Municipal Symposium Agenda 2024

Schedule of events for MNL’s 2024 Municipal Symposium: Unlocking Excellence, happening in Gander, NL. May 2 to 4.

All events and sessions take place at the Quality Hotel.

Please note, this is a preliminary agenda and is subject to change. Last Update: April 18

Register for the 2024 Municipal Symposium here

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Wednesday, May 1


6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Salon E

Registration


Thursday, May 2


8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Location: Salon E

Registration


8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Location: Mezzanine

Sponsor Cafe – Coffee and Tea Service


9:00 AM – 9:55 AM
Location: Salon A

Opening Plenary with Keynote Address by Anne Whelan of Brightisle, a Seafair Capital Company

The Hard and the Easy, a Keynote Address by Anne Whelan

Borrowing a line from ‘Tickle Cove Pond’, Anne’s keynote will focus on the challenges of aspiring to excellence in the face of sometimes overwhelming demands. Sharing her own experiences in the last 25 years of business leadership and corporate governance, Anne’s energetic and lighthearted approach to talking about strategy and execution will offer leaders insights into how to build on strengths and opportunities and drive meaningful change in their own organizations. 

Additionally, TakeCharge will present the Town Challenge winners with prizes.


10:00 AM – 11:00AM
Location: Salon A

Realizing the Value of Natural Assets to Strengthen Community Climate Resilience (Part One)

Presenters: Zach Burrows, Executive Director for Stewardship Association of Municipalities Inc.; Heather Baehre, NL Conservation Coordinator, Nature Conservancy of Canada

Session Description:

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Stewardship Association of Municipalities Inc. (SAM) work together on the conservation and stewardship of land in Newfoundland and Labrador. Join them as they discuss the values that natural assets provide to our communities, and various available mechanisms of management and protection that can contribute to greater climate resiliency. Together, we will explore existing examples of natural assets already being conserved, engage in a case study exercise, and identify a range of strategies and next steps you can consider to build your community’s climate resiliency.

Outcomes:

1. Draw novel connections between the importance of natural asset management, climate resilient communities, and the conservation of nature
2. Make tangible connections with natural assets in your community that contribute to climate resilience and sense of identity
3. Gain insights into the tools and processes empowering municipalities to protect and manage natural assets
4. Be aware of funding and partnerships that can advance this work locally


10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: Theatre

Energy Solutions: Helping Your Municipality Use Energy Wisely

Presenter: Peter Upshall, Energy Solutions Engineer, Newfoundland Power

Session Description: The first step in saving energy is understanding where the opportunities exist. Join Peter Upshall, Energy Solutions Engineer with Newfoundland Power, as he talks about some common opportunities to save energy for municipalities and rebates you can avail of to help. Peter will also discuss electrification opportunities, including electric vehicles and Newfoundland Power’s new medium to heavy-duty vehicle education program. There will be lots of time to answer any specific questions your municipality may have.


11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Mezzanine

Sponsor Cafe

Networking and nutrition break


11:30 AM – 12:15 PM
Location: Salon A

Realizing the Value of Natural Assets to Strengthen Community Climate Resilience (Part Two)

Presenters: Zach Burrows, Executive Director for Stewardship Association of Municipalities Inc.; Heather Baehre, NL Conservation Coordinator, Nature Conservancy of Canada

Session Description:

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Stewardship Association of Municipalities Inc. (SAM) work together on the conservation and stewardship of land in Newfoundland and Labrador. Join them as they discuss the values that natural assets provide to our communities, and various available mechanisms of management and protection that can contribute to greater climate resiliency. Together, we will explore existing examples of natural assets already being conserved, engage in a case study exercise, and identify a range of strategies and next steps you can consider to build your community’s climate resiliency.

Outcomes:

1. Draw novel connections between the importance of natural asset management, climate resilient communities, and the conservation of nature
2. Make tangible connections with natural assets in your community that contribute to climate resilience and sense of identity
3. Gain insights into the tools and processes empowering municipalities to protect and manage natural assets
4. Be aware of funding and partnerships that can advance this work locally


12:15 AM – 1:45 PM
Location: Salon C/D

Luncheon

Live music will be provided by Julia Earle and Jordan Grenke of Holler Springs.

