York Region is a large urban area in southern Ontario comprised of nine municipalities. The Northern six (N6) municipalities are Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Newmarket, and Whitchurch-Stouffville.

N6 Partnership

The N6 have been working jointly on collaborative initiatives since 2005. Since that time, this partnership endorsed by the N6 Mayors, and administered by the Chief Administrative Officers, has provided cost effective and innovative services for the N6 municipalities.

The N6 partnership is acknowledged in Ontario as a long-standing and successful municipal partnership. It was profiled at the 2018 Ontario Municipal Administrators' Association (OMAA) annual conference and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) summer 2018 session. Earlier in its creation, the N6 collaboration initiative received national recognition through FCM.

Throughout the long-term partnership, there have been many successful collaborative projects including:

Waste Collection

In 2007, the N6 conducted a joint procurement for a 10-year waste collection contract to provide waste, recycling and green bin services throughout the N6. This was one of the first major N6 group approaches. The procurement was successful in securing a contract that produced approximately $11 million savings throughout the N6 over the initial contract period. Not only did the project achieve significant cost savings, it allowed each municipality to double their waste diversion rates with the introduction of green bins and recycling programs.

This award-winning project received recognition from the FCM's Sustainable Community Awards and received the AMO P.J. Marshall Certificate of Merit Award for collaboration.

Due to the success of this partnership, the N6 used this as a springboard into a number of other initiatives and underwent a second joint procurement following the initial 10-year contract. In 2017, the N6 entered a second 8 (+2) year contract. Residents continue to receive an excellent contracted service level through this joint initiative, rather than each municipality procuring this service on their own.

Internal (Regional) Third Party Audit

This partnership provides the N6 with access to an independent auditor (full-time York Region employee) for two (+/-) planned audits per year. There is also an option for additional assistance if required. In the Town of East Gwillimbury, examples of past audits include both an election review and a review of the subdivision and building permit process.

All six municipalities have recently completed an updated risk assessment through the independent auditor, which can serve as a basis for further municipal review in 2020.

External Year End Audit RFP

The N6 partnered to procure an accounting firm (BDO Canada LLP) to perform year-end external audit services. The procurement not only resulted in savings for the municipalities, but the N6 municipalities were provided an additional 10 per cent discount on these audit services for the five-year term of the contract. The contract expires in 2021, at such time the N6 municipalities will again partner to secure audit services.

Fire Master Plan Collaboration and Innovation Report

The Fire Master Plan (FMP) Collaboration and Innovation project is a joint partnership between the N6 Fire Services. In 2018, four of the six municipalities entered into a joint procurement for a single consultant to undertake four individual FMPs, applicable to each community's needs and growth. The procurement resulted in an overall average cost savings of 40 per cent for the master plan.

In collaboration with all the N6, a Collaboration and Innovation Report was also created to analyze the results of each Fire Service's FMP and identify opportunities for innovative joint initiatives. There is an opportunity for greater collaboration in Emergency Services in future initiatives.


In 2011, the N6 partnered for a joint procurement of an insurance provider and a joint retainer of an insurance adjuster. The procurement realized approximately $750,000 in premium savings during the initial review process.

Given the success of the first joint procurement initiative, the N6 issued a second joint procurement in 2019. Results of the procurement showed varied results. Three municipalities stayed with the incumbent while three chose a new provider. Despite the mixed results, where some municipalities had significant savings, the N6 insurance group is committed to continuing to work with one another. By having two separate brokers for the N6 municipalities, the N6 will be able to pull from an expanded knowledge pool and expertise to explore the solutions being put forward by each broker. As the N6 municipalities move forward, program and practice comparisons will allow the N6 to create stronger insurance and risk management programs, which should ultimately lead to a reduction in losses and costs in the future.

Employee Training & Development

Another successful initiative includes the joint N6 training calendar. Through this calendar, staff have the opportunity to participate in training sessions through two internal N6 facilitators with a wide range of certifications and municipal experience at a fraction of the cost of external training. The content of the training sessions is concentrated on meeting the needs of our municipal organizations rather than private sector. Through this partnership, the N6 is able to negotiate significant discounts when purchasing training material due to a higher volume of participants.

A Leadership Symposium is held annually for our N6 Extended Management Teams. The Symposium provides the team with opportunities for leadership development, networking, and sharing of best practices across the municipalities.

Animal Control Service and Animal Shelter Services

In 2019, a joint Animal Control Services partnership was implemented between Georgina, Newmarket, and Aurora. The benefits of this unique model include significant increase in the quality and availability of service while providing overall cost savings for most participating municipalities. There are opportunities to include other N6 partners in future years as existing contracts come up for renewal.

The N6 collaboration initiative continues to be a productive partnership, whereby municipalities are benefitting from enhanced services/cost savings. It is a valuable forum for CAOs to communicate and strategize about many intergovernmental projects that collectively impact our residents.