Renfrew County Wins Municipal Innovation Award for Online Health Assessment Centre

August 17, 2021

Toronto, Ontario, August 17, 2021 – The Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award Jury presented its highest award to Renfrew County for its Virtual Triage and Assessment Centre, which launched only two weeks after the World Health Organization declared the pandemic in March 2020. The Plaque Award was presented at the 2021 AMO Conference, held entirely online.

When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, healthcare leaders in Renfrew County came together to create a solution that would strengthen access to primary care, while reducing the strain on emergency departments and the 9-1-1 service. Through the Virtual Triage and Assessment Centre, residents who don’t have a family physician can book a virtual assessment. The Centre also provides in-home assessments by community paramedics when needed and operates drive-through COVID testing clinics across the County.

This is an innovative approach to healthcare in a rural area to help manage the nearly 30,000 County residents who don’t have access to a primary care provider.

“Renfrew County’s approach to providing online healthcare options is a clear example of how municipal governments continue to find new ways to deliver critical services during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brian Rosborough, AMO Executive Director. “Renfrew has collected data on this project for more than a year, making it easier for other municipalities to use the same model in their own communities and ultimately provide more people with better access to care.”

“On behalf of the County of Renfrew and the Renfrew County Virtual Triage and Assessment Centre (RC VTAC), I am pleased to accept the P.J. Marshall Award for Municipal Innovation,” said Debbie Robinson, Renfrew County Warden. “So many people have worked so hard since the RC VTAC was stood up to ensure that our residents have access to primary health care providers. The RC VTAC program addresses a critical need in our community, and it has proven itself as a cost-effective and viable virtual healthcare model. I wish to thank the many partners in our community that pulled together to create RCVTAC in March 2020, and I look forward to seeing RC VTAC continue to provide non-emergency medical support to our community long into the future.”

Since March 2020 almost 27,000 assessments have been completed through the Virtual Centre, reducing pressure on emergency departments, and helping to ensure that 9-1-1 is used for true emergencies.

The P.J. Marshall Award is an annual competitive process to acknowledge municipalities that have demonstrated 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 Renfrew County, three other municipalities received plaque awards: The City of Kitchener for its Housing for All project; The City of Markham for its Single-Use Plastics Reduction Plan; and the Township of the Archipelago for its Tale of a Thousand Turtles project.

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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FOR MORE INFORMATION:  Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact, 416-729-5425,


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