Municipal Strategic Planning, Espace Stratégies

Municipal Strategic Planning


Municipalities (cities, villages, parishes, townships, etc.) and Regional County Municipalities (RCMs) use municipal strategic planning to establish a vision for their territory’s development, identify their priority issues, define their directions and prioritize projects to be undertaken in the coming years.

This process serves to address or resolve certain specific issues, such as an ageing population, workforce attraction, mobility improvement, strengthening citizens’ sense of belonging, industrial and commercial revitalization or organizational transformation of the municipal structure.



With Espace Stratégies, municipal strategic planning is a five-step process:

  • Analysis of existing documents

We begin by thoroughly analyzing the situation: socio-demographic profile, economic overview, previous strategic plans, various sectoral strategies, etc.

We use this phase to understand the territory’s various elements and enrich our understanding of its social, economic and cultural characteristics.

Municipal strategic planning involves many different stakeholders. Citizens, community organizations, businesses located in the territory (sometimes referred to as corporate citizens), institutional partners, as well as the political body (elected officials from the municipal council or RCM council) and administrative staff, are consulted.

The interests of territory stakeholders may diverge, and it is essential to gather their views on the municipality or RCM’s current situation, their daily challenges and which projects they want to undertake. A successful strategic planning exercise aligns these interests to achieve a common vision of development.

Strategic review is based on the findings gathered during consultations. A funnel process begins, as this is when choices are made, priorities are defined and consultation issues are strategically aligned. With Espace Stratégies, the central issues to consider include:

  • Strategic identity, which involves asking what characterizes the territory and differentiates it from others
  • Vision, which involves asking, “where do we want to be in five to 10 years?”
  • Strategic orientations and axes to clearly define the priorities of municipal strategic planning. This step is done in collaboration with a smaller group of stakeholders, especially those internal to the municipality.

Moreover, during strategic planning, a municipality or RCM may continue to pursue a previously defined development vision that covers multiple strategic plans or adopt a new development vision.

  • Drafting the Strategic Plan

The process is made actionable by drafting the strategic plan, which will be communicated to the public. The strategic plan must be understandable to everyone and present the main points.

  • Developing an Action Plan

The municipality uses an action plan to determine the next steps to be taken and to link indicators—such as results, success or implementation indicators—to specific actions. The strategic reflection process then results in an action plan that includes the main transformation and development projects associated with objectives and monitoring indicators, distributed over a specific period.


There is no standard. Generally, municipalities opt for a three-year or five-year strategy. In rare cases, especially for large cities that need to look further ahead, municipal strategic planning can cover the next 10 years. Communication issues sometimes come into play and symbolic milestones are integrated (e.g., planning for 2020–2030 to mark a decade).


Municipal strategic planning takes an average of four to six months. Its duration depends largely on the size of the municipality or RCM, regional situation (such as previous experience with strategic consultation) and the type and number of consultations conducted.



Having assisted a number of cities and RCMs, we have extensive experience in municipal strategic planning. We understand its specificities and the entire ecosystem to consider.

We are recognized for our mastery of the consultation process, which is an often complex component of strategic planning. It requires both creativity—to reach all audiences—and great political acumen. Our approach, focused on collaboration, co-creation and cooperation, promotes the consideration and convergence of all contributions.

We offer tailored support based on the size of your strategic planning project and the available budget.



Espace Stratégies offers a range of consulting services to address various growth themes. The services most relevant to municipal strategic planning include:

For whom?

Economic development organizations

Commercial development corporations

Cities & municipalities


City of Cowansville

Located in the heart of the Brome-Missisquoi RCM, Cowansville is a major regional hub. Before the city’s strategic plan expired in 2023, it mandated Espace Stratégies to help undertake a thorough review of its planning and develop a new strategic plan. This new plan will guide the actions of current and future elected officials and leaders.

Papineau RCM

The Papineau RCM is composed of 25 municipalities spread over a vast territory. Facing changes in its institutional environment, the RCM enlisted Espace Stratégies to assist in its strategic planning process. The objectives were to define a common vision for the territory’s development, identify upcoming needs and challenges, formulate orientations and targets to be reached in the coming years and develop a plan to promote community development.

Municipality of Saint-Sulpice

Following municipal elections, the new Saint-Sulpice council decided to launch its first strategic planning exercise (covering 2023 to 2028). The municipality invited Espace Stratégies to support them in this process. The result was achieved through a co-creation process that engaged all members of the municipal council and numerous municipal employees and citizens.