Commentary

The relationship between municipalities and their provincial and territorial counterparts in Canada has been evolving over the years. There is a growing understanding of the need to recognize municipalities as independent governments with the autonomy to deal with local issues. But we’ve also been hearing a lot about the challenges facing municipalities as they increase their scope of power, particularly in times of fiscal restraint.

All successful organizations must evolve to meet a changing environment. Canada's Public Service is no different. It is adapting to meet Canada's needs, while respecting our code of values and ethics to maintain public confidence in the integrity of the federal Public Service. Over the past several years, our focus has been on renewing and transforming the federal public service, delivering on a dynamic policy agenda, and re-engineering many of our internal and external services. We have made significant progress in positioning our institution for the future.

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Currently, women hold only 24.7 percent of federal seats (76 out of 308), 26.4 percent of provincial/territorial seats (201 out of 760), and 23.9 percent of municipal seats (5,800 out of 24,239) across the country. Although women represent 52 percent of the Canadian population, they are not proportionately represented in public office. For this reason, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has been championing a UNESCO recommendation to reach a target of 30 percent female representation among elected officials by 2026. Efforts to promote greater representation of female elected officials are necessary for several reasons. First, female inclusion in politics affects the very nature of the process as research indicates that women are more likely to work in a collaborative manner and include external input. Second, women can affect the issues by ensuring that a variety of viewpoints and different demands and priorities are part of the debate. Lastly, women's representation in government continues to be matter of equality.

Tight financial times often prompt municipalities to explore ways to reduce costs and realize efficiencies. Service reviews have become a popular means of such exploration. A service review is a systematic process in which a municipality examines the services it provides, with an aim to answer some difficult questions: do we need to provide this service?

In February 2013, the City of London Canada launched one of its largest ever funded campaigns to welcome over 40,000 international visitors to the World's Figure Skating Championship. Unprecedented in its execution, the campaign brought together nine partners to co-finance its activities. 'Canada's London' undoubtedly achieved its goals of enhancing and broadcasting the image of London with over 39 million impressions of their billboards and over 60,000 visitors to the campaign website and blog – with 1,200 crowd sourced photos – in less than a month.