The Centre for Public Involvement began in 2009 as a unique partnership between the City of Edmonton and University of Alberta. It was a response to a need for decision-makers and the public to actively seek, consider, and apply the most effective methods for public involvement.
“The Citizen Panel on the Budget” was CPI’s inaugural public engagement research project and was a pilot project for citizen deliberation in Edmonton. Working with City employees, researchers and citizens, the Panel developed recommendations that informed budget decisions in 2009. With a swell of interest in public engagement, CPI began to take on new and exciting initiatives—including a Citizens’ Panel on Food and Agriculture, a Citizens’ Jury on Internet Voting and many more. These projects gave CPI and opportunity to distinguish itself as a centre that combines the rigor of a research of the University of Alberta with the “living-laboratory” of the City of Edmonton. CPI’s work centered—and continues to center—on testing, gathering evidence and evaluating approaches to public involvement in an effort to advance the field.
CPI continues to grow and adapt to current events through building networks in the field of public engagement and actively seeking out partners for projects.