Engage Community Stakeholders

Engage Community Stakeholders and recognize their implementation progress

CEPs are typically led by local government and implemented by the community. Central to the success of a CEP is effective and ongoing community stakeholder engagement. Some of the most critical stakeholders to engage in implementation include, but are not limited to:

  • Electric, natural gas and thermal energy distributors
  • The real estate sector, including developers, homebuilders, building owners and operators, architects and real estate agents
  • Provincial and territorial government and their respective agencies
  • NGOs
  • Academic institutions
  • School boards
  • Fuel suppliers
  • Chambers of commerce and local Business Improvement Areas (BIAs)

Approaches for Stakeholder Engagement

Table 11 provides a preliminary checklist of approaches for engaging with stakeholder groups. Before getting started, consider the following:

  • Establish a relationship with community stakeholder as early as possible in the CEP process
  • Use plain, clear language when engaging with stakeholders. If possible use terminology that community stakeholders are familiar with
  • Not everyone will be supportive of the CEP. Recognize personal dynamics and focus engagement efforts on allies. With that in mind, offer ongoing opportunities to inform and engage all stakeholders
  • The CEP may surface debates among stakeholders. Keep in mind that the overall aim of the CEP is to improve the overall quality of life for the community. Find ways to keep the conversation positive
  • If your community does not yet have a CEP, find a way for all stakeholders to provide input in the CEP vision and energy and GHG targets
  • Collaborate with community stakeholders to identify actions to include in the plan


Table 11: Approaches for Stakeholder Engagement42

One-On-One Meetings

When meeting stakeholders for one-on-one meetings consider the following three questions:

  • What are you trying to achieve with your CEP?
  • What is the stakeholder trying to achieve?
  • Where do your priorities overlap?


Establish A Stakeholder Committee
  • Create a stakeholder committee
  • Host ongoing, in-person meetings at all stages of the CEP process
  • The objective of the meetings should be to provide updates, obtain input and to monitor and report implementation progress. In person meetings may also provide an opportunity to share updates and to identify opportunities to integrate initiatives
  • Refer to Strategy 3: Develop a Governance Model that Supports a Community Energy Transition for insights on how to set up a formal committee made up of community stakeholders
Workshops And Focus Groups
  • Obtain targeted feedback from stakeholders as you begin to develop concepts, approaches and a vision for your CEP. Workshops should take place in-person
  • Focus groups can occur in-person, by teleconference or via online platforms. Consider inexpensive and user friendly tools such as Survey Monkey or online community engagement tools
Ongoing Telephone And Email Correspondence
  • In some cases, obtaining information, data and buy-in from stakeholders will require frequent and ongoing correspondence
Attend Stakeholder Meetings (E.G. Association Meetings)
  • Participate in meetings hosted by your stakeholders and find opportunities to present information about the CEP and obtain their support. When possible, sign up the CEP as a routine agenda item for regularly scheduled meetings (e.g. association meetings)
  • Consider that many stakeholder groups may be unfamiliar with the CEP process and as a result should be engaged early and often
  • Be sure to always provide a platform for two-way correspondence between stakeholders and the CEP team
  • Use the Charrette technique to facilitate a visioning process, and to identify actions to consider in the CEP. All stakeholders should be involved in the CEP vision, determining energy and GHG emissions reduction targets and when prioritizing actions
Additional Resources
  • Consider the Natural Resource Canada Stakeholder Engagement Guide with Worksheets for further support43


Segmenting Stakeholders

All stakeholders will have varying levels of interest in the CEP based on their core business. Consider segmenting stakeholders before you begin engaging with them.

Consider segmenting stakeholders within a matrix to determine (1) their willingness to engage and (2) their level of influence with respect to implementation. It is good practice to focus first on the stakeholders with a high influence on energy and GHG emissions. See the Stakeholder Segmentation Matrix Template in Figure 5 as an example.

Figure 5 – Stakeholder Segmentation Matrix Template

It is important to keep track of stakeholder contact information as well as a record of stakeholder input. Consider using the Tools 4 Dev Stakeholder Analysis Matrix template to keep track of stakeholders and to highlight why the CEP is of value to them.44

This matrix can help with future engagement and can also help to avoid a loss of internal corporate knowledge in the event of staff turnover or attrition.


Energy Mapping as an Engagement Tool

An energy map illustrates spatial information about energy end use in a community. It can visually identify opportunities for reducing energy use (e.g. targeting energy efficiency programs), opportunities for shifting modes of transportation (e.g. transit projects), potential sources of energy (e.g. biomass), and opportunities for distributed energy resources (e.g. district energy systems).45

Consider the following when developing an energy map:

  • Before developing an energy map, consider the overall objectives of your CEP. Use the energy map as a strategic tool to illustrate opportunities to achieve those objectives.
  • Many energy data providers may not provide parcel-level information due to privacy constraints, however parcel-level data is often not needed to illustrate energy opportunities in your community. Consider developing your map at a postal code scale. If possible, identify energy intensity by land use type or building type or by hectare or m2
  • Maps should include key roads and/or buildings to help viewers orient themselves
  • Consider developing a variety of maps to illustrate energy use in buildings and transportation
  • Energy maps can be presented to stakeholder groups such as energy distributors, real estate developers, and the public in charrettes, stakeholder meetings, workshops and focus groups. Maps can be used to illustrate the objectives of the CEP, and to obtain input on actions to include in the CEP.

