COVID-19

Government Finance Officers across Canada and around the world are at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your professional association, the Canadian Association of Government Financial Officers (CAGFO) is here and available to help as best we can. We want to ensure that you and your colleagues are supported in your vital roles as you address the immediate concerns of your communities and your employees during this crisis.

The purpose of this page is to provide Government Finance Officers the tools and resources they will need to address the COVID-19 pandemic over the next few months.

If you have additional content that would be useful for our members, please submit to office@cagfo.ca.

Please click here for CAGFO’s official response to CAGFO-19.

CAGFO Webinars for COVID-19

All webinars can be used toward your PD hours; but it is up to you to report them to your professional association. We will confirm hours for people that register and attend under their own full names.

CAGFO webinars are made possible by F.H. Black and Company Inc.

Financial Scenario Planning and Modelling

Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Time: 1:00pm EST – 2:00pm EST

Presenters:

James Richardson MBA, Partner, Consulting – Public Sector, MNP

Brett Vandepol, MBA, PMP, Manager, Consulting Services, MNP

Target Audience: 

Learning Objectives:

Participants will learn how financial and scenario modelling can be an asset to:

  • Predict and understand the potential financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for your organization
  • Consideration for alternative waves of public infection and the impact on government revenue and expenses
  • Help balance expectations with administrative colleagues, Council members and ultimately with residents in their respective municipalities
  • Advice on how to talk with senior officials and politicians about the financial implications

Using Budgeting Software to Assess the Impact of Adjusting on the Fly

Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Time: 1:00pm EST – 2:00pm EST

Presenters:

Charlie Francis, Senior Budgeting Consultant, Questica

Jeff Goldstein, Sales Director, Enterprise

Doug Fletcher, Project Manager, Questica

Target Audience: Budget and Finance Professionals any level

Learning Objectives:

The need use budgeting software to assess your organization’s budgeting process has become increasingly important for public sector organizations because of the current COVID-19 virus. Join Charlie Francis, Senior Consultant, Questica, for a one-hour session where he will link strategic plans to budgets, actual results to strategic plans and how tactical financial management and planning can impact policy decisions and can improve budget forecasting.

Learn How to Work Remotely Like an Expert 

Presenter(s): Jamie Black, President; Darryl Parker, Manager of Accounting Automation Services; Waldo Nell, Manager of Development.

Learning Objectives: How do you make sure your teams are as efficient, effective and reliable as possible when working remotely? From tools to processes, this webinar will introduce the six major keys to remote work success: 

  1. Hardware, 
  2. Performance & Connectivity,
  3. Security & Backups,
  4. Collaboration, 
  5. Workflow, and 
  6. Staff management

Involving Stakeholders in Tough Budget Decisions Using Simulations

Presenter: Chris Adams, President, Balancing Act and Senior Fellow, University of Colorado School of Public Affairs

Learning Objectives: The coronavirus crisis has created major financial hardship for local governments. In the near and long-term, governments will be forced to make major financial and performance decisions that affect employees and residents alike. Even in the best of times, it is hard to have informed budget conversations among non-finance professionals. Easily created, cloud-based simulations are tools that can be used to educate stakeholders and to get input, and hopefully buy-in, on the hard decisions senior leaders are making.

COVID-19 – Crisis Leadership for the Finance Professional 

Presenter: Tim Duhamel, President, Bloom Centre for Municipal Education

Guest Presenter: Wayne Rothe, Councillor, City of Spruce Grove, AB

Learning Objectives:

Crisis leadership: What makes leader successful in times of crisis? Learn about leading practices and strategies that support and enable positive leadership outcomes in times of crisis

Crisis messaging for council and the public: In times of crisis, financial professionals must carefully analyze the effect of the situation, develop mitigating strategies, and forecast the resulting consequences.  This must be communicated this to the Municipal executive, council and the public in a clear and effective manner.  This webinar will cover basic communication strategies with a special focus on the municipal finance function.

