In 2016, the Canadian Government launched the Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP), an eight-year CAN$110 million program designed to support municipal asset management capacity building.
Administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), MAMP offers funding, training, and resources to help municipalities strengthen asset management practices.
So far, the program has provided CAN$53 million in funding for nearly 1,300 municipal asset management projects and CAN$27 million in partner grants for training that has funded 495 events and workshops.
The introduction of MAMP – the only national program in Canada providing municipal grants, technical assistance, training, and awareness activities to address municipal asset management capacity building – heralded a new era in asset management in the country.
In the past, asset management in Canada was piecemeal and limited to practitioners and technical experts managing infrastructure and services in relative isolation.
The long-term, dependable funding offered by MAMP has led to a paradigm shift in the industry. Unlike one-off training programs, MAMP has allowed municipalities to plan and commit to training staff.
In the last six years, we’ve seen a formalisation of qualifications and an expansion in asset management as a profession. We’ve also seen increasing maturity in the discussion surrounding asset management.
Today, the conversation has shifted from awareness to integration. It’s no longer enough to hire one, two or five asset managers in your organisation – rather, the underlying principles of asset management now inform everything we do.
The field has emerged as a cross-functional discipline that improves decision-making across organisations – everyone understands it and is participating in some way. Asset management is no longer the preserve of engineers and other technical experts. We’re now seeing training for elected officials, managers, and financial and technical staff.
Under the fourth and final round of funding, announced in March 2022, NAMS Canada is one of 16 official partners that will receive a share of $6 million in funding.
To fulfill our remit of helping municipalities make efficient and sustainable infrastructure decisions, NAMS Canada and our fellow partners will provide training activities that are accessible to communities of all sizes across the country.
NAMS Canada delivers the internationally renowned IPWEA Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning course, bespoke for Canadian municipalities. This ten-week course will be delivered three times in English and once in French. As well as being Canadian-specific, the course is subsidised to make it affordable for organisations and municipalities.
One of the challenges in asset management in Canada is the diversity of our geography and population. Harsh climates in some areas impact the type of services and how services are provided. Many communities are remote – one province with a population of one million has 800 local governments.
However, despite regional variations, the underlying principles of asset management always remain the same. In the ten years that I have been involved in international training, I have learned that there are more similarities than differences. At the end of the day, it’s usually a bunch of well-intentioned municipal staff and elected officials doing their best to provide services in an affordable way – and that doesn’t change.
Six years after the MAMP roll-out, we can see its benefits on the ground. The maturity we’ve gained in Canadian asset management is paying dividends. We’re in difficult times marked by extreme events, high risks, and impacts to service provision, but we’re in a much better position than we would have been had we not embarked on this program.
NAMS Canada is a not-for-profit registered company established in 2014. It is an affiliate of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) and uses IPWEA’s NAMS+ system to assist Canadian and North American local governments and public works entities improve the way they manage their public infrastructure assets.