What Can a Learning Management System do for my municipality?

Municipalities have reported two (2) main pain points when it comes to managing their learning and development programs:

  1. They are tired of tracking Learning & Development on a spreadsheet and they would you like to have an LMS but they are cost-prohibitive for their municipality,
  2. Sourcing training content to populate their LMS is difficult and time-consuming, not to mention expensive

Learning Management Systems (LMS)

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application to help organizations manage the administration, documentation, tracking, training, reporting of their Learners. The main benefits of an LMS are to reduce the time, effort and cost of your training program while offering deeper insight into your Learner’s experience, compliance and progress.

With an LMS, you can assign training to your team to; a) grow the leaders of tomorrow (succession planning), b) for annual compliance training, c) for new hire onboarding or d) improve the job skills of employees in your organization. 

Not every municipality is the same so not everyone has the same needs when it comes to an LMS.  That’s why any LMS must offer a wide range of functionality to address individual municipal circumstances and the provider must be available to provide support and guidance along the way.

Learning Content

When organizations purchase their own LMS, the first step they need to do is upload training content into the LMS – and municipalities already know that it’s difficult and time consuming to source quality courses. But, then once they’ve found the training content they will need their IT or the LMS provider to upload it for them.  This increases costs and results in time delays in getting their training started.

A Learning Management Solution for Municipalities

muniLEARN is a collaborative learning management solution provided by muniSERV.ca, in partnership with Orion Learning. It saves municipalities money, improves  learning effectiveness, and helps them implement a safe, secure, collaborative learning solution across their municipality.

Here’s how:

muniLEARN has three components:

  • A state-of-the-art, robust, secure, subscription-based learning management system (LMS)
  • Access to a content marketplace of over 900 accredited, competency-based learning courses, programs and certification exams
  • Expertise to help you transform your learning and development program



Learning Management System – muniLEARN’s LMS comes with a full range of functionality already, but it is also customizable to suit individual needs.

Learning Content – With muniLEARN you have immediate access to our learning marketplace of over 900 accredited competency-based learning courses, programs and certification exams. We have sourced the best competency based learning courses from some of the world’s best content authors to provide you with an off-the-shelf content solution you can access directly or integrate it into your own learning programs. All of our courses are accredited by internationally recognized accreditation bodies including PMI, AXELOS, APMG International, ISSA, APM and ISTQB. We show you the accreditation agency on the accredited courses and your learners will receive certificates on successful completion of the exam.

Learning Transformation – muniLEARN has the expertise available to help guide municipalities through the transformation of their learning and development programs.

muniLEARN Pilot Program

If you’re not sure how muniLEARN will work for your municipality, we’ll give you a month to try it out!  Our muniLEARN Pilot program gives municipalities a test drive of the muniLEARN solution and the opportunity to experience using an LMS and digital learning.

Contact us today at [email protected] to learn more and discuss your learning and training needs!


Content is Still King for Getting Attention for your Business

As you know, keeping your business top of mind with your ideal customer will help you be their first choice when they’re in the market for what you offer.

But cutting through the noise to reach your ideal customers and grabbing their attention is getting tougher than ever. The ways consumers find information have changed.

Enter the Power of Content

What type of content you produce and where you distribute it will be uniquely specific to your brand. You can’t just put a piece of content up on your website and hope people will find it.

Writing articles through the use of a blog is one of the most common and powerful types of content marketing – and having the ability to publish articles to a community blog focussed directly on your target audience is even better!

Doing so helps you build visibility with your customers and potential customers while at the same time engaging them and strengthening the reputability of your brand.

Your content gives you the power to become an influencer and the voice of authority in your field of expertise.

If you’re like me though, because the heavy traffic on the social media channels available for content marketing is constantly growing, I’m finding that my content posted on various social media sites, is like publishing into the abyss. You might get some “likes” and “comments” but it’s hard for most of us who are “technologically impaired” to determine if it actually reached our target audience.

To make content marketing work best, not only does it need to be good and relevant to your customers, you must also consider effective distribution of it and getting it in the right places.

“The most essential issue in Content Marketing, as cited by more than half of in-house respondents, is “Effective Distribution and Getting Content in the Right Places.” [1]

Getting Started

  • Identify your core audience (i.e. for our professional members, it’s the municipalities)
  • Determine their pain points and write custom content that helps – tell stories from your experience, provide information that prompts them to ask questions and contact you.
  • Then publish it where they will see it – “in the right places” (i.e – our “muniBLOG”)

Remember – one article alone won’t be the primary source of conversions so you’ll want to think creatively about what types of content you need to produce. Keep your articles closely related or neatly categorized so, as people start connecting with your content, they’re inclined to read more and more.

