Louise Rainville-Beauchesne has served as Callander’s treasurer for just over ten years. Recently, she has been recognized as one of the 15 winners of the 2020 Financial Information Return (FIR) Award.
This is the third time in as many years the ministry has acknowledged her work, and “we take so much pride in earning this award,” she said, acknowledging the “team effort” it requires from the finance department.
The award is presented by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Minister Steve Clark sent a letter to Rainville-Beauchesne, thanking her for “the leadership and diligence” she provides to the municipality.
Mayor Robb Noon agrees, mentioning how “much confidence” he has in the treasurer’s office. “We’re in such good financial shape because of the things that she’s instituted and put in place for our municipality.”
What is the FIR Award? How does one receive such an accolade? Every year the Ministry requires municipalities to submit a FIR, “and there is always a race to submit the financial information,” Rainville-Beauchesne said.
Some municipalities are faster than others, and those who submit their numbers earliest—well before the May 31 deadline— receive an award.
Speed is not the only criteria, as the FIR package, which takes months to prepare the numbers, and between three and five days to compile everything into a format acceptable by the Ministry, must be perfect or it will be returned.
Moreover, there are 444 municipalities within the province, so breaking into that top 15 allows for “no delays,” on the treasury front.
“We take it seriously, because we know that the information is important for the province to be able to make decisions on how municipalities are managing.”
That information includes breakdowns of all money spent in all departments, as well as how that money is allocated.
There is also data about water main breaks, sewage back ups, and the amount of road salt purchased which allows the ministry to compare municipal trends and spending. “They’re asking for all of that statistical information” to inform their decisions.
Having three wins is inspiring Rainville-Beauchesne to reach for a fourth in 2021. “We strive for that every year,” she said.
“It’s a big achievement for a northern Ontario municipality to receive this award for three years in a row,” she said.
“You can count on her,” Mayor Noon said. “She always makes decisions in the best interest of the municipality, and I have so much trust in what she’s putting forward.”
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca