About this report

This special edition report is part of a series of updates on the progress being achieved by Canadian municipalities through FCM’s Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP). The reports incorporate real examples of what communities are doing to improve their decision-making on infrastructure as well as information on tools communities can use to better manage their assets.

Collaboration: New skills and enhanced outcomes

Icon of collaborationCollaboration is an essential skill that can help your municipality improve its asset management practices. To establish good asset management practices, a municipality needs to work collaboratively internally, bridging departmental silos to share knowledge and data to identify the needs of the community and address them as effectively as possible. Collaborating externally or working with neighbouring municipalities can help your municipality realize cost savings, advance on its climate resilience activities and accelerate innovation.

FCM’s Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP) helps local governments improve their infrastructure planning and decision-making through enhanced asset management practices. MAMP fosters collaboration between municipalities on asset management through projects, group training and events.

With this special edition report, you will discover key data from MAMP that highlights ways your municipality can advance its asset management approaches through collaboration. Additionally, you will discover how collaboration can benefit small municipalities in both direct and indirect ways.

Watch the Benefits of asset management collaboration video

Read the transcript

Asset management is a team sport

Collaboration across teams and departments within a municipality is key to strong and sustainable asset management. Through establishing a cross-functional asset management team, municipalities make decisions based on the entire lifecycle of an asset, evaluating infrastructure and service risks and priorities.

Municipal staff can build climate resilience through collaboration by identifying vulnerabilities as a team and taking action to adapt and improve as an organization. Extreme weather events such as floods, forest fires, and droughts are increasing risk to service delivery and community safety. Proactive adaptation, which includes collaboration to consider how vulnerable populations, may be differently impacted by severe climate events helps keep communities safe. Building climate resilience requires cross-departmental collaboration and buy-in from council all the way to operations staff to ensure successful implementation.

Learn about how to build a dynamic and skilled asset management team in Asset Management Insights: People and Leadership.


“Our municipality has an Asset Management Working Group. It originally included only one staff from each core service area. Our AM plan and program really kicked off once we included staff from other service areas. The working group has helped break down silos and share different ways of doing things. As a result, our municipality and the way we work has become more collaborative.”

– Patrick Kelly, Director of Corporate Services / Treasurer, The Corporation of the Township of Wilmot, (pop. 21,429)

Watch the Municipal Collaboration and Asset Management video

Read the transcript

Training as a group to strengthen your organizational culture

By training staff from various departments and roles across a municipality, local governments are evolving their own understanding and application of asset management best practices and fostering a culture of collaboration within their municipality.

Training together has several benefits for teams, such as:

  • Working together on shared objectives, like climate resilience
  • Developing a shared understanding of objectives between elected officials and municipal staff
  • Drawing on diverse perspectives to problem-solve
  • Promoting teamwork and innovation across previously siloed teams and departments
  • Building team trust as people learn from each other
  • Creating a shared language and terminology amongst team members
  • Learning from the experiences of success and challenges of others
  • Knowledge-sharing among municipal staff, which helps ensure business continuity when there is personnel turnover

Since 2017, MAMP has funded training for 8,866 municipal employees and elected officials from 1,273 municipalities across Canada. Many municipalities are investing in training for more than two participants, with the average municipality training a total of four participants.

Of the municipalities who participated in asset management training: 

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trained two or more participants

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trained two or more participants that attended the same training together at the same time


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trained three or more participants

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participated in more than one training


MAMP-funded partner training laid the foundation for municipalities to further their asset management expertise. Of the local governments that have participated in training, more than a third went on to pursue additional training to augment what they previously learned or to allow them to learn different skills related to asset management.

This dedication to training was especially pronounced in communities with a population of less than 5,000 inhabitants.

Icon of an award badgeNoteworthy was the Town of Torbay, NL (pop. 7,852) which had 15 participants, including the mayor, engage in training offered by MAMP partners to work on strategic management in AM and AM professional certification.

Also of note, the City of Montreal had 48 staff participate in training offered by MAMP partners, the most of any municipality. Montreal staff primarily worked on national AM certification programs together.

Sign up today for one of the asset management training and courses offered by MAMP’s partners. Events are for municipal staff and elected officials and are offered locally across Canada, tailored to meet your community’s needs.


RCM d’Argenteuil, relying on collective strength

A two story brick house with slate grey roof, central second story balcony, and several symmetrical white trimmed windows is centred in the frame, surrounded by blue sky and green grass.
The RCM d’Argenteuil has succeeded in preserving a valuable property built in 1887 by restoring the former Lachute courthouse to serve as office space. Photo credit: Olivier L. Gariepy.


Located north of Montreal, the RCM d’Argenteuil has successfully transformed municipal asset management into an effective and inspiring collaboration. Since 2018, the RCM has worked closely with its 9 local municipalities to implement a sustainable approach that benefits the region’s 35,000 residents.

With the financial support of the FCM, the RCM has carried out an inventory of culverts and buildings in each municipality. It also acquired a computer-assisted maintenance software and developed management tools. Meanwhile, an action plan was elaborated to improve waterway management and minimize vulnerability to climate change.

“Our greatest advantage is having collective strength, said Benoit Aubin, engineering and watercourses director for the RCM d’Argenteuil. Each of us could have gone on our own path, but we’d never have made it this far. The main advantage is the sharing of costs, expertise and resources that on their own, municipalities can’t afford.”

The results have been so successful that they are now launching phase 2 of the project, which includes training for elected officials and the creation of an asset management policy adaptable to each municipality’s situation.

Working together on asset management projects

When local governments work together to share their expertise and solve problems, they can create powerful results that would have been difficult or impossible to achieve on their own.

