The City Manager’s Awards of Excellence are the highest form of recognition for outstanding achievement by the Toronto Public Service. The Awards are presented to divisions, program areas, service providers and/or project offices that have achieved a high and measurable standard of excellence.

Leadership: Gender Inclusive Washroom Policy & Campaign

Toronto Public Health

The Gender Inclusive Washroom Policy and Campaign creates a safe space for people to use the washroom that matches their gender identity and/or expression, regardless of their sex assigned at birth. This initiative is the first of its kind at the City of Toronto and responds to concerns raised by the trans community with regards to safe washroom access.

Toronto Public Health (TPH) developed the policy through extensive research, consultation and collaboration, and implemented it through comprehensive training for staff and awareness campaigns. Toronto Public Health managers trained their staff during team meetings. They were given a comprehensive policy orientation guide and could access a specially trained TPH Positive Space Ambassador for support.

TPH Senior Management regularly followed up with their managers to ensure all teams were trained before the end of 2016. Additionally, a campaign poster was placed on every washroom door where TPH is the sole tenant. This signals to trans clients that: we see you, we serve you and we want to ensure your safety.

The success of this initiative was a collaborative effort, built upon strong employee engagement, with key leadership from Toronto Public Health Senior Management, their Positive Space Champion, the Gender Diversity Work Group, and Positive Space Ambassadors.

Leadership category award winners for the Gender Inclusive Washroom Policy & Campaign. From left to right: Nicole Welch, Jessica Abraham, Peter Wallace, Domenico Calla, Jann Houston and Dr. Howard Shapiro.
Left to right: Nicole Welch, Jessica Abraham, Peter Wallace, Domenico Calla, Jann Houston, Dr. Howard Shapiro

Customer Experience: Making Registration Better

Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Information & Technology

Working together as a cross-divisional team, the Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) and Information and Technology divisions embarked on a strategy to “Make Registration Better“. This included improvements to the customer service model, the parks programming registration webpage, and technical support systems. They collaborated to establish new ways of working together, creating a business transformation that would impact how they deliver services in the future.

Using feedback from the public and staff, the project team mapped the customer experience and identified pain points. Based on internal and external feedback the team knew that they needed to provide residents with better access to the system and to the call center, provide clearer communications and information, and in-person support.

To deliver an excellent customer service experience, the team ensured that the public were engaged throughout the process to ensure their needs and voices were heard. The team not only focused on improving the online customer experience, but all access points to recreation services. PFR also increased customer service hours leading up to peak registration periods. Telephone and in-person translation services were also boosted to provide greater access to customers who required communications in languages other than English.

The improvements have been noticed and the public has been sending in their compliments. The time to complete 20,000 registrations was reduced from 3 hours to just 15 minutes, and customer satisfaction rates have increased.

Customer experience category award winners for the Making Registration Better project. Left to right: Rob Meikle, Ann Ulusoy, Peter Wallace, Lan Nguyen, Brenda Fideles and Howie Dayton.
Customer experience category award winners for the Making Registration Better project. Left to right: Rob Meikle, Ann Ulusoy, Peter Wallace, Lan Nguyen, Brenda Fideles and Howie Dayton.

Employee Experience: Service Delivery Model (SDM) Renewal

Toronto Employment & Social Services

Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) provides employment supports, financial benefits and social supports to Toronto residents on a daily basis. In February 2015, with the objective to improve client experience, TESS conducted a thorough review of its Service Delivery Model which is how services and supports are delivered to its clients.

TESS took a user-centered approach to create the new divisional Access Model. They engaged and empowered front-line staff to not only champion change, but also to own and drive it. The best elements of the prototype designs were refined to develop a standardized service access model, which was piloted at other locations. But most importantly, this new model was created by the people who use and deliver social assistance: City of Toronto front line staff and their clients. Using a co-design approach, a cross-section of over 70 frontline staff including caseworkers, family support workers, support assistants and technical experts drew from their years of experience delivering Ontario Works to redesign the division’s new front end service access model.

As a result, allowing TESS staff to take an active role in designing this new model created a shared sense of purpose, empathy for each group’s experience, greater trust in the model itself and a strong focus on pragmatic outcomes. The project has had a profound impact on how the division approaches organizational change and staff engagement.

Employee experience category award winners for the Service Delivery Model Renewal project. Left to right: Lyndsay Bell, Tona Robis, Peter Wallace, Shari Kamali, Clara Ganemtore and Patricia Walcott.
Employee experience category award winners for the Service Delivery Model Renewal project. Left to right: Lyndsay Bell, Tona Robis, Peter Wallace, Shari Kamali, Clara Ganemtore and Patricia Walcott.

