MISA Ontario - President's Message
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President's Message

President's Message

It is hard to believe that the first quarter for 2016 has almost passed!  So far, we are looking at a very exciting year for MISA Ontario.  In the fall of 2015 the Board launched the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan.  This plan was nine months in the making and would not have been possible without the active engagement of our volunteers and members.  Those who participated in our surveys, interviews, and workshops played a significant role in the final outcome our new strategy.  I am very grateful for everyone’s participation.
In the November issue of Municipal Interface we gave a high level overview of the 5-year Strategic Plan.  At its core, the strategy focuses on three areas:

  1. Networking and Communities
  2. Events and Professional Development
  3. Shared Knowledge – Resources + Toolkits

After the launch of the strategic plan the board developed an action plan with specific initiatives to support the 3 primary goals.  We are pleased to report the following progress:

Networking and Communities

MISA Ontario has a new Community Manager and Events Planner

Jacqueline O'Hara and Lesley Spencer-Cooper joined MISA Ontario on March 7.  Lesley is our new part-time Event Planner who has already immersed herself into this year's Annual Conference.  She brings a wealth of knowledge in event management and is a fantastic asset to MISA Ontario.  Jacqueline is our new full-time Community Manager. Her responsibilities will be to foster a community of collaboration among members, communicate new opportunities and benefits of MISA Ontario, assist with membership inquiries and provide support to the Executive Director.  We are very excited to have both of them on Board and you will hear more from them over the coming months. 

Committee Structure Review

Our volunteer community is the engine of MISA Ontario.  These individuals donate their time, energy, and passion to making MISA Ontario a better organization for all. We value their dedication.   Previously we had a number of volunteers who were involved in multiple special interest groups (SIGs). Over time this energy has shifted and these communities have evolved to more informal working groups.  The Board encourages this change as it more adequately supports the fast pace of technology change and allows the members to discuss relevant topics as they arise.   MISA Ontario also has a number of standing Committees of the Board.  A recent review resulted in a more streamlined structure and effective immediately the new Committee structure is as follows:

Communications & Web is now Communications & Digital Services

Role - Develop and implement a multi-channel communications strategy by leveraging social media & technology to optimize the engagement of members.

Member Services is now Member Services & Benefits

Role - Identify and implement programs, services & benefits that are relevant to members and demonstrate a strong value proposition.

Executive Committee assumes role of Finance & Audit

Role - Oversee the ongoing financial well-being of the association by developing a long-term financial strategy. Provide regular financial updates, recommendations related to investments and the development of yearly budgets & forecasts. Provide advice and direction to strategic related activities prior to board consideration.

Awards & Nominations is now Elections & Awards

Role - Oversee the bi-annual election process (and ad hoc elections as required). Promote and oversee the annual awards initiative and any potential scholarship / bursary initiatives.


Role - Work with various host committees, MISA Ontario's event coordinator and ED, to plan and deliver conferences & regional events throughout the calendar year.

We always welcome volunteers and there are still lots of opportunities to connect, collaborate and contribute to our Committees.  If you are interested in participating in one or more of these Committees or would like to start an informal working group, please contact MISA Ontario's Community Manager, Jacqueline O’Hara for more information. 

Events and Professional Development

Spring Conference

Member feedback year after year has always emphasized one of the most important benefits we provide as an association is our events.  With this in mind, we decided to launch a third, smaller event this year to provide additional professional development opportunities to the membership. We had originally planned to launch this event in March but unfortunately due to timing, this event has been postponed.  Thanks to our partner community for their enthusiastic support of this initiative. We will re-evaluate opportunities to hold this event in future.

2016 Annual Conference and Trade Show – Colour I.T. Your Way

Happening in Blue Mountain from June 5 – 8, this year’s conference promises to be one of our best!  Your input was extremely valuable in terms of putting together our conference program. For additional information contact MISA Ontario's Event Planner, Lesley Spencer-Cooper.  Or, visit our MISA Ontario Annual Conference Page.

Shared Knowledge

Technology Directory

MISA Ontario has partnered with our colleagues in New Zealand (ALGIM) to develop a technology directory that will allow member municipalities to understand what technologies are being used to support various business functions in other municipalities. The eventual goal is to develop a directory application where MISA members can easily maintain and use the application to gain insight and information about other technologies that are in use.   In an effort to jump start the data collection process two surveys have been circulated to the membership. Respondents will be provided with a summary of the data collected and we will use this data to pre-populate the application.  If you have not had the opportunity to respond, the two surveys are still open, Survey I and Survey II.  A third survey will also be distributed shortly.  Our goal is to launch the application this summer.

A special thanks to Harry Turnbull and the Members Services Committee along with ALGIM for their leadership and collaboration in bringing this exciting initiative to life. 

ISF membership review

For a number of years MISA Ontario has subscribed to a membership with Information Security Forum (ISF) which provided a security resource to all members.  With an annual cost in excess of $30,000 the MISA Ontario board felt that it was prudent to review the cost of the membership against the long term value. We engaged and consulted with our members and were able to determine that only 3-4 municipalities were using the service on a regular basis.  Our research also revealed that other reputable security resources are available and being using by municipalities. Therefore, the Board decided not to renew our membership with The International Security Forum (ISF) in 2016.  We continue to recognize the importance of security and want to ensure that MISA Ontario is doing its part to assist municipalities.  As a result, we are now focusing on building stronger relationships with both the Canadian Cyber Incident Report Center (CCIRC - a federal agency) and the Information Systems Systems Security Association (ISSA - based in the USA).  This transition has been communicated to the membership and we have already had the CCIRC involved in our fall IT Security conference.  Thanks to our municipal members for participating in the data collection and for assisting us in making this difficult but informed decision. 

MISA Ontario Conference Operating Manual

Our Annual Conference and Tradeshow is our flagship event.  Our goal is to deliver a high quality and professional event that our members value every year.  We recognize the amount of effort that is required to plan and execute an event of this scale.  To assist our conference hosts, the Events Committee has drafted a Conference Manual that will assist with the planning and delivery of the Annual Conference from start to finish. Additionally, our new Event Planner, Lesley Spencer-Cooper., will provide lots of additional leadership and support to our local hosts. 
The past year has been very busy but also very productive.  As an organization we have accomplished a lot and we truly appreciate your assistance and always your input. And, we have more good work planned for the coming year including a website update and more on-line collaboration tools.  We will keep you informed and involved as we continue with progress on our strategic plan.  Once again, thank you for your ongoing support.

Christine Swenor, President
MISA Ontario