CCP Handbook - Comprehensive Community Planning for First Nations in British Columbia Third Edition

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Table of contents


The third edition of the Comprehensive Community Planning (CCP) Handbook comes after 10 years of passionate and inspiring work within the CCP community in British Columbia (BC). Since the handbook was first published in 2006, many First Nations in BC have begun their own CCP journey. A growing number of completed plans are being implemented with great success and significant benefit to the health and wellness of their communities.

With more and more communities moving into the implementation phase of CCP, the need to incorporate lessons learned and strengthen the implementation, and monitoring and evaluation sections of the handbook became obvious. In this edition, you will see that these sections have been expanded. You will also find more tools and resources to support the successful implementation of your own community's plan. Other additions to the handbook include information about social media and the CCP Mentorship Initiative, which have been instrumental to the planning success of many First Nations.

Although there have been many lessons learned over the years, some of the key aspects to a successful planning process remain the same:

  1. For planning to have the most meaningful and lasting effects, it must be truly community-based and community-driven; a plan that reflects the needs and desires of its people in a fundamental way has staying power.
  2. Meaningfully engaging everyone in the community to ensure that their voices are heard and incorporated into the plan takes a lot of time and energy – and is worth every minute!
  3. Planning is a core competency of good governance; the single best thing an external agent or consulting firm can do to support a community is to build the capacity of members in the nation to lead the process themselves.


We would like to acknowledge the original five communities who piloted CCP projects in 2004-6, and whose experiences formed the basis for this handbook – Okanagan, Lytton, Squiala, We Wai Kai (Cape Mudge) and Yekooche. A special thanks to Chris Derrickson from Westbank First Nation and Andrew Moore from T'Sou-ke Nation who put pen to paper to make this third edition of the CCP Handbook a reality. Finally, we would also like to thank the CCP champions in BC who have led planning work in their communities, participants from all of the past CCP workshops, and the CCP experts who have become mentors to others. The comments, stories and lessons learned they have shared have been instrumental in the development of CCP workshops and resource materials such as this handbook.

Map of First Nations Languages of British Columbia

In British Columbia (BC) there are 198 Indian Bands or First Nations, their culture as varied as the province’s terrain. There are over 30 languages spoken by First Nations in BC. Language plays an important role in BC First Nation culture and identity.

© 1994 UBC Museum of Anthropology This map is regularly revised. Latest revision October 15, 1996. Reproduced with permission.

Boundaries on this map mark out areas within which distinct languages are spoken. The areas are approximate and subject to revision. Names used here are those which are preferred by First Nations and have come into general acceptance for the languages concerned. They are also subject to revision.

Georgia Straits Region:

  1. Comox
  2. Sechelt
  3. Squamish
  4. Halkomelem
  5. Northern Straits Salish
  6. Clallam
  7. Nooksack

Comprehensive Community Planning: An Introduction

The First Nations of British Columbia have rich and varied cultures, histories and traditions.  They are becoming increasingly involved in comprehensive community planning (CCP) as a way of embracing change and planning a better future for their communities.

Comprehensive community planning is a holistic process that enables a community to build a roadmap to sustainability, self-sufficiency and improved governance capacity.

It is a community-led approach to planning, where the process is driven and owned by all community members rather than by a small group or committee.  Many First Nations communities across Canada are already engaged in planning and experiencing
great success.

Planning is an important tool on the path to self-governance and building capacity in First Nations communities. Each community requires a unique approach to planning that can be adapted to their culture and traditions — it can help individual First Nations make a positive difference in addressing the specific issues of their own communities.

The CCP Handbook breaks down comprehensive community planning into manageable stages for BC communities ready to tackle the planning process.

You will find step-by-step descriptions of the entire process, and read about lessons learned by BC First Nations who have tested various approaches to community planning. The handbook includes practical tools to encourage community involvement and develop the plan based on the community's vision and goals. The final section includes funding, educational and planning resources to support the development and implementation of your community's plan.

What is Comprehensive Community Planning?

A CCP is:

  • "Comprehensive" because it includes planning for all aspects of the community.
  • "Community" because it is a process that is driven and owned by everyone in the community.

A Holistic Process

Comprehensive community planning (CCP) is a holistic process undertaken with broad community participation.

A comprehensive approach:

  • enables the community to establish a vision for its future and implement projects to achieve this vision,
  • helps ensure that community projects and programs are thought through, make sense and are the best use of resources,
  • and integrates and links all other plans the community has produced.

Processes that are driven by the community, for the community, are more likely to result in positive change. That's why the CCP process is inclusive and represents the perspectives of all members, whether they reside within or outside the community.  All members of the community, including Elders, youth, and family representatives, can offer unique and valuable perspectives on community needs, values and priorities.

A CCP addresses key planning areas, all of which are interrelated and interdependent: governance, land and resources, health, infrastructure development, culture, social issues and the economy. Consideration of all key planning areas through one unified process defines community planning as a holistic and integrated exercise that can lead to sustainable development.

Sustainable Development

Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (Brundtland Commission, 1987)

"Comprehensive Community Planning is about using theories and principles from outside and incorporating our world view, to carry forward as our ancestors would have wanted."

Lydia Hwitsum, Cowichan Tribes

Sustainable development takes a long-term view. It encompasses all areas of our lives, including the economy, the environment (lands and resources), and the social and cultural aspects of our communities, including governance, education and health. Sustainable development is the guiding principle of comprehensive community planning.

Indigenous people have a tradition of living "sustainable" lives, taking a long-term view on sharing and protecting the land, the animals and the plants so that they can sustain future generations in perpetuity. In effect, this is planning for sustainability.

Each First Nation will decide on its own what sustainability means to them and how they can use comprehensive community planning to achieve the longevity of their people, culture, environment and economy.

For more information, visit:

Benefits of Planning for Your Community

Comprehensive community planning provides a framework and process for the community to explore its core values, and to establish a vision for the future and work toward achieving it.

Planning can benefit the entire community by creating positive change in a proactive way, while also protecting the values of the community. Planning can improve the performance of the band administration and any related organizations, as well as enhance the community"s governance tools and capacity.

Once in place, an effective community plan can:

  • Empower the community. The community becomes more self-aware, creates its own future, and has the tools to respond to change in an effective manner.
  • Improve performance. Having a plan leads to informed decision-making, combines fragmented efforts, decreases duplication, enables efficient use of resources, and identifies and solves organizational problems.
  • Build teamwork and expertise.  Planning improves communications within the First Nation's government, builds managerial and staff skills and supports capacity-building efforts.
  • Coordinate future development. The planning process identifies the community's priorities for the use of its land base and territory, anticipates future infrastructure and development needs, and helps to prevent conflicting developments.
  • Protect resources. The community is able to identify and protect vulnerable or valuable areas, traditions, or cultural values and practices.
  • Celebrate traditions and culture. The cultural aspects of the community may be a focus of the planning process.
  • Promote healing and reconciliation. Planning helps the community to work together to proactively address negative or painful community issues by establishing a positive vision for the future, and by taking the steps necessary to achieve that vision.
  • Create economic opportunities.  Examining and identifying sustainable economic opportunities is an essential part of creating a Comprehensive Community Plan. Having a plan in place will also help to attract investment.

The scope of comprehensive community planning may vary greatly depending on where the community's interests are in relation to matters such as treaty negotiations, approach to governance, and the extent to which it is addressing land and resource issues within its traditional territories.

What's Needed to Make Planning Work

There are some basic needs that apply to all phases of the planning process:

  • Community engagement and support
  • Capacity building and training
  • Communications
  • Social media
  • Resources
  • Mentorship

The Power of Process

It isn't every day that members are asked to contribute to a plan that includes a vision for the future of their community! The opportunity to come together to tell stories and develop a shared dream for the future can be a powerful, healing process. Don't rush to "finish" the CCP. Instead, take the time to hear from members and incorporate their ideas, building trust and respect along the way. Many First Nations have said that the process of developing the CCP has been as important, if not more important, than the plan itself.

"Planning is an opportunity to empower our community and our people. It strengthens our connection to our inner selves and to the outer world."

Gwen Phillips, Ktunaxa Nation

"We were a community that had experienced significant trauma. Through our CCP process, we have started working through those issues."

Jessie Hemphill, Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nation

Community Engagement and Support

Successful comprehensive community planning processes are those that are community-driven. All sectors of the community should have an opportunity to participate, including Elders, youth, and members residing within and outside the community. The plan must accommodate the needs of community members in order to have validity, credibility and member support for ongoing implementation.

With engagement, the community becomes a source of new ideas for discussion and action. Participation encourages people to take responsibility for initiating and implementing projects, and also creates momentum and sustains support. Engagement expands the leadership base of the community and presents opportunities to transfer planning and responsibility to other community members over time.

Establishing effective community engagement can be a difficult task. The following diagram provides some suggested solutions to some common challenges.

Practical Barriers:

  • Unaware of meeting
  • Not enough notice provided
  • Lack of understanding about planning process
  • Meetings held at inappropriate times
  • Other obligations at home or work
  • No transportation/inaccessibility
  • Lack of daycare/child care
  • Weather related


  • Create a communications strategy
  • Book meeting at set time and dates
  • Supply agendas to show meeting content
  • Provide minutes or notes for those who were unable to attend
  • Show progress with newsletters, posters
  • Provide information to the public
  • Use a survey rather than a meeting
  • Book individual meetings, lunches, home visits at flexible times
  • Provide transportation to meetings
  • Provide childcare services
  • Hold meetings indoors

Personal Barriers:

  • Non-neutral atmosphere
  • Lack of interest
  • Lack of leadership
  • Lack of trust
  • Lack of motivation
  • No cooperation
  • They feel their input is not important
  • Defeatist attitude
  • Fear of being wrong, speaking up, expressing opinions
  • Assume meeting will be run by non-First Nation person
  • Shyness
  • Scared of repercussions
  • Family or political domination
  • Intimidation
  • Expectation they should be paid


  • Friendly, welcoming attitude
  • Involve people on a personal level
  • Get children involved
  • Neutral meeting place
  • Provide focus group sessions or home visits
  • Provide examples of how planning will benefit the community
  • Acknowledge and appreciate participation
  • Make people understand the importance of their input
  • Keep giving positive feedback
  • Take all ideas into consideration
  • Have a facilitator
  • Have a neutral chairperson
  • Anonymous suggestion box
  • Put personal issues aside
  • Give credit to community members and acknowledge their accomplishments
  • Address issues and look for solutions

Capacity Building and Training

"A comprehensive community plan has to touch every part of us."