“Holler Springs” emerges from the heart of Central Newfoundland as a compelling male/female folk duo, comprised of the talented Jordan Grenke and Julia Earle. Their journey began in Gander, a town known for its rich musical heritage and tight-knit community, where the duo first crossed paths. United by a shared passion for music that speaks directly to the soul, Jordan and Julia quickly discovered a harmonious blend of talents and visions, giving birth to “Holler Springs.” The essence of “Holler Springs” music lies in their exquisite harmonies and the depth of their heartfelt lyrics. Jordan, with his rich background in the local folk music scene, brings a robust and emotive edge to the duo, seamlessly blending his guitar skills with Julia’s vocal prowess. Julia, on the other hand, adds a delicate yet powerful layer to their sound, her voice dancing over the melodies with grace and intensity.


1:45 PM – 2:40 PM
Location: Salon A

A Review of the Towns And Local Service Districts Act

Presenters: Jonathan Dale, Associate, Stewart McKelvey; Justin Hewitt, Partner, Stewart McKelvey; Stephen Penney, Partner, Stewart McKelvey will moderate this session.

Session Description: Members will obtain insight into the soon-to-be-in-force Towns and Local Service Districts Act including the new (and broader) municipal powers, new direction to staff and councillors, new provisions in respect of taxation and fees, and other miscellaneous changes.


2:45 PM – 3:40 PM
Location: Salon A

Addressing Housing Insecurity in Rural NL: Research Findings & Panel Discussion

Presenters: Jen Crowe, Senior Director, Strategy, Fund Development and External Relations, Choices for Youth; Rob Nolan, MNL CEO

Session Description: During this engaging session, we will share key findings from a provincial report on housing insecurity and homelessness, and through a panel discussion with municipal leaders and affordable housing providers, discuss the implications of the report and tangible next steps for municipalities who are committed to addressing growing housing insecurity in their communities.

Outcomes:

1. Learn about key findings from a provincial report on housing insecurity
2. Learn about the tools and resources available to municipalities to respond to housing insecurity
3. Learn about potential partnerships for addressing housing insecurity


2:45 PM – 3:40 PM
Location: Theatre

Unlocking Excellence: Guiding Your Teams From Strategy Through Execution

Presenters: Anne Whelan, CEO of Brightisle, together with the Brightisle Team

Session Description: Have you ever looked at your Municipal strategy documents and wondered “How are we ever going to get this done?” In this informative and interactive workshop join the Brightisle team as they tell the story of their strategic vision and how their leaders have translated strategy into actionable goals and measurable results.

Outcomes:

1. Assess your organization’s pain points and barriers to execution

2. Explore a methodology to successfully execute on strategic plans year over year

3. Learn how to develop the key tools for monitoring and measuring your performance


3:45 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Theatre

ATIPP: What Councils Need to Know

Presenter: Rod Hynes, Executive Council, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Session Description: This session will review the most pressing things councilors need to know about the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPP), with a portion of the presentation available for a Q&A.

Outcomes:

1. Learn important information about the ATIPPA legislation
2. Be empowered to respond to the needs of your ATIPP Coordinators
3. Understand your role in the ATIPP process


3:45 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Salon A

Supporting Strong Mental Health for Municipal Leaders

Presenter: Brad Glynn, Executive Director, Lifewise

Session Description: Participants will have the opportunity to consider how their roles impact their mental wellness in their professional and personal lives. Through reflection and discussions, participants will be provided an opportunity to consider and develop tools that support their wellness, in particular related to setting boundaries, proper self-care, and other preventative measures.

