Is Your Municipality Ready for a Disruptive Event? Business Continuity Planning 101

Every municipality needs an Emergency Management Program.

There are a number of components that make up a comprehensive emergency management program, (i.e. Emergency Response Plan, Business Continuity Plan, Communications Plan, Employee & Family Support Plan, Pandemic Plan, etc.).

When I was with the Office of the Fire Marshal I was responsible for emergency management and the development of these plans for the OFM. And now in these times of global uncertainty, I am once again reminded of just how important it is for organizations to have them – and particularly a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place.

What is a BCP?

A BCP is a plan that outlines the critical services to be delivered during a disruptive event and how full operations are going to be resumed after the event.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is, your BCP needs to address planning/mitigation, response, recovery and restoration.

Generally, a Business Continuity Plan outlines:

  • Who is responsible for recovery actions

  • What is needed to deliver, resume, continue, or restore the municipality’s services

  • Where to go to resume operations if necessary, and,

  • How the municipality’s critical services and operations will continue to be provided during a disruptive event (detailed procedures for provision, recovery, resumption and restoration of services)

Basic Elements of a BCP

It is important to remember that while the unique characteristics of your municipality must be reflected in the plan, the basic elements detailed below represent the foundation on which every BCP should be built.

  • Gather the necessary Baseline Information – This is used to identify municipal services, where the service is located, who uses the service, dependencies, alternate service delivery, critical infrastructure, etc.

  • Conduct a Business Services Risk Assessment Needed to help identify areas of potential vulnerabilities and to examine current and necessary control measures to mitigate threats.

  • Undertake a Business Impact Analysis – Gathers information concerning the exposure and impact on the service should the service experience significant disruptions and assesses the potential financial and non-financial impacts of a disruptive event.

  • Develop a Business Continuity Recovery Strategy – Assesses the advantages and disadvantages, estimated associated costs and determines the recommended strategy for each critical service and the resources that may be necessary for quick recovery.

  • Identify Emergency Response and Operational Protocols & Procedures – This is a checklist of protocols and procedures that help to simplify the necessary activities even further (i.e. notification protocols, call trees, etc.).

  • Create the Business Continuity Plan

Of course, once it’s completed don’t let your BCP collect dust. Keep it dynamic by updating it to reflect any changes to personnel or processes, and practice it with your team so when a disruptive event occurs, like we’re experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic, your organization will be ready and well prepared to resume operations.

If you’d like to receive a free Business Continuity Plan template to help you get started or information on any of the other emergency management plans mentioned, please feel free to contact me. Susan Shannon at s[email protected]

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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:

 

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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.  

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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!

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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

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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.

 

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How Do I Set up a Webinar? Productivity Tools to Help

muniSERV’s professional members know that as part of their membership, we advertise their webinars directly to our municipal members. We know it’s hard to get past municipal gate-keepers so what better way is there to increase your visibility and credibility with municipal decision-makers, than with a webinar?

 

And our municipal members love webinars – particularly the free Lunch & Learn type webinars.  We know this because our open and click-through rates for our newsletters are consistently higher than the industry average rates.   

 

To be successful though your webinar must be educational and address a topic of interest to municipalities.  Municipalities won’t register for your webinar if they think it’s just about “selling” your product or service.  

 

Here’s What Our Members Say

 

“At Emergenetics we are always looking for strong, credible partners as we build our international brand in Canada and I have loved partnering with muniSERV and muniJOBS.  

I am continuously impressed by the outreach opportunities we receive with our muniSERV membership, the response we receive to our webinars and the quality of the audience it attracts.”

Gail Green, President – Emergenetics Ontario  April 2019

 

Ideas for Webinars

 

If you sell risk management software, provide some educational – or even scary statistics and inform municipalities on ways to mitigate online losses.

 

If you sell HR services, speak to the importance of performance reviews and what led you to develop your solution.  You can even provide a sneak peek of your solution with a quick demo – but again, it must be delivered as a solution to the problem you are educating them on and not just a sales pitch for your services.

 

Here’s where I feel a bit hypocritical though. I know the value and the power of providing webinars (that’s why we encourage our members to do so), but I confess, that while I have co-sponsored some webinars, I have never actually set one up myself.  (because shamelessly – I don’t know how to do it!)

 

So, in order for me to help you I had to help myself by learning how to conduct a webinar.  Here are some tricks and tools I learned along the way.

 

Webinar Tools

Your webinar can be as basic as creating PowerPoint slides and delivering a webinar by using remote conferencing services that use cloud computing, such as Zoom or JoinMe.  

 

I use Zoom to share my screen and provide online demos of muniJOBS.  While I pay the annual fee for Zoom, you can use many of their features for free. However, their specific webinar service comes at an additional cost.

 

If you want folks to register for your webinar (and you will so you can gather leads), you will need a way to handle the registrations even if registration is free.  There are many registration tools available, but one I’m familiar with is Eventbrite.

 

To create and deliver webinars you may want to consider using specific webinar software.  Here’s an article by Joe Warnimont for codeinwp, that summarizes and compares the Best Webinar software of 2019.  

