Digital Solutions for Canadian Municipalities

The past few months have been challenging for everyone as we change the way we live, play and work. Many industries have been forced to pivot and find digital solutions to continue serving their customers in the “new normal”. Canadian municipalities are no different. With many municipal offices closed to the public or working at a reduced capacity, there has never been a better time to start introducing digital solutions to work safer and work smarter. Here are some great digital solutions from Canadian muniSERV members to get you started.

 

Citizen Engagement/Customer Service

 

 AccessE11 is a Municipal 311, Citizen Issue and Relationship Management platform designed to provide small to mid-sized municipalities with a simple, cost-effective means to manage citizen issues. The platform drives simplicity, reduced administration, stronger decision making and better compliance across specific areas of focus within local government operations. Citizens can report issues and monitor the status of their issue digitally, improving customer service and operational transparency.

 

Smart City/IoT

 

 Trilliant has revolutionized how municipalities, cities, energy providers and utilities manage their mission-critical operations. Trilliant connects the world of things (IoT) and incorporates Smart City functionality to new or existing networks. Municipalities can improve the efficiency of their offerings through the implementation of things like advanced metering infrastructure for water, electricity and gas, smart street lighting, smart network sensors and so much more.

 

Treasury

 

 Clik2Pay  is a customer billing payments solution that allows citizens to receive and pay their tax bills or other municipal invoices directly from their smartphone. Municipalities benefit from quicker payments and simplifed bill collection, all for less than it costs to pay by debit or credit card.

 

Payroll Efficiency

 

 Mother Clock  Inc. is a fully integrated time tracking payroll platform that is modernizing payroll technology. This tablet-based time tracking service is the solution for businesses that want to abandon paper-based processes.  Mobile employees can use their smartphones to clock-in/out with GPS time tracking, increasing accountability.

 

Cyber Security & Training

 

 RiskAware provides municipalities with an Information and Cyber Security advantage through governance, training, education and risk management. They can help you assess your digital risks before getting started.

 

Digital Transformation Consulting

 

 ArchITectAbility provides IT Advisory, Assurance, Architecture and Governance expert services as well as Business Process Re-engineering offerings. If you’re not sure where to start your digital transformation, here you go!

 

These are just a few of the great Canadian companies that are helping municipalities go digital. 

 

Search our  Find a  Consultant database by service, business name, province or city, for even more of our members’ innovative digital solutions, to help municipalities simplify processes and find efficiencies! 

Share

Risk Complacency

Why should you have a cyclical strategy to your risk and security?

Risk Complacency. You run the risk of being complacent. The one man-made hazard that is probably the easiest to avoid and the largest threat to any sized business, organization, government, event, institution, and book club. Okay, maybe not the book club.

 

So, what happened?

It was quiet. It was nice, there was a sense of security. Unfortunately, that feeling is usually supplemented with a lack of awareness. A lack of awareness of threats, dangers to your organization, those deficiencies that slowly creep up but yet can quickly hammer down all the previous work.

Plan out the work to get your organization on a cyclical strategy to address, manage and mitigate your risk and security threats.

Once planned out. Execute the plan. Do what you say you are going to do…and don’t stop.

Need help? We can Help.

It starts with a conversation.

As we say…Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

Share

Local Loops & Linkages: Bringing the Circular Economy to Canadian Cities

In March 2020, the EU released its new Circular Economy Action Plan to accelerate the transformational change required by the European Green Deal. The plan aims to streamline the regulatory framework for a sustainable future, maximizing new opportunities from the transition and “[making] circularity work for people, regions and cities.” 

Moving away from the linear “take-make-waste” industrial model, a circular economy involves “gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system.” By keeping products and materials in use, a circular economy not only has immediate environmental benefits for cities, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste, but also provides social and economic benefits. 

