There is a growing perception among Canadians that our democracy no longer functions adequately. On one level, the problem is seen as one of citizen participation. How can individual citizens become more involved in the policy-making process? How can representative institutions work more effectively? These are questions of paramount concern, not only to elected officials and political parties, but also to public servants deciding when and how to involve citizens in the policy process.
But the estrangement of citizens from collective institutions is only part of the story. Governance is not a synonym for government. Governance involves a complex web of public policy networks - including public and private sectors, institutions, and individual actors - that increasingly influence how, or even whether, the preferences and choices of citizens are reflected in policy.
Starting from the simple premise that routes to representation change as forms of governance change, CPRN has embarked on a new research program that seeks to describe and assess the impact of governance on social policy-making.