Gwen Phillips, Ktunaxa Nation

Although First Nations have been successfully planning for generations, the concept of a community-based, community-driven plan may be new to many individuals within their communities. Members may not be familiar with the steps of developing a comprehensive community plan. Strategic partners, such as consultants, may be engaged to perform the technical work, but are typically not community members and will not be responsible for implementing the plan. That's why communities need to build the internal capacity to actively lead in planning and implementation.

A planning team consisting of community members should lead all planning activities and work closely with strategic partners.  This enables planning team members to learn from their partners and build their own planning capacity. Another means of building capacity is to encourage community members to pursue post-secondary education opportunities in planning-related areas.

The planning team might engage strategic partners to hold training sessions for the team and other community members, to ensure knowledge and skill transfer on issues such as:

  • The planning process and model(s),
  • How to encourage community engagement,
  • How to ensure community buy-in and support,
  • Effective communication skills,
  • Effective facilitation of group meetings,
  • Preparing work plans,
  • Researching information and mapping,
  • Proposal writing and fundraising,
  • Managing contracts (e.g. for consultants), and
  • Conflict resolution.


Effective communication, both within and outside the community, provides a foundation for the successful development and implementation of a comprehensive community plan.

Effective and regular information sharing within the community ensures that the community is up-to-date on planning activities, understands the activities of the planning process and the planning team, and has the knowledge to actively participate in the process. Whether a newsletter, poster, or PowerPoint presentation, communications materials should be informative, engaging and written in plain language. Clear communications will help to foster good will towards the planning process.

Communicating outside the community — with other levels of government, private sector/industry, and academic institutions — can help your community coordinate its plan with other local or regional plans. Outside communications activities can also help your community gain support and access funds for the development and implementation of the plan. Keeping this network active after the plan has been completed can lead to cooperation, joint projects, awareness of the role of First Nations in the region, and financial support for implementation of the plan.

Developing a Communications Plan

Depending on the size and needs of your community, it may be useful to develop a full communications plan, which would include elements, such as:

  • overall strategy
  • goals and objectives
  • target audiences
  • key messages
  • tactics
  • budget
  • evaluation

More information about communications plans can be found in the First Nations Communications Toolkit produced by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (see reference section for more information).

Social Media

Social media websites and applications allow users to interact with one another by sharing, discussing and creating content. Examples of social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, blogs and YouTube. Social media is becoming more and more popular, and can be accessed on mobile phones as well as the Internet.

Social media can be a useful tool to incorporate into the development of a CCP.  For example:

  • Create a Facebook page or group for your community's CCP. Use it to advertise events and get feedback from community members. It's also a good way to connect with community members who may not live near the community anymore.
  • Create YouTube videos to promote your CCP and get people interested.
  • Use instant polling (e.g. at community meetings. You can take a quick poll by asking attendees to send a text message on their cell phone.
  • Start a blog to chronicle the CCP process in your community (with platforms such as Posterous, Blogger, Wordpress, or Weebly). If you are going to start a blog, commit to updating your blog at least three or four times per week, otherwise people may stop reading it.  You can write a couple of posts at a time, and set the blog to "autopost" them throughout the week. Also consider linking your Facebook, YouTube channel, Twitter feed and other social media profiles to your blog, so that you only have to post something once to the blog and it will automatically update all of your social media sites.

Whatever form of social media you use, there will be opportunities for people to comment and provide public feedback.  It's important to keep things positive and useful.  Make sure to monitor it every single day and to be diligent about responding to messages and comments in a constructive, positive way. It's also advisable to create a policy that is included in your info section, so that if things start getting defamatory or inappropriate, you have clear and public grounds for deleting the offensive comments or members. However, it's important not to delete or ignore all opinionated or negative comments, since those voices are also an important part of the conversation!

CCP and Facebook

In the lead-up to the 2011 CCP Workshop in Penticton, Jessie Hemphill from Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nations launched a Facebook group to initiate planning discussions and to begin building relationships among workshop participants. Following the workshop, the conversations, questions, stories and ideas kept flowing and the number of participants doubled. You can join the dialogue by going to, and searching for "CCP: BC First Nations."


There are many different phases involved in the comprehensive community planning (CCP) process.  Considerable time and resources, both human and financial, are required to carry out a CCP process and implement the outcomes.  It is essential that your community begin planning early to ensure it has adequate resources to be successful.

Resources are required for:

  • Involving the community: meetings, newsletters, website, referenda or other approval processes, etc.
  • Supporting the planning team: meetings; technical or computer-related equipment; photocopying, faxing, and other administrative costs; honoraria (if offered); capacity-building and training, etc.
  • Identifying and updating technology needs as part of supporting planning activities.
  • Working with strategic partners, particularly planning and technical consultants.
  • Implementing projects: some may require retaining a project manager or someone with specialized expertise; some will require program dollars; some may be implemented through re-focusing of the efforts of existing staff and/or existing funding; others may have little or no financial cost at all.

In the early stages of CCP, identifying all of the steps involved and resources required to successfully implement your plan can be overwhelming. A first step is to discuss CCP with other First Nations, planners, or AANDC staff. They can provide information on CCP and share knowledge on relevant resources such as other First Nations involved in the CCP process. 

Refer to the resources section to help you learn more about planning through educational programs, BC planning organizations and planning publications. You may also want to speak with different planning consultants to choose the right strategic partner and technical support for your community.

Communities need to identify several sources of secure, long-term funding to develop and implement the comprehensive community plan. The planning team and others should research, apply for, and secure different sources of support, such as funds from government or the private sector, contributions from your First Nation's administration and in-kind donations.  Developing a good network of planning contacts can also help you to identify funding sources. Refer to the resources section for a list of funding resources for planning and planning-related processes.


Sharing of ideas and success stories between communities has been a natural part of the comprehensive community planning (CCP) process from the start.  Now, a new mentorship initiative is taking that process further. The CCP Mentorship Initiative, which began in early 2012, brings First Nation planners who are new to CCP together with more experienced planning champions from other First Nation communities.

It's proving to be a win-win scenario. The communities being mentored are learning from the on-the-ground expertise, resources and tools that the mentors bring to the table. In turn, the experienced planners are finding it very rewarding to learn from and build the confidence and skill sets of the mentees, who are well-positioned to make a real difference to their people.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of the initiative is that the communities are developing relationships that will last a lifetime.

"Reciprocity is a word we have traditionally used among our people. It feels good to be able to offer support and, at the same time, there is so much we learn from each other."

Elaine Alec, Penticton Indian Band

"Having the support of someone who has done the process, and knows the tools and tricks really helps relieve the stress. You get into the mode of " Yes, I can do it!"

Darrell Thorne, Cowichan Tribes

"The mentorship initiative is really a model for sustainable capacity building. It allows for more organic relationships to arise between communities and colleagues than you typically get with a consultant. It creates peer-to-peer relationships, connections between communities and friendships."

Jessie Hemphill, Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nations

"Planning in First Nations communities needs to be culturally appropriate. It is clear that it is better to use First Nation practitioners. They understand the challenges and can suggest much more appropriate and culturally sensitive approaches."

Andrew Moore, T'Sou-ke Nation

"Who better to mentor a First Nation community than another First Nation? It's so rewarding to share cultures, ideas and processes. Not only are we learning a lot about other communities but we are creating life-long relationships."

Larissa Grant, Musqueam Indian Band

Piloting the Way

Lytton First Nation

With a population of approximately 1,950, Lytton First Nation is part of the larger Nlaka'pamux Nation and is made up of 56 reserves located at the confluence of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers in southern BC.

Building a Planning Team

Lytton First Nation developed a new approach for engaging with the membership: we formed a steering committee consisting of community members only. This approach allowed the membership to engage in open discussions without being reserved about honestly voicing their opinions, which sometimes happens in the presence of political leaders or administrative staff. As a result, a true community-based plan evolved from the membership. The leadership fully supported the initiative and listened to what had to be said. We had incredible support from Chief and Council, when the document was reviewed and we will use the information to move forward.

Engaging the community

The community of Lytton is a very consultative community.  Committees provide advice in many different areas, such as capital and infrastructure, service delivery, finance and governance. We incorporated this approach into our CCP process. We had participation from Elders, youth and community members at large. We shared information about CCP through the steering committee, by reporting directly to Chief and Council, and by giving updates through staff meetings, newsletters and community meetings.

Dealing with time pressures

If anyone asks how we could develop a comprehensive community plan in such a short period of time, the answer is that we had a lot of planning done before we began.  We had a governance model that separates the roles of Chief and Council and administrators, and a five-year strategic plan. Also, we have solid financial management.

Developing capacity

This CCP pilot project provided leadership skill development for the steering committee, committee chair and co-chair.  The Lytton First Nation lands department had the opportunity to receive extensive training in GIS mapping and database management. We now have the ability to plot our future. The first draft of the community plan presented to Chief and Council and administration staff, gave them the opportunity to further refine their planning skills and their understanding of community members' needs. In total, more than 30 people from our community gained experience in planning.


Lytton has a five-year strategic plan, which identifies which committee will do the necessary work, based on input by committees (infrastructure, finance, etc). Each committee includes relevant staff (program managers) and councillors. They work as a team in prioritizing actions, working toward their implementation, and determining whether to invite other partners (both internal and external) and which ones. The committees will also break down the planned activities/projects identified in the strategic plan by years, as some projects are not immediately achievable.

The Administrator assists each committee in identifying funding resources. She will be informed on each committee's priorities and will, in turn, inform Chief and Council. The community will be updated on priority actions/projects at one annual meeting (at a minimum) and through the First Nation's newsletter.

Examples of success

As a result of the plan, we completed an agricultural study.  AANDC's information on Lytton was 20 years outdated.  We updated it.  We also conducted a massive health survey on the population in the community including people with disabilities, Elders, etc.  Our study contains some very interesting information.  We also looked at how our organization is structured and redefined our organizational charts.  We found our community has a service delivery system for almost 2,000 people.  The community is working diligently to access services from different partners – other systems, local schools, etc. – not just AANDC.

The Planning Cycle: Spiral Diagram

The spiral diagram, which appears at the beginning of chapters throughout the handbook, is meant to reflect the continuous, non-linear process of planning. Although the planning process is depicted in four stages in this handbook, from pre-planning through to monitoring and evaluation, planning does not always progress neatly from one phase to the next. In fact, when you launch into a CCP process, it is more likely that the community is already implementing a project from an earlier planning process. Or, perhaps, in the midst of planning, the community decides to implement a quick-start project or go back to doing more research on community history. As the spiral illustrates, the planning process grows each time you move through the stages; more community input, greater focus, and increased knowledge add depth and richness to the planning process.

