Year End Message
To say that 2020 has been a unique year would be an understatement. The last twelve months have been a challenge the likes of which we could have never predicted, but amid the challenges and changes we faced have been victories and accomplishments to look back on and celebrate.
In March our team moved to an entirely work-from-home setup. We were able to continue our work without interruption, continuing our work for municipalities at the front line of COVID-19. Along with many people across the province, we adapted to an entirely new normal in order to keep each other safe. This has been working successfully for nine months now and will likely continue well into 2021. While we miss the opportunity to see our coworkers at the office, we will continue our work remotely as long as necessary.
We participated in the first-ever virtual AMO conference, which provided an incredible opportunity for municipal representatives to safely connect and talk about the issues facing their communities. While we missed seeing people in person as we normally do, the success of a virtual event reinforced the value of gathering together to learn and share ideas. We’re excited to continue this at the ROMA 2021 conference in January; please be sure to stop by the virtual LAS booth and say ‘hello’ to our team.
Over the course of 2020 our offerings have continued to grow and evolve to meet the ever-changing (especially this year) needs of Ontario’s municipalities.
Our Municipal Group Buying Program, first launched in August 2019, has grown exponentially in the last year. We were able to help many of our members source personal protective equipment to keep staff and community members safe. Nearly 140 municipalities have now bought through the program, saving time and money on the purchases they make to do their work. There are now more than 130 vendors available through the program, significantly expanding the list of products and services available.
The Energy Planning Tool received a complete overhaul over the summer, modernizing the interface and adding new features. This is a tool many municipalities use to manage their energy and make the process of reporting to the province quicker and easier. We’re thrilled with how it turned out and hope you are as well.
2020 was the wind-down year for our LED Streetlight Program. We’re incredibly grateful for the support Ontario’s municipalities have given this program, with nearly 200 electing to convert their streetlights to LED through LAS. This program was recognized by the World Bank as one of the most successful and efficient delivery models in the world and has resulted in dramatic savings in both energy and money for the municipalities who participated. Keep an eye out for our program wrap up report next year.
ONE Investment launched Ontario’s first Joint Investment Board (JIB) to manage municipal investment under the Prudent Investor Standard. This will dramatically expand investment options for municipalities, making the types of financial tools typically available only to the largest cities available to all municipalities in Ontario.
2021 will likely be another year full of changes and challenges, as a vaccine rolls out and life starts to return to some semblance of normal. The consequences of 2020 will continue to be felt by both individuals and communities alike, and it will be more important than ever to continue our work delivering the important services Ontarians depend on every day.
The LAS team rose to the challenge of 2020 admirably, and I am once again thankful for the strength, intelligence, and willingness of this group of people to do whatever is necessary to keep our programs running. It is a genuine pleasure to work with this group, and I look forward to the day when we can once again gather in person.
We wish you and your community all the best for the holiday season and look forward to continuing our work to help Ontario’s communities work better into 2021.
Director AMO Enterprise Centre, Business Partnerships & LAS
Co-President/CAO ONE Investment