Cash flow analysis in times of crisis: Included the webinar is the review of a cash flow forecast template that calculates the impact of delays in taxes, user fees, and utility payments.  The model includes what if scenarios and tips on how to present these scenarios to Council.  (model will be provided to registered viewers)

Engaging Online During COVID – Now and Into the Future

Presenter: Anthea Robinson Shaw, Practice Lead, Bang the Table

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand what  the landscape looks like now
  • Why go online – what to think about and do
  • Learn what meaningful online engagement strategy looks like
  • Learn how to engage online: what works, what doesn’t , what is possible
  • Learn from what others have done – great examples

Utilizing Software for Remote Data-Driven Decision Making

Presenters: James Orr, Product Manager, Questica; Brenda Morrison, Partner at Engaged Public and Co-Founder of Balancing Act

Learning Objectives: Due to the impact of COVID-19, public sector organizations are increasingly faced with the challenge of budgeting remotely and collaboratively. The ability to create and share proposed budgets using interactive charts, tables and dashboards with cloud-based simulations can advance the budgeting process. Cloud-based tools can improve data transparency and increase citizen engagement to better enable data-driven budgeting and decision-making, while increasing data accuracy, saving time, and improving stakeholder trust.

Resources

March 25, 2020 – Department of Finance Canada Introduces Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”)

The following is an excerpt from the Department of Finance’s release:

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

March 25, 2020 – Ministry of Finance Introduces Ontario’s Action Plan:   Responding to COVID-19

The following is an excerpt from the Ministry of Finance’s release:

The government’s action plan is a first step in its response to COVID-19 and includes $7 billion in additional resources for the health care system and direct support for people and jobs. It also will make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flow, protecting jobs and household budgets.

March 27, 2020 – Prime Minister Announces Additional Support for Small Businesses Facing Impacts of COVID-19

The following is an excerpt from the Prime Minister’s release:

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced additional new measures to support small businesses dealing with the economic impacts of the pandemic. These measures will help Canadian businesses protect the jobs that Canadians depend on, and pay their workers and bills during these difficult times.

COVID-19 Tracking Survey Results (April 6) Source:  Leger\\ACS survey conducted for the Canadian Press.

Tips & Tricks for Working Remotely

Local Gov Life – SCV19 Episode 04 – Dealing with Your Own Stress: Coping Strategies in the COVID-19 World (recorded teleconference)

When a disaster hits, local government managers have the challenging task of providing leadership to the community – often while dealing with the crisis in their own home. Now, more than ever, local government managers must safeguard their emotional well-being as they deal with extreme personal and professional stressors. In this 30 minute, recorded teleconference, David E. Morrison, M.D., a consultant, psychiatrist, and founder of Morrison Associates, Ltd., offered guidance and advice about how local government managers can cope with stress during this global health crisis. Following his brief presentation, listeners had the opportunity to ask questions.

The remote finance team – why, how and how better (blog post)

Over the past decade, remote work has emerged as an increasingly attractive option for employers and employees. With the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has become an immediate, unplanned necessity that finance departments the world over are scrambling to enable.

This sudden, forced change does beg some questions:

  • Why did it take this crisis to get finance to adopt remote work?
  • How can finance utilize tools and techniques already at the organization’s disposal to enable working remotely?
  • How can finance bolster remote work environments and use this as an opportunity to make their business processes more efficient, effective, and reliab?

Improve your ability to work remotely: Understanding VPNs (blog post)

Given the explosion in demand for remote work, we wanted to explain a technology that many of us use, but few in finance understand well. If you are working from home and connect to the office, you likely use a VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and is a technology that is as old as the internet itself.

While working from home you may have experienced applications running slowly or not at all. This can be frustrating, to say the least. As we have said elsewhere, a little technological insight can improve your ability to discuss your problems with IT and ultimately yield better performance and improve your ability to mitigate risk. That is our goal for this article.

Windows Security Basics for the Finance Professional (blog post)

Finance professionals interact with Windows security every day when they provide a username and password to login to their computer/network. Another common interaction occurs when they want to install a new application and are stopped and forced to call IT. Finance professionals can struggle when security prevents them from accomplishing necessary tasks. As we have argued elsewhere, it is useful to have a bit of insight into how Information Technology works so you can either:

  • solve the problem yourself or
  • better communicate with IT.

Remote Meeting Technology / Video-conferencing: Tips & Tricks

As many of us switch to videoconferencing for most of our work meetings, here are some tips to make the most of your office time online.