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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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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3 Communications Tips for Managing Anywhere, Anytime (plus a Free Gift!)

We’re in approximately week 5 of working remotely for many and it is likely working better for some than for others. As the leader, you may be wondering how you can better manage your relationships with the people on your team while working remotely.

 

There are two critical considerations that contribute significantly to improving relationships and engagement. The first, is that we don’t all have the same communication style; and, the second is that we aren’t all driven/motivated by the same things.

In this article, we’ll start by sharing three tips to help you improve your communication with the people on your team when working remotely.

It’s not a one-size fits all!

We tend to all have our own communication preferences and style. Some of us have a higher energy level and some don’t. Some of us tend to gain our energy from social interactions while others may find that draining.

The key point to remember is that people like people like themselves. Ever hear of birds of a feather? And no, opposites don’t naturally attract.

First you have to understand your own communication style. Are you forceful, decisive, strong-willed or do you tend to be low-key, mild and a collaborator? Are you a person who is magnetic, enthusiastic, demonstrative or are you more restrained, controlled, non-animated and more reserved? Perhaps you are the person that tends to be more patient, steady and relaxed or are you more active, flexible, and fat-moving? Lastly, maybe you tend to be more dependent, neat, careful and always have lots of research on a topic or maybe you’re more uninhibited and unconventional. You may say that you have a variety of these traits and that may be so, but each of us has a primary communication style that most people see most of the time. 

So what happens when you are communicating with someone that is the opposite of your style? Might the other person sometimes tune out? Do you sometimes tune out when someone is speaking that is quite different from you? If you’re more of that direct communicator and I’m the opposite, do I drive you nuts when I come in with pages of data and absolutely need you to understand every single point I’ve uncovered? Likely. After all, didn’t you ask me to give you the key highlights? How’s that communication working out?

Remember, people buy from people they like and people like people like themselves.

Learn to People Read

People reading isn’t as difficult as it may sound. With a bit of background knowledge you can start people reading anywhere anytime. One of the keys to people reading is not talking but rather observing. When we’re talking, we’re not listening. At the end of this article, you will have a chance to receive a free personalized Working From Home report and in that report that are some clues to identifying others’ preferred communication styles.

What verbal and non-verbal cues is the person giving you? Perhaps you’ve just finished yet another team zoom meeting. Granted it’s more challenging to pick up on non-verbal cues on virtual calls but you know your team so you should be able to pick up on clues. Do they appear drained after calls or are they leaving wanting more? It’s often more important to observe body language and what is not being said than to what is being said.

Learn to Flex…your style that is!

When I talk about flexing your style in communication workshops, people sometimes ask me if that isn’t manipulation. It’s only manipulation if the intent is not honourable. The #1 thing you can do to improve communication with anyone is to meet them where they are.

Flexing your style is the art of adapting your style to match the style of the person you are communicating with. It helps create that symbiotic cadence. If the other person is more reflective, has a lower tone of voice and a slower pace in speaking than is normal for you, try flexing your style to mirror those behaviours. It will take a lot of conscious effort and practice to get good at it but you will start to see the benefits before too long.

It’s as easy as 1…2…3

Your people aren’t all one size thus your approach can’t be a one-size fits all either. Take the time to connect with each member of your team one-on-one for the purpose of listening. Start with an observation using self-responsible language or with an open-ended question…and then listen and observe.

As you become better at the super skill of people reading, you and your team will reap the rewards of improved communication, relationships and engagement.

Our gift to you and your organization – The Working From Home Report

During this unprecedented time, our partner TTI SI has created a special Working From Home report. The questionnaire is the same highly-validated research-based questionnaire used for all our behaviours reports but this report has been designed to be easy to digest without the need for individual or group debriefs. No strings attached. You won’t be solicited if you take us up on our offer. TTI SI’s goal is to give away 10,000 of these reports each day in North America.

TTI SI has been on the cutting edge of the assessment solutions industry for over 30 years. They have administered over 30 million assessments worldwide in 115 countries in 47 different languages. Data norming and rigorous data analysis conducted by both internal research teams and independent statisticians help ensure our assessments are the most reliable and accurate tools in the market.

Ready? Click here. This link will take you to a page on our website where you can view a sample of the report, view answers to FAQs and a link to respond to the questionnaire to get your own personalized report. It only takes 10 minutes to complete. After you’re done, you will receive your report immediately in your inbox and will be taken to a page to download a PDF of our Action Plan worksheet for your personal use.

I hope you accept our gift and that you and your team use your personalized reports to improve working relationships. A fun follow-up activity is to have your team share their primary style from page 2 of the report so that you can all begin to see your behavioural similarities and differences and learn to appreciate what each person brings to the team.

Feel free to share this WFH report link with colleagues, friends and family.

Sophie Mathewson, PCC

Strategic Coach & Advisor

Prism Group Int’l

prismgroup.ca

Specializing in working with leaders that want to create more cohesive senior teams to achieve their purpose and vision

 

Sophie can be reached at [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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Understanding & Managing People from Different Cultures

During the past 20+ years, Canada’s demographics have change significantly and now we are one of the world’s most multicultural societies.

Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world. Ontario has the largest number of foreign-born residence (29.1%). British Columbia is the most ethnically diverse province in Canada. (Source: 2016 Census).

Canada’s 2016 Census also reported that the country’s multicultural population is slightly larger than the French-Canadian population.

Canada’s rich large multicultural mosaic of residents means that increasingly municipal employees find them interacting with individuals from different cultures. However, the only culture most of us really understand is our own culture.

Culturally different individuals can have different expectations, values, beliefs, communication styles, etiquette rules, etc.

Therefore, as municipal employees, understanding individuals from different countries and cultures can be a relevant and an increasingly valuable skill.

An individual’s cultural background is a very powerful force which shapes them into who they become as an adult.

An individual’s cultural biases and predispositions are automatic. They are usually unconscious to them until they interact with someone from a different culture.

An individual’s cultural background is their “way of life”; how they “see things”; how they feel comfortable or uncomfortable being treated; and it can stir positive and negative emotions when someone else is seen as being respectful and culturally sensitive ….or lacking that interpersonal skill.

Cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity skills can be an important skill for municipal employees in today’s multicultural Canada.
For example, mainstream Canadians usually value individuals who are informative and “to-the-point”. However, to people from some Asian countries being “to-the-point” is seen as being overly aggressive.

Another example is that mainstream Canadians tend to feel more trusting to someone maintaining eye contact while speaking with them. However, to individuals from some Asian cultures, such as Japanese people, direct eye contact is seen as rude an intrusive.
Mistakenly a mainstream Canadian would think they are having a good conversation with good eye contact.

Please join my Zoom webinar “Understanding & Managing People from Different Cultures” at 10:00 am on Wednesday, April 29th. *Meeting ID: 530 952 397

It will explain a number of key cross-cultural area such as the “visible” and “invisible” culture of a culturally different individual; how being a “good manager” to a mainstream Canadian can be seen “poor management” by people from a different culture; etc.

Thank You,

Bill Dennis, B.Com., MBA, CSP(Distinction)                                                                                                                                    President & CEO,                                                                                                                                                                       Cultural & Generational Training                                                                                                                                                Burlington, Ontario
Tel: 905-599-6365                                                                                                                                                                       e-Mail: [email protected] or [email protected]
Website: crossculturalconnecting.com or culturalselling.com

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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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