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Vaughan and Innisfil recognized as municipal innovators

by Association of Municipalities of Ontario
in Community Development, Innovation, ONLINE FEATURE, Press Release

The Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award Jury presented its highest award to two municipalities this year at the 2018 AMO Conference in Ottawa, Ontario. The award recognizes those municipal governments demonstrating excellence in the use of innovative approaches to improve capital and/or operating efficiency, and to generate effectiveness through alternative service delivery initiatives and partnerships. Both the Town of Innisfil and the City of Vaughan projects demonstrated all of the P.J. Marshall Award’s criteria: innovation, tangible benefits to the community, improved efficiency, innovative financing, and the ability for other municipal governments to use the project’s concept.

Above: Jim McDonell, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (left) and AMO President Lynne Dollin (right) present 2018 P.J. Marshall award to City of Vaughan.

Above: Jim McDonell, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing(left) and AMO President Lynne Dollin (right) present 2018 P.J. Marshall award to Town of Innisfil.

Transformative Incrementalism: A journey to sustainability

The City of Vaughan: Procuring and Delivering Major Service Contracts

The entry from the City of Vaughan highlighted innovation in its traditional procurement and service contract approach. With the goal of optimizing performance, costs, and citizen satisfaction, the city redesigned its procurement and service delivery process for both their Winter Road Maintenance (WRM) and Solid Waste Collection (SWC). The new approach is based on four elements:

  1. Market expertise in responding to how it would deliver service to achieve the city’s required outcomes;
  2. Shared responsibility for citizen satisfaction;
  3. Pricing structure that reflects actual costs and risks; and
  4. Ongoing collaboration to ensure continuous improvement.

To date, improvements to these goals have been clear: the SWC contract saved the city $1 million; and for WRM, citizen complaints have dropped significantly. The new contracts have also reduced operational costs for the city, raised citizen satisfaction, increased staff availability, and created greater preparedness and better equipment.

Above: A snow plow from The City of Vaughan’s Winter Road Maintenance crew.

“The jury was very impressed with city’s success and its applicability to a wider range of municipal contracted services,” says Pat Vanini, AMO Executive Director.

“At the City of Vaughan, we are committed to the safety of the entire community and remain unwavering in our commitment to provide snow and window removal that stands up to the demanding and unpredictable winter months,” adds Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua. “The Winter Road Maintenance Services contract elevates our level of service excellence beyond industry standards while increasing value for our taxpayers’ hard-earned money. The Solid Waste Collection initiative is another important example of our continued efforts to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our local environment and to ensure Vaughan remains a leading green city, home to clean and welcoming neighbourhoods. I am proud that these initiatives have been recognized for their outstanding development and implementation, and for achieving our goals to enhance service delivery for our entire community. I want to express my sincerest appreciation to the Association of Municipalities Ontario for acknowledging the exceptional work being undertaken by the City of Vaughan administration.”

The Town of Innisfil: Providing an Accessible, Cost-Effective Transit Alternative

The Town of Innisfil entry focused on the town’s innovative transit solution. The town has a non-bus people mover system that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Rather than incurring the high cost of developing a traditional bus transit system to cover the town’s large geographic area, the town is partnering with Uber and Barrie Taxi to provide a system and financial framework that provides a more affordable transit system for the municipal government while also servicing the interest of its community.

Innisfil is the first municipality in Canada to partner with Uber and the first community in the world to have a transit system powered by Uber rather than buses. The town estimates that they are saving $8 million dollars per year over a traditional bus system. Introducing a transit system has improved quality of life for residents. The town has attracted interest from other similar communities who want to help their citizens access jobs and services.

Above: The Town of Innisfill and Uber announce the expansion of Canada’s first ridesharing transit program.

“The jury was very impressed with the out of the box thinking of this project to help its community,” says AMO Executive Director, Pat Vanini. “It ticked every box of the award’s criteria and is worthy of this award.”

“We are proud to be meeting the needs of our residents while leading the way for other municipalities to start thinking differently about transit,” adds Innisfil Mayor Gord Wauchope. “We thank AMO for highlighting all the amazing ways municipalities are taking an innovative approach to solving complex problems and we are truly honoured by this award.”

Peter J. Marshall Awards: Rewarding Creative and Innovative Municipalities

The P.J. Marshall Award is an annual competitive process to acknowledge municipalities who have had creativity and success in implementing new, innovative ways of serving the public. It is sponsored by AMO, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks & Treasurers of Ontario, the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships, the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association, and the Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association.

The award’s objective is to showcase instances where Ontario municipalities have implemented new, more cost effective ways of providing public services and facilities, as well as pointing out tangible outcomes. By awarding and profiling innovation, AMO continues to advance creativity and strong municipal government.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.

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