Content No-No’s:

  • Too much self-promotion – a bit is ok but your articles can’t be a sales pitch. Keep it mostly educational or informational and follow the 80/20 rule. (80% information/20% promotion)
  • Misspellings & Poor Grammar – if you’re not comfortable writing your own content consider getting someone to write your content for you
  • Not including a strong call to action – if someone is reading your blog, they need to be able to reach out to you – otherwise, what’s the point. Tell them what you want them to do next and provide your contact information.

Now here’s my 20% Rule in action.

Are you leveraging muniSERV’s Content Marketing potential?

According to the Incite Group’s 2017 Marketing Trends, “Personalization” is the next big thing.

muniSERV is ahead of its time and we already offer our members a component of personalization, in that we take your content and target it directly to municipalities for you.

As a muniSERV member, did you know your content on our blog has the potential to reach every Canadian municipality and it will be delivered directly to the inboxes of our 750 subscribed municipal decision-members?

So be sure you’re taking advantage of the power of publishing your content to our muniBLOG so you can leverage the strength of our subscribed municipal members. I cannot stress enough, the power in getting the right content to the right people at the right time.

Finally, if content writing is just not your thing and you need help – contact me. We can help you with that too.

By the way – we’re working hard on taking “personalization” to the next level for our members by developing personalization that will provide segmented targeting to help you reach exactly who you want to reach – so stay tuned!

Susan Shannon, Founder & Principal


[email protected]


[1] Incite Group – 2017 Digital Marketing Trends



Tips to Getting Noticed and Winning More Municipal Business

By Susan Shannon, Principal, muniSERV.ca

Limited time offer – Register today for a new, annual muniSERV professional membership and get your 10% off discount code for a new bids&tenders subscription.  Enjoy a better way to connect with public sector clients to market your professional services and now, exclusive access to tender from 100’s of public sector organizations. Learn more.

*bids&tenders is a member of the muniSERV strategic partners network.


muniSERV Free Webinar – April 18th 2017

Register now.

Tips to Get Noticed and Earn More Business:
Join us Tues April 18th at 11 am EST for this free, one-hour webinar:
Susan Shannon, Principal, muniSERV.ca will share valuable tips for getting noticed by municipalities and earning more business. See more about her presentation, below. She’ll be followed by Jay Smith, senior Projects Manager, bids&tenders who will demonstrate then answer questions on how to use bids&tenders to subscribe to, then manage, your online bids.

More about the webinar:
The Two-Step Plan to Getting Noticed and Winning More Municipal Business featuring Susan Shannon, Principal, muniSERV.ca.
It is a known fact that municipalities share success and horror stories about experiences they have had with a particular vendor, consultant or professional they’ve used. They quite literally pick up the phone and ask other municipalities, “Who did you use?”. But as a new vendor, consultant or professional service provider trying to build your business and get municipal work, how do you go about becoming part of one of those, “Who did you use”, conversations in the first place?
This session draws on Susan’s past experience as a municipal administrator and provides a 2-step plan to help you find work, get noticed and win more municipal business. In preparation for this session you might like to read a helpful article, written by muniSERV professional member, JDManner Consulting, Top 10 Rules for Successful Responses – Requests for Proposal (RFP) 101

Questions? Email us and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Register now to be guaranteed a free dial-in to the webinar. Limited time offer reminder bids&tenders now offers 10% off a new, annual muniSERV professional membership. Enjoy a better way to connect with public sector clients to market your professional services. Learn more.

*bids&tenders is a member of the muniSERV strategic partners network.

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Immigration Will Help Alleviate Canada’s Aging Population Challenges, But Not Solve Them

Article by the Conference Board of Canada

October 7, 2016

Higher immigration levels can help soften the effects of an aging population on the Canadian economy. However, population growth alone will not completely offset the effects of aging demographics, according to a new Conference Board of Canada report released on October 6th.

“Immigration provides an important source of labour and helps Canada generate stronger long-term economic growth. However, increasing immigration alone will not reverse Canada’s aging trend,” said Matthew Stewart, Associate Director, National Forecast, The Conference Board of Canada. “In order to fully address the significant cost strains on the Canadian system from an aging population, policy makers must also consider other solutions.”


  • The share of Canada’s population aged 65 and over is expected to reach over 24 per cent over the next 20 years.
  • Increased immigration levels would help boost Canada’s labour force and generate stronger long-term economic growth.
  • But, higher immigration levels only soften the cost strains on the Canadian system, implying that Canada needs to consider other solutions to fully address the impact of an aging population.

Currently, Canadians aged 65 and over make up about 16 per cent of Canada’s total population. Over the next 20 years, this figure will continue to rise to over 24 per cent. As baby boomers leave the workforce, Canada’s labour supply growth will be limited and economic growth will be constrained. All else being equal, this will result in economic growth slowing from the already modest current trend of 2 per cent to around 1.6 per cent by 2050.

