Community Dialogue Toolkit – Supporting Local Solutions to Local Challenges

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


The Community Dialogue Toolkit is a “how to” guide to holding community-based dialogue sessions. It has been written for use by community leaders of all types. Anyone who can start a conversation can use this toolkit. It offers a flexible approach that can be easily adapted to your community and its objectives.

We encourage you to use this toolkit to identify goals, build partnerships and seek out solutions that fit your community. You are also encouraged to share the results of your dialogues with the Government of Canada and other levels of government in order to maintain an awareness of rural Canada and the challenges it faces.

What Is a Community Dialogue?

A community dialogue is a forum that draws participants from as many parts of the community as possible to exchange information face-to-face, share personal stories and experiences, honestly express perspectives, clarify viewpoints, and develop solutions to community concerns and opportunities.

Unlike debate, dialogue emphasizes listening to deepen understanding. It develops common perspectives and goals, and allows participants to express their own interests.

As you will discover in this toolkit, a dialogue is a community conversation that can take many forms. It can involve five people around a kitchen table, five-hundred people in a large community hall, or anything in between.