 

Many cities across the EU have started to make circularity work. Amsterdam was among the first to carry out a scan to identify areas in which circular business models could be applied and has since launched over 70 initiatives to meet its goal of becoming fully circular by 2050. Amsterdam’s circular economy initiatives are now expected to create up to 1,900 new jobs. By embedding circular economy principles into urban planning practices, London is expected to double the use of 20% of its buildings by 2036 thus saving millions annually. city view from top down

 

Cities as Key Actors in the Circular Economy 

Cities make up two-thirds of global energy demand, consume 75% of the world’s natural resources, produce more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 50% of global waste. The current cycle of growth associated with urbanization and globalization puts considerable and unsustainable pressure on the natural environment. A circular economy would create opportunities for the most optimal and climate-friendly use of city resources and land.

 

Cities are well-equipped to make the shift to a circular economy. Cities generate over 80% of the global GDP and remain hubs of innovation and connection between government, businesses and private actors. Municipal governments are closest to their residents, and much more “agile and flexible” than higher orders of government when it comes to implementing new initiatives. Cities also have significant purchasing power that they can leverage to positively impact a shift towards circular models for their suppliers.

 

Circular Economy in Canadian Cities 

Canadian cities have already been recognized as leaders in the fight against climate change. Some Canadian cities, including Toronto and Montreal, have committed to zero waste futures and transitioning to a circular economy. Toronto recently introduced its circular economy procurement implementation plan to use the city’s purchasing power to reduce waste and enable social and economic prosperity. 

Though Canadian cities face constitutional and financial restrictions in exercising their powers, courts are generally reluctant to interfere with the decisions of democratically elected councils to increase the wellbeing of their municipalities. Ontario municipalities, in particular, have broad powers in a number of areas including waste management, business licensing, the protection of persons or property, including consumer protection, and the economic, social and environmental well-being of the municipality, including respecting climate change.

 

In their circular economy initiatives, Canadian cities can follow the example of Brussels, which created a fund that provides grants to circular economy businesses and research projects. They can additionally use other forms of public-private partnerships or bonusing mechanisms to support circular business models. Canadian municipalities can include circular economy principles in their official plans to influence land use planning decisions that lead to circular designs for neighbourhoods, an increase in sharing infrastructure and in the modularity of building materials. They can look to urban planning guidelines that include criteria for circular building implemented by cities like Amsterdam to promote the use of secondary and residual materials. They can ban or impose fees on materials that they receive at their waste management facilities or landfills

 

These examples highlight the powerful role that Canadian cities can play to be sustainable, resilient and thriving even in the face of threats as great as the degradation of the natural environment and climate change. As cities work toward realizing sustainable futures, transitioning to a circular economy can bolster their efforts, and at the same time increase the quality of urban life. 

 

By Denisa Mertiri and Alexandra Potamianos

For more information on how to make the circular economy work in cities, contact Denisa Mertiri at [email protected]

 

Share

Redesigning The Way Your Company Works

COVID-19 has changed the way we work, play, and interact with our world. Whether your company is a single or multiple branch office operation, with industrial facilities or mobile public and field workers — developing a clear, concise program requires careful consideration and detailed risk and resource assessments.

Unique challenges require unique customized solutions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for businesses and workforces all across Canada. Public health departments, government leaders, and associations provide continual streams of information where business owners and executives must analyze this information to the best of their ability, providing direction in the creation of customized solutions for their business.

Barantas Inc. (Barantas) has remained focused on the core principles of prevention and safety services offering clarity and direction to company programs and operational procedure development.

Barantas can assist in any of the following key areas:

  • Business re-opening plans and implementation strategies
  • Operational redesign of workspace management
  • Worker inter-personal safety prevention programs and methodologies
  • Workforce programs for office, industrial, municipal and education sectors
  • Construction project-specific pandemic enhanced programs and inspections
  • Health and safety manual and policy development
  • Personal protective equipment supply and sourcing (masks, gloves, face shields)

Barantas provides comprehensive, long-term protection strategies and a personalized partnership anchored by our commitment to service excellence.

Redesigning Workplaces in a Post Pandemic Era

Our national reach and multi-disciplinary approach to safety management allow you to access a complete suite of health and safety services for a fraction of what it would cost you to source these services individually.

Barantas interactively works with you in evaluating and developing your new workplace strategies and worker health and safety management. Our goal is to collaboratively provide our expertise and knowledge to your key persons or teams, building a sustainable, internal infrastructure focused on the health and safety of your workforce.