Since May 2020, 83 municipalities have been approved for a MAMP asset management grant as part of a collaboration with neighbouring local governments. On average, three municipalities collaborate with these grants on jointly pursued projects like data collection or the development of asset management inventories, asset management plans and roadmaps. Some communities defined their commitment through a formal or a verbal agreement.

Benefits unlocked from collaboration on asset management projects:

  • Increased internal capacity through the sharing of workloads
  • Accelerate innovation, understanding and skill development through sharing knowledge and lessons learned
  • Meaningfully address climate change vulnerabilities and natural assets across communities and regions
  • Support to tackle shared concerns not confined to municipal boundaries
  • Economies of scale or the sharing of costs of services and other financial benefits

"Completing this project collaboratively enabled efficiencies resulting in cost savings and an increased project scope. We developed consistent asset condition assessment methodologies, data analysis tools and an AM Plan structure, enabling ongoing collaboration when completing future AM improvements.”

– Christie Hislop, Chief Administrative Officer, Rural Municipality of Moose Mountain No. 63, SK (pop. 489), on their collaboration with the Rural Municipality of Estevan No.5 (pop. 1,279), the Rural Municipality of Moose Creek No.33 (pop. 306), and the Rural Municipality of Antler No.61 (pop. 451)

Cross-municipal collaboration for efficient and informed planning in Whistler, BC

Two men in high visibility vests and hard hats stand in shallow water and silt, surrounded by concrete barriers and water main pipes. One worker stands, hand leaning on concrete barrier, looking down on kneeling colleague as he works on water main.
Contractors complete a high priority water main repair as part of the ROMW’s 2022 Water Main Upgrades Capital Projects preventative maintenance program.


In 2021, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) (pop. 13,982), set out to update their asset management plan. When their consultant recommended reaching out to staff at the City of Oakville, they jumped at the opportunity to learn from an industry colleague.

Whistler’s project aimed to incorporate natural assets into their asset inventory, develop a long-term financial model and update their asset management reporting template. The project, completed in spring 2022, has been effective in integrating processes for asset prioritization and increasing community support to fund asset replacement. As is the case for many municipalities, Whistler had limited time and resources to spend on asset management. Hearing Oakville’s experience helped Whistler to better understand its own AM journey and gave insights on resourcing and timelines to help inform a long-term strategy.

In addition to their valuable networking with the City of Oakville, Whistler municipal staff spent time studying public documents of fellow municipalities. These included Oak Bay’s Asset Management Program, due to its reputation as a peer leader on AM planning in British Columbia, and Gibsons  BC’s Asset Management Program, as a champion for natural assets.

Whistler’s recommendation to other municipalities looking to replicate AM success is to start the collaboration process early and come back to it often. “We can be more efficient and move faster if we absorb the lessons that others have learned and let them shape our approach,” says Carlee Price, Director of Finance at Resort Municipality of Whistler. “Who doesn’t love a shortcut?”

Icon of an award badgeThe largest group to receive a MAMP asset management grant are nine municipalities in Alberta, which will work on data standardization through a collaborative regional web map and training: Town of Oyen (pop. 917), Village of Consort (pop. 644), Town of Coronation (pop. 868), Village of Carbon (pop. 492), Village of Linden (pop. 704), Village of Rockyford (pop. 395), Village of Hussar (pop. 164), Village of Standard (pop. 353), and Town of Drumheller (pop. 7,909).

Expand your network through training with other local governments

MAMP has funded over 600 asset management training and learning activities delivered by our partners to local governments across Canada. Among the 234 training activities, 72 were designed to encourage peer learning amongst municipal participants.

Peer groups benefit from:

  • Expanding their network to staff in local governments from across Canada or in neighbouring communities
  • Discovering shared challenges and alternative solutions
  • Sharing tools, examples, plans and software
  • Progressing on their asset management objectives in similar ways
  • Forming relationships that extend beyond training

“Together, five municipalities participated collaboratively in an asset management program organized by AIM Network where we laid the foundation for our municipality's asset management program (i.e. an AM Policy, Roadmap, Level of Service Analysis, etc.). We have continued our collaboration with this project by continuing to build supportive relationships, using common software and templates for our asset registers and processes. We have achieved cost savings throughout the project by using the same contractors and methodologies. We anticipate the relationships built between our municipalities will be lasting and will add value to our continuing asset management journey.”

– Dan Troke, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Kentville, NS (pop. 6,630) on their collaboration with the Town of Oxford, NS (pop. 1,170), the Town of Middleton, NS (pop. 1,873), the Municipality of the District of Clare, NS (pop. 7,678) and the Municipality of the District of Shelburne, NS (pop. 4,336)

Tools and case studies
Looking for inspiration and guidance to help your community collaborate? Check out the resources below.
Defocused people in a board room
Case study: Partnership produces results for five Ontario communities

By sharing knowledge and expertise, five communities in southwest Ontario have increased their capacity to manage community assets effectively.

Overhead view of people working at a desk.
Case study: Collaboration breeds success

Seven towns along Newfoundland’s west coast banded together to meet a shared challenge: ensuring that community infrastructure continues to deliver essential services such as clean drinking water and waste disposal. The municipalities shared costs related to asset management training, asset inventory, and software.

Woman speaking to a group of seated people at an office.
Guide: Asset management communities of practice

Start your own community of practice with the help of the Guide to Asset Management Communities of Practice, developed by The Municipal Finance Officers Association of Ontario.

Group of people in an office seated at a table having a discussion.
Handbook on Inter-Municipal Partnership

Thinking of establishing a partnership? Read the Handbook on Inter-Municipal Partnership and Co-operation for Municipal Government, from the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities for suggested guidelines and steps to get started.

© 2024 Federation of Canadian Municipalities