Comprehensive Community Planning: Step-by-Step

Creating a successful plan is an ongoing, step-by-step process.* Planning doesn't end at a certain point, but moves forward through each step and continues as you achieve results in your community. Planning can begin at any point in the cycle, and people can become involved in the community's planning activities at any stage.

Community involvement is essential for all stages of the planning process.

The four stages of comprehensive community planning are:

  1. Pre-planning Steps
    1. Assess community readiness
    2. Develop a budget, identify funding
    3. Build a planning team
    4. Research
    5. Build a work plan
  2. Planning Steps
    1. Gather background information
    2. Complete community analysis
    3. Create a vision statement and values
    4. Build a comprehensive strategic framework
    5. Set goals and objectives
    6. Identify activities and projects
    7. Create an implementation strategy
  3. Implementation Steps
    1. Prioritize actions (policies, programs and projects)
    2. Identify project management team
    3. Obtain necessary approvals and establish good communications and reporting plans
    4. Identify potential partners to support the project
    5. Identify funding and other resources
    6. Create work plans, budgets, feasibility studies and business plans
    7. Project management
    8. Learn lessons, develop best practices and celebrate successes
    9. Maximize community training, mentorship, capacity building and employment
  4. Monitoring & Evaluation Steps
    1. Analyze results
    2. Review and recommend
    3. Revise and update
    4. Share and celebrate your community's accomplishments

* Please remember that the steps suggested within this handbook are intended only as a guide, and should be modified to meet the specific needs and circumstances of your community.

Pre-planning Getting started


  • Pre-planning is the time to:
    • assess whether the community is ready to start planning,
    • inform the community and its leaders about the planning process and gain their support, and
    • prepare the groundwork for an open, inclusive and effective planning process.
  • By the end of pre-planning you will have a planning team and coordinator in place, a  work plan to guide the planning process, and strategies to keep the community well-informed  and actively engaged in the planning process.
  • The planning process is community-driven and benefits from a variety of perspectives. Pre-planning can be initiated by any community member, but works best if developed and supported by the majority of the community and its leaders.
  • Encourage all members of the community to participate including Elders, youth, family heads, nation administration, chiefs, councillors and general community members. Each brings a unique point of view to the planning process and their involvement ensures that the diverse needs of the community are being considered.
  • Sharing information is a key component of the pre-planning stage. People are more supportive of an idea or concept if they understand what it is about. Inform the general community, as well as Chief and Council, about the purpose of the planning process, its outcomes, and its steps and phases. Keeping the community up to date will help build support for your goals. Share information about the planning model and process, the structure of the planning team, and ways the community can participate in planning.
  • Building community support can happen formally and informally. A formal process could include establishing a community mandate for undertaking comprehensive community planning, and confirming it through a referendum or some similar means. Informal processes could include generating feedback on the planning process through surveys or community meetings.
  • A Planning Champion will often introduce the idea of planning to the community and leadership, and can drive the process, gain support and help build a planning team. A planning champion can be any community member. They may come forward as a result of a trigger in the community — issues such as a proposed land development, a move into the treaty process or a crisis that gets people talking. The planning champion needs to be based in the community, respected by community members and prepared for a long-term commitment to the planning process.

Pre-Planning: Step-by-Step

Step 1: Assess Community Readiness

Finding a CCP Champion

CCP champions are more than just nine-to-five employees in the band office. They are the backbone of your community's planning process, bringing enthusiasm, curiosity and fun to the table. CCP Champions may find themselves designing posters, organizing activities for youth, having tea with Elders, researching history, cooking meals, developing surveys and arranging childcare. CCP champions bring people together, make them feel comfortable and included, and have a passion for working with and learning from members of their community.  Many CCP champions have had little or no planning training when they begin. What they do have is a willingness to learn, to listen and to get out into the community to start talking to people.

"You already have natural planners in your community."

Gwen Phillips, Ktunaxa Nation

Is your community ready to start the comprehensive planning process? Before taking the first steps, the community needs to assess whether or not it is capable of going through the planning process at this time. Are the necessary people, capacity and resources available?

Community readiness includes support for the process by the community and leadership. If your community is ready to go ahead, you may wish to ask Council to endorse the planning process through a Band Council Resolution or similar mechanism. From the beginning, it is important to build understanding and support by sharing information with the community and leadership.

If the planning process is postponed for now, consider developing a plan of action for getting the community ready at a future time. (See the resources section for publications and other resources)

Step 2:  Develop a Budget, Identify Funding

Funding is needed throughout the planning process. Pre-planning is the time to figure out a budget for the whole process and identify potential sources of funding.

What would funds be used for? They may be needed to support a planning coordinator and trainee, for technical support, for holding community meetings, for writing and copying information updates, or for a variety of other activities that your planning committee determines will need financial support during the planning process.

Once you decide what funding is needed for, it's time to:

  • develop a budget for the planning process (it doesn't need to be exact),
  • identify possible funding sources (see the resources section for potential sources), and
  • write proposals to those funding sources.

Build a Communications and Engagement Plan

Your community members are the foundation of your CCP. Keeping members informed, getting their input and encouraging their participation in meetings, events and working groups will be central to the success of your planning process. So, how are you going to get them involved?

Spend some time in this early planning stage developing a plan for how you will engage members in the CCP process. Will you have large community gatherings, smaller meetings, family sessions, surveys and/or one-on-one interviews? Will you join existing groups and meetings to ensure that you get to where the people are?

Next, add ideas for how you will keep everyone current on the CCP's progress. Will you share regular updates via e-mail, newsletter, website, Facebook and/or by speaking with individual community members? Will you put posters up around the community, deliver newsletters by hand and/or go door-to-door to make sure everyone hears the news?

How you engage and communicate with community members will depend on the size of your community and how they are most likely to receive information. Remember that an informed and engaged community is your best bet for a powerful planning process.

"Not one single person owns the plan. It belongs to the community."

Elaine Alec, Penticton Indian Band
Step 3: Build a Planning Team

In bringing together a planning team, you will assemble a group that represents the many different sections and areas of expertise within your community.

Together, the planning team will:

  • lead the planning process,
  • conduct research,
  • share information with the community and other partners,
  • provide updates to community and leadership on planning activities,
  • fundraise,
  • work closely with any strategic partners to develop the comprehensive community plan, and
  • review drafts and finalize the comprehensive community plan.

The planning team could form smaller working groups to lead different aspects of the planning process.

You may wish to draft a Terms of Reference for your planning team. This document summarizes the guiding principles of the team including the purpose and scope of the planning process, how you will engage community members, what timeframe you are considering, and roles and responsibilities.

Step 4:  Research

Existing plans are central to CCP

Your community may already have plans and research sitting on the shelves from previous projects. The information in these documents will give you and your CCP team an excellent starting point for your work. Historical records, land use maps, and previously identified goals and priorities all feed into the CCP process. No one wants to repeat work that has already been done, so show the community how diligent you've been in pulling together related materials from the get-go!

Comprehensive community planning is unique to each group and its situation. Research can help you understand how to make the planning process relevant to your community.

Learn about comprehensive community planning by talking to other First Nations and neighbouring municipalities/districts, by using the Internet and by checking the references listed at the end of this Handbook.

Research will help you find answers to the following questions:

  • What does comprehensive community planning mean?
  • What are the benefits of comprehensive community planning?
  • What comprehensive community planning models exist?
  • Which model, or combination of models, is the best approach for our community?
  • What are our key planning areas?
  • What techniques can we use to ensure community engagement and support for our planning process?
  • What principles will we adopt to guide our planning process?

Planning principles can act as a guide or checklist for the planning process. Principles are "accepted truths" — things that everyone believes are true and add value to what we do.

Here are some examples of principles: community- based, representative, inclusive, respectful, supported, integrated, results-based, easy to understand, and realistic.

Step 5:  Build a Work Plan

Based on information discovered during the research step, the planning team will outline a comprehensive planning process for the community.

Then, this general outline will be developed into a more detailed work plan that sets out for each planning phase:

  • What needs to be done (activities)?
  • By whom (roles and responsibilities)?
  • By when (timelines)?
  • How much it will cost (budget)?

Pre-Planning: Tools

The tools section of this handbook contains practical tools and worksheets that can help during the pre-planning stage:

Tool 1: CIEL Community Life Cycle Matrix
A self-assessment tool from the Centre for Innovative and Entrepreneurial Leadership (CIEL) that looks at characteristics of thriving communities and helps assess readiness for the planning process

Tool 2: Components of a Proposal
Outlines the main sections of a typical funding proposal

Tool 3: Terms of Reference for a Planning Team
Example of a Terms of Reference document which outlines the planning team's goals, methods and responsibilities for the planning process

Tool 4: Comprehensive Community Planning Checklist
A detailed community planning checklist to use as a reference/guide for the entire planning process

Tool 5: How and When to Engage Community Members
Techniques for involving the community in the planning process

Tool 6: Ways to Increase Participation
Further techniques to inspire more participation from the community

Tool 7: Community Groups to Engage and Involve
A list of potential community groups who should be involved in all stages of the planning process, and how they can contribute

Tool 8: Communication Tips
Techniques for effectively communicating and sharing information with members of the community

Integrating Community Vision and Values

Westbank First Nation

Implementing a comprehensive community plan means more than just completing projects or implementing new programs. It also requires integrating the values, principles and cultural practices, identified through the planning process, into the administrative structure of your government operations, community service delivery and government organization.

Following suggestions in the comprehensive community plan and process, the Westbank First Nation placed culture and language at the heart of its planning.

Using Culture as a Framework

They used the story, How Food Was Given, and a traditional decision-making method, called Enowkinwixw, as a framework for their plan.

How Food Was Given tells of how the animal people, under the leadership of the Four Food Chiefs, prepared for the arrival of humans on earth. Following the lead of Chief Black Bear, the grand chief of all living things, Chief Spring Salmon, Chief Bitterroot and Chief Saskatoon Berry all agreed to give their lives for the humans. This story teaches principles of sacrifice, service and leadership, and the characters all embody further layers of wisdom and cultural knowledge. The community based its entire CCP plan on the Four Food Chiefs. Chief Black Bear represents governance, Chief Spring Salmon represents economy, Chief Bitterroot represents land, and Chief Saskatoon Berry represents community.

Incorporating CCP values into other plans

"Root the CCP in what it means to be a member of your nation."

Chris Derrickson, Westbank First Nation

During implementation, it became apparent that the WFN organization needed to reflect the cultural values expressed in The 2010 Westbank First Nation Community Plan. As a result, the WFN website, the Council Strategic Plan for Government Operations, and the WFN committee structure were all revised and reorganized to reflect the organization of the community plan around the Four Food Chiefs.  This was accomplished in three stages.