We utilize a FIVE phase process. This process begins with a data acquisition phase, where we learn and understand your business, through to ensuring your teams can execute, monitor and continually adapt your program to meet today’s and future challenges.

Our process is based on the following principles:

  • Risk Reduction: Focused on reducing risk through prevention methodologies using the hierarchy of controls.
  • Individual Health and Safety Protection: Ensuring your company is taking the precautions reasonable for the protection of workers, employees, clients and affected individuals.
  • Maintenance of Applicable Requirements: Continual monitoring of authority directives, legislative requirements, and corporate due diligence best practices combined into a preparedness program able to adapt to changing environments and new directives.
  • Education and Sustainability: As part of working with your team through the five-phase process, our goal is to ensure understanding and application of the principles and methodologies for key team members ensuring an ability to assess, respond and adapt to continual change in both external factors and internal business decisions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OUR 5 STEP PROCESS https://www.barantas.ca/the-five-phase-process/

For a full version PDF of this document https://www.barantas.ca/pandemicmanagement/

 

 

Share

Pandemic/Epidemic Business toolKIT

We are deeply focused on keeping your employees, customers, and suppliers safe while working, visiting, or conducting business at your facilities and supporting your business operations.

The Michael White Group International and Hilt International Security have partnered together in order to create a dynamic resource that is continuously growing, developing, and being  revised to keep you informed of the latest requirements, new best practices, and procedures.

As we all continue to navigate our  ‘new normal’, we have tapped into our global resources to develop a toolKIT that lays out processes to raise awareness of new health and well-being protocols and potentially helpful practices for cross-functional teamwork, operating discipline, and training for employees.

While it is not a one-size-fits-all approach, the Pandemic/Epidemic Business toolKIT includes practical recommendations, based on guidelines from Health Canada and World Health Organization, that could be tailored for different  businesses (when required) to address various scenarios they may face when returning to work. Regular updates will be made to the toolKIT based on real-time feedback. The toolkit covers a wide range of topics, including:

•      Step-by-step guides for setting up a pandemic response team

•      Cleaning and disinfection procedures

•      Staggering shifts and lunch breaks and other physical distancing strategies

•      On-site health screening

•      Protocols for isolating employees who become ill at work

•      & more.

This has been a difficult time for everyone, and re-establishing a workplace where employees feel comfortable performing their jobs safely is a multi-faceted challenge. It is our hope that by developing and providing this resource we can help your organization accomplish and adapt to the new operating protocols in today’s still ever challenging conditions.

Should your Municipality be open to exploring the need, whilst accessing our  toolKIT to assist you during  the re-opening, and re-populating of your facilities, contact Michael White Group International today, and in partnership with Hilt International Security we will be happy to assist.

 

 

Share

Is Road Salt Really Worth the Risk?

If you live somewhere that has a snowy winter, there is no doubt you are familiar with ‘ice-melts’ or ‘road-salts’ being used to create traction and melt ice build-up. Using an ice melt or salt makes it safer to get around outside, both on foot and while driving during these cold, snowy months. You can pick up a bag of salt at most corner stores, hardware stores etc. When a storm is coming, you’ll see fleets of large trucks spreading salt across the city streets and parking-lots alike. But – What is the ‘salt’ being used to melt the snow? Is it safe? Below we will outline 3 of the most common ingredients of ice melt products, and the potential effects on humans, children, pets and the environment.

Sodium Chloride:

Sodium Chloride is the natural mined mineral form of table salt – rock salt or halite as it is sometimes referred. Sodium Chloride is “one of the most abundant minerals on Earth and an essential nutrient for many animals and plants. It is naturally found in seawater and in underground rock formations.” Source Sodium Chloride is generally inexpensive in comparison to other types of ice-melting products, however its “lowest effective temperature [is] 20°F (-7°C), [making it a] relatively slow and ineffective ice-melter when temperatures are coldest.” Source

Section 6 from Sodium Chloride or Salt Safety Data Sheet from Compass Minerals showing accidental spill measures

