Canadians said Adaptive Phased Management (APM) must be responsive to citizen expectations, priorities and concerns, even as these evolve over time. The social research program focuses on identifying and understanding these expectations, priorities and concerns to ensure they shape the development of our policies, plans and activities.The program includes supporting engagement and dialogue initiatives and monitoring best practices in Canada and abroad. Work in this area also includes:

  • Community well-being approaches 
  • Assessment of social, economic and cultural effects of our work
  • Community capacity-building approaches
  • Social issues relating to implementation of Canada's plan

Dialogue was important to the development of APM and the site selection process. Dialogues held with individuals, communities and organizations across Canada over a number of years were essential to developing an appropriate process for selecting a site for Canada's used nuclear fuel.

Why Dialogue?

Dialogue has been critical in implementing Canada's plan. NWMO dialogue is designed to encourage people to interact and reflect upon the views of others as they work together to reconcile those views with deeper values that underpin the choices facing us in decision-making. Dialogue is not the same as debate, as outlined in a Canadian Policy Research Network report prepared in 2004.
This photo shows a NWMO staff member in conversation with a community member at an open house event.

NWMO staff member in conversation with a community member at an open house event.

Debate vs. Dialogue

  • Debate assumes there is one right answer (and you have it); Dialogue assumes that others have pieces of the answer.
  • Debate can be combative and attempts to prove the other side is wrong; Dialogue is collaborative and attempts to find common understanding.
  • Debate is often about winning; Dialogue is about finding common ground.
  • Debate is often about listening to find flaws; Dialogue is about listening to understand.
  • Debate is often about defending your assumptions; Dialogue is about bringing up your assumptions for inspection and discussion.
  • Debate often involves criticizing the other side’s point of view; Dialogue is about re-examining all points of view.
  • Debate is about defending one’s views against others; Dialogue acknowledges that others’ thinking can improve one’s own.
  • Debate is often about searching for weaknesses and flaws in the other position; Dialogue involves searching for strengths and value in the other position.
  • Debate often involves seeking an outcome that agrees with your position; Dialogue involves discovering new possibilities and opportunities.

We continue to advance our work using this dialogue approach.