First, the WFN website was reorganized under the Four Food Chiefs. This meant incorporating the same branding and format used in the plan, and integrating the language and cultural icons.

Second, the Chief and Council held a planning session to revise their strategic plan and align it with the Community Plan. As a result, the strategic plan uses the framework of the Four Food Chiefs to communicate Council's priorities and objectives to the members and staff.

Third, staff used the newly revised Council Strategic Plan to reorganize the committee structure of WFN under the Four Food Chiefs. Now, when the budget and annual reports are presented to the membership, they are structured around the Four Food Chiefs.

The outcome of all this work is an organizational structure that reflects the community's values, principles and culture. Chief Robert Louie remarked that, "This (CCP) is a document we can all be proud of. It represents the vision of the community and revives our culture and language in a way that is practical and relevant to our people."

Planning Creating the Plan


"Understand where your community came from. Know your history and your people."

Chris Derrickson, Westbank First Nation
  • In the planning stage, the community identifies its vision and values, and the specific steps that will be taken in order to realize that vision.  Supported by the planning team, the community will:
    • describe itself,
    • analyze its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats,
    • establish its vision and values,
    • build a comprehensive planning framework that addresses all areas of community life (including goals and objectives, projects and activities, and priorities), and
    • create a detailed plan for implementing activities and monitoring progress.
  • The community must drive the planning process in determining its own vision, values, goals, objectives and activities/projects. Youth should be encouraged to become involved in the visioning process, as they are the leaders of the future. Community leaders can provide direction, encouragement and endorsement of the plan.
  • Administration, including managers and staff, are excellent sources of information, particularly during the more detailed planning stages of identifying strengths and issues, developing goals, objectives and activities, and linking funds and resources to these activities. Because administration will be responsible, in large part, for implementing the plan, all managers and staff should be familiar with the plan, particularly in their areas of responsibility. It will be important for managers and staff from different departments to create effective communication processes so they can coordinate and cooperate on projects that affect a number of planning areas and departmental responsibilities.
  • The planning stage may involve strategic partners. The community may decide to hire a consultant with technical and planning expertise or use partners to help community members learn about the process and review existing planning documents. It is also useful to engage with other governments (e.g. municipalities or regional districts) or the private sector to review any plans already in place and/or to identify areas of possible cooperation.
  • Once a comprehensive community plan has been developed, the plan will need to be vetted by the community. Awareness and endorsement are necessary for the plan to become a long-term guide for community development that transcends changes in political leadership. How your community endorses its plan will be specific to its circumstances and traditions. Possible options include:
    • Community referendum: all eligible voters cast a ballot on whether or not they support the draft plan (the community determines the required level of approval). 
    • Vote at a community meeting: less formal mechanisms for approval could be a simple show of hands at a convened community meeting or a three-reading process where the plan is presented at a series of community meetings, followed by a vote during the last meeting.
    • Traditional method: some communities may have an accepted traditional method of decision-making appropriate for approving the plan (e.g. the consensus of heads of families).
    • Support and/or ratification from Chief and Council for the plan will help during implementation.
  • Celebrate! Once the comprehensive community plan has been endorsed, a formal ceremony to celebrate is in order, where community leaders can acknowledge the community's wishes and commit to implementing the plan. This is also an opportunity to publicly communicate to others including neighbouring governments, the private sector and strategic partners, that the community now has a comprehensive community plan in place.

What does a CCP look like?

The CCP created by each community will be unique. The format for the final product should make sense for your community and for the people who will be reading and using it. Here are some examples of how CCPs can take shape:

  • A printed booklet with photos and graphics
  • A loose-leaf binder, so that sections can easily be removed and updated
  • A spreadsheet with goals, objectives and projects
  • A series of posters that outline the community vision, goals and activities
  • A PowerPoint presentation highlighting the process and the plan
  • Shorter, simplified versions of the above to distribute to households

Planning: Step-by-Step

Step 1:  Gather Background Information

The first step in planning is to develop an understanding of the current situation in the community, including its extraordinary qualities. The planning team will need to summarize the findings in an overview document.

This step may involve research, mapping activities, and talking and meeting with community members. Start by gathering a wide range of information, including any existing plans and studies. Much of the information you need is already in your community or can be accessed from government partners. Existing material will help the team identify what gaps need to be filled in the gathered information and help them make efficient planning decisions.

Community Surveys

You can create surveys to gather community statistics and information on the interests and concerns of members. Surveys can be completed by hand, email or online using a website or Facebook page. Some communities have hired youth to go into the community with mobile devices (such as iPads or laptops) or paper surveys to get survey responses directly from each member.

When you create surveys, make sure to think carefully about what you are trying to learn, and how to ask the right questions. For example, instead of asking "Do we need a youth centre in our community?" (when it's likely that most people will say "yes") consider reframing the question to "What kind of activities or programs could we offer for youth in our community?" to get a broader response.

Here are some websites that you can use to create surveys:

  • Since this website is Canadian-based, your data is protected under Canadian law (other websites may not protect your data).
  • This website can be used for free for surveys of up to 10 questions.

Here is a sample checklist for gathering background information:

Housing and infrastructure development

  • ❑ Assets
  • ❑ Community technology plan
  • ❑ Any existing plans, including those of other governments
  • ❑ Housing designs
  • ❑ Rental vs. ownership


  • ❑ Employment rates
  • ❑ Employment industry (i.e. seasonal, sectors)
  • ❑ Human resources inventory
  • ❑ Economic organizations
  • ❑ Any existing plans, including those of other governments


  • ❑ Population
  • ❑ Population growth rate
  • ❑ Age and gender distribution


  • ❑ Statistics — incidence of disease, mortality rates, substance abuse, etc.
  • ❑ Programs and services
  • ❑ Any existing plans, including those of other governments


  • ❑ Statistics — social issues, social assistance rates, educational attainment rates, etc.
  • ❑ Programs and services
  • ❑ Community organizations
  • ❑ Any existing plans, including those of other governments


  • ❑ History/culture of the community
  • ❑ The role culture plays in the community
  • ❑ Programs and services
  • ❑ Community organizations
  • ❑ Any existing plans

Lands and resources (maps)

  • ❑ Location (including maps)
  • ❑ Surrounding areas
  • ❑ Activities on, uses of, the land
  • ❑ Resources available including uses
  • ❑ Any existing plans, including those of other governments


  • ❑ Central leadership body
  • ❑ Other leadership bodies
  • ❑ Government relationships (municipalities, provincial, regional)
  • ❑ Programs and services offered
  • ❑ Staffing levels
  • ❑ Any existing plans
Step 2:  Complete Community Analysis

Now you are ready to review the assembled background information and understand what needs to be changed or built on, based on the community's challenges and possibilities.

The analysis stage allows the community to:

  • ask itself why its circumstances are what they are,
  • understand why things work when they are successful,
  • understand the root causes of its problems,
  • identify how it can improve situations, and
  • identify the opportunities it can take advantage of.

SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis provides a useful framework for community analysis. Ktunaxa Nation chose SWOT to mean "Start With Our Truth" as a means of openly and honestly acknowledging the causes for challenges within the community.

SWOT could be applied to each of the key planning areas – governance, lands and resources, health, social, culture, economy, and infrastructure development.

Step 3:  Create Vision Statement and Values

"We must know who we are to know where we are going."

Elaine Alec, Penticton Indian Band

In a community vision, members describe their hopes and dreams for their community in the future. A vision is a bold, yet realistic, picture of your community's future. For the purpose of comprehensive community planning, a time horizon of anywhere from 10 to 50 years is possible.

A vision:

  • refers to the elements that make up your community including people, lands and resources,
  • and infrastructure is influenced by members' aspirations, interests, values, dreams, roots and potential.

To develop a vision, bring people together at community meetings or focus groups to describe, draw, paint, or act out their vision of the community's future. Another option is to use photos, pictures, maps or objects that people can organize into collages or models.

Once community members have shared their perspectives, extract the key themes or messages — the community's values. Values may include healthy community, traditional lifestyle, honesty and integrity, transparency, and responsible stewardship.

Use these values to draft some broad vision statements, including or representing as many of the themes and values as possible. Continue to hold community participation sessions to review and redraft the vision statement and community values, as necessary.

Community mapping is another effective tool in creating a community vision, particularly in focus group settings. Start with a map of your traditional territory. Fill in existing communities, infrastructure, and activities. Then fill in what the community would like to see in the future: infrastructure development, cultural zones, traditional gathering areas, economic development opportunities, and others.

Examples of BC First Nations' Vision Statements

"Strong healthy citizens and communities, speaking our languages and celebrating who we are and our history in our ancestral homelands, working together, managing our lands and resources as a self-sufficient, self-governing Nation."  

Ktunaxa First Nation vision statement

"We are of one heart and mind."

Musqueam First Nation vision statement

"We are Syilx who receive our strength from our timix and encompass what is good for our livelihood. We are committed to our language and the teachings of our captiklw and respect that everyone has value and purpose to come together as one."   

Penticton Indian Band vision statement

"We will be a community with a strong and distinct culture, where our language, traditions, and the teachings of our ancestors live on throughout the generations. We will continue to be care takers of our sacred and important places. We will gather often to celebrate and support each other."

Excerpt from Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw First Nations vision statement

"Our Creator placed us on this land to take care of our people, our land, our language, our customs, our knowledge, our culture, our title, to be ours forever and ever. Ensuring that we live in a safe, healthy, self sufficient community where cultural values and identity are consistently valued promoted and embraced by all."

Adams Lake Indian Band vision statement

Visioning Principles Should...

  • Be specific but general (not so abstract that it doesn’t have any effect, nor so rigid that it creates limitations)
  • Reflect a course that can be acted upon (but does not apply to only one specific situation)
  • Be inclusive and proactive in reaching out to everyone
  • Be accountable – have an open and transparent visioning process
  • Use traditions as a resource – draw on history and tradition to determine how to face the future
Step 4: Build a Comprehensive Strategic Framework

A comprehensive strategic framework provides the basis of the community plan.  The framework is organized into planning areas, each of which contains the goals, objectives, projects/activities and desired outcomes that reflect the community vision.

To turn the community vision into a reality, you will need to develop a framework that is comprehensive enough to start addressing issues identified in all planning areas including governance, health, education, infrastructure, environment, social, culture, economy, etc.

By identifying and linking these planning areas, you will be able to most effectively build a plan that will help to begin working towards achieving the community vision.