Every year in Canada, “5 million tonnes of road salt is used to de-ice roadways.” Source This salt “dissolves into sodium and chlorine ions” which often make its way to waterways, posing risks on aquatic life.  Other negative side effects can include “harm […] to plant life, so it shouldn’t be used near vegetated areas.” Rock salt is also “similarly dangerous to pets [and wildlife] since it causes disorders when ingested.” Source

Calcium Chloride:

Unlike Sodium Chloride, Calcium Chloride works in quite extreme temperatures. Calcium Chloride is “able to melt ice at a lower temperature point of -20°F (-29°C) … Over exposure […] can harm lawns and other plants if deicer is over applied.” Source Calcium Chloride not only melts ice at a lower temperature but it also melts it quicker, this is due to the heat it gives off as it dissolves after contact with water. “[A] study found that at -7 C (20 F), [Calcium Chloride] has 22% more penetration after 10 minutes and 38% after 30 minutes than [Magnesium Chloride].” Source

Section 6 from Calcium Chloride Safety Data Sheet Revere Pioneer RIM showing accidental spill measures

Magnesium Chloride:

Similar to Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride also releases heat when it encounters moisture. It can work in temperatures as low as -5°F (-20°C). Unlike other forms of salt or deicer, Magnesium Chloride dissolves quickly when it is on ice, making it effective for a shorter period, in turn causing it to be more expensive. Source  However, the water created from the rapidly melting ice also dilutes the magnesium chloride at a quicker rate than other products, making it less corrosive on roads, parking lots and other surfaces.

Section 6 from Magnesium Chloride Safety Data Sheet from Innovative Surface Solutions showing accidental spill measures
Dogs playing and walking in the snow with their owners above a list of the dangers road salt and ice melt & dogs

Each of the three ice-melt products listed above have PROS and CONS when it comes to their impact on human health and the environment. While Calcium and Magnesium Chloride were oftentimes in my research being described as less harmful to the environment – as shown on the Safety Data Sheet sections above – in large quantities they can all be dangerous, especially to pets, wildlife and aquatic life. When it comes to choosing which product to use, it is best to consider your specific scenario before deciding on your ice-melt product. Location, quantity, temperature as well as checking for other toxic ingredients are all things to consider when making your decision. Many cities, businesses and environmentalists have experimented with alternative solutions; everything from pickle brine to molasses to volcanic rock! Until an alternative replaces the use of road salts altogether be sure to take the appropriate precautions when working with ice-melt/salt products this winter.

MySDS Inc. can assist you with hazardous material compliance in your workplace… contact us for more information! 1-855-282-4537 | www.MySDS.ca

Sources:

 

Share

Canadian Government Entities Under Scrutiny for Lax Cybersecurity

Canada’s government sector is increasingly coming under scrutiny for both lagging privacy and security both in legislation and in practice

 

In a sign of the times, figures released in February to the House of Commons reveal that the personal information of at least 144,000 Canadians was mishandled by Federal department and agencies, including the Security Intelligence Service and Department of National Defense.  The breaches were widespread, impacting over 10 separate departments and agencies, with evidence indicating that these figures are being underreported due to inadequate reporting requirements.  The Canada Revenue Agency led the pack with 3,020 identified breaches over the last two years impacting at least 59,065 Canadians. 

 

Helical’s offerings meet the “Baseline Cyber Security Controls for Small and Medium Organizations” published by the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and can be scaled up according to need.  You can learn more about how we meet these requirements here or for more information about Helical, visit our website.  

Share

SDS Breakdown: What, When, Why & How?

What is an SDS?

SDS stands for Safety Data Sheet (previously called MSDS • Material Safety Data Sheet)

When do you need an SDS?

Safety Data Sheets are created for any product that is “classified as a “hazardous product” under WHMIS that is intended for use, handling or storage in a workplace in Canada.”

Hazardous product means any product, mixture, material or substance that is classified in accordance with the regulations made under subsection 15(1) in a category or subcategory of a hazard class listed in Schedule 2 Source

Safety Data Sheets are to be provided by the manufacturer or supplier. They can be a hard copy given in-person or mailed, or a digital copy on a USB, a disc or sent via email.  It is required that workplaces in Canada maintain an SDS library, whether hard copy or digital, and that it be readily available to all employees.

