This paper, which focuses on ocean and coastal areas, explores the challenge of public participation by discussing the role of communities in IM. It draws on a decade of collaboration between academics and community partners to outline the community perspective on both the limiting factors and the opportunities, and a state-of-the-art survey of community involvement in IM, parti-cularly in the Canadian Maritimes. The paper highlights the importance of linking communities and governments, and the need to overcome the growing disconnect between the two. It also illustrates the varied experiences of local coastal communities with IM through three concrete examples. These practical examples lead to two specific out-puts: a set of fundamental IM values and attributes from a community perspective, and a four-step process for facilitating and enabling community-focused IM.The conclusion summarizes key outcomes in terms of inclusivity and active involvement of communities.