Outcomes:

1. Gain skills to support your mental wellness
2. Have the opportunity to consider tools that other people with lived experience use to handle stress and burnout in their work
3. Have time to ask questions regarding mental health supports that are available to you within our province


Friday, May 3


8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Location: Salon C/D

Sponsor CafeCoffee and Tea Service

Networking, nutrition break, and sponsor showcase


8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Location: Salon E

Registration


9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Location: Salon A

Small Towns Caucus

The Small Towns caucus meeting is open to MNL members from municipalities with populations less than 3,000. The meeting will include a roundtable discussion with members, as well as two short presentations: one by the Newfoundland Federation of Cooperatives, and the other by the Policing Transformation Working Group (Department of Justice and Public Safety). The Policing Transformation Working Group was established by the Minister of Justice and Public Safety to guide the future of policing services in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Working Group is interested in hearing from municipalities about current police service delivery and how this can be enhanced to best suit the safety needs of communities.


9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Location: Theatre

Urban Municipalities Caucus

The Urban Municipalities caucus meeting is for MNL members from municipalities with populations of more than 3,000 residents. The meeting will include a roundtable discussion with members, as well as two short presentations: one by the Newfoundland Federation of Cooperatives, and the other by the Policing Transformation Working Group (Department of Justice and Public Safety). The Policing Transformation Working Group was established by the Minister of Justice and Public Safety to guide the future of policing services in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Working Group is interested in hearing from municipalities about current police service delivery and how this can be enhanced to best suit the safety needs of communities.


10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: Salon C/D

Sponsor Showcase and Nutrition Break


11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Location: Theatre

Tax Year 2025 Valuation Results

Presenter: Don Hearn, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer,Municipal Assessment Agency Inc.

Session Description: Join Municipal Assessment Agency CEO Don Hearn as he presents on the 2025 valuation and other key MAA updates. Delegates will also have an opportunity to engage in a Q and A session

Outcomes:

1. Bring valuable information back to your council regarding the overall assessment results related to tax year 2025
2. Gain increased knowledge in the property assessment and tax system in NL
3. Gain tangible skills in the implementation of property assessment


11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Location: Salon A

Cruising Toward Zero Emissions: Powering Up with EVs in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s

Presenter: Jody Murray, CAO, Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s

Session Description: Hear from Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s CAO Jody Murray on the journey of working towards zero-carbon emissions for a sustainable future. From innovative strategies to practical insights, discover the pivotal role that EVs and partnerships play in our Climate Mitigation Plan and how electrifying municipal fleets can lead to efficient resource management.

Outcomes:

1. Gain insights into the strategic importance of sustainable transportation initiatives within municipal climate mitigation plans
2. Leave the session equipped with enhanced knowledge to provide valuable insights back to their councils on stewarding relationships with climate partners
3. Be inspired to climate change actions


12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Location: Salon C/D

Luncheon

The Honourable John Haggie, Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs will bring greetings, followed by a signing of the Municipal Awareness Week proclamation; live music will provided by Gary Knapman.


1:30 PM – 2:25 PM
Location: Salon A

Anti-Racism Literacy Across Newfoundland and Labrador

Presenters: Dr. Sobia Shaheen Shaikh, Co-Chair, Anti-Racism Coalition NL; Doménica Lombeida

Session Description: Learn from members of ARC-NL about the importance of building anti-racist literacy. Since 2017, the Anti-Racism Coalition NL (ARC-NL) has organized community responses to racism, racial discrimination, and hate; advocated for transformative anti-racist policy responses; engaged in solidarity actions across social justice movements; and shared expertise about racism and anti-racism.

Outcomes:

1. Learn what “anti-racism” and “racial justice” mean
2. Learn how anti-racist literacy, advocacy, and community-engagement fit together
3. Learn what your next steps are for building anti-racist literacy in your community


2:30 PM – 3:55 PM
Location: Salon A

Code of Conduct

Presenters: Stephen Penney, Partner, Stewart McKelvey; Ruth Trask, Partner, Stewart McKelvey; Christopher Stamp, Director, Municipal Support, Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs

Session Description: Members will leave this session with increased knowledge of the Municipal Conduct Act and the standard Municipal Code of Conduct, including some of the substantive, procedural fairness and ATIPPA issues that Stewart McKelvey has seen arise over the first 18 months that this legislation has been in effect. Their team will also share some practical experiences in terms of the investigations (and court cases) they have been involved in. The Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs will present relevant updates. Delegates are invited to submit their questions to MNL in advance for discussion at the session. Please email your questions to wschlamp@municipalnl.ca.