Metal worker wearing PPE at work with fumes surrounding him

What is on an SDS?

A Safety Data Sheet is separated into 16 sections, below is a brief outline of what information goes into each section.

SECTION 1 – Identification

SECTION 2 – Hazard Identification

SECTION 3 – Composition/Ingredients

SECTION 4 – First Aid Measures

SECTION 5 – Fire-fighting Measures

SECTION 6 – Accidental Release Measures

SECTION 7 – Handling and Storage

SECTION 8 – Exposure Controls / PPE

SECTION 9 – Physical and Chemical Properties

SECTION 10 – Stability and Reactivity

SECTION 11 – Toxicological Info.

SECTION 12 – Ecological Info.

SECTION 13 – Disposal Considerations

SECTION 14 – Transportation Info.

SECTION 15 – Regulatory Info.

SECTION 16 – Other Info. (Dates, etc.)

How can you manage your SDS library?

Depending on the number of hazardous materials in your workplace, maintaining your SDS library can often end up being a full-time job! Because Safety Data Sheets are not always provided as easily or up-to-date as they are required, locating the correct copy often takes research, correspondence with the manufacturer and more.

Why do you need help managing your Safety Data Sheets?

Instead of taking up the time of a valuable employee in your company, hiring professionals for your SDS Management is the best way to go. We hire a lawyer to assist with our legal matters, and a plumber to assist with our plumbing, so why not leave this to the professionals as well. Managing your Safety Data Sheets is a matter of not only compliance with legal requirements, but they also provide the needed information to keep your workplace as safe as possible.

MySDS.ca can build and maintain your SDS library which can give you peace of mind, save you money and keep you compliant!

Share

Case Study – 44HA Drone Topo Survey for E.R. Garden O.L.S.

Scope of work:
44 Hectares, Orthographic Image 3cm, 3m DTM, 1m Contours

Purpose:
To identify drainage and topography for a new development site in Markham.

Conditions and Requirements:

Overgrown farm lands had been neglected for several years, creating a very rugged, muddy landscape. Normal survey methods by foot or ATV would have been extremely cumbersome and slow going.
Accuracy requirements were +/-10cm on bare earth and +/-30cm in wooded and wetland areas. (excluding bodies of water)

Methodology and Timeline:

2 Aerial surveyors were deployed with an eBee+ RTK and Propeller Aero point.
Crew laid the Aero point as an independent base to ensure proper calibration between E.R. Gardens Data and Canadian UAV Solutions RTK eBee data

7 Aerial Ground Control shots were used in the model..

Processing took a GIS Photogrammetrist 3 days to build, edit and QA/QC the 3D model.

The Completed Drone Survey was delivered in approximately 4 business days.

Summary:

Canadian UAV Solutions was able to provide accurate data in a timely manner where it would have been extremely time consuming using traditional methods.
By adding a few extra aerial points within the workflow of the boundary survey, significant time was saved and resulted in considerable savings for the OLS.
The number of crew required was significantly less, and the amount of time on site was reduced from approximately a week to a single day.
QA/QC reports a RMSE on check points found on bare earth and wooded areas no greater than 3cm on the Z and 1.5cm on the XY, well within specified accuracy requirements.

Testimonial
“I had heard several horror stories regarding drones over the last few years, and up until recently had decided to stay away until the hype had died down.
I had done my research, and although we could have started our own drone program, it became increasingly obvious that it was a lot more complex the further we investigated it.
Many people were doing it, but were either struggling or getting bad results.
After several in-depth conversations with Canadian UAV Solutions, I was assured they knew my requirements and would be able to achieve them.

We developed a workflow which fit well into our operations, and has allowed us to utilize drone data in scenarios where it performs beautifully.

Their Drone survey ties right into our calibration points, and we have done our own QA/QC to confirm the legitimacy of the info.

In areas where we are looking for drainage information, we could not do it faster or for less.

The value added from the aerial photo alone speaks volumes. By adding the image to the topo, we are able to answer questions without sending anyone back to the field.