When building a strategic framework:

  • Identify and organize information under key planning areas, such as governance, lands and resources, health, social, culture, economy and infrastructure development;
  • Explore how technology can be used to support and integrate each organization within the community;
  • Keep the amount of information at an overview level;
  • Be accurate and concise;
  • Look for exceptions–concentrate on aspects that really stand out; and
  • Share information with the community–prepare a display, host an open house or community dinner, etc.

The next steps will help to fill in the planning areas of the Comprehensive Strategic Framework with specific goals, objectives, projects/activities and outcomes.

Planning Framework

Although the diagram on the right uses a framework of seven sectors, each community should chose a framework that best reflects their community. Here are some examples:

?aqam's (St. Mary’s Indian Band) Planning Framework

  • Lands and Resources
  • Language and Culture
  • Spirit of Community
  • Community Government
  • Health
  • Recreation
  • Education and Learning
  • Economy
  • Infrastructure
  • Energy
  • Housing
  • Safety and Security

T’sou-ke Nation’s Planning Framework

  • Energy Autonomy
  • Food Self-sufficiency
  • Cultural Revival
  • Sustainable Economic Development
Step 5: Set Goals and Objectives 

This step identifies broad community goals within each planning area and the specific objectives required to meet those goals. Goals represent the strategic pathway that the community wants to take to fulfill its vision; objectives are the stepping stones required to construct that pathway.


  • a broad, general statement about what the community wants to have happen
  • can be achieved within a medium timeframe
  • a "pathway" toward achieving the community vision


  • a specific statement of how to reach the larger goal
  • can be achieved within a short timeframe
  • describes what concrete actions you will take to realize each goal
  • SMART (see sidebar)
  • a stepping stone in the pathway toward achieving the community vision

Goals in each planning area flow from the community vision and needs identified by the community. Objectives, in turn, flow from the goals. Most goals will have several objectives. The community should set its own goals and objectives through an inclusive process, allowing all members to have input.

"SMART" Objectives

Well-set objectives are:

  • Specific: they are not general – they state exactly what is to be achieved
  • Measurable: they can be evaluated easily and demonstrably with evidence
  • Attainable: they are achievable given the opportunities and constraints of our environment
  • Realistic: they take current capacity into account
  • Time: they are set within a clear timeframe

Examples of goals and objectives that are SMART:

Goal: Win the gold medal in hockey in the 2022 Winter Olympics
Objective: Win 20 hockey games each year before 2022

Goal: Win today’s hockey tournament
Objective: Put the puck into the net more times than the other team

The planning process is like a funnel: you work down from the BIG picture (vision) to very specific actions and outcomes.

To set goals and objectives, begin with the key planning areas. Use the community's vision, values and needs to guide the goal-setting discussion.

To create community goals within each key planning area, ask:

  • What do we want to accomplish in this area in the next 10, 15, 20, 25 years?
  • How do our vision, values and needs guide our goal setting in this planning area?

The next step is to create the objectives required to achieve the goal. Typically, several objectives may be identified to address a goal. For each goal, ask:

  • What can we do to achieve this goal?
  • What are the separate objectives — how many actions must take place?

When setting goals and objectives, you must know the desired outcomes or results. An outcome is a measurable change that occurs as a result of action taken to meet a goal and its objectives.

Action must be taken in order to meet the goals and objectives you have set for your community, to reach the desired outcomes and to measure your progress.

Step 6:  Identify Activities and Projects

The next step in planning is to identify activities and projects to help achieve your goals and objectives.

Goals and objectives are usually long term, while activities and projects will become part of annual work plans of managers and staff on an operational level. It is important that everyone understands how the specific activities in their respective planning areas flow from the broad community vision, and that they understand which activities they are responsible for.

To determine activities and projects, begin with the objectives identified for each key planning area.  For each objective, ask:

  • What activities would support this objective?
  • What measurable steps can we take in the next year to make progress?
  • What resources are needed to achieve the objective?
    • Financial
    • Human resources and skills
    • Political
    • Relationships and strategic partners
    • Technology
    • Communications and public information
  • Are current resources sufficient?
  • Should we re-organize how we use our resources or will we have to find new resources?
  • Who will lead/implement the strategic activities?
  • Who will be responsible for completing work plans?

To ensure activities and projects are completed, include them as part of work plans for administration and staff. Always write down who will be responsible for completing the work plans and when they will be completed, and check in on a regular basis to measure progress.

The table below gives an example of the planning process from vision to outcomes.

Planning Area: Governance
Community Vision and values Goals Objectives Projects/
  • Strong and effective self-government
  • Accountability, transparency, effectiveness
  • Refine the organizational/governance structure of our First Nation by 2017 to support accountability, transparency and effectiveness of government operations
  • Revise policies and procedures of each department by Dec. 2014
  • Restructure departments as necessary by Dec. 2016
  • Establish committee(s) to guide the reorganization process by Dec. 2014
  • Report on new governance structure and policies, and an action plan that is to be implemented

Plan for Housing in your CCP

Housing is an integral part of community development and impacts the well-being of individuals. If your CCP includes high-level goals and objectives for housing in your community, you may consider developing an in-depth housing plan to support implementation. Here are some tips to think about:

  • To be effective, the housing plan should be a shared vision of what the community's housing will look like in the future.
  • When you are setting out to engage with the community about the CCP, plan to talk about the housing needs of the community as part of the process.
  • Some things to think about – How many people rent their homes and how many own them? Does the community need multi-family homes, single-family homes, Elders housing and/or singles housing?
  • Quality of construction, adequate sizing, design and financial viability are major considerations to be addressed for ensuring safe and affordable housing in communities.
  • Community-based housing plans may include policies, home occupant agreements, administrative processes, financial requirements, alternative designs and infrastructure needs.

For more information, please reference the Assembly of First Nations and First Nations National Building Officers Association resources, and A Practical Guide to Housing: How to Access Housing Subsidies at the back of the handbook.

Step 7:  Create an Implementation Strategy

Ideally, by the end of Step 6, the planning team will have developed a comprehensive strategic framework including goals, objectives, actions/projects and desired outcomes in each planning area. Now, the implementation strategy will describe how to make this framework a reality.

A thorough implementation strategy includes priorities, indicators of success (accomplished objectives and reached desired outcomes), responsibilities, timeframes, and required resources and support for implementation.

To create an implementation strategy, the first step is to prioritize the activities and projects identified by the community and to set the agenda for short, medium, and long-term action.


For each activity or project identified under each key planning area, the following questions can help prioritize activities:

  • Community benefit
    • Does the project address an urgent issue?
    • Will the project benefit the majority of the community?
    • Is the project/activity part of basic infrastructure, health or safety?
    • How will the project impact future generations?
    • Will the project/activity lead to greater sustainability?
  • Community capacity
    • Do we have the ability to undertake this project/activity ourselves?
    • Does the project utilize and build on local resources (i.e. labour, materials)? 
      • Is this in the short-term?  Long-term?
    • What opportunities exist for training, education and capacity-building?
  • Technical feasibility
    • Is the project realistic?  Can it be done?
    • What is the timeframe for completion?
  • Cost and affordability
    • What is the overall cost of the project? This may include capital costs, the cost of strategic partners, annual operation costs, social costs and environmental costs.
    • What other unpredicted costs might emerge?
    • Does the project require infrastructure improvements (water, sewer, fire protection, roads)?
    • What sources of funding or other support exist?

These questions will help you identify which projects and activities will be key priorities, and which ones can wait a while before being implemented. After assessing the activities and projects, group them according to anticipated time frame:

  • Short-term: To be acted on immediately (within the next five years). The implementation strategy should focus on these projects/activities.
  • Medium-term: To be acted on in a timeframe between five and 10 years. These tasks will provide a framework for the development of the next implementation plan.
  • Long-term: To be acted on in a timeframe between 10 and 20 years. These should be identified in the Comprehensive Community Plan, but not in any great detail — circumstances can change dramatically over the next 10 years.
Monitoring & Evaluation

Another purpose of the implementation strategy is to identify a process for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the Comprehensive Community Plan. The following could be included in a monitoring and evaluation strategy:

  • Regular timelines for evaluation
  • Process for monitoring and evaluation
  • Community involvement
  • Process for accepting revisions to the Comprehensive Community Plan

Pre-Planning: Tools

The tools section of this Handbook contains practical tools and worksheets that can help during the planning stage:

Tool 9:  Steps to Hiring a Professional Planner
A tool for developing the terms and conditions for hiring a consultant

Tool 10:  Community Asset Assessment Charts
A series of worksheets for identifying the existing assets in the community

Tool 11:  SWOT Analysis
A tool for creating an understanding of where the community is now, and to identify what could influence its future goals

Tool 12:  Visioning Questions
Sample questions to get the community thinking about their ideal vision of the future

Tool 13:  Goals, Objectives and Projects Tracking Chart
A chart to record, link and monitor goals, objectives and projects/activities

Tool 19:  Decision Analysis Tool
A tool for prioritizing projects, policies and programs

Successful Implementation


Have you wondered what happens when you've completed most of the projects identified in your CCP?

Maybe that seems like a long way off for your community. However, if there is a commitment to see the plan through, you may one day realize that many of projects are completed and objectives are being met. That means it's time to update the plan.

Squiala First Nation has been compared to the little train that could. In a very short period, this small band of 189 members has completed the majority of the projects outlined in their comprehensive community plan. This process took only six years and successful implementation was the key to getting it done.

Squiala First Nation is located adjacent to the city of Chilliwack. For years, there was talk of extending city roads through the reserve. Squiala saw this as an opportunity and began to engage the city in negotiations. This capital investment would bring services and increased traffic through the reserve lands. So they set to work creating a land use plan with funds provided by the city. After finishing the land use plan, it was evident they needed more than just a blueprint for land development. They also needed to include other community aspirations.

Getting Started on CCP

The comprehensive community plan process started in 2005 with pilot funding from AANDC. Membership engagement was simple. Having a small membership was a benefit, and they took only a year to complete the CCP and finished their plan in March of 2006. Through this process, they also revamped the land use plan. As they finished their planning, the road and services came through the reserve and so did the development of Eagle Landing, a large commercial development which included a Wal-Mart, Shell Gas Station, movie theater and a number of small businesses.

The Squiala First Nation Community Plan identified a number of large projects to complete. Tammy Bartz, the band manager and only employee at the time, was the planning champion. Upon completion of the plan she transitioned to the implementation champion, a role she says is crucial to successful implementation. "You have to have an implementation champion. If you don't, the CCP is going to go nowhere."

