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Thriving democracies are built on trust and collaboration. Yet civic engagement often serves to isolate people and perpetuate harm. Our electoral system does not reflect the diversity of voices in our city nor does it make it easy for them to be heard.

OneCity will continue to lower barriers for people who don’t often participate in decision-making processes. Most working people cannot take the time to engage in marathon public hearings where their rights to housing are too often up for debate. We’ll work to make democracy at City Hall, School Board and Parks Board efficient, transparent and equitable.

Update the way Vancouver votes

This election there will be 138 people on the ballot, the most by far of any city in Canada. Our incomprehensible voting system is one of the reasons voter turnout was below 40 per cent in the last election. It also results in the election of officials that are expected to represent hundreds of thousands of people and are therefore less accessible.

OneCity will engage Vancouverites about what residents want from their voting system and ask for suggested changes.

  1. Call upon the provincial government to enact “Local Choice” legislation similar to Ontario’s, giving municipalities the power to make changes to their electoral system with a range of options. 
  2. Strike a citizen’s assembly to recommend either a proportional, ward or hybrid system to improve diversity and representation at the local level.
  3. Strive to implement these recommendations in the next civic election in 2026, so residents can see the new model in practice and then hold a referendum on whether to keep it following the 2030 election.

Include more voices in decisions

Too many Vancouverites are left out of the city’s decision-making because they either can’t determine how to engage or don’t have the time. When the people affected by decisions aren’t able to share their experience, it hurts our democracy. In the case of the Host Nations, they are not simply stakeholders participating in city processes but governments with decision-making authority in their territories.

OneCity will make sure all voices are not just heard but listened to.

 

  1. Implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples unconditionally and reflect the Host Nations’ right to self-determination and sovereignty in all consultation processes. 
  2. Remove language barriers to public participation with more funding for multilingual translation of resources and sign language interpretation across local government.
  3. Request the provincial government lower the municipal voting age to 16. 
  4. Equip advisory committees and staff liaisons with the resources they need such as child-minding and honoraria in order to include more working class people. 
  5. Review the Vancouver School Board’s governance and policies to ensure democratic, transparent, accessible, accountable and equitable decision-making.
  6. Facilitate inclusive, collaborative, and accessible engagement processes at the Parks Board to end combative, binary public consultation.

End the dysfunction at City Hall

Vancouver is the only city in the Lower Mainland where public hearings go on for weeks and hundreds of people sign up to speak about every development decision. Meanwhile, the city faces multiple urgent crises that demand bold action now. OneCity will respect the time of staff, elected officials and the public to find more effective ways to engage.

  1. Delegate specific development approvals to city staff based on meaningful public engagement around broad housing policy goals that includes both long-time residents and renters.
  2. Reform city practices so more engagement occurs in committees before going to council meetings for faster consideration.

Support our plan for a Vancouver where everyone belongs

OneCity believes there’s room for everyone in our city to thrive. We’ll work together across City Council, School Board and Park Board to make sure you always have a place here.