OTTAWA, ON—Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada has acquired the assets of Ottawa-based Ascentum, which specializes in helping businesses, government and not-for-profit organizations facilitate and create dialogue with stakeholders via online, in-person and social media-based strategies and tools.

Ascentum’s operation will merge into H+K’s Ottawa office, forming H+K’s new public engagement group. “The public now expects to be involved in the issues that impact them and this has profound implications for business and government,” says Mike Coates, president and CEO of H+K Canada.

Joe Peters and Rob Mariani founded Ascentum in 2003 with a focus on public participation, stakeholder and community relations and employee engagement. Mariani will lead the new public engagement group at H+K, reporting to Goldy Hyder, general manager of the Ottawa office. Peters will become deputy social media and digital communications practice leader, reporting to Boyd Neil, national practice leader for social media and digital communications at H+K.