Celebrating Excellence

Recognizing some of the municipality's projects, programs and partnerships to show how we are making a difference and living our Plan on a Page.

Recognizing some of the municipality's projects, programs and partnerships to show how we are making a difference and living our Plan on a Page.

  • Leading with kindness – a message from the CAO

    Pictured: white text on a navy blue background reads "Message from the CAO"Colleagues,

    It has officially been one week since our full return to work. I hope you are settling back into your routines and feeling re-energized by the camaraderie with your colleagues. During this transition, let’s continue to lead with kindness and be mindful of the varying levels of comfort with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

    In our commitment to fostering conditions that allow employees to perform their best, the FlexWork Halifax program has been updated so that participants can now work remotely up to three days per week with managerial approval.

    We’ve made great progress on our priorities so far in 2022. Our recent Employee Engagement Survey will give us valuable insights into our corporate culture. Thank you to everyone involved in the survey planning process, and to all of you who participated. The results will help guide our efforts towards fostering a meaningful, inclusive, and safe place to work. I look forward to sharing more on the survey findings soon.

    The Budget and Business Planning presentations for the 2022-23 fiscal year have also come to a close, with budget approvals taking place in April. Each presentation to Regional Council takes thoughtful, extensive planning and collaborative teamwork. I look forward to advancing our planned initiatives, which will have a direct, positive impact on our communities.

    I want to acknowledge that as national and world events continue to unfold, many of us have feelings of fear, sadness and despair. The violence we are seeing in Ukraine is heartbreaking. If you are experiencing increased feelings of anxiety or stress, there are always support resources available to you through our Employee and Family Assistance Programs.

    As municipal employees, the work we do has serious, lasting impacts on our friends, families, colleagues and neighbours. It’s a big responsibility that comes with its fair share of challenges, complexities, and criticisms, but it’s also hugely rewarding and fundamental to our communities. We have so much to be proud of in the work we do every day as public servants. In February, we were recognized as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers of 2022 and last week we received recognition as one of Nova Scotia’s Top Employers of 2022 as well. See the full story in this newsletter edition.

    Although it always takes time, we’re starting to feel the warmth of spring’s longer days and rising temperatures. Much like the first blooms of the season, let’s welcome this time with a sense of hope and renewal.

    I look forward to connecting with more of you in person in the coming months.

    Wela’lioq, amitiés, kind regards,

    Jacques

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  • Providing Service Excellence throughout the winter season

    Pictured: Snow Clearing – Windmill RoadSnow Clearing – Windmill RoadWhile many of us can enjoy the comforts of home during stormy weather, our Winter Operations crews lace up their boots to brave the ice, snow and cold to keep roads and sidewalks safe and clear for residents.

    Did you know that with each weather event, our crews are responsible for clearing approximately 3,800 lane kilometres of street; about 1,000 kilometres of sidewalks; and more than 2,295 bus stops across the region? Certainly, no easy feat!

    A sincere thank you to each member of the Winter Operations team. The long hours of salting, sanding and snow removal, often done throughout the night, help keep the municipality moving.

    As well, kudos to the Halifax Transit team for managing snow plans in response to inclement weather, and to everyone across the organization who plays a role in delivering services and addressing citizen inquires during the winter months.

    With the end of the winter season in sight, we compiled messages of appreciation that were submitted by residents via 311.Pictured: Trackless with an ice breaker – clearing sidewalksTrackless with an ice breaker – clearing sidewalk

    “I’m sure you get a lot of complaints, but I wanted to write in to do a special thank you to the plow who did our street last night. After the snow earlier this week our street had a single lane cleared, a full lane was left filled with heavy snow. It was causing lots if congestion on our cul de sac and come yesterday I was worried a second pass to widen the road wouldn’t happen. Yesterday evening we heard the plow. With excitement and dread we looked out the window. Normally because of our location on the street the plow leaves a huge pile of snow in front of our driveway. Last night the plow driver was amazing. They took an extra few minutes and cleared the snow so that none of it blocked anyone’s driveway! It was amazing. Thank you so much to the driver!”

    A [311] caller was phoning about a municipal plow driver. This caller was stuck in the snow and the driver helped to get her out. The caller has a son in the hospital, and she wouldn’t have gotten out of the snow without her. She wanted to call and show her appreciation.”

    “I want to pass on thanks to a worker that has been out for hours today and all day yesterday chipping away at the ice that has been blocking my handicapped parking spot. We had been trying for two weeks to get the parking spot cleared and the worker has been at it for two days now, breaking up and removing all the ice. It’s greatly appreciated."

