CAMA E-Brief
e-Brief June 24, 2021
Jack Benzaquen Awarded 2021 Honourary Member of the ADGMQ
It is with enthusiasm that on June 9, the Association des directeurs généraux municipaux du Québec (ADGMQ) awarded the title of Honorary Member 2021 to the City Manager of the City of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Mr. Jack Benzaquen.

Being appointed an Honourary Member is a privilege reserved for members who have made a special contribution to the ADGMQ.  As such, it is only the second time the prize was given out since its creation in 1935.  Mr. Benzaquen received it for his great contribution to the consolidation of association life which resulted, among other things, by an organization even more at the service of its members and a better representation for them.  He gave a new lease on life to the association as soon as he entered it, which is still being felt to this day.   

Mr. Benzaquen accepted the title of Honourary Member with humility.  “I am honoured by this award. I really didn’t expect that,” he replied at upon its reception.   He attributes this achievement to the help provided by all the members of the ADGMQ “Being part of the association means breaking professional isolation, learning to become a better City Manager, continuous training, and building your network of expertise in order to progress in your career”.  Mr. Benzaquen has always been very active in associations supporting municipalities.  He was part of the ADGMQ’s administrative team for nine years, including two terms as President, from 2011 to 2014. He is also a member of the Centre d’expertise et de recherches en infrastructures urbaines and the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators, where he currently serves as President.
The 2021 CAMA Awards of Excellence Submissions

We are pleased to feature the 2021 Awards of Excellence Submissions over the next few editions of e-Brief.  These are valuable sources of information and can also be found in the Members Section.

WINNER: 2021 Willis Award for Innovation - Population Under 20,000: Municipality of Meaford


Deep-Rooted In Serving Our Community
The Municipality of Meaford had a mandate to improve responsiveness to our citizens, and in keeping with Council’s strategic priorities to; “explore new partnerships with third party organizations to benefit the community by providing enhanced services to residents and heighten community engagement with new online tools and technology”.

As a result, the municipality partnered with AccessE11 for the implementation of a cost-effective, robust, cloud-based software solution focused on the supporting the municipality’s requirements related to customer management (aka… our citizens). This is a “lean six sigma” software solution which is deep-rooted and focused on addressing the needs of the customer first.  

In January 2020, the Municipality of Meaford publicly launched AccessE11 as an interactive “Customer Service Centric” Issues, Inquiries and Complaints Management website portal for ALL citizens, businesses and visitors to the community.  This opportunity afforded citizens the opportunity to report any issues, inquiries or concerns they had with the Municipality through a simple-to-use website portal.

Congratulations to the Municipality of Meaford!
WINNER: 2021 Environment Award – Population Between 20,001 and 100,000: Town of Okotoks

Natural Asset Inventory

In 2020, driven by a commitment to protect natural assets, a cross-functional project was initiated in May 2019 to compile an Inventory of natural assets within the Town boundaries.  Following input from Engineering, Water Services, Parks, Planning and Sustainability departments, the Town entered into a collaboration with Fiera Biological Consultants to develop an integrated inventory and valuation of Natural and Semi-Natural Assets; the first of its kind in Alberta.  The inventory provided a baseline inventory and valuation of the ecosystem services provided by natural assets in the town, with the intent to incorporate this data into planning and future development.

This ground-breaking data will be used to preserve natural systems in two ways.  Firstly, the assets have all been integrated into the Town’s asset management system, in order to track and plan for maintenance, such as managing for invasive species, water flow, and erosion.  Secondly, references to NNA are being made in planning and development processes to identify, prioritize and preserve natural assets in areas slated for development.  The results of the inventory have been shared with numerous municipalities throughout Alberta as well as some from out of province.

Congratulations to the Town of Okotoks!
WINNER: 2021 Environment Award – Population Over 100,000: City of Markham

TAKING THE LEAD – Markham Targets Single-Use Plastics Styrofoam Packaging Recycling
In 2020, Markham City Council approved “The Best of the Best 2020-2023”, a new Waste Diversion Strategy designed to increase diversion from landfill.  One of Markham’s major, long-term environmental goals has been to reduce the amount of waste sent for disposal by encouraging community-focused behavioral shifts towards increased waste diversion as well as the promotion of more sustainable community recycling options. “Taking the Lead” is a key initiative outlining a single-use plastics reduction and recycling plan that targets harmful plastics sent to landfill.  One of the most common single-use plastics in use is expanded polystyrene foam also known as Styrofoam.  Waste audits performed by Markham indicated growing volumes of Styrofoam packaging in the garbage stream.  As a result, Styrofoam packaging was the first crucial target on single-use plastics reduction when Markham Council approved a curbside collection ban of Styrofoam packaging effective October 2020.  The ban extends specifically to Styrofoam used in the supply and delivery of furniture, appliances and other consumer items.  Residents are now required to recycle it a Markham community recycling depot. Styrofoam is then densified and shipped to recycling markets.  Congratulations to Markham on this wonderful initiative!