In addition to the impact on the labour market, an aging population will also put a major strain on health care and Canada’s retirement income support systems. Without significant changes to how health care is delivered in Canada over the next 20 to 30 years, the share of government revenues directed to health care is expected to rise from 37 per cent today to 44 per cent. With the provinces already struggling with large deficits, this added burden would be unsustainable.

The report, A Long-Term View of Canada’s Demographics: Is Higher Migration Part of the Response to Canada’s Aging Population?, finds that if immigration levels were to increase steadily to reach 407,000 immigrants per year by 2030 and we were to target younger immigrants, Canada’s trend pace of economic growth would improve to 2.3 per cent by 2050 from its current trajectory of below 2 per cent. However, the proportion of the Canadian population aged 65 and over would still rise to about 20 per cent. The share of provincial government revenue spent on health care would remain at or close to the 44 per cent mark. Some improvements in the share of provincial revenues required to fund health care would be realized, but not until 2060. In the meantime, spending on Old Age Security (OAS) would drop from 12 per cent to below 10 per cent.

A Long-Term View of Canada’s Demographics: Is Higher Migration Part of the Response to Canada’s Aging Population was funded by the Century Initiative and is publically available from our e-Library.


Adobe Solutions – Live Webinar: The value of electronic signatures in government

When:  Thursday, July 28th at 2 p.m. EST – duration 60 minutes

Featured Speaker:  Steve Saman Solutions Consultant Adobe

Government organizations are transitioning to digital processes as they look for service improvements and efficiencies. Yet obstacles can arise when going 100% digital.

Electronic signatures are becoming the preferred way for organizations to transform the resource-intensive, manual process of securing signatures and approvals.

In this webinar you’ll learn:

  • The most pressing legal and compliance issues facing government agencies today
  • How electronic or digital signatures help streamline government processes while reducing compliance risk
  • The top considerations when evaluating e-signature solutions for your department
  • How simple it is to automate signatures and approvals across agencies and departments

To Register



Partnership Brings Free Ontario Traffic Manual Training to Ontario Municipalities

Frank Cowan logoFrank Cowan Company, in partnership with Ontario Good Roads (OGRA) and the Association of Ontario Road Supervisors (AORS), will provide Ontario municipalities with free technical training on Ontario Traffic (OTM) – Book 6.

“We see numerous claims alleging non-conformance with the OTM, such as improper signage, lack of pavement markings and poorly placed chevrons”, says Barb Szychta, VP, Risk Management Services at Frank Cowan Company. “We decided to take the lead and help municipalities close off a litigation avenue by providing a series of training workshops”.

The sessions will educate participants on the various types of claims that are being reported, the principles of positive guidance, the types of hazards requiring road signs and the principles that must be followed when placing a chevron alignment sign. Municipalities with predominately rural roads and/or a rural/urban mix will benefit the most.

“Correct signage and monitoring to ensure we are meeting our MMS obligations is a related essential component of road safety”, says Robert Burlie, President of Ontario Good Roads Association. “OGRA is pleased to partner with Frank Cowan Company in bringing this important training initiative to municipalities, and we hope many of our members will take advantage of this unique opportunity to enhance their knowledge of the Ontario Traffic Manual.”

Greg Demers, CRS-I, AORS President says, “To keep roads in a state of repair is not just limited to providing a safe driving surface. The duty of care for Municipalities extends to the road design which includes pavement markings & placement of correct signage to provide positive guidance for drivers. AORS has partnered with OGRA and Frank Cowan Company to provide a series of essential Ontario Traffic Manual/OTM (Book 6; Warning Signs) training courses for Ontario public works personnel.”

About Frank Cowan Company

Frank Cowan Company is a Canadian leader in providing specialized insurance programs, including risk management and claims services for municipalities and public service, healthcare, education, community, children’s and social service organizations across Canada. Proven industry knowledge, gained through 87 years of partnering with insurance companies and independent brokers, gives Frank Cowan Company the ability to effectively manage the necessary risk, advisory and claims services for both standard and complex issues. Frank Cowan Company’s head office is located in Princeton, Ontario with a branch office in Cambridge, Ontario. Clients and broker partners receive support out of both locations. For additional information about Frank Cowan Company visit www.frankcowan.com.

For more information :

Organization: Frank Cowan Company www.frankcowan.com Contact: Caryn McLean Manager, Marketing and Communications Tel: 1-800-265-4000 ext. 55344 E-mail: [email protected]


Consultants – 5 Ways to Find Municipal Work

If your marketing is not hitting your target audience, it’s like trying to get someone’s attention, by winking at them in the dark!”

It is a known fact that municipalities share success and horror stories about experiences they have had with a particular consultant or professional they used. They quite literally pick up the phone and ask other municipalities, “who did you use”. They do this because municipalities differ from the private sector, in that they are not in competition with each other, so they freely share their success stories/best practices, etc.

