On May 28 – June 8, 2016, a delegation of Ukrainian officials from PLEDDG partner cities went on a study tour to Canada. The delegation consisted of mayors and deputy mayors of PLEDDG partner cities (Vinnytsia, Poltava, Zaporizhia, and Myrhorod), Deputy CEO from the Association of Ukrainian Cities (a former mayor of Berdyansk), and PLEDDG team members, namely PLEDDG Program Director Oleksandr Kucherenko and PLEDDG Senior Governance Adviser Kadie Ward.

The study tour provided the participants with the opportunity to learn about and observe Canadian best good governance practices and LED initiatives and to interact with city officials and community stakeholders involved in these initiatives. The delegation visited a number of Canadian major cities, namely Durham, Toronto, Vaughan (May 30–June 2) and Winnipeg (June 2–8). While visiting Canadian cities, Ukrainian city officials were comparing and contrasting what they saw with similar initiatives in their own cities, which allowed them to figure out how Canadian practices, mechanisms and tools could be adapted for use in the Ukrainian context.

On June 2–5, Ukrainian delegation took part in the FCM’s Annual General Meeting. At the General Meeting, Ukrainian city officials learned about FCM, its structure, policies and programs, as well as its advocacy work. Also, they participated in local study tours and in discussions on social, economic, environmental and political issues currently relevant in Canada. They heard speakers from the federal government and interacted with FCM members, as well as attended a special FCM ‘Meet and Greet’ event, involving Canadian partner mayors.  Finally, they met and networked with representatives of the Canadian municipalities that are participating in PLEDDG to discuss possible activities and plan for their involvement in the coming years.

Through a very intensive and eventful study tour, Ukrainian city officials developed a greater appreciation of the role that local government associations and networks play in policy advocacy for local governments and gained knowledge of LED leading practices in Canada and about how these can be adapted for implementation in their own context.