Completing Major Projects

With the development came the funds to complete many of the projects. The first big project was the construction of a new longhouse. The original longhouse, built in 1982, was lost in a fire during the early 1990s. The community had identified cultural revitalization as a priority so they set to work on the construction of a longhouse which was completed in 2011. They also implemented a language program after successfully applying for a grant from First People's Heritage, Language and Cultural Council.

Another major goal was the construction of new community facilities such as a band office, gym, school and fitness center. The original goal of council was to build it near Eagle Landing, but the community revealed a different desire through the community planning process. They wanted the band office in the heart of the community in a single building. Tammy remarks that, "Putting everything in one building has helped to build a sense of community."

Making Community Health a Priority

Despite all the development, the number one priority was the health of the community. Tammy believes that a healthy community is key to successful planning, "If you don't have a healthy community it doesn't matter what you do." With the construction of the new community facilities, there was room to expand, so they trained and hired a health nurse, and contracted out counseling services to a local company which was selected through a request for proposals process. Now the members have access to first-rate counseling services, which has made a noticeable difference in the health of the community.

Tackling Other Goals

They also set to work on accessing other funding sources and used the community plan to back up their proposals. Through a grant from the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program, they were able to refit three Elders homes with hand and stair rails, stair lifts and new showers. In addition, there was also the need to address education and training. This was accomplished in a variety of ways. First, through a partnership with surrounding First Nations, they were able to offer a course on traditional medicines free of charge to band members. Second, with some of their taxation revenue, they were able to help several members get their drivers' licenses, removing a significant barrier to employment. They also included training requirements in their contract with the developer of Eagle Landing, providing members with on the job training in construction.

Looking back, Chief David Jimmie is proud of all that his community has accomplished and credits community planning as being a significant factor in his community's success. Despite all they have accomplished, he is excited about the future and is looking forward to re-engaging the membership for a second round of community planning. When Squiala started their first round of planning the reserve lands were vacant and Tammy Bartz was their only employee. They now have 15 employees, several new facilities and several members in post-secondary education. They are headed towards a bright and prosperous future.

Tammy is very practical in addressing implementation. She says you need to identify the need, project or goal; obtain baseline information regarding the current state of affairs; find funds to meet the need and then do the work. But most importantly, every project needs a champion. Members are key to successful CCP implementation.

Implementation Making It Happen


 "Implementation starts on the day you start planning."

Gwen Phillips, Ktunaxa Nation
  • It is now time to begin implementing the plan – moving the process from ideas into action. Implementation simply means putting the plan to work by taking priorities (projects, policies or programs) and transforming them into results on the ground.
  • Administration, including managers and staff, will likely be involved in coordinating the implementation of the comprehensive community plan. Chief and Council, with support from the membership, may oversee the implementation but can often delegate the day-to-day tasks to a staff member or project champion.
  • Engaging project champions is one of the most successful ways to get a project started and see it through to fruition. A champion can be a councillor, community or staff member, or anyone who has a passion for a project and the skills (or is prepared to acquire them) to make sure it succeeds.
  • Foster continued community ownership of the plan. The planning champion, community planning team, community members, staff and council have likely put in hundreds of hours of planning work and participated in many meetings. Your greatest assets are your community members; ensure that they stay engaged throughout implementation of the plan through good communications, advisory committees and focus groups.
  • There will be an expectation that things will begin to change for the better – that there will be immediate benefits for the community or that positive projects will start right away. It is very important to manage expectations in the early stages to prevent disillusionment or disappointment. One way is to immediately identify some quick-start projects which you can implement while you are developing longer term projects.

Quick-Start Projects

Quick-start projects are small, simple projects that can be implemented right away with few or no resources. Quick-start projects create enthusiasm and momentum, and demonstrate to the entire community that the CCP implementation process has started and that their contributions have resulted in change.  This reinforces the idea that it is worthwhile staying involved!

The following criteria can be used to identify quick-start projects:

  1. The project is simple and easy to complete.
  2. The project requires few to no financial resources or can be completed with resources that your community has on hand within its budget.
  3.    There is a project champion or a group of community volunteers available and willing to organize and implement the project.
  4.    There is widespread community support for the project.
  5.    The project does not require staffing additions or can be supported by existing staff without compromising existing programs and services.
  6.    The project can be completed within a few months.

Implementation: Step-by-Step

Step 1: Prioritize Actions (Policies, Programs and Projects)
  • Identify what to do first. There are many tools and approaches that can be used to analyze options, and to help you build consensus and make collective decisions about priorities.
  • What you start with might also be a question of what is realistic and pragmatic. Determine what resources you have, or can easily acquire, to get started right away.
  • Typical criteria for choosing priorities might be: impact, urgency, capacity, cost, risk and/or political support from community and Chief and Council.
Step 2: Identify Project Management Team
  • Identifying and recruiting the project management team helps to build widespread support for the project and facilitates the early involvement of community members and staff.  It can also enable Chief and Council and administration to delegate some responsibilities for the projects.
  • Ensure there is sufficient capacity in the team to implement the project. In addition to the champion and staff, it may be necessary to include consultants and/or grant writers. If the necessary capacity does not exist within the community, you may need to consider getting training or external support – this can often be funded through grants or loans.
Step 3: Obtain Necessary Approvals and Establish Good Communications and Reporting Plans
  • Start by getting a good understanding of the scope of the project.  Answer some basic questions. What is the project? Why is it a priority? Who is going to implement it? Who in the community is going to benefit from it? Where is the project going to be? What is the timeline? How much is it going to cost? What resources do you need? The more detailed the answers, the more likely you are to get the approvals needed to get started.
  • The value of doing this early work is that it provides the foundation for reports to community, administration and council. It also clarifies resources required, identifies gaps and can form the basis of funding proposals.
  • There is a responsibility and opportunity to continue communicating to the membership about the plan and progress on implementation. Have a public space where project progress can be displayed. Create a plan that demonstrates what role members can play in the project.
Step 4: Identify Potential Partners to Support the Project
  • Working with partners on projects is a great way to share costs, leverage further funding, build capacity, strengthen results, and balance the work load while sharing the benefits.
  • Internal Partnerships: Identify other departments that might help with the project and consider pooling resources (e.g., health and recreation projects might be supported by the youth centre as well as Elders groups).
  • External Partnerships: Consider other First Nations within adjacent territories that might be interested in collaborating on projects (e.g., skill development for regional opportunities). Governments, academic institutions, and/or non-profit organizations can also have support roles.
Step 5: Identify Funding and Other Resources
  • Many projects require additional funding beyond what is already in your First Nation's budget. The resources section at the back of this handbook identifies many potential sources of funding to support your project.
  • At this stage, it is good to do an analysis of all the resources you have or might need to complete the project — not just the financial resources, but also capacity and skills.
  • Don't worry if the full amount of your project is not approved in your first funding application. Learn to leverage by using money already raised to back up further applications. Once you have some initial funding, other agencies may be more likely jump on board as their financial risk is now reduced.

Think outside the Box: Not all Projects need funding

One First Nation, faced with helping their children get to school safely across a busy highway, was having great difficulty raising funds for a new pedestrian bridge. Since funds were not forthcoming, they decided to take a completely different approach and negotiated a pedestrian stop sign with Ministry of Highways, who provided it free of charge.

"Implementation is about empowering community members."

Andrew Moore, T'Sou-ke Nation
Step 6: Create Work Plans, Budgets, Feasibility Studies and Business Plans
  • You will likely be asking your community, Chief and Council, partners, funders and banks to get involved and take a risk on your project. Therefore, you will need to demonstrate at an early stage that your project is a safe investment for their time and money. This can be done through:
    • feasibility studies demonstrating that the project is going to work;
    • business plans demonstrating the project's financial viability;
    • work plans giving concrete details and time frames for activities right up to completion; and/or
    • budgets showing both project capital and operational costs.
Step 7: Project Management
  • Once you have all the above steps completed (i.e. you have funding, approved studies, community go ahead and a project management team in place), you are probably ready to start. Large capital projects and multi-year programs will often need specialist project managers and consultants, as professional day-to-day management and monitoring of the project becomes crucial at this stage. Regular progress meetings with the project management team, consultants and partners are important.
  • Special attention needs to be focused on:
    • Cost control: Keep the project on budget and ensure that there is sufficient cash flow to pay bills promptly.
    • Time table: Make sure everyone keeps to the time frames that they have agreed to.
    • Project amendments: Try to look out for challenges (e.g., bad weather), delays (e.g., supply shortage) and unexpected costs (e.g., unusual soil conditions).
    • Quality Control: Constantly monitor the quality of the work. Don't assume consultants and contractors are producing quality work – check their work too.
    • Reporting: Create up-to-date progress reports for the band (internal) and for partners and funders (external).
  • Be sure you consult with administration, Chief and Council, and where needed, funders, before approving any large changes to the costs, timeline or nature or quality of work.
Step 8: Learn Lessons, Develop Best Practices and Celebrate!

As the activities and projects are implemented, it is important to regularly report back to the community and leadership on progress and how the projects are benefitting the community, including:

  • Lessons Learned: Learn from mistakes and successes. What worked, what did not and why?
  • Best Practices: Feed back into the planning cycle. How you could improve the implementation process next time?
  • Celebrate – often! Do not forget to celebrate your successes. Invite the whole community to join you – after all, they were there at the beginning of the planning cycle and deserve to see the results of everyone's hard work. Celebrations are ways to acknowledge efforts and success, and to encourage the community to move on to more ambitious projects.
Step 9: Maximize Community Training, Mentorship, Capacity Building and Employment

Many First Nations see every new project as an opportunity to build capacity, provide training and mentorship, and bring resources into the community, including employment.

  • Schools, colleges and universities are often keen to partner with First Nations and support individual members to achieve training and certification in the fields that would support their communities to reach their goals.
  • If external consultants or contractors are necessary, encourage them to include training, capacity building and employment opportunities for your community members in their work.
  • When negotiating partnerships with companies, First Nations can request training, employment and contract opportunities.

Implementation Often Requires More Planning

During the implementation phase, more planning may be required.  For example:

  • If housing has been identified as a priority, the next step may be to develop a long-term housing strategy and plan
  • It might be necessary to invest in an in-depth land-use plan or an updated physical development plan, before moving implementing of larger-scale projects.
  • If strengthening traditional languages is important, you may wish to develop a detailed approach to engage children, youth, adults and Elders.
  • Meeting economic development objectives may mean more planning to identify and evaluate opportunities, completing a skills inventory or conducting an environmental scan/situational analysis.