 

Once you’re ready to start creating your webinar content, these Six Tips for Success are a great guideline to follow.  Don’t forget to engage your audience with a poll, some direct questions or an icebreaker to make it interactive and fun.  There’s nothing worse than listening to a “talking head”, with no opportunity to provide input or ask questions!

 

Also, be sure you turn off any chat windows and on-screen notifications that could (and will) pop up while sharing your screen.

 

And finally, be prepared with extra batteries for your wireless mouse and a fully charged headset – because we’re all well aware of Murphy’s Law!

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EPA Reg. 347 C-12 Waste Transportation Driver Training

As described in Regulation 347, the transportation of municipal waste, liquid industrial waste or hazardous waste requires driver training in order to “ensure that wastes are effectively managed from the point of their generation to where they are ultimately processed or disposed of. To provide this necessary control, the regulation includes definitions for different waste types and detailed requirements for a range of waste management activities.” Source

 

Men standing beside spill totes on side of road with truck in distance   If you have a waste management system that has an ECA (Environmental Compliance Approval) or registered EASR (Environmental Activity and Sector Registry), you will typically have a requirement for a certificate to be held in the waste transportation vehicle, indicating that the driver has received this training. The certificate must have specific information such as the driver’s name, the name of the business, the ECA or EASR number, it will also contain information such as the date the training was completed as well as the name and organization of the trainer that provided this training. The certificate should remain with the driver at all times while on-duty, as any regulatory officer can ask the driver to produce this card . Should the driver not have a compliant card or not have the card in his or her possession, fines can and will occur. It is also imperative that your company contacts the local municipality to find out what they consider hauled liquid waste, as this can vary from site to site.

In May of 2012, on the Trans-Canada highway, a septic tank truck caught the ditch and lost control, more than 3000 liters of raw sewage, seeped into a nearby creek, creating algae build-up and causing fish and other wildlife to suffer. Environmental impacts of this nature are incredibly difficult to rectify. The ongoing cost of water filtration, wildlife reintroduction, and forest rehabilitation can reach into the millions of dollars. Knowing how to respond to any type of spill you may have and reacting accordingly is imperative and can greatly reduce a chance of any environmental impact.

This government required training is put in place for the betterment of the employee(s), the environment and to reduce adverse affects to human health and the environment.

Article written by Liisa Punkari for MySDS Inc.

At MySDS Inc. we offer an online C-12 course, as well as an in-person instructor-led customized course (recommended for groups of 15+).  

C-12 COURSE REGISTRY

CONTACT US

 

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What is the difference between LEADERSHIP and MANAGEMENT?

In short: leaders create risk, and managers reduce it.

LEADERSHIP ANTICIPATES THE BEST OUT OF PEOPLE, AND MANAGEMENT ANTICIPATES THE WORST. While leadership invites others to follow, management ensures the followers are following.

Leadership is the act of inviting others to a new and better future.  A leader inspires and creates change by casting a vision of a destination that is different, better, and achievable.

Management is the ensuring things happen by creating, communicating, and monitoring expectations.  It tracks individual people to see that they perform as expected, as opposed to inspiring a number of them. 

Leadership skills can be summarized as those skills relevant to interacting with large groups of people, and to inspiring and creating vision. Conversely, management skills are those which are relevant to interacting with individual people, and to specifying and monitoring performance.

Many of the skills required to lead people are also the ones used to manage people. However, the expression of these skills can be significantly different.  For instance, a leader needs to effectively communicate to be compelling and inspirational, and a manager needs to effectively communicate to be precise and personal.

Because of the skillset overlaps between management and leadership, it is quite possible that a single person assumes either of these roles.

 

Want to learn more about leadership?  Check out EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LEADERSHIP.

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5 Ways to Deal with a Bad Boss

Dealing with a bad boss

Bad bosses can be deadly. One 15-year study found that when employees had a difficult relationship with their boss, they were 30% more likely to suffer from heart disease. Perhaps really bad bosses have lower coronary disease because their hearts are seldom used!

If you have ever said, “My boss makes me sick!” you might be right. A British study found that stress induced by a bad boss lowers immune response, and participants were more susceptible to a cold virus.

As with much in life, it’s not what happens to us, but what we do about it. A bad boss might victimize you, but you choose whether to be a victim. Strong leaders don’t wait, they initiate. If you have a bad boss, you can decide that he or she’s not unbearable and live with your situation, fire your boss by leaving, or practice upward leadership with some boss management.

Boss management or leading upward is one of the most popular topics on our website. Recently The Globe & Mail published my column on Five Ways to Deal with a Bad Boss in their Leadership Labs section. I condensed years of writing and coaching on this topic into five steps:

  1. Strengthen your credibility and relationship
  2. Check your timing and approach
  3. Don’t wait, initiate
  4. Speak up
  5. Fire a bully boss

Click here to read the column for a brief description of each step.

A reporter once asked the Dalai Lama why he didn’t hate the Chinese Communists. Now they have some bad bosses! The Dalai Lama replied, “They have taken over Tibet, destroyed our temples, burned our sacred texts, ruined our communities, and taken away our freedom. They have taken so much. Why should I let them also take my peace of mind?”

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