Bottomline is, we are able to take on more projects as it is increasing the efficiency of my crew. We intend to continue to work together with Canadian UAV Solutions on future projects.”

Edward R. Garden O.L.S.

E.R. Garden Limited, Ontario Land Surveyor

Share

DRONE Survey Application Case Study

Canadian UAV Solutions

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) provide a safer and cost effective alternative to many Municipal applications such as:

Urban Planning and Corridor mapping, Road, Rail, and utility inspections, Environmental, and Landfill monitoring, Zoning And Bylaw compliance, Natural Disaster assessment, Flood Plain Mapping, Municipal Drain inspection and planning, Pre-construction planning, Construction project monitoring and tracking, Asset Management data collection and more.

Here’s a Canadian UAV Solutions Case Study:
Bay Sands Subdivision Drainage

Client:
Paul Hauser
R.J. Burnside and Associates Ltd.

Scope of work:
First phase: 80 Hectares, Orthographic Image 5cm, 3m DTM, 1m Contours
Second Phase: Additional 35 Hectares tying into first phase, Orthographic image 5cm, 3m DTM, 1m Contours
Purpose:
To identify drainage and topography for a new subdivision in Wasaga Beach.

Conditions and Requirements:
Large swaths of the survey area were heavily wooded or swampy wetlands, causing issue with accessibility and reliable survey information.
Accuracy requirements were +/-10cm on bare earth and +/-30cm in wooded/wetland areas.
(excluding bodies of water)
Previous survey crews had mapped a wooded area trails the year before,
Our survey was required to tie into past survey crew’s calibration points,
As well as embed their 150 survey shots into the final model.

First Phase Methodology and Timeline:
2 Aerial surveyors were deployed with an eBee+ RTK and R10 GPS.
Crew laid 20 aerial ground control points, distributed throughout the survey area.
Shots were calibrated to previous survey crews’ controls.
15 were used in the model, with 5 as check points.

Approximately 4 hours to lay and mark targets. 
2 flights were performed by a Fixed Wing UAV, data collection took approximately 2 hours.
Final 2 hours for target and equipment clean up.
Field work was completed in about 8 hours, or 1 work day.

Processing took a single GIS Photogrammetrist 4 days to build, edit and QA/QC the 3D model.
The first phase was completed in less than a week, approximately 5 business days.

Second Phase Methodology and Timeline:
After speed, accuracy, and price of first survey, R.J. Burnside was able to commission an additional area to be surveyed.
2 Aerial surveyors were deployed using a Phantom 4 RTK and R10 GPS.
10 aerial ground control points were laid throughout the area.
Calibrated to our own controls from phase 1.
6 were used in the construction, 4 as check points.

Approximately 2 hours to lay and mark targets.
2 flights were performed by a Multi-Rotor, data collection took approximately 1 hour.
Additional hour after data collection to clean up equipment and targets.
The field work was completed in half a working day.

Processing, editing and QA/QC was completed in 2 days by a single GIS photogrammetrist.
The second phase was fully completed in less than business 3 days.

Summary:
We were able to provide accurate data where it was near impossible to obtain with a ground crew.
Was done in a similar amount of time as a standard ground survey, however the number of crew required was significantly less, and thus reflected in considerable savings. (enough to extend the survey area)
QA/QC reports a RMSE on check points found on bare earth and wooded areas no greater than 6cm on the Z and 3cm on the XY, well within specified accuracy requirements.

Testimonial
Paul Hauser – R.J. Burnside & Associates Limited
“A few years ago, Burnside decided to explore the potential applications of a Drone Survey. We contacted Canadian UAV Solutions to do a pre-construction scan of a project which was about to get underway. Within about a week we had our topography and site imagery from the day of the survey. The topographic information was very dense, which provided our engineers ample data to produce an accurate drainage plan. A normal ground crew would have struggled getting GPS lock in this dense forest, and cannot provide the imagery data which has been useful to identify feature locations.
Since then we have used Canadian UAV Solutions for various municipal construction projects and plan to explore drone applications further.”

Should your Municipality be open to exploring a more efficient mode of data collection, contact Canadian UAV Solutions today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

 

Share