Outcomes:

1. Members will gain increased knowledge of the Municipal Conduct Act and the standard Municipal Code of Conduct

2. Members will bring back to their councils relevant updates from the Department regarding Code of Conduct

3. Members will have greater confidence that they know how to use their Code of Conduct effectively and efficiently


4:00 PM – 4:55 PM
Location: Salon A

Show Me the Money: Finding Municipal Grants

Presenters: Susan Arns, Town Manager, Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove; Deatra Walsh, Director of Advocacy and Communications, MNL

Session Description: In this engaging presentation, you’ll discover the range of grants available to municipalities, best practices in grant writing, plus other resources for grant writing.

Outcomes:

1. Learn what grants are available and how to find them

2. Discover how best to fill out grants

3. Learn best practices in grant writing


4:00 PM – 4:55 PM
Location: Theatre

Municipal Funding

Presenter: Stephen Mercer, Director of Municipal Finance, Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs

Session Description: A discussion on the funding programs offered by the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and how to ensure your town is eligible.

Outcomes:

Members will bring valuable information back to their councils regarding funding opportunities available, how to be financially accountable to their residents, and how to ensure they meet all eligibility requirements.


5:00 PM – 5:55 PM
Location: Salon A

Women and Gender-Diverse Caucus


6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: Salon A

Youth Caucus


6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: Theatre

Indigenous Meet-Up


7:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Salon C/D

Prize Draws

You could win one of the many prizes provided by our sponsors, but only if you’re in the room!


8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Location: Salon A

EVENING FILM SCREENING

The Forgotten Warriors: A Hunger for Justice Film Screening and Insider Chat

Post-Screening Panel Discussion: Director Noel Joe; Producer Roger Maunder of Up Sky Down Films; hunger striker Mi’sel Joe, traditional Saqamaw of Miawpukek

Film Description: Forty-one years ago this April, nine Mi’kmaq activists from Miawpukek First Nation occupied the St. John’s office of the Minister of Rural Agriculture and Northern Development and declared a hunger strike. Funds were being withheld from the Conne River people by the Provincial Government of the day. This is the Hunger Strikers’ true story – their stand for justice and their fight for self-determination.

The Forgotten Warriors is a one-hour documentary directed by Noel Joe of Miawpukek and produced by Roger Maunder of Up Sky Down Films. Join us for this very special screening, followed by a chat with Noel, Roger and Hunger Striker Mi’sel Joe, traditional Saqamaw of Miawpukek.



Saturday, May 4


8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Location: Mezzanine

Sponsor Cafe – Coffee and Tea Service


9:30 AM – 10:25 AM
Location: Salon A

Regional Economic Development: Next Steps

Presenters: MNL CEO Rob Nolan moderates a panel discussion with Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development and Engagement and Chief Economic Development Officer Dr. Rob Greenwood, Labrador City Mayor Belinda Adams, Cow Head Mayor Deanna Hutchings, and Marystown Mayor (and MNL Vice President) Brian Keating.

Session description: Hear economic development success stories and lessons learned from mayors in three unique regions – the urban but remote region of Labrador West; a group of small towns in Gros Morne brought together through necessity; and a regional service centre leading the charge for rural sustainability in the region. 

An open mic discussion session follows the discussion, with members encouraged to share their economic development experiences.

Outcomes: 

  1. Find out what worked in other regions, and how you replicate that success in your community. 
  2. Hear from other communities in your region, and discover opportunities to collaborate on economic development projects.
  3. Develop an understanding of the requirements for successful regional economic development initiatives

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Location: Salon A

Advocacy in Action: An MNL Update