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.

  • Stepping into summer – a message from the CAO

    Colleagues,

    With summer officially here, there is a sense of anticipation and excitement in the air as we enter this new season.

    It’s great to see more residents and tourists out and about, enjoying the warm weather and supporting local businesses, artists and events. Our Parks & Recreation team has been busy planning a number of civic events and recreation opportunities over the summer season, including the return of free concerts, like the Grand Oasis Festival Series and the Dartmouth Summer Sunshine Series, as well as Bedford Days and the re-envisioned KANA’TA: Canada Day celebrations.

    The municipality is pleased to once again support the Halifax Pride Festival, now in it’s 35th year. The festival has grown into a celebration of our rich, diverse 2SLGBTQIA+ community and a recognition of the many challenges still faced by community members today. I encourage employees to join in the spirit of Pride, during the festival and throughout the year, by championing inclusion, respect, and dignity for all.

    As we know, summer is also a busy time for construction and there is a lot of collaborative work underway, including the significant redevelopment of the Cogswell Interchange. There are also many HalifACT initiatives in motion as we directly respond to the impact of climate change in our region. You can read more about both of these items in this issue.

    In our commitment to providing the best level of service excellence, we recently announced two business unit name changes: Public Works (previously Transportation & Public Works) and Property, Fleet & Environment (previously Corporate & Customer Services). These organizational updates improve team alignment and better position us for success.

    I am continually impressed by the many achievements across our business units and the quality of your customer service with colleagues and residents. While the nomination period for the CAO’s Awards of Excellence has wrapped up, I encourage you to continue taking advantage of the Employee Recognition Program to say thanks and give kudos when you see excellent public service in action.

    As we look ahead over the next few months, I hope you all have plans to enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

    Wela’lioq, amitiés, kind regards,

    Jacques

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  • Immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, ‘Welcomed in Halifax’

    an example of a Welcomed in Halifax pass Pictured: a Welcomed in Halifax passHalifax has been a hub for immigrants and refugees since the late 1800s. In the decades that followed, a web of social programs, services and resources began to take shape and a culture of embracing newcomers evolved within the region.

    Fast-forward to 2022 and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion/ANSAIO continues to advance this important work through key initiatives.

    Halifax Immigration Partnership

    In 2013, the municipality signed on to the Halifax Immigration Partnership (HIP) – a mutli-sectoral partnership that brings together government, service providers, and grassroots organizations, with a common goal: to enhance the overall inclusion and integration experience of newcomers to Halifax.

    The municipality hosts the Halifax chapter, the first of, now, four LIPs in Atlantic Canada.

    The Local Immigration Partnership – or LIP – is a federal program that Diversity & Inclusion/ANSAIO have been able to grow and maintain in the Atlantic Region. As the coordinating body, the municipality collaborates on progressive approaches fostered amongst its partners.

    One of the most recent initiatives spearheaded by the HIP is the New in Halifax website. This online portal is designed to help newcomers navigate the relevant programs, services and information they need to make Halifax home.

    Welcomed in Halifax program

    Welcomed in Halifax is another innovative program born from the municipality’s response to the Syrian crisis in 2016. As Halifax welcomed hundreds of government-sponsored Syrians, Welcomed in Halifax passes were extended and distributed to refugees coming to Halifax, providing free access to Halifax Transit and various recreation facilities and programs for one year.

    Today, Welcomed in Halifax has several partners, including the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, and the Canada Games Centre, to name a few.

    Halifax is the only municipality in Canada to offer this program, which has expanded significantly since its inception and is now open to refugees and asylum seekers. Most recently, this expansion enabled the municipality to support Ukrainians fleeing their country and entering Halifax as temporary residents. So far this year, 1011 passes have been distributed.

    Events for newcomers

    The municipality also leads various annual events, designed to provide newcomers with networking opportunities and information on services and programs available in the region.

    Earlier this month, the municipality and its partners welcomed immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers to Grand Parade, where the Deputy Mayor Lovelace read a proclamation in celebration of World Refugee Day.

