January 2021
Launching the new Municipal Connect
Starting next month we are rolling out our new version of Municipal Connect, our data-sharing platform for municipal staff. The new system responds to the changing needs of municipalities while significantly improving its functionality and the user experience, while implementing the highest security standards.

Built by MPAC’s IT team in just five months, the new Municipal Connect brings information about assessment bases to the fingertips of municipal staff. With geospatial mapping, improved search capabilities and more sophisticated analytics and reporting, it provides municipalities with the tools they requested as part of our consultation process.

It also lays the foundation for plans to expand the ways municipalities can use MPAC data and collaborate with each other to support strong local governments across the province.

Municipal Connect users received information this week on what to expect as we transition to the new system. From mid-February though March, municipalities will move to the new system one zone at a time. In April and May, provincial government, school board users and municipal consultants will transition into the new system.

Weekly training sessions for both administrators and users will be available in addition to online tutorial videos and FAQs. Local MPAC staff will also be on-hand to answer questions and provide support.

To see a live demo of the new Municipal Connect, watch the recording of our January municipal webinar. If you are a user with questions about the transition, contact your local Account Support Coordinator.
Connecting with our partners at ROMA
Maintaining connections is more important than ever, and we were pleased to meet with municipalities and share our 2020 property insights as part of the 2021 Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Virtual Conference.

During the conference, we held a live session to share information about the new Municipal Connect and hosted a virtual exhibitor booth where we took questions from municipal representatives. We also prepared an on-demand update session about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed property assessment. Watch the recording to see the facts and figures we shared on new assessment captured in both small and large municipalities last year.
Safeguarding Data
In 2020 we earned the ISO/IEC 27001 certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), for a second time. The certification recognizes rigorous best practices for information security management systems.

This year we also achieved the ISO/IEC 27017 Standard on Cloud Security, demonstrating our best-in-class cloud service security. Just over 100 companies in Canada hold the ISO 27001 certification, and even less hold both certifications.

“This is an exciting achievement for MPAC and further testament to our IT team’s expertise and commitment to innovation and data security," said Stuart Irvine, MPAC’s DirectorIT Security. “Getting through the rigorous certification process during the pandemic was especially challenging. Our IT team showed true perseverance and commitment to the process.”
Upcoming webinar
MPAC’s Working-From-Home: IT Best-Practices Learned from COVID-19

The pandemic highlighted many challenges for public sector organizations but also spurred innovation and adaption. As municipal workforces across the province swapped their in-office workstations for at home desks, the need for solid yet versatile IT infrastructure was never greater.

Join MPAC’s Stuart Irvine, Director, IT Security, who will share what we learned during our transition to ‘virtual work’ for MPAC’s over 1,700 employees including sustaining business practices, data security, staff support, and a transition to Microsoft Teams.

We invite you to share this invite with your Information Technology staff.
Date: Thursday, February 4
Time: 1 P.M. to 2 P.M. EDT
View the schedule of upcoming municipal webinars on mpac.ca and view recordings of all past webinars on our YouTube channel.
Last month, MPAC worked with municipal association and government partners to host a webinar to support municipalities in understanding property tax and assessment items from Ontario’s Fall 2020 budget.

During the webinar Chris Broughton, Director, Property Tax Policy Branch, Ministry of Finance, shared details of the Ontario budget including the new optional small business subclass, changes to the Vacant Unit Rebate Program, and new Army, Navy and Air Force Veteran Tax Exemption.

MPAC reviewed changes to the Assessment Act and Municipal Property Assessment Corporation Act, and how we will support municipalities as the approved budget items roll out.

“It was really helpful to have both the Ministry of Finance and MPAC jointly inform municipalities so that we could gain a common understanding of the new items, and MPAC’s role in supporting municipalities as they roll out,” said Shira Babins, Municipal Finance Officers Association.

“These co-hosted webinars offer a timely forum for municipalities to gain an understanding of items that impact them, with the opportunity to ask questions from both peers and other experienced people in the field,” said Maureen Zabiuk, Ontario Municipal Tax and Revenue Association.

If you missed the Fall 2020 Budget municipal webinar you can watch a recording on MPAC’s YouTube channel.
Do you have a suggestion for a collaborative information session? Share it with us.