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! 

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Immunity

 

No individual, no organization, no place is completely immune from some form of a disruptive event. Pandemics, epidemics, financial and government unrest, terrorism, on top of the myriad of natural disasters and the consequences of those events that countries, states, provinces, cities, large enterprise, and small/medium business all could experience.

With these disruptive events, all of the aforementioned entities have difficult decisions to make with regards to their investment into response (and to what level of response), what level of security, what level of operational capability do they need during and immediately after these type of events and others.

How do we reduce the impact of disruptive events?

Invest in enhancing resilience. Organizations require the ability to prepare and plan, absorb and recover for and from disruptive events.

Building resilience, maintaining resilience, staying resilient.

Being resilient, allows organizations to be better equipped to anticipate disruptive events with the expectation that losses are reduced.

Disruptive events will continue. A proactive approach to enhancing your organization’s resiliency will reduce the economic, reputational, and operational affects that disruptive events can cause.

It all starts with a conversation.

We can Help. We’ve helped organizations enhance their resiliency, and will continue to do so with a collaborative approach and transparent communication.

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.

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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.

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Organizational Resiliency – What else is it good for?

What else does organizational resiliency do for the organization aside from being able to carry on during and after a disruptive event?

  • Reduces stress – it reduces stress in those managing and working prior to, during and after an event
  • Increase in trust and confidence – employees believe in the leadership, each other, and the plan to move through an event
  • Reduces absenteeism – people are comfortable and confident in the decision making of their peers and the responsibilities they have
  • Improvement in physical health and wellbeing – with strong mental health comes stronger and maintained physical health
  • Productivity increases – a happy workforce wants to produce
  • An alert workforce – reduction in accident and workplace injuries
  • Learning power – with overall personal health and wellbeing comes the drive, adaptability to learn and the willingness to be flexible in the event of change

There are other benefits to making your organization resilient that are not just about the bottom line.

We can help your organization in building your risk and security management program resiliency.

It starts with a conversation.

We can Help.

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.

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Fun (and Safe) Ways to Enjoy Your Summer

The past few months have been challenging for us all, personally and professionally. Summer is here and, as restrictions are being lifted, it is the perfect time to get outside, shake off the cobwebs and have some summer fun! Here’s a look at some fun, socially distanced activities to kick back and relax this season.

 

Visit a Provincial Park

With most provincial parks reopen, this is a great way to get active and get outside. Discover new hiking trails, find hidden beaches or a great new fishing spot all while getting fresh air. While not all amenities are currently available, park staff are actively working as quickly as they can to open as many facilities and services as possible for the season.

Pack a Picnic

Many municipalities’ public parks are now open to explore and have a family picnic on the green spaces (as many roofed shelters may still remain closed). Packing a special meal from home or getting takeout from a local restaurant is a great way to enjoy family and friends while social distancing. Don’t forget to bring a blanket to sit on!

 

Hike a New Trail

Many of the local trails are open for walking, hiking, and even biking as well. This is a great opportunity to find a new local/regional trail that you haven’t explored before!

 

Fruit and Vegetable Picking

Another summer staple is picking your own seasonal fruits and vegetables. This is a great way to get the entire family outside and have fun. Many of these farms offering these services have put measures into place to ensure the safety of their staff and visitors. Some farms now require an online booking beforehand and are monitoring entry and exits to keep numbers within the provincial limits. PickYourOwn.org has compiled a list of places in Ontario that are offering different fruit and vegetable picking this season (https://www.pickyourown.org/CNON.htm ). It is always a good idea to contact the farm before you head out to avoid disappointment.

Backyard Campout

 

If you are not ready to camp at a provincial park, why not set up the ultimate backyard campout? Pitch a tent, start a campfire, (check on any local fire bans first), then make some s’mores, play games, project a movie … all while have a night outdoors under the stars. The best part of camping in the backyard is that everything you need is still right inside. No need to worry about closed amenities!

 

Watch as more restrictions are lifted for even more fun and safe ways to enjoy your summer!

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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/

 

 

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Do Not Lose Focus

Let us not forget about all the other risks & threats that kept us up at night before the threat of the pandemic landed on our doorsteps.

Yes, the response to the pandemic is important.  Unfortunately, there are other risks & threats that still exist.  

Do not lose focus.

Organizations now more than ever need to be able to strike a balance with multiple focal points whist executing their emergency response, risk & security, business continuity plans.

Stay organized.  Stay Sharp.

We can Help.

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.

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Municipalities and the Use of Technology During the Pandemic

If our current situation due to COVID-19 has had any positive impact, it is that municipalities who have been hesitant to adopt technology are now realizing just how vital it is. In the past, many municipal employees were unable to work from home due to technology limitations and concerns about the protection of confidential information. Let’s take a look at how some municipalities are adapting to the “new normal”.

 

WASAGA BEACH, ONTARIO

While other municipalities have set up a system allowing many staff to work from home instead of reporting to town offices, in the case of Wasaga Beach, the risk of an information breach has prevented them from allowing staff to work off-site.

“We had a cyber-attack almost three years ago that has made us wary of the security of confidential information being transmitted over the Internet from off-site locations,” said Communications Officer Michael Gennings.

“We have implemented many of the measures that other municipalities have, including work shifts to increase physical distancing. Should the pandemic situation change, the municipality will consider its options at that time.”

“Staff that must stay home are required to use vacation time or explore a leave. The bulk of our workforce remains onsite. Some have taken leaves.”