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  • Gaining momentum in climate action

    Cow Bay Road during Hurricane Dorian, 2019Climate change is here and is already affecting our community. Halifax Regional Council have taken bold moves to resource HalifACT – Acting on Climate Together and move more quickly to address the urgency of the climate crisis.

    Climate predictions show that Halifax’s climate is getting warmer, wetter and wilder. We will face increased frequency and severity of storms, floods, heat waves, wildfires and extreme weather events. We have one of the highest rates of sea level rise in the country. With over 2,000 kilometres of coastline across the municipality, adapting our coastal communities and infrastructure to climate change is paramount.

    It has been two years since HalifACT was adopted. HalifACT is the municipality’s long-term climate action plan to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and safeguarding communities as we transition to a clean, low-carbon economy with opportunities for all.

    HalifACT actions and timelines are ambitious and unprecedented, and come with the need for immediate action. While it may be a 30-year plan, most actions need to be undertaken within the first 10 years to meet targets.

    A cake with blue icing trim that says "Happy 2nd Birthday" at the top, with the HalifACT logo in the middle.HalifACT birthday cake in celebration of two years.

    The dedicated Climate Action Tax that was approved in the 2022/23 Budget will ensure proper funding for the strategic initiatives of HalifACT. This tax is an investment in our community that will pay off financially, socially and environmentally.

    It’s now time for employees in every business unit to quickly mobilize the secured funding, which covers initiatives such as electric vehicles and buses, building energy retrofits, nature-based climate solutions, as well as projects to improve the resiliency of communities and critical infrastructure.

    HalifACT is doing great work to advance climate action across the organization and our region. Here are a few impactful projects:

    • From June 19 to 25, employees were encouraged to take part in the Commuter Challenge, and walk, roll, bike, take transit, carpool or work from home for a chance to win prizes. Results to date show that participants saved a cumulative $800 in fuel while taking more than 860 sustainable trips to and from work! Stay tuned for the final results of the challenge.

    • A Deep Energy Retrofit pilot program was approved by Regional Council in July 2021, to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in energy demand for both residential and non-residential community buildings by 2040.Two blue Adirondack chairs sit on the deck of the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market, overlooking the harbour.Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market

    • A recent Climate Action Challenge invited businesses, organizations, and community groups to submit pilot projects that have the potential to reduce emissions. Seven successful teams received mentorship in the prototyping process, as well as funding and support to test their ideas.

    • Healthy ecosystems and capacity building efforts continue with the Integrated Mobility Plan, Transforming Transit projects, the Solar City Program, the Green Network Plan and the Urban Forest Master Plan, the JustFOOD Action Plan, the Regional Plan Update, LakeWatchers, Canines for Clean Water, and much more.

    The Environment & Climate Change team can help with your business plan’s climate commitments. Please connect with the team for support, resources and opportunities.

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  • Construction of Cogswell District project underway

    A view of the Cogswell Interchange from Cogswell Street

    Following the award of the tender last fall, construction on the Cogswell District project began over the winter.

    Substantial progress has been made to date. Ramps and streets within the existing interchange have been dismantled to make way for by-pass roads, which will allow traffic to flow through the area during the different phases of construction over the next four years.

    There are three by-pass roads underway. By-pass road 3 is complete and by-pass roads 1 and 2 will open in the fall. New pedestrian routes are in place and express bus routes have been relocated to Duke Street from Albemarle Street.

    Planning is also underway for a temporary extension of the Barrington multi-use path (MUP) to provide enhanced active transportation through the construction zone. The final leg of the MUP, between Upper Water Street and the Hollis Street bike lane, is still under review. The MUP will open with by-pass roads 1 and 2 in the fall.A view of the Barrington Street on ramp demolition

    In addition, significant excavation has been undertaken near HMCS Scotian to install underground infrastructure, such as power, water services, telecommunications, and district energy.

    Over the coming months, crews will continue to dismantle the interchange and work on the construction of by-pass roads 1 and 2.

