MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Kirkham, Jennifer

Geographical Areas

Ontario, Hamilton, Guelph


This paper examines the opportunities and barriers for the further development of citizen engagement in the budgeting process within Ontario municipalities. Primary data was collected through a comprehensive survey provided to 444 municipalities in order to identify the current practices and challenges faced, while secondary data was collected through research assessing two Ontario municipalities that have implemented participatory budgeting – Hamilton and Guelph. The findings reveal that the barriers to citizen engagement in Ontario municipalities are not unique and they relate to major challenges that are linked to finding new ways to increase citizen interest and knowledge about budgeting and local issues, while also finding the necessary resources to manage and fund the engagement process.