Updated: Mar 15
What role does municipal government play in improving the lives of people in rural communities across Bruce County? How can municipalities draw on shared capacity to solve common problems?
The Municipal Innovation Council (MIC), whose membership includes seven lower-tier municipalities in Bruce County and the County of Bruce, is working every day to answer these questions.
I’ve had a wonderful four months serving as the Innovation Officer for member municipalities that are keen on positioning our region to thrive in the coming years.
After a delayed start due to the pandemic response and recovery, the MIC had a strong second half in 2020 with numerous accomplishments, including:
The completion of a Solid Waste Management Service Review in partnership with Dillon Consulting and made possible with the support of Municipal Modernization Funding
The MIC strategic framework that was developed through extensive discovery and consultation work
An articulated agreement with the University of Waterloo’s School of Planning to support Saugeen Shores’ Attainable Housing Task Force beginning in January 2021
A digital signature solution identified and sourced to provide a fast and cost-effective means to secure staff, council, and independent contractor signatures
A funding request submitted to the Natural Disaster Mitigation Program to aid member municipalities in extracting additional value from the Southwestern Ontario Orthophotography Project (SWOOP) 2020 data through an advanced AI-driven software solution
Delegations delivered to the councils of all member municipalities that introduced the MIC strategic framework and explored what innovation means in the municipal context (see below for a recording of one of these delegations)
A facilitated partnership between Wilfrid Laurier University’s Centre for Experiential Learning and the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board to secure valuable career and mentorship coaching for high school students at Sacred Heart High School that is otherwise only made available to Laurier students
To learn more about the MIC’s strategic framework, click here.
Watch the MIC's delegation to the Town of Saugeen Shores Council meeting (December 14, 2020)
Looking ahead in 2021
A great deal of good came from 2020 for MIC members, and the prospect for early success in 2021 is bright. Numerous projects aligned to the MIC’s strategic framework are in the framing and initiation stages, including:
A detailed report on how MIC members can leverage funding sources for co-op positions as a means of enhancing capacity on our teams, engage young professionals in career development, and potentially create new pathways for employment in the region
The development of an agreement between the MIC and the University of Waterloo’s Economic Development and Innovation program so that applied research can be carried out in the region by Master of Economic Development students this summer. The areas for proposed research include Business to Bruce County, Workforce Planning, Resident Attraction & Community Readiness in Rural Communities, and Municipal Operations Improvement
The development and sustained support for Youth Councils to enhance engagement of young people in member communities
Formalizing Communities of Practice across member municipalities to facilitate collaborative problem solving amongst staff who share similar responsibilities in different communities
The ongoing investigation into an Internet of Things (IOT) network as a means of spurring innovation through digital transformation of services that can use real-time data for efficiencies
The investigation into improved procurement practices and policies in member municipalities so that we may be able to realize immediate cost savings through shared purchasing
A needs assessment related to training needs of municipal staff and councils, and securing shared training solutions that lead to skill and knowledge development in areas of need
I am truly excited for what we can accomplish in 2021!
There is so much talent in the region that has positioned Bruce County as a wonderful place to live, work and do business.
The MIC is here to support people in exploring and realizing brighter futures through shared work and a commitment to learning. I look forward to learning with you.
--Dave Shorey is the Innovation Officer at the Municipal Innovation Council.