Recognizing the importance of political understanding in the role of senior municipal administrators, also referred to as political acumen, the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA)  launched a Political Acumen Toolkit.   This resource can be found at

Provincial/territorial and federal governments are both important touch points for any municipality.  Provincial and territorial governments fund and administer municipalities, and therefore it is critical for CAOs and their Councils to build strong relationships with their local representatives and the Ministers/Deputy Ministers overseeing the departments that govern, impact, and benefit their community. While the federal government has less oversight as municipalities are not their jurisdiction, it too creates policy that directly impacts municipalities and provides grant funding for municipal initiatives.
In this section of the Toolkit, we look at the connections between municipal, provincial and federal and how to effectively work with representatives at higher levels of government. 
Today’s featured category is information on how to build those relationships with your provincial and federal counterparts.
As the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know and who knows you.” Developing a working relationship between your Council, Ministers and your local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) or Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) is essential to gaining support for municipal initiatives requiring provincial/territorial approval or funding. Federally, it is important for Council to have a connection with your local Member of Parliament (MP) to encourage discussions on municipal matters at the pan-Canadian level. Likewise, CAOs should also build relationships with Deputy and Assistant Deputy Ministers provincially and federally that enhance engagement administratively.

When working with provincial and federal representatives it should always be elected to elected and administrative to administrative.
Elected Officials
When working with other levels of government, elected officials should always be meeting with elected officials and administration with administration. That is, your Mayor, Reeve or Warden, and in some cases, other members of Council should be the ones addressing MLAs, MPPs, MPs and Ministers. While administrators will play a role in facilitating the connection between elected officials at various levels and may participate in the meeting, political protocol and best practice favour elected officials taking the lead in this scenario.

Finding opportunities for the Head of Council to meet regularly with key elected officials at the provincial and, to a lesser extent, the federal level is important for advancing your municipality’s strategic priorities. Even if no specific request is being made, sitting down to discuss local matters of importance on a regular basis helps to build that connection. Another way to facilitate relationship-building between your Council and MLAs, MPPs or MPs is to have the head of your Council write a congratulatory letter to that individual when they are successful with an initiative. Copying this letter to their Party Leader can also help ensure your municipality’s name is seen in a positive light. If your local representative is appointed as a Minister, building this connection becomes even more critical as the individual has an even greater influence over policymaking.
Remember that there is nothing an elected official likes more than a good news story. Invite your local MLA/MPP or MP to grand openings, ribbon cutting ceremonies, or events that the provincial or federal government has funded. Even if there is no event attached to the initiative, keep them informed on its progress and consider providing them with a copy of the final deliverable, when relevant. This creates positive media coverage for both of you and provides them with material to add to their list of accomplishments while in office. Furthermore, when you highlight the positive outcomes of the funding provided, you become a reliable choice for future grant allocations.
CAOs should also take the time to foster rapport with the Deputy Minister and other administrative staff of the government department that oversees municipalities. Likewise, you should consider if there is value in developing contacts with other departments influencing key municipal services such as transportation, health, etc. Having strong relationships at the administrative level will help ensure you are given the information you need in a timely manner and will streamline your efforts in building connections between elected officials.


As part of our ongoing commitment to our members we are pleased to present the CAMA 50th Anniversary Professional Development Series for 2021. This program is comprised of various webinars that are coordinated FREE of charge for the CAO/City Manager, senior managers and employees.  Along with our own webinar series, CAMA Partner companies will be providing educational and informative learning opportunities that showcase innovative services and products relevant to municipal management.  Have any topics you would like to see presented in the series?  Contact the CAMA National Office at 1-866-771-2262 and please also forward all opportunities to your staff members.

July 8: Doing More with Less: Building Intelligent Cities of All Sizes Webinar: Hosted by eleven-x
When it comes to helping communities continue in their efforts to become smarter, city size shouldn’t be a burden in terms of having access to technology that can support them. In fact, smaller cities may have advantages they can leverage to get things done more efficiently and may see a larger benefit in terms of reducing expenses and improving their communities and quality of life for their citizens.     In this webinar, eleven-x CEO & President Dan Mathers will take a look at some key variables that can help cities, of any size, leverage technology to provide the best programs and services including;
  • The importance of scalability, not size
  • Fostering a culture of innovation
  • Technology and choosing the right solutions
  • ·Collaboration and solutions that bring communities and organizations together
Dan will draw on field-proven use cases, and how cities can use innovative technologies to power a wide range of solutions under a single, multi-use network.      Join us on July 8, 2021 at 1:00 PM.  Here is the link to register.  
  • John Ferguson, Chief Administrative Officer, Clearview Township, ON
  • Dave Landers, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Timmins, ON
  • Kyle Attanasio, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Kenora, ON
  • Karen Govan, Chief Administrative Officer/Deputy Treasurer, Municipality of Grey Highlands, ON
  • Andre Corbould, City Manager, City of Edmonton, AB
  • Sherbaz Muhammad, Executive Director, K'Ahsho Got'ine Government Negotiations Secretariat, Fort Good Hope, NWT
  • Julie Stevens, Chief Administrative Officer, The District Municipality of Muskoka, ON
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