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About the Resources

Local Governments or Municipal Governments are the closest level of government to communities. They have a significant impact on our day-to-day lives. Municipal issues might not get the attention that provincial and federal policy receives, but they are still incredibly important! You may not feel the impact of a federal policy until years after it is implemented, but you will probably instantly notice if your garbage is not collected or your bus route to work stops running. Local Government decisions and policies directly influence how individuals and communities can navigate their lives. 


Despite their importance, many people across Canada do not know how their local government operates, and trying to understand how the system functions can be intimidating and feel overwhelmingly complicated. As an organization, we believe Municipal Governments work best when the public can participate meaningfully. To help make local governments more inclusive, we have developed a series of educational resources to help demystify local government systems. Our aim is to make civic engagement more accessible, in the hopes of living in cities that better reflect all of our needs.


Use our comprehensive downloadable resources to learn more about how you can participate in your local government and take a deep dive into the intricacies of municipal operations, from understanding decision-making procedures to decoding city budgets.


These resources were developed with the help of UBC graduate students. A special thank you to Alex Thomson, Asya Savelyeva, Karla Jubaily, Lily Liu, and Maliha Rehan for their contributions to this project.

This project was made possible through funding from Women and Gender Equality Canada.

Downloadable Resources:
Understanding Vancouver's Local Government

Download all the resources in one file here.

Vancouver’s Local Government Ecosystems


Learn more about the main bodies that make up Vancouver’s local government, what they are responsible for, and how they govern and manage all city-wide services and operations.

How City Council Decisions Are Made


Learn about how City Council establishes their strategic priorities and five ways that you can participate in affecting these decisions.

How to Participate in Vancouver Urban Planning Decisions


Making urban planning decisions is one of the most significant ways city councils create change. Learn more about how you can get involved and have your voice heard.

Types of Meetings


Learn more about the different kinds of meetings that happen at Vancouver City Hall and your opportunities to participate. Municipal governments work best when the public actively participates!

Understanding Council Meeting Agendas


Vancouver City Council typically releases the agenda for meetings one week beforehand. Get an overview of some of the key parts of a typical council meeting agenda.

Understanding City Motions


A motion is a term used in legal and civic spaces that refers to the formal process of requesting something to happen or expressing an official opinion within a governing body.

How to Speak to Council


Decisions made by city council have a huge impact on our everyday lives. Learn more about speaking at council meetings to help you share your experience of living in the city. 

Official Community Plans


What are Official Community Plans (OCPs), what goes into them, and how can they help you understand the priorities of your city?

Civic Agencies


Learn more about civic agencies and how they can be used as an opportunity to directly engage with your local government.

Understanding the City Budget


Learn more about the City of Vancouver’s budget process that allocates funds for city services, facilities, and infrastructure, and the differences between the operating and capital budgets.

Influencing the Budget


Whether or not you directly pay property taxes as a homeowner, indirectly as a renter, or work in the city, it’s essential that the budget reflects your priorities too. Learn more about how you can participate in the city’s budgeting process.

Budget Timeline


Get an overview of what the timeline looks like for creating the annual city budget - and what happens if the budget isn’t approved.

How Does the Budget Get Funded?


Learn more about how the City of Vancouver generates revenue to fund the annual budget.

How to Get Involved in Your Municipality

WTC has put together resources to help you get involved in your municipality! Download the PDFs and learn more about how you can appear as a delegation, speak on motions, get involved with engagement opportunities, public hearings, and access your municipality's Official Community Plan.

City of Burnaby
City of Coquitlam
City of Courtenay
City of New Westminster
City of North Vancouver
City of Port Coquitlam
City of Port Moody
City of Powell River
City of Richmond
City of Surrey
City of Victoria
Don't See Your Municipality?

Email us at and we will add it to the list!
If you'd like to support our work and help us transform cities into spaces that work for all people, please consider making a donation to WTC.
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