Ontario Municipalities Lead the Way with Digital & Electronic Signatures

Posted: August 29, 2018
Tagged As: Digital, Government, Technology

Earlier this year, as part of AMO’s partnership with Solutions Notarius Inc., we put out a call for municipal volunteers to pilot a digital and electronic signature service to determine its viability in the sector. The United Counties of Prescott & Russell and the Municipality of Kincardine immediately responded and volunteered to pilot Notarius’ digital solutions for a six-month period. The Municipality of Red Lake, the City of Brampton, the Municipality of Wawa, and the County of Simcoe also volunteered to pilot the solutions. Pilots have been testing Notarius’ solutions on a number of municipal administration and operational processes including bylaws, council minutes, contracts and agreements, permits, plans, expense reports, licenses, quotes, purchase orders…you get the idea!  The digital and electronic signing opportunities can be tailored to your municipality’s needs.

The Benefits of Going Digital

The beauty of the solutions offered by Notarius are their flexibility, reliability, and efficiency. They allow a municipality to use digital signatures for a wide variety of administrative and operational processes. However, if you want to move more slowly, potentially for just one process, you can do that as well. At the AMO Conference in Ottawa last week, delegates had the opportunity to learn about these and other benefits of implementing digital and electronic signatures. They were also able to take away lessons learned from the recent experiences of Prescott & Russell, and Kincardine.
 
Image of Digital Signature Process

Notarius Solutions in the United Counties of Prescott & Russell

In the spring of 2018, five departments in Prescott & Russell used Notarius solutions and immediately benefited with timesavings and productivity. The Warden was able to digitally sign a document in a matter of hours that may have taken three or four weeks to sign by hand. Notarius’ solutions are so easy to use that signers for Prescott & Russell documents have not needed any assistance using the platform. Now Prescott & Russell is well ahead in its goal to make their processes and electronic document management completely digital. Notarius’ solutions allow them to have internal and external documents signed and certified as originating from the municipality. Notarius’ solutions guarantee the reliability of all electronic documents managed through their platform, as proof of the signers’ identity is embedded in the digitally or electronically signed document. We encourage you to read about Prescott & Russell’s experience using Notarius’ solutions.

Kincardine Sees Immediate Process Improvements

Kincardine highlighted its plans to use Notarius’ ConsignO and CertifiO solutions for correspondence, invoice requests, HR documents, agreements, cemetery plot purchases and internment rights agreements, as well as manager reports. Kincardine is anticipating key benefits including the reduction of paper usage, the electronic transfer of digitally/electronically signed documents into their records management system, more efficient use of staff time, and cost savings on postage fees. Though their experience has been brief to date, Kincardine has seen certain processes and business activities expedited and streamlined using Notarius’ solutions.

Both municipalities noted that adopting digital processes like Notarius’ signing solutions requires a change in organizational culture in order to get staff and elected officials onside. Change cannot be forced, it must be owned by everyone within the organization. Through education, leadership, and demonstrating the advantages of new technologies, this is readily achievable.

A big thank you to Justin Bromberg and Marc-AndrĂ© Drouin from the United Counties of Prescott & Russell, and to Sharon Chambers from the Municipality of Kincardine for sharing their experiences with Notarius’ solutions at this year’s AMO Conference.

AMO is Walking the Talk with Digital Signatures

At AMO, we have been using the Notarius ConsignO Cloud platform to sign agreements digitally. As administrator of OMAFRA’s $26 million Main Street Revitalization Initiative, AMO required eligible members to electronically sign funding agreements. Instead of waiting weeks for documents to be hand signed and returned to us, we were able to sign funding agreements in hours, sometimes in minutes. By shortening process times in administration, AMO was able to get the funding out to your communities faster and more efficiently than traditional means.   

A Digital Signature Service Coming Soon…

AMO anticipates the wind down of the other four pilots to occur by mid-fall, and at that point, we will share a final report with the aim to launch a Digital Signature Service broadly to AMO members. Prior to that launch AMO will be hosting a Town Hall webinar in November where you will have the opportunity to ask questions of Notarius and the pilot participants about their experiences using digital and electronic signing solutions. Watch your emails from AMO as well as our website for an invitation to attend that webinar.  

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