The Ontario Government has committed up to $125 million over four years (extending into 2022/23) to assist municipalities in modernizing services. There will likely be a focus on small and rural municipalities that need self-service options and improvements to their websites. Under Intake 1, the Province invested $11.8 million in 180 modernization projects and identified over $100 million in savings and efficiencies1. The current third intake of the program includes more than $57 million to be distributed to municipalities that apply for this grant2. Applications are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis so apply now!
Ways to Invest In and Improve Your Services
There are many different ways to improve your services by making them more available to your citizens. Upanup has partnered with many municipalities to create and enhance website to better serve their communities. If you don't already have a wishlist going for ways to modernize your services we have listed some different areas you could invest this grant based on our experience and industry trends:
- Website Redesign – If your existing website is cumbersome, difficult to navigate or manage this may be a great opportunity to do a complete website redesign. If you are unsure view this news post to help determine if it is time for a redesign project.
- Software integrations – software such as PerfectMind will provide your users with the ability to quickly and efficiently sign up for rec programs directly on your site! Users could even create their own program guide like North Vancouver Recreation & Culture (NVRC) has done.
- Online services – By moving services such as permit applications, pothole reporting, facility booking requests etc. online you will create an efficient process for not only your users but also your internal staff. See king.ca for more online services ideas.
- Ecommerce capabilities – To move more services online for the convenience of users and to reduce the amount of in-person visits and phone calls the municipality receives you could add e-commerce capabilities to your site so users can pay tickets, license fees, etc. right from your site (view our news post on adding e-commerce capabilities to your website).
- Municipal apps – A municipal app will provide you with additional opportunities to connect with your audiences and increase engagement. Users will also have to option to find information easily when they are on the go (check out our news post on municipal apps for more information).
- Digital rec guides – By moving away from physical rec guides or inaccessible iframes within your website, you could create a custom online rec guide (check out the Township of King's recreation guide) that can be accessed by your users anywhere and easily updated by your staff.
- Tools and features – You could provide additional value to your users by creating tools such as the Township of Clearview's tax estimator calculator.
We highly recommend looking into this grant opportunity to help modernize your services. If you aren't sure where you would like to make improvements, get in touch with our team of experts at Upanup and we have help make some recommendations!