Innovation: Embracing Disruptive Technology and the Sharing Economy: Implementation of new Vehicle-for-Hire Legislation and Technology

Municipal Licensing & Standards, Information & Technology

The City of Toronto’s new Vehicle-for-Hire legislation was approved by City Council in May 2016 through the adoption of over a hundred recommendations, concluding a two-year Ground Transportation Review undertaken by the Municipal Licensing & Standards (ML&S) Division. This represented a landmark policy change for the City’s ground transportation industry, establishing a new business model that reflects technological innovations that have disrupted the existing taxi industry and regulates the new private transportation industry.

With the launch of UberX in the City of Toronto and the emergence of the sharing economy globally, ML&S was faced with the challenge of regulating a new entrant in the taxicab market and at the same time reframing the way the taxicab industry was regulated. ML&S, in collaboration with I&T, set out to automate all private transportation company drivers’ licenses and renewal, which would in turn create significant efficiencies. The innovative Vehicle-for-Hire legislation was the catalyst for significant regulatory and business transformation and represents the first 100% digital process for business license registration. Furthermore, this initiative has modernized the City’s ability to cope with new emerging technologies that enhance the quality of life for citizens, businesses and visitors in the City of Toronto.

Innovation category award winners for the Embracing Disruptive Technology and the Sharing Economy: Implementation of new Vehicle-for-Hire Legislation and Technology project. Left to right: Rob Meikle, Tracey Cook, Peter Wallace, Annalisa Mignardi and Lan Nguyen.
Innovation category award winners for the Embracing Disruptive Technology and the Sharing Economy: Implementation of new Vehicle-for-Hire Legislation and Technology project. Left to right: Rob Meikle, Tracey Cook, Peter Wallace, Annalisa Mignardi and Lan Nguyen.

Partners: Specialized Program for Interdivisional Enhanced Response to Vulnerability (SPIDER)

Social Development, Finance & Administration (SDFA); Municipal Licensing & Services (MLS) and Toronto Public Health (TPH)

The Specialized Program for Interdivisional Enhanced Response to Vulnerability – known as “SPIDER” – was launched in 2014. This first-of-its-kind program in Canada is modelled on international and Canadian best practices.

The purpose of SPIDER is to enhance partnerships that improve the effectiveness of City Divisions and Agencies in working together to reduce acutely elevated health and safety risks affecting vulnerable Torontonians who are facing issues such as poverty and isolation, and are often experiencing challenges related to the social determinants of health. SPIDER has provided an accountable mechanism that enhances how City divisions, as well as community organizations, communicate with one another to better understand the situation, the risks involved and the resources required to solve the issue.

The initiative was collaborative in its design from the outset. Through the partnership model, SPIDER has responded to over 100 complex situations of elevated health and safety risk. Referral relationships are now formalized between City divisions and partner agency staff. The collaborative tools that SPIDER developed are now available to all staff in all participating divisions and agencies. Common terminology, reporting approaches, and information-sharing protocols are now in place to ensure quality and consistency of services in risk situations.

This collaboration has clearly improved outcomes for residents and better serves the public. SPIDER has been praised for its “bold, imaginative, and courageous ways of cutting across silos and putting the right expertise in the right place.”

Partners category award winners for the Specialized Program for Interdivisional Enhanced Response to Vulnerability program. Left to right: Tracey Cook, Scott McKean, Peter Wallace, Peter Hardisty, Lavinia Corriero Yong-Ping, Dan Breault, Dr. Howard Shapiro and Chris Brillinger.
Partners category award winners for the Specialized Program for Interdivisional Enhanced Response to Vulnerability program. Left to right: Tracey Cook, Scott McKean, Peter Wallace, Peter Hardisty, Lavinia Corriero Yong-Ping, Dan Breault, Dr. Howard Shapiro and Chris Brillinger.

Equity, Diversity & Human Rights Winner: City of Toronto Refugee Resettlement Program

The Refugee Resettlement Program, approved by Council in October 2015, aims to reduce barriers facing Syrian refugees arriving in Toronto by mobilizing existing supports within and outside of City structures, and facilitating enhancements where needed. The Toronto Newcomer Office led the implementation of the Program by facilitating a coordinated municipal response that included nince City divisions, the federal and provincial governments and over 25 community agencies.

Since November 2015 more than 29,713 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada. Almost half have come to Ontario, with approximately 4,613 Syrian refugees arriving in Toronto. Through the Refugee Resettlement Program, the City of Toronto was able to quickly and efficiently implement targeted services and supports to meet the urgent needs of Syrian refugees and private sponsors. The Program sought to remove barriers for successful settlement by addressing emerging issues and gaps in service provision, highlighting the important role municipalities play in advancing the successful settlement and integration of newcomer communities.

