2014 Making a Difference Report

The world has changed. Today we enjoy greater diversity, complexity, technology, a faster pace and growth. People have higher expectations of the governments they elect and the public services they receive.

We recognize the need to not only catch up and adapt, but transform. This calibre of change is far from straightforward. We’re learning it takes a lot of conscious thought and deliberate action.

Luckily, Guelph citizens are community minded, environmentally conscious and highly motivated. You push boundaries, aim higher, and ultimately, make a difference. So do we—your local government.

Our annual Making a difference report highlights our achievements over the past year—many of which you and other members of our community have inspired, informed, or steered.

Better public policies, services, and quality of life for everyone in Guelph are shared accomplishments we can all take ownership of and pride in. I extend my sincere thanks to our City staff and to you for your contributions to your local government over the last year.

Ann Pappert
Chief Administrative Officer

We are growing

  • 121,688 population
  • 55.6 kilometres of bike lines
  • 70+ kilometres of trails
  • 1,000 hectares of parks and open space
  • 6,852,097 transit riders
  • 2,215 building permits
  • 31,847 building inspections
  • 646 trees planted

Transforming from the inside, out

Meaningful change in local government calls for committed leadership. The City’s first leadership charter was created by its 150 leaders to foster a shared community mindset and become more adaptive, empathetic, and reasonable risk-takers. New leadership training brings the charter to life and improves the way we work with one another and the community for greater engagement, innovation and services.

Within our walls and across departments we’re taking a close look at our processes and listening to our community to improve how we do business. The City’s Integrated Operational Review (IOR) aims to better serve Guelph’s development industry and business community. To date the IOR has improved our development approval processes and customer service.

More 2014 accomplishments

  • 5 organizational audits including one for City-wide overtime that resulted in policy changes and $810,670 in savings
  • 18 recommendations in the fleet operations audit were completed to improve fleet performance, regulatory compliance and driver safety
  • 21 ideas were submitted to a new Dragon’s Den-style employee innovation program for front-line staff to identify efficiencies and improvements in City service, 19 have been adopted—one of which has generated $110,000 in revenue
Organizational Excellence

Transforming the way we serve you

With your help, we’re striving for a new standard of openness in municipal government. The City and Guelph citizens, together, created a plan for a more transparent and accountable government; one that empowers our public servants and community to work hand-in-hand to improve municipal services and life in Guelph. The Open Government Action Plan maps a series of actions over the next five years to establish a successful open government in our community. We’re now actively implementing the plan, with the goal of improving our services, entrenching a great relationship with our community and putting citizens first in the decisions we make.

Increasing community participation in the public process is crucial for meaningful transformation within our local government. During the 2014 municipal election, the City offered citizens the option to vote online and increased the number of voting locations and advance voting days. Enhancing voting access and convenience was well-received. In fact, just under half—45 per cent—of eligible voters cast ballots; that’s an 11 per cent increase in voter participation compared to the 2010 municipal election.

Understanding how municipal government operates—along with the by-laws, legislation, policies and procedures that influence it—is no easy feat. Recognizing this, the City created a User Guide to Local Government and made it publically available online. Believed to be a first in Canada, this resource offers readers—new members of Council, City staff and members of the community—a better understanding of how City Hall, Council and local government work.

Opening up government, driving innovation and enabling citizens to shape the systems that impact their lives are just a few of the benefits civic solutions labs can offer. A new local partnership between the City of Guelph and the University of Guelph was formed to create one of Canada’s first civic solutions labs. The Guelph Lab will combine the best of both worlds: the research, problem solving, and prototyping work of an academic lab with our local government’s ability to put solutions in place within our community.