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  • Leadership Spotlight: Tamar Brown

    Pictured: Tamar BrownPictured: Tamar BrownWe caught up with Tamar to learn more about her role with the African Nova Scotian Affairs Integration Office (ANSAIO).

    Q: When did you begin your role as Senior Advisor and what attracted you to this position?

    A: I started my new role on September 13, 2021.

    I was attracted to this position because I love working in community, and this was a way I could continue to assist in moving forward the important, collaborative work of the African Nova Scotian (ANS) community and the municipality.

    Q: Can you provide high-level background of your previous experience and how it applies to your current role as Senior Advisor?

    A: For 16 years I was a compliance officer with the municipality where I worked directly with residents. I then took a position with the provincial government for 2.5 years as a Community Navigator with African Nova Scotian Affairs (ANSA). Through this role, I worked on the Land Titles Initiative, a collaborative project in which the municipality was heavily involved.

    My strength for my current position is twofold – I have always been dedicated to bridging the gap between government and community, and in doing so, have applied my passion for solutions-active and empathetic listening when engaging residents. These strong suits have allowed me to provide a wholistic perspective to the situation at hand.

    Q: What are some of the things you have been able to support in your role so far, and what goals do you hope to achieve?

    A: I’m truly blessed because this role enables me to be involved with so many projects. First and foremost, I’m helping to support the ongoing work with the Africville community through various initiatives, such as Visioning, Active Transportation, and the Africville Marina. I’m also included as a board member of the Africville Heritage Trust and take part in the Africville Planning Committee.

    The ANSAIO Senior Advisor also helps support the municipality’s Anti-Black Racism Framework and has continued collaboration with the Halifax Partnership on the Road to Economic Prosperity for African Nova Scotian Communities. I have had the privilege in taking part in the Cogswell District groundbreaking ceremony and ongoing work to include community voices and benefits in this historic project. I also have the privilege of sitting on the committee for the Cornwallis Street re-naming, planning African Heritage Month events, to name a few.

    I work closely with business units on strategic direction and provide policy advice on matters concerning the ANS community. I do this with the support of an amazing ANSAIO team all under the leadership of Tracey Jones-Grant, Managing Director, and with the wider, incomparable Diversity & Inclusion team.

    Q: What are some ways municipal employees can support ANSAIO initiatives?

    A: Honestly, I encourage folks to take part in the incredible training, programs and lunch & learns that the Office of Diversity & Inclusion/ANSAIO provides, and to continue consulting with our office as we can provide multiple perspectives and apply a lens of lived experiences to ongoing projects from start to finish. We enjoy being included as a new project begins to ensure all required voices are sitting at the table. We are here to help and are committed to creating an inclusive atmosphere, both within the organization and in the community, for the betterment of the delivery of municipal programs and services.

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  • Establishing the municipality as an employer of choice in the Halifax region and beyond

    Pictured: Atlantic Canada's Top Employers logo and Nova Scotia's Top Employers logo.As our province’s largest municipality, we employ between 3,600-5,000 people each year. Our roles are diverse, our skills are broad, but our goal is the same. As public servants, we each directly make a difference in the lives of over 400,000 people in the Halifax region. No matter what business unit we are a part of, we are driven by a collective purpose to support and benefit our community members.

    In February, we proudly announced that the municipality was selected as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers in 2022. Then, in March, the municipality received an additional recognition as one of Nova Scotia’s Top Employers. Both awards recognize employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work and progressive HR programs and policies.

    Pictured is a graphic including the following quote from the CAO: I am thrilled that we have been selected for a second Top Employer Award. I am continuously proud of our workforce and the positive impact we have on our communities. The success of our organization is a direct reflection of the people who choose to work here. I would like to thank each of you for your continued dedication to delivering excellence every day. A special congratulations to Human Resources, Recruitment in particular, who identify and onboard top talent to contribute to our skilled and diverse workforce.

    Our region continues to demonstrate rapid growth, resulting in new opportunities for hiring and internal advancement. In 2021 alone, the municipality hired 1,271 people and created 190 new roles, an increase of 52 per cent over the previous year. Our LinkedIn following now sits at a significant 18,475 followers (up from 16,060 from 2020-2021) which is a 15 per cent increase year over year.

    We all share the responsibility of shaping the future of our communities. Our employees are our best ambassadors for our organization. If you are looking to get more involved in supporting our recruitment efforts, here are a few things you can do:

    • Speak to your friends, family and neighbours about the many diverse, wide-ranging opportunities at the municipality. From engineers to bus operators, from police to professional services – we have jobs for everyone!
    • We typically post positions twice a week at halifax.ca/employment. Consider re-sharing municipal job postings on your personal LinkedIn or Twitter feeds.
    • Encourage your network to ask you questions about working at the municipality or our job application process.