    A unique component of the project is the social benefits program. As outlined in the tender, Dexter, the construction company, has engaged two community liaisons from the African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq communities to help with the development and implementation of the Workforce and Supplier Diversity plan. Additionally, a Social Benefits Advisory Committee, representing five equity seeking groups, has been established to help Dexter and the Cogswell team in the development and implementation of the plans. Work also continues towards the accessibility designation of Rick Hansen Gold Certification for the Cogswell District.

    A view of the Cogswell Interchange from Barrington Street An app is currently in development to keep residents informed of the continued progress and impacts of ongoing construction work.

    The app will help motorists, cyclists and pedestrians navigate through the Cogswell District - allowing users to view photos of the progress, learn about the project, and connect with staff if questions arise.

    The Cogswell District project is expected to be completed in 2025, with a budget of $122.6M.

    For more information, visit the project webpage.

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  • Welcoming the Works Control team in Parks

    The Park Works Control team, pictured from left to right: Adam Cornick, Adam Hack, Kelly Barry, Elizabeth Pepler, Patrick Dixon.
    Missing from photo: Janice Millet and Darren Deion
    Municipal parks create opportunities for people to gather, interact and socialize. When we are enjoying nature and spending time outside, we feel more connected to our communities, our neighbourhoods and ourselves.

    This became evident over the past couple of years, as our Parks & Recreation team responded to changing public health restrictions. With every gathering limit, there was an increase in demand for access to outdoor recreation assets, like parks, fields and trails.

    Earlier this year, a new division was created to identify opportunities for operational and customer service improvements within Parks & Recreation.

    The municipality’s new Works Control team consists of seven employees, working together to develop, implement and sustain quality assurance processes, track initiatives and asset inspection. The division also ensures the ArcGIS Asset Registry is accurate and up to date.

    The team has already created new reports to help track service requests across our parks, including:

    • Grass Service Call Report: Tracks service requests for the 6.2 million m2 of grass found across our parks and right of ways, to identify trends and areas of improvement.
    • Litter Service Call Report: Tracks service requests for the municipality’s 1,400 litter cans week-over-week, to help determine where additional cans need to be deployed or service increased.
    • Playground Inspection Report: Identifies and monitors compliance to ensure the Canadian Playground Institute inspection standards are being adhered to.
    • Park Asset Inspection Report: Identifies the condition of park assets and any safety-related concerns to be entered through the Cityworks Work Order System. This allows the asset to reach its maximum life expectancy and allows the team to forecast which assets require Capital replacement.

    Each week, these reports are generated and reviewed by the Operations team to identify any issues and make adjustments for better customer service.

    What is Works Control planning next?

    The Works Control team is updating their current technologies and introducing innovative solutions to increase process efficiencies across their services. One of these advancements is a new smartphone app, which will help streamline the team’s approach to updating the ArcGIS Asset Registry. By providing a mobile solution to link park assets in the field to the GIS asset registry, they can eliminate waste while increasing efficiencies and reducing costs.

    The team is also working closely with 311 to identify opportunities to improve customer service and communications. Through website updates to the Parks & Recreation page, they are improving accountability and transparency by better displaying available services and launching an interactive grass map this will outline grass cutting guidelines and locations.

    The Works Control team is also creating a new athletic field web page which will provide the public with more detailed information on the maintenance tasks required of municipally owned fields.

    By transitioning from a reactive state to a proactive approach, the Works Control team is able to not only improve communication with the public, but also improve the overall condition of municipal park assets.

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  • Employee Spotlight – Liam MacSween

    Pictured: Liam MacSweenWorking to create the best possible experience for voters, candidates and residents of the municipality

    The municipality’s Elections Office has been busy preparing for the upcoming 2024 Municipal Election. We caught up with Elections and Special Projects Manager, Liam MacSween to discuss his inspiring career progression and the exciting initiatives underway for 2024.

