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Be prepared to face the major challenges of municipal governance

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Cities are changing and municipal managers will be facing numerous challenges in the coming years. It’s important to be ready.

Bill 122 is intended to give municipalities more autonomy. The law was assented to in June 2017 and recognizes municipalities as local governments.

One of its main objectives is to make each city more accountable towards its citizens in terms of its management models and decisions. To foster your city’s sustainability, you must first understand the challenges and then determine objectives to achieve your commitments.

Elected officials and their role

Over time, municipal roles and responsibilities have become more complex. The relationship between the Québec government and municipalities has been redefined and powers have been redistributed.

Recognized as an integral part of the Québec democratic system, municipalities must demonstrate they are involved in their main roles:

  • Ensuring economic prosperity;
  • Guaranteeing environmental responsibility;
  • Supporting social cohesion;
  • Ensuring efficient and effective management.

In each of these roles, the municipality must consider major factors.

Ensuring economic prosperity

When it comes to economic health, you have to be able to take an informed view of debt service to avoid having your entire action plan compromised by an interest rate increase.

The digital era and artificial intelligence are transforming ways of doing things. Whether it’s managing operations, internal and citizen communications or improved access to services for citizens, digital technology offers concrete improvement options for current systems.

Guaranteeing environmental responsibility

The environment has been a concern for many years. In a sustainable development context, a city must take account of ecological factors and adopt a coordinated approach. Climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, shoreline erosion are matters of concern that must be quickly contained. Municipalities must deploy collective efforts to reduce the environmental impact and achieve tangible results.

Supporting social cohesion

Changing demographics are having an impact on all municipal social strata. Citizens and tourists have diversified interests and needs. To better adapt to change, a plan to attract citizens and optimize services is essential.

Now, more than ever, people want to be involved in finding solutions and making decisions. It takes creativity to reach out to the population and promote participation.

Additionally, there is a labour shortage in Québec cities. Sooner or later, the impact will be significant. It’s important to develop immigration strategies, prepare successors and attract employees.

Ensuring efficient and effective management

One governance challenge that all municipal organizations will face at some time is the need to align the vision of elected officials with the administration’s capacity to implement that vision. Key success factors include a strategic reflection and a long-term action plan.

Additionally, sound governance must ensure transparency regarding budgets, the awarding of contacts and access to information.

In the face of these numerous issues, municipalities must capitalize on opportunities to transform for the benefit of their citizens.

In the coming weeks, members of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s Management Consulting group will be publishing a series of articles with ideas to address these issues.

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