    A reminder that there are always internal opportunities for employees to advance further in their careers. Visit the intranet or view the weekly Career Opportunities email for the latest internal job postings. Speak to your manager/supervisor or reach out to MyHR@halifax.ca if you’d like to learn more about professional development tools, programs and training courses.

    For more information on recruitment, hiring practices or the Top Employer awards, contact Angela Ettinger at ettinga@halifax.ca.

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  • Employee Spotlight: Deanna Wilmshurst

    Pictured: Deanna WilmshurstPictured: Deanna WilmshurstWhen the first stay at home order was issued in March 2020 in response to COVID-19, many of us anticipated that it would be for a limited amount of time to “flatten the curve.” More than two years later, the ongoing pandemic has unquestionably changed when, where and how we work.

    The transition to working from home was a uniquely different experience for everyone. For some, it meant more time to focus on tasks in a quiet environment. For others, like Client Services Coordinator Deanna Wilmshurst, it meant scurrying laptop-in-hand to a room so her meeting wouldn’t be interrupted by her daughter’s music lessons.

    In this Employee Spotlight, we learn more about Deanna’s experience, and gain further insight into how adaptability, innovation and collaboration have been woven into our DNA as an organization over the last two years.

    Q: Tell us about your role at the municipality.

    A: I have worked at the municipality full-time since 1992. I began in Recreation, moved to Halifax Tourism Culture and Heritage, spent time in Infrastructure & Asset Management and Corporate Communications before joining Planning & Development four years ago. As Client Services Coordinator, I am involved with the public engagement and communications for many of our projects. Recently, I’ve worked on the Centre Plan, the Integrated Mobility Program, the Windsor Street Exchange Redevelopment Project, enhancements on Spring Garden Road and short-term rentals, to name a few.

    Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your role?

    A: Wow, COVID dramatically affected my role with the municipality! When COVID struck, our team was in the midst of a large scale, comprehensive, public engagement roll-out for the Centre Plan. As it became clear, in-person engagement was not possible, we moved to online options. To use one of the most overused pandemic words, we had to pivot!

    There was also a steep learning curve for me on the technology side. I quickly had to learn the functionalities of Microsoft Teams, and the live Teams Meeting function for public facing engagement sessions. Technology wasn’t always our friend. We experienced many glitches, but for the most part, (except when my microwave is on?), it enabled us to get the job done. Two years into the pandemic, we now have a good handle on virtual public engagement. Thank you, IT!

    As the restrictions ease and we move back to in-person engagement, I expect there will also be a desire to develop a hybrid engagement model. Virtual options enhance accessibility. As we are always striving to broaden our reach and hear from underrepresented communities, virtual engagement gives us one more tool in our toolbox.

    Q: Were you able to leverage the FlexWork Halifax program?

    A: I have to be honest, I was dubious about working from home as I love the social aspect of coming to work and the synergies of interacting with coworkers. After some time, I discovered I loved working from home. Literally, the FlexWork program has changed my life.

    I have a long commute, so immediately I had a couple of extra hours in my day. I now get up early and do an online workout before getting my daughter out the door to school. I’ve been doing that daily for over a year. Mentally and physically, it’s a game changer for me. The FlexWork program affords me a better work/life balance for which I am very grateful.­­­

    Q: What has it been like for you to work and parent throughout the pandemic?

    A: For us, homeschooling was a nightmare, there were tears – most of them mine. I have a reluctant junior high student and self-directed learning was difficult to manage. Trying to juggle work and homeschooling was awful. Thankfully, my daughter could occupy herself while I was working during the day, and I could help her with her schoolwork on my lunch break or after work.

    As well, my eldest daughter attended her first year of university from our home. This was less than ideal for so many reasons. It was disappointing for her to miss out on the first-year residence experience, and we heard about that daily! She’s a music major so there were many times I had to pick up my laptop and head for a room, far away from her keyboard, to attend a meeting. Thankfully she is very good, so her music was appreciated by the meeting attendees. Thank goodness for headsets and the mute function.

    Q: What is the biggest learning you have taken from the pandemic?

    A: There are so many pearls of wisdom I have taken from the pandemic. But I guess the most important one is to always be kind. The past two years have been frustrating for everyone. We have no idea what anyone is facing, so I think it is so important not to judge and just be kind to everyone. There are so many things in this world that we can’t control, but we can control how we react to those things and how we treat people.

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Page last updated: 04 May 2022, 08:46 AM