City Council and City employees quickly embrace working together virtually
COVID-19 has changed the way that the entire Regina business community works, and the City of Regina is no different. City Council and employees quickly embraced working together virtually, and they now complete much of their work in non-traditional ways.
“We were ready for this. We were one of the first municipalities in Canada to adopt cloud-based productivity solutions across the organization, which enabled us to leverage online collaboration tools,” said City Manager Chris Holden about the use of digital technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the end of March, over 750 City staff were successfully working remotely due to City facility closures and the public health order required to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The City has been positioned to work in this kind of remote environment for many years but didn’t need to broadly adopt it until this pandemic. Departments host meetings, chat, call or message each other digitally all while working safely from their homes.
City Council also resumed regular meetings and at the April 29 and 30 City Council meeting, delegations participated virtually. Council first started to gather virtually at the Special City Council meeting on March 20 after City Hall closed its doors to the public, including delegates, to help contain COVID-19. From March 20 until April 29, the City Clerk read a delegation’s statement into the record.
This time round, delegations participated virtually, by making presentations and having council members ask questions in real time. Due to restrictions set in place to restrict more than 10 people in a public gathering, another technical innovation is that the City also holds its media scrums with a virtual option for journalists to both watch the footage and ask questions through the live streaming tool.
“This story comes down to a total team effort, often involving people stepping out of their typical roles to provide support in whatever way they can. Our employees have truly demonstrated our corporate principle of One City – One Team,” Holden said thankfully.