School of Public Policy & Administration hosts Municipalities of the Future symposium

In early March, the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) hosted its first municipal symposium.

“We wanted to highlight the important work that municipalities do and the fast pace of changes and emerging challenges that they have to anticipate and respond to,” said Professor Alena Kimakova, the director of the school, in her opening remarks.

The keynote speaker for the event was Mary-Frances Turner, president of the York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, who has more than 30 years of experience in urban planning, corporate leadership and public-private partnerships.

Keynote speaker Mary-Frances Turner, president of York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC) in the centre with her advisor and project specialist Sheena Arora on the left, and Fausto Natarelli, director of the Yonge Subway Extension Project, Engineering Group at YRRTC on the right, who also chaired the panel on Infrastructure Needs and Strategic Investments

In her remarks, Turner said that transit challenges weigh heavily on the minds of residents of urban centres and rural communities alike. She noted that the entire York University community is also a major stakeholder in transit policy. Improvements in transit directly translate into quality of life by saving time, space and the environment, observed Turner.

She identified technological and demographic megatrends as key drivers of change, and underlined the need for transit systems to be flexible, responsive and resilient. Turner also emphasized the importance of good governance as a determinant of accountability and success of major infrastructure projects.

Above, from left: Jim Pine, chief administrative officer of Hastings County and co-lead for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) for broadband and mobile development; Tony Van Bynen, mayor of Newmarket and Timothy Schnare, vice-president of strategy, Canadian Public Sector, OnX Enterprise Solutions on the panel on technology, smart communities and economic development. The panel also included Frank Miele, career municipal administrator and adjunct faculty member at SPPA; and Reza Rajabiun, research fellow at the Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management, Ryerson University and Algorithmic Media Observatory, Concordia University as chair

The keynote address was followed by five expert panels on topics ranging from technology and economic development to social services, infrastructure, governance, human resources and leadership in municipal public administration. Elected officials, municipal administrators and professional associations, provincial representatives, non-profit managers and private sector companies working with municipalities were all represented on the panels and shared their insight with the 100 participants at the day-long event.

The Institute of Public Administration of Canada Toronto Regional Group (IPAC TRG) served as event co-sponsor.

Above: Ruth Crammond, vice-president of community investment and development at United Way Toronto and York Region opened the session on demographic trends and social services

Above: From left, Troy Cheseboro, chief of Region of Durham Paramedic Services; Darryl Wolk, policy analyst with the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association; Amuna Baraka-Clarke, director of operations at the Jane/Finch Community Centre and a Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPAL) student at York University; Jason Hastings, director of strategic initiatives, human services at the Regional of Peel, and Ruth Crammond, vice-president of community investment and development at United Way Toronto and York Region, on the panel exploring demographic trends and social services

Above: From left, Anthea English, the SPPA federal public servant in residence and the assistant comptroller general, internal audit at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat chaired the session on good governance. Anthea English at the centre with panelists (from left to right) Steve Saric, manager, corporate strategy at the Region of Peel; Jeff Lamb, manager of partnerships and special projects/open data initiatives at York Region; Kevin Travers, partner at KPMG LLP and City of Toronto Councillor Vincent Crisanti

Above: From left, Peter Constantinou, faculty member and experiential education coordinator at SPPA with two of the speakers on the human resources panel: Tanya Sinclair, deputy CEO and director of HR at the Pickering Public Library who was recognized in 2017 as one of Canada’s Top 25 HR professionals and Jim Pine. The panel also featured Mary Killeavy, director of human resources at the Region of Peel; Yakov Sluchenkov, vice-president at the Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association; and Joseph Silva, director of strategy & transformation and deputy treasurer at the Regional Municipality of York

Joseph Silva with colleague Jennifer Heikamp, manager of workforce planning and organizational development

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