All of these plans should reflect the community vision and support the high-level goals and objectives within the CCP. All of this work and planning will lead to implementation success!

"Each community member has a responsibility to breathe life into this plan."

Vickie Thomas, ?aqam

Risk Management

Try to anticipate challenges that might occur at any stage of your project:

  • What happens if costs escalate? What is your fall-back position? What is Plan B? If necessary, can you reduce the size of the project without having to abandon it?
  • What happens if Chief and Council and/or administration changes during the project?
  • Consider other external factors that could affect the project (e.g., will winter weather affect the timing of a construction project?).

Ensuring full community participation when prioritizing projects will help prevent parts of the community from withdrawing support from the project at later crucial stages.

Key Lessons Learned

  • Don't wait until the plan is finished to begin implementation. Address the implementation of the plan early and often at each stage of the planning process. Small projects, or quick-start projects, are a great way to create excitement and momentum, and to get the plan into action early in the planning process.
  • Find creative ways to communicate the finished comprehensive community plan. Your finished plan may be a fairly large document, which may discourage people from reading the entire document. Creating an executive summary, preparing PowerPoint presentations, posters or informational videos will aid in communicating the plan in a format that is engaging and informative to different audiences.
  • Prioritize projects and actions. Prioritizing the projects, programs and policies, using decision criteria such as feasibility, capacity, cost, risk and timing, is absolutely crucial to ensure successful implementation.
  • Change the governance structure to support implementation. Many communities have found that once the vision and priorities have been identified, there is a need to change the responsibilities and governance structure to facilitate implementation. What if building language skills is identified as a priority, but there is no staff or committee within the administrative structure responsible for such initiatives?
  • Transform five-10 year goals and objectives into annual work plans. The work of implementing the plan will be the responsibility of the band administrator and department managers. Break the longer term activities into smaller, more manageable pieces and include them in annual work plans for specific managers to lead and report on each year.
  • Implementation requires more planning. For example, if housing has been identified as a priority, the next step may be to develop a long-term housing strategy and plan. Or it might make sense to invest in an in-depth land use plan or an updated physical development plan to support the higher level goals and objectives within the CCP.
  • Communicate and celebrate! It is easy to get so busy implementing, that we forget to communicate and celebrate with community members our many successes and accomplishments!

Push for Motivation
Adams Lake Indian Band

Adams Lake Indian Band has succeeded in capturing the imagination of community members, as evidenced by its CCP logo, which was selected through a community-wide competition. The logo incorporates four colours representing Pride, Unity, Strength, and Healing (PUSH) and depicts a simple medicine wheel with flames in the four colours exploding out of it in the four directions. PUSH appears on their Comprehensive Community Strategic Plan jackets, T-shirts and stationery. The logo and acronym serve as a constant reminder of what keeps the plan alive – the determination of an entire community to create positive change while protecting cultural values.

Continuing to Build on CCP
Simpcw First Nation

Simpcw First Nation started its planning activities in 1989 and hasn't stopped since. From 2006 to 2010, Simpcw Chief and Council, administration, Elders, youth, school officials and community members worked to develop a comprehensive community plan. A household summary of the plan was published and distributed throughout the community. But they didn't stop there. Simpcw continues to hold annual facilitated community planning sessions and community members are invited to review accomplishments, and to talk about needs and strategies for future community development.

Implementation: Tools

The tools section of this Handbook contains practical tools and worksheets that can help during the implementation stage:

Tool 14:  Creating a Budget
A tool for identifying and quantifying needed resources for projects and activities

Tool 15:  Budget Management Checklist
A tool for tracking and reporting how funds were spent

Tool 16:  Project Implementation Inventory
A tool for describing the objectives and scope of a project

Tool 17:  Project Timeline (Bar Chart)
A sample of a project implementation timeline

Tool 18:  Project Work Plan
A tool for further describing the objectives and scope of a project

Tool 19:  Decision Analysis Tool
A tool for prioritizing projects, policies and programs

Expanding the Scope of a CCP

T'sou-Ke Nation

Nestled at the southern tip of Vancouver Island is a small but ambitious First Nation community that dares to dream big. The T'Sou-ke Nation began the comprehensive community planning process with a desire to unite the whole community behind a vision that could carry them towards self-sufficiency.

Engaging The Community

Under the guidance of the Chief and Council and planning facilitator Andrew Moore, the community embarked on a three-year planning journey. Andrew, an architect by training, understands that when you construct a tall building you need a deep foundation. He approached planning with the same philosophy. "You need to go deep into the community to lay the foundation for ambitious projects." It is very important to achieve a collective vision and extensive community buy-in as early as possible.

T'Sou-ke Nation understood that planning was a process and that the plan would continue to expand. To reflect this reality, they called their community plan VIP: Vision in Progress for Very Important People. The planning team met every three weeks in the band hall and regularly gave presentations to the whole membership at general meetings. T'Sou-ke Nation has a policy to ensure everyone is included: "If members don't come to us, we shall go to them."

Developing a Collective Vision

As they met with the youth, Elders, families, leadership and staff, a recurring theme of sustainability began to emerge. The theme respected First Nations traditional values of honouring Mother Earth, all living creatures and the elements: the sun, the wind and the sea. By adopting these values, the community felt it could work towards creating a more sustainable life for generations to come.

To incorporate the overall objective of sustainability, the T'Sou-ke Nation expanded their planning horizon from 20 years to include the next seven generations, or 100 plus years. They began asking themselves what kind of community they wanted to create and leave behind for the seventh generation. This led to the development of four broad objectives around which their plan was based. They called these the Four Pillars of Sustainability: Energy Autonomy, Food Self-Sufficiency, Cultural Revival, and Sustainable Economic Development.

Developing Funding Partnerships

To meet their desire for energy autonomy, the T'Sou-ke Nation successfully obtained funding from the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines' Innovative Clean Energy Fund. Using their comprehensive community plan to support their application, T'Sou-ke applied for funds to install solar hot water heating systems on homes and they proposed building one of the largest photovoltaic (creating electricity from the sun) systems in British Columbia. This initiative quickly spiraled to include a series of related projects that met other objectives in their community plan.

Building Capacity and Creating Employment Opportunities

The T'Sou-ke Nation ensured that the company hired to install the photovoltaic and solar hot water heating systems would also train band members to do the work. As a result, employment and training objectives were met and several band members now have full-time employment installing solar-powered electric systems.

Since completing the project, the T'Sou-ke Nation is now the most solar intensive community in Canada and they will be selling power back to the electric grid for the next 70 years. Their next goal is to help other First Nations develop renewable energy technology for use on remote reserves which currently use diesel generators. This project also inspired their youth to start the T'Sou-ke Smart Energy Group which encourages community members, local schools and First Nations to conserve energy through local youth-run initiatives.

Engaging Champions From the Community

The community started a small garden to meet their objective of food self-sufficiency. Under the leadership of community member and champion Christine George, the garden expanded to a large green house which produces food for special events for the entire community. The Lady Bug Green House grows food which is used at a weekly community lunch and also hosts a 10-mile feast and a zero-mile dinner using only those foods found within the T'Sou-ke Nation traditional territory.

These feasts were used as opportunities to teach the youth about traditional foods and gathering practices. Christine has also partnered with other community gardening initiatives in the adjacent city of Sooke, making food self-sufficiency an objective for the entire region.

Seizing Opportunities To Start More Ambitious Projects

The solar project led to a $12 million, 1,000 roof solar installation project in a neighbouring municipality, as well as the opportunity to build a $3 million four-acre commercial greenhouse. When completed, the greenhouse will provide 30 full-time jobs for band members and improve food security for the entire region.

Andrew notes, "If it wasn't for the smaller quick-start projects, the bigger projects would have never materialized. Opportunities build upon opportunities, success upon success."  Even in the early implementation stage, it is important to capitalize on opportunities and allow the planning process to expand. In practice, the planning process is not a clean step-by-step process. It is organic and sometimes challenging. When given the right attention, the process can grow to include larger and more ambitious projects and meet the needs of members for a healthy, sustainable community for generations to come.

Linda Bristol, a T'Sou-ke Elder who has been engaged in the CCP process at T'Sou-ke from the beginning, is now an active champion of the community's Arts and Culture program. She points out that many of the resources needed for successful planning and implementation reside amongst the band membership. "Many members are passionate about creating a better future for their community. Encourage your champions and assist them with resources, capacity building and training. If you have the right people and the right process, the right projects will follow."

Implementing Quick-Start Projects

Penticton Indian Band

The Penticton Indian Band was anxious to get to work on their comprehensive community planning process. Members were tired of the status-quo, and Chief Jonathan Kruger saw comprehensive community planning as an opportunity. Creating a dream and vision for the future was exactly what the community needed. It was time for change.

The community began the comprehensive community planning process under the leadership of Elaine Alec and Anona Kampe. With the support of their Chief, these two tireless souls set to work organizing meetings, talking to members and attending every community event, even if it had nothing to do with CCP.

As the process unfolded, the membership began unveiling their desires, hopes, dreams and ideas to make the community a better place. The Elders wanted to hear and speak their traditional language, the community wanted to gather around hope, not tragedy, and everyone agreed that it was time to name roads and install street signs.

As meetings continued, it became evident that there were several projects that, with the help of volunteers, could be implemented with a minimal time commitment, very little planning and few resources. These quick-start projects were acted on immediately and gave the CCP momentum and credibility.

Lonesome for the Language

The revitalization of culture and language was a priority for the community. The Elders wanted to hear the language again and they wanted young people to learn it. One recommendation, made at a planning meeting, was to use the traditional language to open all community meetings. The planning team took it upon themselves to ensure that this happened. No extra resources, planning or staff were needed. All it took was the initiative to change.

The 9-1-1 Project

At a planning gathering, one Elder mentioned that when her husband had a recent medical emergency, the ambulance could not find their house because there were no road signs. Members knew the reserve landmarks and homes, so road signs were never necessary. However, outsiders didn't share this knowledge. As a result, community members expressed a desire to name the roads and install street signs.

A detailed history of each area and road was gathered from the Elders. Roads were named after plants and animals and translated into the traditional language. Then, after the community found a small pot of funding, signs in the traditional language were installed. This project took only a year to complete and was done in conjunction with the community planning process.

Gathering for a Purpose

A recurring theme during the planning process was a desire by the community to come together for positive reasons. Too often, they were gathering in times of grief or during crises. This led to the organization of Gathering for a Purpose. Volunteers led the charge to organize a weekend event where members gathered to drum, sing, laugh, visit, pray, eat and learn. Elders taught and told stories, children played, stick games were held and songs were sung. All that was required was an idea and it was implemented entirely by volunteers.

