Shared Services

Over the last number of years, Niagara's chief administrative officers have pursued shared services to make services and processes more seamless, cost-effective and efficient for residents and business, such as:

  • Shared fire service pilots
  • Mergers of libraries
  • Amalgamation of transit
  • Coordination of animal control services

The Strategic Transformation Office:

  • Supports the delivery of Regional Council's priority objectives with a focus on shared services
  • Works to deliver projects that result in more efficient conduct of Regional business and service delivery for Niagara

Focus areas

  • Finding more opportunities to share services between Niagara's municipalities and / or Niagara Region
  • Identifying areas to improve government efficiency and effectiveness
  • Exploring all prospects for joint procurement
  • Identifying ways to improve administrative resiliency while ensuring that service levels are maintained or improved for Niagara residents
  • Developing the framework and criteria for evaluating and prioritizing shared service opportunities

Success highlights

  • 2023
    • Established a planning service agreement tailored to each participating municipality as a result of Bill 23
    • Amalgamated transit services and launched Niagara Transit Commission in January 2023
  • 2022
    • Coordinated the merging of Lincoln and Pelham library systems
    • Completed joint request for proposal to procure e-voting system for the 2022 election
  • 2021
    • Established the Niagara West Fire and Emergency Services (between Grimsby and Lincoln)
    • Completed joint request for proposal between Grimsby and Niagara-on-the-Lake for animal care and control services
  • 2019
    • Formed a Joint Accessibility Advisory Committee between the municipalities of Thorold, Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelham and West Lincoln
  • 2018
    • Established a Joint Compliance Audit Committee between Niagara Region, area municipalities, the District School Board of Niagara and the Niagara Catholic District School Board

About shared services

  • Structure and types of shared services

    A shared service structure aims to bring together resources, functions, processes and skills from different groups to:

    • Create economies of scale
    • Increase standardization
    • Pool skill sets
    • Generate the critical mass required to yield a positive return

    Types of shared services

    • Informal: Networking and information sharing
      • Examples include networking groups, discussion groups and communities of practice / working groups
    • Semi-formal: Partnerships and collaboration
      • Examples include memorandums of understanding, joint initiatives and / or procurements, and shared resources
    • Formal: Shared service delivery
      • Examples include program oversight through a joint board of management, service level agreements, pooled resources and process ownership end-to-end
  • Participants

    Shared services opportunities are being explored between Niagara's twelve municipalities and / or Niagara Region.

    The Niagara Public Purchasing Committee is a cooperating purchasing program representing over 30 agencies, both public sector and broader public sector. These agencies agree to invite quotations or tenders on selected commodities and services.

  • Benefits

    A successful shared service implementation can result in:

    • Cost efficiency and economies of scale
    • Efficient customer service
    • Improved service delivery
    • Increased municipal capacity

    Not all shared services result in cost savings. Other benefits may include improved consistency, reduced risk, modernization, and increased service sustainability.


Mena Welsh
Project Coordinator
Strategic Transformation Office
906-980-6000 ext. 3569
Email Mena Welsh

Guiding principles

All work on shared services has four underlying principles established by the Area Chief Administrative Officers Shared Services Working Group:

  • Serving the public good
  • Increasing efficiency and effectiveness
  • Improving customer service
  • Coordinating use of resourcing and staffing

These principles will be applied when exploring, evaluating and implementing shared service initiatives.

Communities of practice

Communities of practice have been established for Asset Management, Clerks, Climate Change, Cyber Security, Economic Development, Finance, Human Resources and Public Works.

These communities collaborate and share best practices with staff counterparts at the Region and local area municipalities.

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