Participatory Budgeting Victoria

Your Dollars.  Your Decisions.  Your City. How would you spend $60,000? 

Become part of Victoria’s first participatory budgeting process where the community designs the process and chooses what the funding is spent on.

What is participatory budgeting?

Participatory budgeting is a democratic process in which the municipality allocates an amount of money for residents to propose and vote upon community projects. It was originally introduced in 1989 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and is now common across the globe in varying forms and deliberative processes.

This participatory budgeting pilot builds on increased public participation in the City’s budget process over the past two years.

How does a participatory budgeting process work?  

The design of a participatory budgeting process is completed by citizens, which includes reaching out to community members, working with the community to identify projects and voting on the project that the community feels should receive the funds.

The City supports the process, but will not play a role in the deliberation or decision, nor do elected officials. Citizens are empowered to decide how the funds are invested.

Where did this idea to pilot participatory budgeting come from?

Most common to Latin American cities, many participatory processes focus on investment in essential public infrastructure. In the United Kingdom, participatory budgeting was introduced in the early 2000's, and added a more social context to consider participatory processes in deliberations around housing and poverty. In North America, cities including San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, New York, Toronto, Guelph, and closer to home, Tofino, have introduced participatory budgeting components to their annual municipal budgets. In terms of financial allocations for piloting participatory budgets in other cities, they range from nominal amounts to larger allocations of millions in large cities like Chicago and New York.  More localized examples are: Toronto $450,000, Guelph $125,000 and Tofino $20,000.

Victoria's process is being supported by the Participatory Budgeting Project, a non-profit agency based out of New York City that grew out of a 2005 social forum in Porte Alegre, Brazil, who have since helped participatory processes across Canada and the US.

How can I get involved?

As the $60,000 funding applies to the entire community and not one specific neighbourhood, it is an important principle of participatory budgeting to reach all demographics and geographic representation across the community. Efforts will be made to reach all neighbourhoods and groups and demographics not typically active in the budget process (e.g youth, new residents, new immigrants, etc.)

Volunteer to help kick start the process. Email us for more information.

Sign up for updates and information on future meetings.

Will this impact other City projects or priorities?

Projects or investments identified within the participatory process, cannot cancel or delay projects already planned or underway, and the City would require that construction or commencement of the participatory project(s) occur within 12 months of the funding decision.

Project Process


  1. Setting the stage (Introduction to participatory budgeting - December/January): A kick-off was  held on January 12, 2017, facilitated by the Participatory Budgeting Project. Introductory training on participatory budgeting was provided to community members, adding support to the citizen body that will form. City staff and public sector agencies also received training on how best to support the process.
  2. Create the space (Community to design the participatory budgeting process)
  3. Help Make it Happen (Vote on which community project you want to see receive the funding)
  4. Implement the community’s decision

Report to Council - November 25, 2015: [PDF - 113 KB]


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