Premier McGuinty Invites Ontarians To Help Deliver Change
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has invited people across Ontario to participate in shaping the government's upcoming budget and its agenda for the next four years. With Delivering Change - Budget Town Hall 2004, the government has launched a historic outreach effort that will enable Ontarians to have their say as never before.
The McGuinty government plans to focus on the results that matter most to Ontarians. Government will be redesigned from the ground up: it will stop doing some things, so it can do the most important things better. Difficult choices will be necessary -- and Ontarians' perspectives will be front and centre.
Through Delivering Change - Budget Town Hall 2004, the government is seeking public input on how to meet its priorities while living within its means. Ontarians will be asked to indicate the key values they think should guide the government's decisions, as well as specific steps the government should take to deliver better services. This fundamentally democratic initiative will give people the opportunity to advise the government on how to accomplish what it was elected to do.
There will be several different ways for Ontarians to get involved in Delivering Change.
Budget Town Halls 2004
Eight regional town hall meetings will take place during February and early March. People will be able to register to attend and will have an opportunity to advise the government on how to meet public priorities while living within its means. At the end of each meeting, participants will be asked to fill out a short survey form summarizing their views.
|BUDGET TOWN HALL LOCATION||DATE|
|Thunder Bay||February 10|
|Toronto (Etobicoke)||February 24|
Seven citizen dialogues will provide in-depth advice as the government prepares its first budget and plans for the longer term. Modelled after the approach taken by the Romanow Commission on the Future of Health Care, these citizen dialogues are being held in Windsor, London, Sudbury, Ottawa, another eastern Ontario location, and two Toronto locations by the end of February. Each session will last a full day and have about 40 participants, randomly selected to make up a representative sample of Ontarians. Each meeting will include an initial briefing, followed by a series of full-group and breakout sessions.
Participants will discuss the values they feel should guide the government's budget decisions, as well as concrete steps government could take to get better results. Independent facilitators will help the participants find common ground and reach a consensus on strategies to recommend. The facilitators will write an independent report to the government on the outcome of the deliberations.
MPP Constituency Town Halls
MPPs will lead public meetings in their constituencies where Ontarians will be able to provide input on how the government can meet public priorities while living within its means.
Ministry of Finance Roundtables
The Minister of Finance will hold pre-budget consultations around the province. The focus will be on meetings with interested organizations and institutions in regional centres in February and early March.
A new website -- at TownHallOntario.gov.on.ca -- will make it easy to participate in Delivering Change - Budget Town Hall 2004. The site will provide background information about the government's priorities and the current fiscal situation. Ontarians will be able to complete an online survey to give their advice to the government on the best strategies to follow. People will also get a chance to design their own budget by allocating an imaginary $100 to a list of priority areas.
Toll-free Information Line
Ontarians can call 1-866-608-4824 (TTY Line 1-800-268-7095) to:
- Register for the Budget Town Halls
- Obtain a print copy of the Town Hall discussion guide, with a mail-in survey form.
- Get other information about participating in Delivering Change.
In addition, people can mail their views to Town Hall Ontario, Box 40, 77 Wellesley Street West, Toronto, ON M7A 1N3.
Making People Part of the Process
The government will consider the input received through all of these channels as it charts a course for the next four years and prepares the spring 2004 budget. When the government's agenda is set and the budget is released, Ontarians should be able to see where their input has made a difference.
Delivering Change - Budget Town Hall 2004 is the second stage in a new, consultative approach the government is taking with both the Ontario Public Service and the public. The first stage, the OPS Ideas Campaign, concluded on January 31 and generated more than 11,000 ideas from public servants on how to improve services and get better results for Ontario.