The Billboard Project

As the community planning process entered its third year, community members were voicing their concerns about the negative influence of drugs and alcohol on their reserve. So, they held a series of drug strategy meetings. After a thorough discussion, they decided that rather than focusing on the negatives, the members of the Penticton Indian Band would promote the positives.

The members decided to put up a series of billboards all over the community showcasing the positive teachings of their people. Implementing the project was simple. A committee selected photos from the archives and decided on slogans. The theme "Honouring our Elders'  Teachings" was used for the project. The billboards were paid for by the health department which had funds to promote healthy lifestyles. From start to finish, this project took only six months to complete and was spearheaded by community members. Now as members and visitors drive through the community, they are inspired by the teachings of the Elders. Anona is particularly fond of this project. "It brought the community together and our own members appear on the billboards for everyone to see."

Monitoring & Evaluation Are We Making Progress?


Incorporate Lessons Learned

Information collected during monitoring and evaluation allows you to incorporate lessons learned into the next round of planning and decision making. What went wrong and what went right? CCP is a process that will continue to evolve as your community builds on past experiences.

Revise and Update the CCP

It is critical to have a process by which the plan can be revised and updated as circumstances change and as lessons are learned. This is the only way to ensure the plan remains a relevant, useful document for your community.

Monitoring and evaluating the CCP allows you to determine if the implementation of the policies, programs and projects from the CCP are having the desired effects. It is an ongoing process that helps you learn from your efforts and be responsive to change.

  • The monitoring and evaluation stage is necessary to:
    • make sure the projects are benefitting the community,
    • assess the progress in implementing the comprehensive community plan,
    • make revisions, as required, so that the plan remains relevant,
    • keep the plan alive and adjust it to external and internal changes, and
    • keep the community excited and informed about the results achieved through CCP.
  • Members of the community should be involved: in evaluating the progress and outcomes of the plan. Continued community involvement is needed to support the process and encourage the community's investment in the plan's outcomes.
  • Continued community involvement will:
    • maintain momentum for planning,
    • keep a high level of community awareness of planning,
    • ensure the comprehensive community plan stays applicable to the community,
    • encourage continued political support of, and attention to, planning and implementation,
    • create an administrative culture that is responsive to community needs, and
    • create a community culture of strategic thinking and long-term vision.
  • Identifying who will be responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of the CCP is: a critical decision. Appointing the right people or committee for this responsibility can go a long way to ensuring the CCP does not end up sitting on a shelf. This responsibility can rest with council, administration, or an implementation committee.  Individuals and groups responsible for implementing activities will also report on progress and share lessons learned.
  • In accordance with the community's process for monitoring and evaluation, which may be set out in the implementation strategy of the plan, the implementation committee will prepare regular evaluations and reports for council, administration and the entire community (annually, for example).

Monitoring & Evaluation: Step-by-Step

Step 1:  Analyze Results

Analysis helps in understanding what progress is being made and what challenges have come up during the implementation stage.

To evaluate the results of the plan, the implementation committee will:

  • review project reports, and
  • analyze the progress of project implementation against annual work plans, evaluation criteria and indicators of success by speaking with people responsible for/involved in project implementation and gathering community perspectives.

Questions for the analysis may include:

  • What progress have we made compared to our goals and objectives?
  • How does this compare with the indicators for success we set for each part of our work plans?
  • Are issues being addressed effectively?
  • Is the vision being realized?
  • Are the goals and objectives being realized?
  • What is changing in the community and why?
  • Where can improvements be made?

While conducting monitoring and evaluation, keep the following principles in mind:

  • Be constructive and objective. Do not attack the efforts of others — evaluation is a tool to seek improvements.
  • Remain proactive. Try to anticipate problems and issues in the implementation phase before they arise.
  • Foster inclusiveness. Ensure everyone, including staff and community members, feels welcome to offer suggestions and ideas for improvement. Consider all opinions.
  • Be accountable and responsible to the community. The evaluation process, including reports and updates, should be accessible to all community members.


In order to know where you are going, and more importantly, whether or not you have arrived, you need to create indicators. Indicators are a way of measuring the performance or success of a particular objective or activity. For example, to help meet the objective of increasing the number of high school graduates, a tutoring program for high school students may be created. In this example, an indicator could be 1) increased enrolment in the tutoring program, 2) higher grades for high school students, and/or 3) increased high school graduates.


A baseline establishes the current status of what you are measuring. For example, if you want to measure the increase in high school graduates, then you need to establish the current number – or baseline – of graduates. Each year, you measure your progress against this baseline to determine if the numbers are increasing.

Step 2:  Review and Recommend

After analyzing the results of the plan, the implementation committee will develop a report for the leadership and the community that summarizes the outcomes of their evaluation and identifies successes and challenges.

The report will likely include recommendations for improving progress and for making adjustments or revisions to the comprehensive community plan or the implementation strategy.

Consider making annual performance reports to the community to demonstrate and celebrate achievements.

Step 3:  Revise and Update

Minor revisions and updates to the comprehensive community plan and implementation strategy can be made according to implementation team recommendations, with community input. However, from time to time, a thorough revision of the plan will likely be needed as external and internal circumstances and influences change.

Revising and updating the plan may be required if:

  • through the evaluation process, the community responds that the comprehensive community plan no longer reflects its goals and objectives,
  • a significant event occurs which introduces a variety of new concerns and issues, such as concluding a treaty or new opportunities resulting from new government-to-government initiatives,
  • the implementation strategy expires, or
  • it has been 10 or more years since the community thoroughly revised the comprehensive community plan.

For a major review, the community would go through the four stages of the planning cycle again. This time, it will likely be a much faster process than the first comprehensive community planning process as a baseline has already been set, planning experience has been built, and processes for implementation are in place.

Annual Work Plans

Most organizations, whether large, small or in-between, do annual work planning. The best way to ensure that the CCP goals will be achieved is to link them to the annual work plans of your community's administration. Connecting objectives with specific projects, timelines and names (of who does what) is critical to monitoring how well you're doing in implementing the plan. ?aqam has integrated the goals of their Community Strategic Plan into the annual work plans for each department and staff member.

?aqam has committed to producing an annual report that details progress and accomplishments on the objectives set out in the plan. When they present the annual report, they hold a community celebration and erect a tipi with each pole representing a different sector from their plan. The annual report and celebration is part of how

?aqam has made sure their implementation progress is transparent and includes everyone in the community.

Step 4:  Share and Celebrate Your Community's Accomplishments

Comprehensive community planning is an ongoing process, but be sure to take a moment to reflect on what it means to reach this point in the planning journey. Your community has worked hard to determine its future and accomplished significant results along the way. This success is due to the ongoing involvement of members in the planning process, and the dedication of the planning team, administration and leadership in implementing the plan.

To make the most of your accomplishments:

  • Hold annual celebrations where the community reflects on the year's accomplishments.
  • Be sure to share the results of each finished project, program or policy through your community website, Facebook group or monthly newsletter.
  • Take lots of pictures throughout the development of a project so it is easier to share the story.
  • Keep track of all completed projects in a binder – every time something is accomplished, the binder will grow!

Tips on How to Track Revisions and Updates to your CCP

  • When making revisions, use foot notes indicating the revision date and other relevant information.
  • Use binders instead of books so that pages can be added or changed out as needed.
  • Instead of using page numbers, use section numbering to make revisions easier.
  • Create a copy of the document in a program that others can edit.

Keeping the Plan Alive: Revising and Updating the CCP

Comprehensive community planning is a dynamic process that constantly evolves and delivers new benefits, and helps communities become healthy and sustainable.

Involving the community in a regular review of the plan helps members stay engaged and gain the skills, enthusiasm and confidence to move on to more ambitious projects.

  • Stay true to your values and traditions – let them guide you.
  • Use every opportunity in the CCP process to develop skills and create training, mentorship and employment opportunities for your community.
  • Integrate language, arts and culture into all your policies, programs and projects.
  • Look for economic development opportunities in projects – short and long-term.
  • Continue to build on your successes, providing benefits to your community for many generations to come.
Building Communities Through Implementation

Monitoring & Evaluation: Tools

The tools section of this Handbook contains practical tools and worksheets that can help during the monitoring and evaluation stage:

Tool 5: How and When to Engage Community Members
Techniques to help involve the community in the planning process

Tool 6: Ways to Increase Participation
Further techniques to inspire more participation from the community

Tool 13:  Goals, Objectives and Projects Tracking Chart
A chart to record, link and monitor goals, objectives and projects/activities

Monitoring and Evaluating the Plan with a Community Census

Musqueam First Nation

Musqueam First Nation (MFN), located adjacent to the city of Vancouver, is on the cutting edge of First Nation community planning.  After nearly a decade of developing a range of plans and related documents, the community adopted their We Are of One Heart and Mind: Comprehensive Community Plan. Completed in 2011, this plan encompasses membership and council objectives with the overall goals of becoming a self-sufficient, self-governing First Nation with a healthy community. The community has begun the journey of moving toward this vision and has developed a thorough approach to monitoring and evaluating the Musqueam First Nation community planning process.

Looking Beyond Facilities and Programs

A brief tour of the community would lead one to believe that the MFN is well on its way to achieving the objectives in the community plan. A new cultural center, sports fields and a brand new recreation center are highlights in the community. Other projects and programs are also being implemented as the planning process continues to build momentum. However, these were not the only things the community plan was meant to accomplish – new facilities and programs do not build a community, people do. The MFN wanted to ensure that the community plan was making a difference in the lives of its members, not just carving a path for new buildings. To measure the impacts of the plan on this level requires a long-term approach to monitoring and evaluation.

Establishing a Baseline

Monitoring and evaluating a plan requires a baseline against which progress, or the lack thereof, can be measured. To gather this information, MFN completed an initial community survey in 2008. Information gathered through the survey was used to create the community plan. This was combined with past community profiles to create a baseline of where the community was in terms of overall health, employment, cultural practices and other pertinent information. Members who completed the surveys were entered into a draw for prizes.

Measuring Impacts of the Plan

In 2011, the survey was expanded to an in-depth community census of 120 questions. This census measured the membership's perspectives on the plan's progress and gathered data on the actual impacts of the plan. If the programs, projects and new facilities were making a difference, then the data would reveal positive results in the health, social and economic indicators.

The MFN worked in partnership with a professor from the University of British Columbia to ensure the survey was free from bias, measured the appropriate indicators and gathered the relevant data.

This is the first round of the survey. In the future, the survey will be administered every three years. The results will be used to amend the comprehensive community plan and adapt it to changes in the community.

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