More 2014 accomplishments

  • Council approved Guelph’s new road map—the 2014 Solid Waste Management Master Plan—to reach a 70 per cent waste diversion by 2021
  • 100 citizens and government partners gathered in Guelph for a two-day, City-hosted HealthJam to explore how the community can work together to break down barriers so everyone in our city can enjoy good health
  • 30 university students and local application developers pulled an all-nighter at the City and University of Guelph’s first 24-hour hackathon to create innovative mobile and web-based applications for Guelph residents—through this generous contribution of time and skill, about $15,000 in software was developed for $2,500 in prizes
  • 15,000 green, blue and grey waste carts—the third and final installment—rolled out to households across the city for greater community-wide waste diversion
  • 1,120 m3/day of water service capacity was reclaimed through the Water Conservation and Efficiency Program resulting in lower operating costs and deferred capital upgrades

Awards and recognition

  • Waste diversion: Recycling Council of Ontario’s Silver Award of Excellence for Municipal Diversion
  • Waste cart roll out: Solid Waste Association of North America’s Gold Award of Excellence for Communications and the Recycling Council of Ontario’s Gold Award for Municipal Communication
  • Waste diversion: Waste Diversion Ontario’s first Ron Lance Memorial Award for the highest residential waste diversion rate in Ontario
Innovation in Local Government

Building Community

Did you know by the year 2031, one-third of Guelph’s population will be over the age of 55? Knowing this, the City is committed to making Guelph a great place to live and age well. The World Health Organization recognizes this commitment and accepted Guelph as a member of the Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities. More than 250 cities in 27 countries have joined the Network as a part of a growing movement of communities striving to meet the needs of older residents.

More than 300 residents, planning professionals and thought leaders attended Guelph’s first urban design summit, an event organized and hosted by the City, to examine how good urban design can positively shape a city’s growth. The Summit highlighted real-world case studies, urban design tools and strategies, innovations in urban design, and citizen engagement approaches which can be adapted to communities of all sizes, and Guelph in particular.

Guelph Transit’s Affordable Bus Pass program is now permanent. The program offers a lower cost bus pass to more than 3,000 adults, youth and seniors living in low-income households.

More 2014 accomplishments

  • 43 local not-for-profit organizations were awarded $279,400 through the City’s Wellbeing Grant Program
  • 12 trade missions were organized to promote business investment in Guelph, including foreign direct investment opportunities in the energy sector
  • $2.9 million was generated through the sale of City–owned land in the Hanlon Creek Business Park, the development charges and tax revenue tied to this investment will help support municipal services in our community
  • 69 per cent of Guelph’s residential waste was diverted from landfill in 2014, the highest of all Ontario municipalities
  • 34 City projects included activities to engage the community ranging from online forums and surveys, open houses, advisory committees, community working groups, change camp, and more
  • 4 sculptures by artist Ted Fullerton—the first project commissioned through the City’sPublic Art Policy—were installed along Carden Street for all citizens to enjoy
  • 45 elementary school zones across the city had speed limits reduced for a safer walk to and from school for students
  • 28 referrals were made to the Community Care Access Centre by paramedics for residents in need of community support through Guelph’s new Community Paramedicine Program

Awards and recognition

Building community

Financial Management

Sound financial management, accountable and transparent financial practices and AA+ credit rating track record underpin the City’s strong financial position.

The following highlights the City’s 2014 Tax-supported and Non tax supported expenditures (value in millions). For more on the City’s budget, guelph.ca/budget.

Tax supported

The City’s organizational structure changed in November 2014 to improve citizen service. The tax supported service areas listed below reflect these changes.
  • CAO, Mayor & Council includes the City’s Legal Services department—previously included in Corporate and Human Resources—in addition to Internal Auditor; Intergovernmental Relations, Policy and Open Government; and Project Management
  • Public Services includes Operations, Guelph Transit and Emergency Services in addition to Culture, Tourism and Community Investments; Parks and Recreation
  • Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services includes what was previously named Planning, Building, Engineering and Environment in addition to Business Development and Enterprise; Facility Maintenance
  • Corporate Services includes the City Clerk’s Office; Corporate Communications and Customer Service; Court Services; Finance; Human Resources; Information Technology
Service Area Gross Expenditure Net Expenditure
CAO, Mayor and Council $5.9 $4.3
Public Services $133.0 $72.8
Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services $46.1 $19.4
Corporate Services $15.9 $10.9
Police $37.5 $35
Library $8.7 $8
Social Services, Housing and Public Health $51.8 $25
Grants and Capital Projects $116.7 $32.8
Total $415.6 $208

Non Tax Supported

Water and Wastewater $56.9 $-
Ontario Building Code $2.8 $-
Court Services $3.4 $-
Total $63.1 $-
Financial Management