While this works very well for municipalities, this reliance on the word- of- mouth exchange of information can often make it difficult for consultants and professionals to find that first opportunity to work with a municipality and get them to become part of one of those, “who did you use” conversations. Connecting and marketing to municipal clients to get your consulting and professional services known, is also extremely challenging, because the typical advertising methods do not necessarily always work with municipalities.

For instance, there are a limited number of printed municipal publications that reach municipal clients. And of them, how many are sitting on a table in the municipal lunchroom collecting dust? It’s doubtful too, whether they’re even being read by the decision-makers you need to reach. Even if they do read the publication, your ad is only effective until the issue is tossed into the recycling bin.

Social media marketing to municipalities is like the quote above – you’re kind of just, “winking in the dark”, because social media is generally not yet widely accepted or used to its full potential, by many municipalities. So your social media marketing efforts most likely will not produce the results you want because they simply may not be reaching your target market.

Some of us used to like sending personal email messages to municipal decision-makers – that is if we could find their email addresses on their municipality’s website. But now, with Canada’s Anti-Spam legislation (CASL) in effect, unless we have “implied” or “express” consent to do so, we can no longer use email to let municipalities know what we have to offer. This has really taken the wind out of our collective sails (and sales).

From my experience, possibly the best forum to reach municipal decision-makers, is to attend municipal conferences. However, the actual ROI (return on investment) of attending municipal conferences is sometimes questionable when you start adding up all the costs associated with doing so. (the number of them per year you need to attend to get adequate exposure, the cost of exhibit space, hotels, meals, travel expenses, and the list goes on.)

So, where does that leave consultants and professionals who are trying to find work in municipalities, if they are not already part of those, “who did you use” conversations? How do they make those first connections?

Well there are ways, and there is hope.

1. Don’t limit yourself to wanting to work in just the large municipalities – Smaller municipalities need and use consultants and professionals too – in fact in some cases more so because they do not always have the in-house staff with specialized expertise for all projects or because they want remove any bias or perceived bias from the project.

2. Search the Municipality’s Website to Learn their Procurement Processes – Admittedly, this is time-consuming, but you need to search the websites of the municipalities you want to work with and familiarize yourself with their procurement processes/policies. If they have a VOR (Vendor of Record) system, you will need to be on that list first before you’ll be able to quote on any project they have – whether it’s posted on their website or a RFP website. Do your homework and find out how to become one of their VORs. Many smaller municipalities do not use a VOR process so that’s another good reason to research and determine which municipalities you want to work with.

3. Review Minutes and Staff Reports Attached to Meeting Agendas – To find work that’s coming up, look at the staff reports attached to council agendas. It will most often be the department heads who have identified a need to bring in a third party professional to assist with a particular project, and they will usually outline the reasons why they need an outside expert, in a report to council. Reading the report will give you insight into what they need so you’re prepared to respond to their solicitation document, once posted. Of course you’ll narrow your search to only the reports from the departments to which you want to offer your expertise. You might also find clues as to upcoming work by looking at council resolutions in the minutes. In smaller municipalities look for wording like, “be it resolved that staff is hereby authorized to call for quotes (or advertise by public tender, etc.) for the services of a consultant to undertake ……..”

4. Send Good Old Fashion Flyers to Council Members – In Ontario, we’ve just had municipal elections and what better time to get your information out to new members of council? Being new to council they are generally keen for information and sometimes in smaller municipalities, you really do need to market to the Mayor and Councillors. In fact, some municipal by-laws actually require staff to include any mail that is addressed to “Mayor and Council”, as Miscellaneous Correspondence on a council or committee of the whole agenda. So, try mailing the municipality an information package (brochures, business cards, etc.), about your business and your service, include one copy for each member of council and make sure you address it to “Mayor and Councillors”.

5. Set up your profile on muniSERV.ca I know I’m running the risk of appearing a bit biased here, but honestly, this really is the quickest and easiest opportunity for you to showcase your services directly to municipal decision-makers – and better yet, to HAVE THEM SEARCHING FOR YOU INSTEAD. After all, the more municipalities search, the more opportunity there is for them to find you – and the less you’ll be winking at people in the dark!

Susan Shannon, Principal, muniSERV.ca

[email protected] / t.f. 855.477.5095

** Note – This information is drawn from my own experience as a consultant and a former municipal CAO in Ontario and processes may be somewhat different in other provinces in Canada


And the Winner Is ……

Thank you to all the municipalities who recently registered on muniSERV.ca and became muniSERV municipal members. Those that registered by November 30th, 2014 had their municipalities automatically entered into the draw to win the ASUS HD 7, Memo Pad – and now that they’re registered, they can upload their RFPs, Bids and Tenders for FREE! 

AND THE Winner is —