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B.C. launches new public engagement tool for environmental assessments

B.C. launches new public engagement tool for environmental assessments

VICTORIA, B.C. – British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office has launched a new tool for public engagement during the assessment process.

EPIC.engage is an engagement platform designed to “improve the overall experience for people providing feedback during the public comment periods of an environmental assessment,” a release said.

The site uses maps, diagrams and plain-language summaries of technical project information, accompanied by questions to provide experts and decision-makers with information.

Feedback is anonymous while the platform verifies an individual is providing feedback not a bot or bad actors seeking to undermine the engagement process, the release said. A post-submission section shows feedback from others and there are opportunities to amend and resubmit feedback if the original submission does not meet the required submission standards.

Work on the platform began in April 2022, funded through the B.C. government’s Strategic Investment Fund, in partnership with Telus.

The platform was designed with accessibility top of mind, to remove barriers to participation for those whose voices may be underrepresented in decision-making, the release said. It was also built using open-source code so it could be adopted and scaled to needs of business areas across government and other public organizations.

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