ROSS in Saugeen Shores wins a second award

For the second year in a row, the Town of Saugeen Shores, ON has received national recognition for an innovative municipal effort from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA).  Congratulations to the Town for winning the 2020 CAMA Willis Award for Innovation, in the Under 20,000 population category, for its Learn with R.O.S.S. in Saugeen Shores public education initiative.

                                                               Saugeen Shores Town Council with ROSS (2019)

“CAMA is pleased to recognize Saugeen Shores again for the innovation and best practice being demonstrated by their public education efforts,” said Jake Rudolph, president of CAMA and Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Nanaimo, BC.  “The R.O.S.S. initiative is a very creative way of engaging residents and helping them to understand municipal efforts, from a team open to trying new things.

R.O.S.S. is a fictional “Resident OSaugeen Shores”, who is interested in learning more about his municipality. He was “born” during discussions about the Town’s Corporate Communications Strategy, when staff kept returning to the question of how to deal with difficult-to-explain topics in an easy-to-understand and engaging way.

The first in a series of informative whiteboard videos featuring Ross was launched in 2019.  Developed using an easy-to-use software called, Doodly, these quarterly videos are a fun and accessible way to present a range of topics to a wide and varied audience.

So far, Ross has learned about the municipal budget, development charges, and the legacy fund with a cast of real-life characters, including the Town’s Treasurer, Planner, and even the Mayor himself! By asking “What would Ross need to know?” about a new or changing program, municipal staff are able to develop more effective messaging using plain language and empathy to citizens.

Ross has taken on a life of his own and is now being featured in a range of other communications efforts, from social media posts, to the launch of the Town’s film plastics recycling program, to Council meeting announcements.

The town was also presented with a CAMA Willis Award for Innovation in 2019, in the Under 20,000 population category, for its Shore Report Podcast. The Shore Report can be found online at

“The scope of projects, from large and small municipalities right across this country, amazed our judging panel,” said Tony Kulbisky, Chair for the 2020 CAMA Awards Jury, CAMA representative for Alberta and Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Devon, AB.  “A total of 35 awards submissions were received and I extend my congratulation to the winners and all those who took the time to enter a submission.”

The 2020 CAMA Awards of Excellence were supposed to be presented at the CAMA National Conference, scheduled for the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, ON from June 1-3, 2020.  Due to COVID-19, the conference was cancelled, and the awards presented virtually instead.

To find out more about Saugeen’s award, as well as the other 2020 CAMA Awards of Excellence winners, visit and look for the award recipients link.