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Citizen Satisfaction Survey

The results are in for Owen Sound's first Citizen Satisfaction Survey!

At the City Council meeting on Monday, October 18, Forum Research presented the results of the citizen satisfaction survey. The Citizen Satisfaction Survey is critical for the City to understand citizen’s perceptions. These results provide baseline data, and will serve as a starting point of capturing statistically valid, comprehensive data that can be measured over time on citizen’s perceptions of satisfaction and importance of services provided.

Key Findings

The City will use the findings of this survey to:

  •  Inform the Service Review being undertaken in 2022
  •  Inform the development of the long-term strategic plan (2050 Vision)
  •  Inform budget planning
  •  Be transparent by publicly sharing data on citizen experiences
  •  Improve service delivery and inform engagement
  •  Combine with other program data to analyze program-specific findings

It is important to recognize that the Citizen Satisfaction Survey also collects data on topics that are beyond the sole responsibility of Owen Sound’s municipal government. As reflected in the survey findings, some of the most important issues facing Owen Sound today, such as affordable housing and homelessness, require a concerted community-wide response and are not the sole purview of one organization or level of government.

Three quarters (74%) of Owen Sound residents rate their quality of life as either good or excellent and nearly half (46%) think the quality of life has stayed the same over the past three years. In line with the percentage of residents who rate their quality of life as either good or excellent, the majority also think that Owen Sound is a welcoming and inclusive community (76%), as well as an accessible community (79%). However, only one quarter (25%) of residents were enthusiastic about recommending Owen Sound to others as a place to live.

Three quarters (75%) expressed satisfaction with the services delivered by Owen Sound. Parks and trails (87%) were the top service overall that residents were satisfied with followed closely by Fire (83%). However, other services such as roads and sidewalks (46%) and winter maintenance of sidewalks (45%) were services that residents were least satisfied with.

Fire Services and winter roads maintenance were the services that most residents think are important (93%). Airport services being the least important to residents is consistent with the low frequency of usage of Owen Sound Billy Bishop Airport.

While survey respondents may rate certain areas as important, research shows that this is not always the most reflective of what is really driving overall satisfaction. A gap analysis was conducted to identify the difference between the perceived importance of each service and level of satisfaction. Although individual satisfaction scores of services are important, it is through understanding the correlation between satisfaction and importance that identifies which services should be prioritized for improvement.

The services which have relatively lower satisfaction scores, but are stronger drivers of satisfaction for the City’s overall level of service (aligned by Strategic Priority) are:

  • By-law (Safe City)
  • Winter maintenance-Sidewalks (A City that Moves)
  • Garbage and recycling collection (Green City)
  • Downtown revitalization (City Building)

Services, such as fire and police services, as well as recreation facilities have higher individual satisfaction, but lower impact on overall satisfaction scores.

In the past 12 months, 2 in 5 residents (41%) have contacted the City with a majority (74%) being satisfied with the quality of the service. Residents who have interacted with or contacted City staff were most likely to do so via telephone (82%) or email (50%). The main reasons for contacting the City were to make a property/by-law complaint (13%), inquire about building permits (10%), or report a problem (9%).

When it comes to receiving communications from the City of Owen Sound, residents would prefer to do so by email (52%) or physical mail / inserts (34%). While the majority of residents (72%) are aware that they can watch live council meetings on Rogers cable or online, more than two thirds (68%) who are aware, have either never or rarely watched Council meetings. 

The majority of residents (75%) said they receive good value of city programs and services for their tax dollars. In order for the City to balance cost of services with taxation, most residents would prefer to maintain taxes or reduce services and programs (44%). Of the 92 respondents who provided an opinion on which service they would reduce in order to maintain taxes, the services which were most identified were police and fire services (26%). The majority of citizens (62%) also said that services and programs should be available for everyone through property tax revenues rather than through user fees.

Contact Us

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding the 2021 Citizen Satisfaction Survey, please email

Contact Us

808 2nd Avenue East,
Owen Sound, ON
N4K 2H4
Phone: 519-376-1440
Email us

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