Wasaga Beach council is meeting via video conference for regular meetings, and in council chambers for closed session meetings.

 

MEDICINE HAT, ALBERTA

The City of Medicine Hat has laid off 170 workers – about 15% of its workforce – and has deferred filling many summer positions as it wrestles with closures and budget stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Hall is attempting to conduct as much business as possible, but with less physical interaction and higher safety standards. “The City of Medicine Hat has taken the approach that it’s business as usual during an unusual time,” said Dennis Egert, the city’s corporate services commissioner,  pointing to online, teleconferencing, or directing resident queries via email rather than in-person meetings. 

 

NOVA SCOTIA

Despite the roadblocks presented by COVID-19, Nova Scotia’s municipal elections will go forward as scheduled. Electors from all 49 provincial municipalities will go to the polls on October 17 in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act stipulation that elections be held every four years on the third Saturday in October.

Chuck Porter, Minister of the province’s municipal affairs department, told reporters “At this point, we see no reason why municipal elections can’t move forward. We’re all adapting to do business differently these days and certainly we will work with (municipalities) to offer support where we can.

“We’ve done things in the past like electronic voting, by-phone voting in some circumstances. So I think there are a number of options that are out there for us to be able to vote this coming fall.”

How is your municipality dealing with social distancing, council meetings, and more? We would love to hear from you! Drop us a line and let us know how you are doing … [email protected]

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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.

 

 

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Ensuring Due Diligence and Cost-Effectiveness While Working on a Budget and Under the Public Microscope.

Staff Training – Bylaw Officer Training and Accreditation.

Ensuring due diligence and cost effectiveness while working on a budget and under the public microscope.

As a court recognized “Subject Matter Expert” (S.M.E.) in the training of Provincial Officers, Bylaw Officers and Police Officers, I am often called to testify as to what is or isn’t an acceptable level of training and give opinions on policy and procedural issues surrounding enforcement.

In a series of coming articles I will discuss a number of different issues surrounding the training and operational deployment of Bylaw Officers, particularly Parking Bylaw, Animal Control and General Duties Bylaw Officers/Inspectors within Municipalities. This will include comments on standards (best practices) and what constitutes proper due diligence.

To train or not to train; this is the question!

In the words of the ancient Huna tradition: “In all things you must pay attention, or you will pay later with pain.” Ouch.

My quote is this: “There is only one thing more painful that training someone and they leave; and that is that you don’t train them and they stay.” Free advice from a guy who in court a lot and seen the outcomes.

Here are a few facts before we start just for context:

1. There is NO mandatory training required by legislation in most Provinces or Territories in Canada
to become a general duties Bylaw or Municipal Bylaw Enforcement Officer appointed to enforce Parking,
Property Standards or Animal Control. (Building Inspectors and other specialty trades do have standards and
training.)

2. There is also NO government mandated course training standard for “certification,” or “accreditation” for
non-college delivered courses. Colleges must meet the requirements of their legislation in order to issue
“certificates of achievement” to graduates. There is no consistency within college programs and courses can
vary in length and cost. No two courses deliver the same identical content even if they carry the same
module/content names.

3. Bylaw Officer training courses are currently offered to the public via Colleges or by *private vendors in
addition to any job specific courses delivered in house by the employer. (* Provincial Associations training
programs are included as private vendors as they are not a sanctioned arm of the government nor usually
listed as private career colleges.)

4. ANY training is only as good as the credentials of the instructor who teaches it and the content they teach.
Beware of anyone who calls themselves an “expert.” Only the courts can designate someone as a Subject Matter
Expert. If credentials are questioned, they must be proven credible to be accepted.
Content that is not kept up to date by a qualified person can be both useless and get officers into legal
trouble. Content updates should take place annually.

5. Beware of labels and semantics. The term “Municipal Law Enforcement Officer” or M.L.E.O. is a term that is
sourced within the Ontario Police Services Act. It is used in Ontario only. Other Provinces use the term
“Bylaw Officer” or use other terms. Legal terms are found within each Province or Territories enabling
legislation. “Provincial Offenses Officer” (P.O.O.)is a term sourced in the Ontario Provincial Offenses Act.
Officers that we train for Provincial Ministries or other agencies who are not necessarily Municipal Bylaw
Officers, get their appointments from this Act.
Changing the name does not change the facts surrounding their duties. “Regulatory Compliance Officer,”
“Inspector,” or any other made up term to describe a Bylaw Officer or M.L.E.O. doesn’t change their
appointment status or their authorities to act within law.

6. All Police Officers are also appointed as P.O.O.’s and M.L.E.O.’s in Ontario. In some cases they are the
only source of Bylaw enforcement in smaller communities but in others this is left entirely to the local
Bylaw officers or even outsourced, contracted, security guards or private agencies. It is therefore common
sense that the same academic content taught to the police should be taught within a properly vetted course
to Bylaw Officers in context.

Regardless of which Province or Territory you live in, staff need a core level of academic knowledge and
skills competencies that a properly vetted course can provide. In many cases, but not all, Municipalities
offer further training or supply additional certification specific to appointments. Some only accept Law and
Security or Police Foundations college graduates then don’t give them any further training at all. I can’t
begin to tell you how dangerous a practice this is for many reasons.

For further details regarding accreditation within your area, please visit our website https://burgessandassoc.com/courses/municipal-provincial-officers/bylaw-officer-core-competency-training-course or https://burgessandassoc.com/courses/municipal-provincial-officers/parking-enforcement-officer-course

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