Tailor Stakeholder Engagement to Community Size and Resources

Consider the size of your community, its resources, and its ability to manage meetings. A larger community with a strong appetite for implementation may wish to have a number of committees, and a structure around these (e.g. a community committee that can feed ideas to a Mayor’s task force which in turn takes things to Council). A smaller community with fewer resources available for implementation may prefer to have just one committee, or no committee at all and to meet on an informal basis.

Recognize Community Stakeholder Progress when Monitoring and Reporting on Implementation

Strategy 8: Monitor and Report on CEP Implementation describes the importance of keeping track of the measurable results of the CEP on an annual basis and sharing those results with all political, staff and community stakeholders. While much of this progress is monitored by the local government, there is an opportunity to engage community stakeholders to provide input on measurable progress.

  • Consider providing a formal opportunity for community stakeholders to share measurable progress
  • Results can be presented in the form of ongoing Key Performance Indicators (such as the number of energy efficiency retrofits and/or the amount of kilowatt hours and gigajoules reduced)
  • Or they can be presented in the form of anecdotes (such as short case studies highlighting successes)
  • Meaningful engagement such as this can unlock many other opportunities to strengthen the value of the CEP.

Case Studies

Case Study 8

Stakeholder Engagement in the City of Kelowna, British Columbia

In 2012, the City of Kelowna adopted a Community Climate Action Plan containing 87 actions to be implemented by 2020. Of those actions, 59 were assigned to the local government and 28 were assigned to community stakeholders, including utilities, provincial government and others. In an effort to ensure that community stakeholders understood their roles in the implementation of the plan, the City of Kelowna circulated letters to the organizations responsible for implementing actions in the plan. These letters enabled the City of Kelowna to move forward on implementing actions that are not within its jurisdiction.82

Case Study 9

Stakeholder Engagement in Markham, Ontario

In 2014, the City of Markham began to develop a Municipal Energy Plan (MEP). As part of the MEP, the City created a Stakeholder Working Group.83

The desired outcome of the Stakeholder Working Group is to provide recommendations and feedback on the development of Markham’s MEP including:

  • Identifying energy opportunities and solutions to increase local energy production and conservation
  • Identifying synergies between industry stakeholders to implement MEP recommendations

See the Municipal Energy Plan Stakeholder Working Group Terms of Reference here.

See the list of stakeholders participating in the MEP Stakeholder Working Group here.

Case Study 11

Public Engagement on Community Energy in London, Ontario

The City of London, Ontario has documented public engagement efforts in a document entitled Learning from People: A Background Document for the Community Energy Action Plan:

As part of the development of the Community Energy Action Plan, the City of London undertook a campaign called ReThink Energy London. The City of London held a Community Energy Strategy Workshop and the London Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy to inform the development of the Community Energy Action Plan. Community Energy Strategy Workshop included an interactive energy mapping exercise that involved 31 participants from electrical, natural gas and thermal utilities, internal departments, environmental and transportation advisory committees and provincial staff, among other stakeholders. The city’s energy map was used to help stakeholders identify energy opportunities and risks, and to generated ideas and principles for energy actions in key areas such as buildings, transportation and low carbon energy generation in the City of London. Outcomes from the workshop can be found here:

Case Study 12

City of Yellowknife Community Energy Plan Communications Plan, Northwest Territories

The City of Yellowknife Community Energy Plan Communications Plan describes a detailed approach for engaging with the public.86 At the core of the plan, there is a recognition that in order to reduce GHG emissions across the community, Yellowknife residents and businesses must change current energy use practices. This requires a shift in awareness, attitudes and behaviour with respect to GHG emissions. The overall communication goal of the plan is to inform Yellowknife residents of changes that the City of Yellowknife will make and to implement communication programs that encourage ongoing reductions in Yellowknife GHG emissions.

Case Study 16

Monitoring and Reporting on Implementation Progress in the City of Guelph, Ontario

CEP reporting is coordinated annually by the Community Energy division of the Business Development and Enterprise department, and presented to the Corporate Administration, Finance & Enterprise Committee (this Committee is appointed by Council and made up of Councillors). A dashboard is used to display progress within eight key activity categories, plus a description of the status for each individual activity.

See the Guelph Community Energy Plan here.

Case Study 17

Monitoring and Reporting on CEP Implementation in the City of London, Ontario

The City of London Community Energy Action Plan (CEAP) was adopted in 2014. Alongside the plan, the City of London developed a background document describing a methodology for monitoring and reporting on community energy use. The background document describes a methodology for developing annual energy and emissions inventories. The document describes how the City of London will also work with stakeholders to develop new Key Performance Indicators, including economic, transportation, and energy performance indicators. The results from energy and emissions inventories, and other Key Performance Indicators will be included in an annual progress report outlining implementation progress of the CEAP.90