collected from the public, including private individuals and representatives of businesses or other entities. It involves activities such as the design and testing of collection methods and instruments, data collection, data entry, data coding and primary data analysis.
Individuals, groups or organizations external to the Government of Canada who have a specific interest in, have some influence on, or are affected by, a given policy, program, regulatory initiative or service of a specific Government of Canada department/agency, namely HC or PHAC.
Target audience
The intended audience, that is, the individuals, groups or organizations of the public engagement.
Virtual engagement
An engagement approach that allows for dialogue but does not take place in-person. This includes videoconferences (for example, MS Teams, Zoom, Webex).

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