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Strategic communications and community engagement plan (2022-2026)Read the full plan (PDF 1.3MB)

Executive summary

Our vision for communications and engagement

An engaged community that listens to and learns from one another to shape Guelph’s future.

Our mission for communications and engagement

We deepen engagement between the City and those impacted by and interested in our work. We communicate truth, nurture relationships, create space for all voices, listen and foster dialogue.


This plan reflects the need for governments to be agile, effective, responsive, and increasingly resilient, even while we modernize and streamline our services. It also supports greater consistency, transparency, and collaboration across the organization and in our community.

Driven by the City’s values of integrity, service, inclusion, wellness, and learning, this plan is deeply and fundamentally connected to both Guelph’s community plan: A United Vision and the City’s strategic plan: Future Guelph.

It is also through communications and engagement that we tell the story of Guelph’s community and strategic plans on a daily basis, ensuring we’re working towards our goals and priorities as a community, and as the City.

Working together for our future

Staff in the City’s Strategic Communications and Community Engagement department has specific responsibilities for communications and engagement within the organization and the Guelph community. Meanwhile, other City employees communicate and engage with others in their day-to-day work. All City employees, especially front-line workers, are central to sharing information and listening. In doing so, they relay the expectations of our community to the organization, while being representatives for City programs and services in the community.

Our community has a role to play in successful communications and engagement efforts too. Building an engaged community that listens and learns from one another to shape Guelph’s future requires participation from the people who live, work, and do business here. By working together and being true to our community’s values we have an opportunity to build a flourishing community, a place we’re all proud to call home and where everyone is welcome.

This plan will guide City employees as we serve and engage with our community and improve access to government through individual accountability and collective responsibility.

Pillar 1: Listen

Two-way communication, that is both listening and sharing information, is critical to learning, fostering mutually beneficial relationships, and building trust. As such, we will:

  • Improve and increase two-way, audience-centric communications and engagement
  • Design and deliver excellent client- and customer-centric experiences

Pillar 2: Elevate

More focused effort on listening and learning will allow us to keep improving how we communicate and engage. We strive to serve from a place of curiosity, innovation, and growth, and to support each other and our community through empathy and understanding. We will:

  • Contribute to a culture of innovation and service excellence through internal communications
  • Build on communications excellence

Pillar 3: Evolve

Whether we’re looking at changes in best practice, advances digital technology, or learning more about the words and images we should use to represent our diverse community, we strive to evolve so that City services, including communications and engagement, are innovative, thoughtful, intentional, and inclusive. We will:

  • Focus on digital
  • Put inclusivity at the core of City communications and engagement efforts

Final thoughts

This plan is the culmination of the work of many collaborators, both at the City and in the community. It marks a new starting point on our collective journey, in how we interact and work with one another to make the City of Guelph a place we can all be proud of.

When we listen more and elevate and evolve our ways of communicating and engaging, everyone can positively influence where we go as a community.

It’s both exciting and daunting, but the outcome matters too much for us to let it slip away. As the saying goes: we will get out of it what we put in it.

All of us, together.

Next: The role of communications and engagement in organizations