Toronto, Ontario, August 17, 2020 – The Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award Jury presented its highest award to the City of Markham for its Community Hub Partnership project. The Plaque Award was presented at the 2020 AMO Conference, which was held online this year.  
 
The Markham community hub project began as a way to better serve the needs of residents in the southeastern area of the City. Some of the neighbourhoods faced a number of socio-economic challenges including settling newcomers, addressing seniors’ social isolation and higher rates of health issues like diabetes and heart disease.
 
To better serve community needs, the City used the Aaniin Community Centre and Library as a hub from which some dozens of community organizations could partner and deliver services. Partners were provided free use of space at the centre in exchange for providing volunteer services or programming that were otherwise unavailable or difficult to access in the area.
 
The project demonstrated many of the P.J. Marshall Award’s criteria: innovation, tangible benefits to the community, improved efficiency, and the ability for other municipal governments to use the project’s concept.
 
The hub has grown to include a mix of regional government, health care, community agencies, associations and clubs. Services provided onsite include diabetes awareness and care, mental health and addiction services, fitness and recreation, employment services, family social support, and much more.
 
”This is an example of how municipal governments go above and beyond to meet the needs of their vulnerable residents,” said Brian Rosborough, AMO Executive Director. “This City of Markham recognized access was an issue and built creative partnerships to bring community services to people.”
 
“By waiving rental fees in exchange for services from community partners, the City removed a key barrier to our residents getting services they need,” said Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of Markham. “I am very proud of the work of our staff and local community organizations to turn the community centre into a vibrant hub.”
 
The P.J. Marshall Award is an annual competitive process to acknowledge municipalities who have had creativity and success in implementing new, innovative ways of serving the public. It is sponsored by AMO, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks & Treasurers of Ontario, the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships, the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association, and the Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association.
 
In addition to the City of Markham, two Certificates of Merit were awarded. The Township of South Frontenac  was recognized for its innovative private lane upgrade assistance program. The Region of York was awarded for YorkTrax, its cross-departmental online platform for reviewing development applications.
 
AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments.  AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system. 
 
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