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  • Success Story
  • Town of Oakville, Ontario

Sign Us Up! Oakville Transforms Permitting Process


The Town of Oakville, Ontario, manually processed hundreds of noise and sign permits per year through an outdated and inefficient process that often took a week or more to complete. The town needed an online solution that made permitting easier for citizens and government employees.

“This shift in thinking and adoption of innovative technology has inspired town staff to seek opportunities to operate more efficiently, quickly, constantly, and cost-effectively,”
Steven Rosati, Strategic Business Advisor, Oakville, Ontario

Project Metrics

  • 30% to 40% reduction in staff time
  • Reduced permit approvals from 5 days to minutes
  • 450 permits processed per year
  • Additional service areas under discussion
Must have Granicus Solutions

A Process In Need of a Makeover

Canadians have a reputation for their friendly demeanor, but the Town of Oakville, Ontario’s permitting process tested the patience of even the most tolerant resident.

To apply for a permit through the town’s Municipal Enforcement Services department, residents had to download an application and submit it to town staff via email or traditional mail. Staff contacted the applicant, received payment, and started the review process. The staff member also inputted the information manually into the town’s permitting system, Amanda, which at this point was only used by staff as a back-office system. The applicant would then receive an email or letter with the result—assuming their application was completed in full and met a stringent list of city rules for approval.

If that sounds tiring, it’s because it was.

Oakville received an average of 450 applications for temporary mobile signs each year between 2019 and 2022. The volume of applications and the time required to approve or deny each one became unsustainable.

“I do not like just to make a few improvements,” said Steven Rosati, Oakville’s strategic business advisor. “I want to see how far things can go. With this project, there was lots of room to grow and really change our processes dramatically.”


Amanda Powers Move to Digital

Oakville needed a system where applicants could instantly submit applications, make payments, manage submissions, and download approvals without the need for direct contact with town staff.

Staff also wanted a platform that automated processes and created corresponding folders for each online application to eliminate manual data entry.

Oakville turned to Amanda’s Citizen Portal, which added a resident view into the process, to bring the permitting system online. Amanda’s tools made it easy to create a streamlined, automated approach that not only worked to solve this problem, but other manual processes as well.

“Our team was all onboard, especially the clerks,” Rosati said. “Once we showed the process could work, the staff showed a lot of appreciation, especially those whose job it was to approve permits.”

Amanda helps governments digitize critical business functions and modernize customer experience for residents and staff by streamlining forms and workflows and eliminating the headaches that come paper-based or manual processes.


The Start of Something Big

The approval time for permits dropped almost instantly, much to the joy of sign contractors. The new process meant applicants could obtain permits immediately, at any time of day, and on their schedule.

Town staff also benefited from this change, as they were freed from verifying applications, allowing them to focus on other pressing matters.

This project served as a starting point for other automation initiatives. The auto-approve permit system opened the door for further discussions and considerations of using similar logic and automation for property tax forms and marriage and liquor licenses.

“This shift in thinking and adoption of innovative technology has inspired town staff to seek opportunities to operate more efficiently, quickly, constantly, and cost-effectively,” Rosati said.

The Town of Oakville’s Municipal Enforcement Services Online Permitting efforts received 1st place in the Operational Excellence category in the 2023 Granicus Digital Government Awards.