By facilitating a timely and coordinated municipal response, the Refugee Resettlement Program maximized use of existing municipal and other resources, while ensuring that any emerging gaps in settlement support systems were addressed quickly and efficiently. With contributions from other City divisions including Children’s Services, Parks, Forestry and Recreation and Toronto Public Health as well as TDSB/TCDSB, WoodGreen Community Services, private landlords and sponsors, the Refugee Resettlement Program is a true embodiment of the City of Toronto’s motto Diversity Our Strength.

The program effectively used Council-directed resources to support the economic and social settlement needs of Syrian newcomers, building a foundation for their long-term success in our community.

Left to right: Mary-Anne Bedard (SSHA), Karen Gray (Children's Services), Tobias Novogrodsky (TESS), Mario Calla (COSTI Immigrant Services), Peter Wallace (CMO), Rodrigo Fuentes (TDSB), Vera Dodic (Toronto Newcomer Office, SDFA), Nicole Watson (Toronto Newcomer Office, SDFA), Josette Holness (PF&R)
Left to right: Mary-Anne Bedard (SSHA), Karen Gray (Children’s Services), Tobias Novogrodsky (TESS), Mario Calla (COSTI Immigrant Services), Peter Wallace (CMO), Rodrigo Fuentes (TDSB), Vera Dodic (Toronto Newcomer Office, SDFA), Nicole Watson (Toronto Newcomer Office, SDFA), Josette Holness (PF&R)

Divisional Project Winner: Water Treatment and Supply’s Transmission Operations Optimizer

This innovative initiative automatically determines pumping schedules for the Water Transmission System in the most efficient and cost effective manner. In simple terms, it reduces greenhouse gases, keeps all our customers satisfied while being cost effective. Based on an algorithm combining real time weather data, real time hydro rates, real time operational data and historical demand data, the next 26 hours optimum pumping strategy is projected – a very complex task. Over the first six months of operation, Toronto Hydro has verified savings of 16,285,948 kilowatt-hours per year.

After careful planning and testing so as to not affect service delivery levels for water pressure and quality, TOO’s results speak for themselves. It reduced our environmental footprint by reducing greenhouse gases through optimized energy consumption.

At a savings of $1M per year this represents a 3% cost decrease to provide the same level of service, water pressure and volumes. It also reduces the GHG emissions and helps protect the environment.

As one of the first programs of its kind, the hardware and database control methods can be mapped to analogous situations in other divisions such as Transportation Signals and Traffic Management, Facilities & Real Estate Building Automation Systems, TTC Operations and private enterprises such as the District Energy Systems.

Image of award winners. Left to right: Gary Thompson, Henry Polvi, Rose Hosseinzadeh, Peter Wallace, Mark Clancy, Mike Brannon, William Fernandes
Left to right: Gary Thompson, Henry Polvi, Rose Hosseinzadeh, Peter Wallace, Mark Clancy, Mike Brannon, William Fernandes

Cross Corporate Winner: Tenant Relocation Support Services

The “Tenant Relocation Support Services Project” (TRSSP) is an innovative partnership between Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) and City Planning, that emerged as a response to a redevelopment application in the downtown east. The redevelopment had the effect of removing a 45 bed rooming house – home to extremely vulnerable tenants. With an increasing number of rooming houses in Toronto being purchased for redevelopment, tenants, many of whom are long-term and with low incomes, are forced to relocate. Priced out of the housing market, displaced tenants often find themselves at imminent risk of homelessness. The TRSSP was designed to respond to this critical issue by creating a best practice in identifying at-risk tenants and developing strategies to keep them housed.

The project’s success is the result of a tripartite effort between the City, a private developer and a non-profit community agency who worked together with the support of the local City Councillor. This partnership resulted in the development and delivery of a highly successful, customized, wrap-around service that was fully funded by the developer, and included access to practical and financial supports such as landlord outreach and intensive housing search, housing allowances, and long-term follow-up support.

By taking a holistic approach to a complex problem, within a strong legislative and policy framework, TRSSP has balanced the needs of diverse stakeholders and leveraged opportunities provided by private investment, for the public good.

