What is Participatory Budgeting?

    Participatory Budgeting is an innovative, democratic process that gives the entire community the opportunity to participate and decide how to invest a portion of the City budget. The focus in 2021 are projects that create inclusive and engaging neighbourhood spaces in Victoria. The City’s citizen-led volunteer Participatory Budget Steering Committee is being coordinated this year by the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network and Building Resilient Neighbourhoods.

    How much money is available?

    A total of $50,000 is available for distribution. Project funding will be awarded in the following manner:

    • Projects with budgets of up to $1,000 (the top voted projects will be funded until a maximum of $5,000 of funding is awarded)

    • Projects with budgets of between $1,001 and $7,500 (the top voted projects will be funded until a maximum of $15,000 of funding is awarded)

    • Projects with budgets between $7,501 and $20,000 (the top voted projects will be funded until a maximum of $30,000 of funding is awarded)

    Please note that the City of Victoria also offers the My Great Neighbourhood Grant Program (MGNG). Eligible projects can receive up to $5,000 for placemaking, community recovery, and resilience projects, or up to $1,000 for activities. More information on this program can be found here. Applicants cannot apply for both MGNG and Participatory Budgeting funding streams for a single project idea. Please choose one.

    Where can projects take place?

    Applicants can live anywhere in the Greater Victoria area, but projects must take place within the City of Victoria boundaries. You can find maps for the city boundaries here. Projects can be proposed for a specific place or neighbourhood, or for the city as a whole. Projects can take place in person and/or online. If you are submitting an idea for an online project you must explain how a virtual space is Victoria-specific and adds to neighbourhood life in the City of Victoria.

    What is the theme of the 2021 Participatory Budgeting process?

    The theme of the 2021 Participatory Budgeting process is Neighbourhood Spaces. Neighbourhood spaces are defined as physical, social or virtual, that encourage connection to self, nature or others. This year's Participatory Budget focuses on promoting and funding projects which enhance and enrich neighbourhood spaces throughout Victoria.

    What is the goal of the 2021 Participatory Budgeting process?

    The goal of the 2021 Participatory Budgeting process is to encourage public participation and democratic leadership in the creation and development of our neighbourhood spaces. The participatory budgeting process also aims to increase access to civic processes and community resources for community members who are underserved and underrepresented in the City’s budgeting and other decision-making processes.

    What types of considerations should applicants be considering with regard to the ongoing COVID pandemic?

    Given the current reality with the COVID-19 pandemic, project proposals must be aware of possible changes that could affect their project timeline, scope, in-person delivery, and engagement. Applicants are responsible for ensuring their project is compliant with the most current public health guidelines for physical distancing, hygiene and other requirements as prescribed by the Government of British Columbia, and will be asked to detail how their project will respond to changing COVID-19 regulations and guidelines.   

    In person events and gatherings may be possible, but must reflect health guidelines of the time.

    What kind of projects might be suitable?

    We have put together some resources to help you — take a look at the Proposal Guide for some project examples and a list of eligibility criteria. Talk to fellow community members and make contact with local organizations. Focus on creating free neighbourhood spaces that provide benefits to community members. Be creative! Consider activities that enhance neighbourhood spaces and create connectedness between ourselves, others, or the environment.

    What kinds of projects have been funded in the past?

    Keep in mind each year's theme has been quite different, but some previous projects include a bystander intervention training to combat racism, financial literacy training for youth and a ‘Perfect Parenting’ program for young parents. Here’s a list of some of the projects funded in the last two years:

    2020 Participatory Budgeting Project Recipients (Theme: Newcomers):  

    • ICA’s Tools for Equity - Bystander Intervention Training: ($30,000) – This program aims to combat racism and help create safe, inclusive communities by teaching participants practical skills they can use to support people of colour.

    • Anti-Racist and Culturally Competent Healthcare App: ($10,000) – An app focused on improving health outcomes for newcomers.

    • Planting Home: ($2,000) – This program aims to help families and individuals connect to culture & community through the joyful cultivation of food.

    • Financial Literacy for YOU: ($1,580) – This program empowers youth through financial literacy training.

    2019 Participatory Budgeting Project Recipients (Theme: Youth):

    • What We Need - Prevention of Youth Homelessness: ($27,520) – This program equipped at-risk youth with resources to find housing, employment and stability through fostering independence, belonging and empowerment

    • Pollinator Partnership Canada: ($18,000) – This program empowered youth to take the lead in pollinator conservation in Victoria

    • Unquiet Minds II: ($6,450) – This community-based event celebrated and highlighted youth in their efforts to cultivate creativity towards an ongoing and theatrical discussion of mental health

    • Nobody’s Perfect Parenting Program for Young Parents: ($2,400) – This parenting program provided resources to parents who are young, single, socially or geographically isolated, or who have low income or limited formal education

    Who can apply for PB funding?

