2014 CAE Recipient Profile - Town of Okotoks

The Town of Okotoks is located just 18 kilometres south of the City of Calgary. The Town of Okotoks municipal corporation was established in 1904 and has a current population of 27,000. The sharpest growth period has occurred in the past decade. The 2011 Federal Census indicates Okotoks is one of the fastest growing towns in Canada with 43% growth from 2006-2011. Okotoks has maintained stronger than average growth, even in the recent economic downturn, growing 5.3% in 2013. Okotoks is also is a young community with its average age at 34 and 25% of the population being under 15 years of age.

The Town of Okotoks provides a wide range of infrastructure, programs and services to meet the community’s needs. Services are provided to our customers by 21 Business staffed by a total of 160 permanent employees, subsidized by a contingent workforce of 60+.  Services include waste and recycling, transportation, parks, recreation, culture, programs, social services, planning, development, safety codes, fire, policing and the other business centres that provide support to them.

The Town’s former finite growth model developed in 1998 determined that growth would begin to slow down as less land was available in the years closer to build out (2015-2017) and staff would then be able to catch up as redevelopment would occur at a much slower pace.

A new direction has been set forth for Okotoks by a landmark Council decision in 2013 to move to a continued growth model, annex lands for 60 years of growth and seek out short and long term water supply options. This turning point will requires the organization to revisit its organizational design (which is planned for 2014), increase staff resources and revise the many long term planning documents the Town has created over the next few years.

Our continuous improvement journey

The Town of Okotoks has been recognized for its unique vision, reputation as a leader in sustainable community practices and as an organization that is progressive, customer-oriented and innovative. Our continuous improvement journey began two decades ago when the organization underwent a multi-year focused change management initiative to become a customer oriented, business focused Municipal Corporation that would reduce service cycle time by sharing responsibility and authority through 21 business centres. Our accomplishments to date have been achieved through employee commitment and participation in decision making as well as through cross-functional activities focusing on improving customer service, organizational effectiveness and flexible work environment.

With the significant growth in our community and the increasing demand on municipal services, the Town recognized that organizational rejuvenation and renewed commitment to organizational excellence was required to enable the organization to better manage current and future community needs.

The Town of Okotoks joined Excellence Canada in April of 2009 to enhance our journey of continuous improvement with a formal external program and certification. The Town achieved PEP Level 1 in October 2009, and Level 2 in March 2011. We were working on PEP Level 3 concurrently with the Healthy Workplace certification and had plans to move to an integrated model when Excellence Canada rebranded and the new EIW model was introduced. The Town decided to move directly to the EIW model.

Our focus for the Silver EIW application took direction from the 2010-2013 Business Plan whereby achievement was desired by the end of 2013: “Be recognized for public service excellence” and to “achieve NQI Level 3 recognition. “ Health Workplace was another area the Town was working on move to the integrated PEP and Healthy Workplace model.

The Silver Level Assessment was completed in June 2012.  An emphasis was placed on process mapping and processes that were cross-functional as these provided the largest challenges in documenting, communicating, streamlining and implementing the changes.

In addition a corporate Wellness plan has been developed to continue our focus on the multiple areas of wellness and bring all of our programs for employee wellness under one umbrella.

The Town submitted its Silver Level application in April 2014.

The Town of Okotoks , its senior management team and all of our employees are committed to our continuous improvement journey.  We are thrilled to have achieved the Silver Award level for Excellence, Innovation and Wellness. Our community growth will continue to challenge us and we are preparing now for the growth to come and know that the next steps in our continuous improvement journey will facilitate the  high standards we provide for all our citizens..