Image of award winners. Left to right: Jeremy Kloet (City Planning), Alexandra Vamos (SSHA), Peter Wallace (CMO)
Left to right: Jeremy Kloet (City Planning), Alexandra Vamos (SSHA), Peter Wallace (CMO)

Equity, Diversity & Human Rights Winner: Respect@TPH Campaign

The Respect@TPH campaign is an upstream approach to reduce incidents of harassment and discrimination by promoting a healthy workplace culture based on mutual respect. In 2014 the City’s Human Rights and Anti-Harassment Policy was amended to include expectations for respect and civility. Respect@TPH was launched on October 1st, 2014 to highlight this policy change. Our series of seven posters is part of an ongoing strategy to strengthen a climate of civility, inclusion and human rights at Toronto Public Health. Staff voices and images are central to this campaign. Through an online survey staff expressed how respect comes alive at TPH. Responses were developed into campaign messages, along with practical tips for modelling respect. A discussion guide accompanied the campaign to help teams develop group norms for positive dynamics. In-service training and group facilitation was part of the campaign roll out.Campaign messages promote workplace equity. For example:

  • Building bridges across difference rather than erecting barriers;
  • Showing compassion and resisting stereotypes;
  • Creating safety for people’s diverse social identities;
  • Being an ally by speaking up against harassment and discrimination.

Through this campaign the Access & Equity unit has enhanced its service delivery to TPH teams (our internal clients) by:

  • Providing tailored and engaging team-based civility and human rights workshops; and,
  • Facilitating team discussions to establish group norms which promote compliance with the City’s Human Rights and Anti-Harassment Policy.
Image of award winners. Left to right: Anna Pancham, Peter Wallace, Domenico Calla, Leila Monib, Dr. David McKeown, Caroline Wai
Left to right: Anna Pancham, Peter Wallace, Domenico Calla, Leila Monib, Dr. David McKeown, Caroline Wai

Divisional Project Winner: Welcome to Parenting – Online Prenatal Program

Welcome to Parenting (WTP) is Toronto Public Health’s (TPH) free online prenatal program available to all pregnant families living in the city. The program offers in-depth information to prepare parents-to-be for parenthood in a fun, interactive and diverse manner. WTP enhances client accessibility to prenatal education as it is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from any location with computer and internet access, with the additional benefit of no waiting lists or travel required. By offering an online prenatal program TPH has tripled its client reach in 2014 versus the former in-person evening prenatal classes. Program reach has also been successful, based on registration postal code mapping as clients are participating from the entire city, including the Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. Participants are satisfied with the online prenatal program as the majority would recommend WTP.WTP is client-focussed, convenient, and meets diverse learning styles with the flexibility for clients to learn at their own pace, from any location, with computer and internet access. There are opportunities for clients to connect with experts in the field who respond their questions via the Parent Zone or e-chat.

Image of award winners. Photo from left to right: Sue Makin, Mary Ann Gatbonton, Peter Wallace, Denise Oliver, Fern Santos Furtado,Dr. David McKeown, Sophie Ligas, Evelyn Vaccari
Photo from left to right: Sue Makin, Mary Ann Gatbonton, Peter Wallace, Denise Oliver, Fern Santos Furtado,Dr. David McKeown, Sophie Ligas, Evelyn Vaccari

Cross Corporate Winner: Online Lookups for Property Tax, Utility and Parking Tickets

Revenue Services, with the help of Corporate Information & Technology Division and the Web Revitalization Project, has created online account lookups for property tax, utility and parking tickets. The lookups provide residents a fast, easy and secure way of getting information about utility and property tax accounts as well as the status of parking tickets.Residents and property owners can view details of their account, including account balances, upcoming billings and due dates, information on previous payments, as well as the status of parking tickets, outstanding fine amounts, scheduled court dates for parking ticket trials, etc.

The lookups can be accessed anywhere, anytime from a computer or any web-enabled mobile device.By putting up-to-date account information in the hands of our customers, and making this information easily available on a 24/7 basis, residents will no longer have to call or visit the City to confirm important account details.This will improve customer service by allowing City staff to better accommodate more complex requests for information or assistance.The new lookups fulfill the City’s goals of enhancing online service delivery and improving customer service, and support the City of Toronto’s eService Strategic Plan and Strategic Actions 2013-2018.The Utility lookup was launched in December 2014, the Parking Ticket lookup on April 10, 2015, and the Property Tax lookup went live on May 21, 2015.

Image of award winners. Photo from left to right: Manal Ishak, Bernadette Nanton, Wendy Quaintance-Collier, Sara Jackson, Lan Nguyen, Casey Brendon, Peter Wallace, Uni Hwa Young Oh, Johan Macedo, Rob Williams, John Longarini, Jill Delen, Carmela Romano
Photo from left to right: Manal Ishak, Bernadette Nanton, Wendy Quaintance-Collier, Sara Jackson, Lan Nguyen, Casey Brendon, Peter Wallace, Uni Hwa Young Oh, Johan Macedo, Rob Williams, John Longarini, Jill Delen, Carmela Romano