    Q: Tell us about your role and work history at the municipality

    A: I started working at the municipality on a contract basis in 2012 with the Elections Office as a District Elections Officer. From there, I accepted a contract position as an Administrative Clerk Assistant with the Office of the Municipal Clerk. I then worked briefly as an Administrative Assistant in the CAO’s Office, before accepting a full-time position as a Legislative Assistant with the Office of the Municipal Clerk, where I worked for six years.

    This time was invaluable in developing strong organizational awareness and establishing a network of colleagues at all levels within the organization. I also had the opportunity to serve as the Acting Deputy Municipal Clerk while covering a maternity leave, allowing me to use my skills gained as Legislative Assistant and apply them within a leadership context.

    I left the Office of the Municipal Clerk in 2020 and worked as a Council Constituency Coordinator for a year and a half, which opened my eyes to the operational nature of the municipality and the role that our elected officials play outside of their Council and Committee responsibilities.

    In January 2022, I accepted the position of Elections and Special Projects Manager with the Office of the Municipal Clerk. The role has a strong focus on planning and coordinating elections, for the municipality and Conseil Scolaire Acadien Provincial (CSAP), but there is a project management component for special projects undertaken by the Office of the Municipal Clerk. This could include projects related to upgrading our meeting management technology, civic engagement, volunteer board and committee recruitment, and more.

    Q: Can you outline the upcoming initiatives and key priorities of the Elections Office?

    A: Currently, we are mid-way through the 2022 District Boundary Review project, which occurs every eight years. The review determines the size of Council and its governance structure. We have completed Phase One of the project and are now focusing on Phase Two, which involves examining the electoral boundaries for the municipality and making necessary adjustments based on growth and public consultation.

    In addition to this, we are working on an RFP for an integrated voting solution, which will allow for efficient, accessible and secure internet and telephone voting options for residents. We are busy establishing an updated Election Project Charter and Project Plan as we prepare for the 2024 Municipal and CSAP elections.

    We are also developing an educational engagement program that is geared toward both voters and candidates to encourage voting and participation in municipal government.

    Q: What are you most looking forward to as these initiatives advance to the next phase?

    A: I am really looking forward to the community consultation for Phase Two of the District Boundary Review, delivering the voter and candidate education sessions, and being able to action the project planning for the 2024 Election. It is very satisfying to see a plan from its conceptual phase through to implementation, particularly when it has such an important impact on our community.

    Q: How has working on these initiatives inspired you to continue to make a difference?

    A: Working on these initiatives inspires me to work as hard as I can with the people I respect and admire the most, to create the best possible experience for voters, candidates and residents of the municipality. I think that’s what makes the difference, not an individual effort on my part, but by playing an active part within a team of people who care to make exercising a person’s right to vote easy, open and secure. If we can do that, then we are doing our jobs well!

    Q: How would you encourage employees to get more involved in municipal elections?

    A: Please reach out to me if you’re interested in getting involved! There are many opportunities for employees to be engaged in election work. It’s great for professional development but it is also very rewarding from a public service perspective. We get to help people exercise their democratic right to vote, sometimes for the very first time.

    One of the most rewarding things you can do as an election worker is to assist a young person or new Canadian to vote in their first election. That short, yet very important moment, makes every bit of planning and hard work that goes into preparing and executing a municipal election worthwhile.

    Q: What advice do you have for others looking to grow in their career with the municipality?

    A: I would encourage anyone who wishes to grow in a different position to not be apprehensive in trying something new or gaining experience that may be outside of their comfort zone. There are many different roles and learning opportunities within the municipality, which can set you up for success later in your career. Take advantage of secondments, term opportunities within your business unit or within a different business unit altogether.

    Also, maintaining strong working relationships with your colleagues is crucial. We’re all working toward the same goal, which is to provide the highest level of service to the residents of the municipality. In my experience, the best path to continuous service delivery improvement or working through an issue you may be facing is through collaboration and consultation with your colleagues. Tapping into the knowledge, experience and talent that is available internally will always serve you well.

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Page last updated: 25 Jul 2022, 11:45 AM