    Projects can be put forward by individuals, groups, or non-profits organizations who live, work, or play in the City of Victoria, or by people who do not have a fixed address as long as they coordinate with either an organization or individual from Victoria to serve as their main point of contact.

    Individuals and informal groups must however have a confirmed community partnering organization to host PB funding and coordinate any required insurance. The community partnering organization must be included as part of the proposal submission and will be the legal body that receives the funding and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the project is managed as intended and meets expected deadlines. One option is to partner with the Neighbourhood Association for the neighbourhood in which your project takes place. A list of potential partnering organizations can be found in Appendix B of the Proposal Guide.

    How can I get more information and help with my project proposal?

    The Rulebook and Proposal Guide are great starting places for more information on project criteria, timelines and support for project proposal development. The Proposal Guide was developed to walk applicants through the entire application process, as well as to provide project inspiration. 

    Information Sessions: We encourage you to attend an Information Session on PB, which will be hosted online, to learn more about the program and ask any questions you may have. If you already have a project idea, bring it to the Information Session to discuss its eligibility and feasibility with the Steering Committee members. Please register at engage.victoria.ca/pb: 

    Thursday, June 24 from 7:30 - 9 p.m.

    Saturday, July 10 from 10 - 11:30 a.m.

    Pre-application Meeting: We encourage you to send us an email at pbvictoria.outreach@gmail.com by end of day on July 15, 2021 with a brief project description and we will schedule one 15 minute meeting with you (via phone, Zoom, or email) to discuss your idea. 

    *These sessions are being run by volunteers and will be available on a first come first served basis.

    Please send any inquiries you may have after July 15 through the Q and A section of the Participatory Budgeting project page: engage.victoria.ca/pb.

    What is the deadline to submit a proposal?

    Project proposals can be submitted until July 25, 2021.

    What is the process for selecting projects?

    The Participatory Budgeting Steering Committee, working with City Staff, will review all project submissions. Projects that meet all the required criteria outlined in the Proposal Guide will progress to the next stage of community voting. These projects will be showcased online and the public will vote on them in late summer 2021.

    When can successful projects start? When do projects need to be completed?

    Once voting is complete and funding has been allocated, projects can start anytime. Projects must be completed by December 31, 2022.

    Please note: While projects can be longer-lasting or permanent installations, all maintenance, stewardship, or removal costs must be included in your project proposal. 

    Can an individual or organization submit more than one proposal for Participatory Budgeting?

    Our suggestion is that if you have more than one idea around neighbourhood places, choose one proposal to submit to the Participatory Budgeting process and submit another different proposal through the My Great Neighbourhood Grant process.

    You cannot submit the same proposal to both PB and My Great Neighbourhood Grants.

    You can choose to submit more than one proposal to Participatory Budgeting.  It’s important to remember that the community votes on which projects get funded.  It would be up to residents to decide if they wanted to vote for two projects from one organization.

    For My Great Neighbourhood Grants, you can apply to one application per category per year for a maximum of three applications.

    You can find more information on PB vs. My Great Neighbourhood Grants here.

    When does voting take place?

    Tuesday, October 19 - Friday, November 19, 2021 at midnight.

    Where does voting take place?

    You can vote online at engage.victoria.ca/pb. In-person voting opportunities will also be available at select locations, including a voting station at Victoria City Hall.

    You can also watch for pop up voting stations throughout the City of Victoria, including The Bay Centre, Hillside Mall, Our Place, and at the Central and sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay branches of the Greater Victoria Public Library.  We’ll be promoting these online and on the City’s social channels.

    Who is allowed to vote?

    Any resident of the Capital Regional District.

    How many times are you allowed to vote?

    You are only allowed to vote once.

    How does voting work? What are the different funding categories?

    Projects are grouped in two categories: Projects with budgets between $1,000 - $7,500 and projects with budgets between $7,501-$20,000.

    Please review the projects and rank the projects in each funding category in the order of your preference (1= most favoured, 4= least favoured), considering the overall community benefits and reach of each project.

    When are results expected?

    The projects that will be funded will be announced in December.

    When are projects expected to be underway and in communities?

    Projects can start as soon as the funding is distributed late in 2021 and must be completed by the end of 2022.

    Will one or two large projects take all the available funding, leaving none for the smaller projects?

    We set out two award categories with this in mind. This ensures that high-ranking small projects will receive funding, as well as high-ranking large projects.

    Is this project the only City funding available to help neighbourhoods?

    There are many City grants that are available, depending on the focus of your project or organization.

    Additional neighbourhood-specific grants are available through the My Great Neighbourhood program, which provides matching funding of up to $5,000 for placemaking projects and up to $1,000 for activities. See more at: https://www.victoria.ca/EN/main/residents/neighbourhoods/my-great-neighbourhood-grant-program.html

    Still have other questions?