York Region Receives Innovation Award for Remote Testimony Project

August 22, 2019

Toronto, Ontario, August 22, 2019 – The Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award Jury presented its highest award to York Region for an innovative approach that uses remote video technology to make policing more efficient and effective. The award was presented at the 2019 AMO Conference in Ottawa.

Getting officers to court to testify at trials for highway offences is both costly and time-consuming. But without an officer attending court, a case may be dismissed. The Region’s Legal and Courts Services department worked with IT Service and York Regional Police to use streaming video technology through the province’s justice video network (JVN). It allows officers to deliver their testimony remotely so they can stay in their community, reducing travel costs and improving successful prosecution of offenses.

The project demonstrated all of the P.J. Marshall Award’s criteria: innovation, tangible benefits to the community, improved efficiency, innovative financing and the ability for other municipal governments to use the project’s concept.

“York Region has done the hard work with this project, making it easier for other Ontario municipalities to adopt it,” said Pat Vanini, AMO Executive Director. “The JVN is changing its business model to accommodate requirements of municipal courts.  This is a win-win-win, except perhaps for the person holding the provincial offence ticket.”

“Home to the second largest Provincial Offense Act court program in Ontario, York Region continuously strives to find innovative ways to modernize and improve the delivery of our programs and services,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “The remote testimony project is a great example of how we are providing a more cost efficient and better customer experience. We thank AMO for recognizing the innovative work happening in local municipalities and look forward to sharing our remote testimony approach with other jurisdictions.”

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 York Region, Markham and Grey Highlands also received awards this year for innovative approaches to diverting textile waste and online service improvements, respectively.

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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