The Regional Municipality of York lifts state of emergency more than two years after declaration
Newmarket – In consultation with York Region’s Medical Officer of Health, York Region’s Chief Administrative Officer and the Regional Emergency Control Group, York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson today officially lifted the state of emergency in York Region.
The state of emergency was first declared under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act on Monday, March 23, 2020.
“More than two years ago, for the first time in the 51-year history of York Region, a Regional state of emergency was declared. At the time, no one could have predicted the devastating impact the COVID-19 global pandemic would have on our residents and communities,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “As we look forward to resuming services, I again thank and acknowledge our staff, municipalities, residents, business owners and the countless community partners for their commitment and resiliency during these turbulent times.”
The York Region state of emergency underscored the seriousness of the pandemic and the urgent need for York Region residents to diligently follow the direction of public health officials. The emergency declaration also provided Regional Council with additional authority to advance meaningful measures to protect residents, including those most vulnerable, and support the business community.
Throughout the pandemic, Regional Council, which also serves as the York Region Board of Health, has strongly supported the efforts put forward by York Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barry Pakes, his predecessor Dr. Karim Kurji, public health professionals, the Regional Emergency Control Group and federal and provincial partners who worked together to protect residents while also ensuring the continuation of essential programs and services.
“While the lifting of the emergency declaration is a sign of brighter days ahead, Regional Council along with Dr. Pakes continue to remind residents that COVID-19 is still active in our communities,” added Chairman Emmerson. “As we learn to live with this virus, we must all continue to exercise caution and takes steps to protect our individual health and safety and that of our family and loved ones. By continuing to wear face masks in most indoor settings, practicing physical distancing when in large crowds and staying home when feeling unwell, we can each do our part to prevent future lockdowns and service disruptions.”
Vaccinations remain the most effective tool to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from serious outcomes related to COVID-19, including severe illness and hospitalizations. First, second, third and fourth dose vaccination are readily available through community vaccination clinics, mobile clinics and pharmacy locations. Visit york.ca/covid19vaccine for clinic details and to book an appointment.
In the early stages of the pandemic, York Region closed facilities to the public, directed staff to work from home and temporarily paused some programs and services, including all in-person services such as adult day programs, EarlyOn programming, Courts Services, Ontario Works community resource centres, non-COVID-19 public health clinics and programming plus in-person events. Following the lifting of the emergency declaration, these programs and services will begin to resume in a staged approach over the coming weeks and months.
York Regional Council will also resume hybrid Council and Committee meetings, effective Thursday, May 26, 2022. Residents and community partners can continue to view Council and Committee meetings at york.ca/live and deputations to Regional Council will remain virtual at this time.
“The pandemic has not necessarily introduced new trends but it has certainly accelerated existing trends, including the Region’s culture of continuous improvement and digital transformation,” said York Region Chief Administrative Officer, Bruce Macgregor. “In addition to continuing to leverage digital technology learned over the past two years to provide customer-focused services more effectively, York Region is also strengthening its existing hybrid and flexible work policies.”
The expansion of these policies is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather an evolution. Continuing to provide continuity of Regional services throughout the pandemic has demonstrated while some jobs require onsite employees, such as roles that support front-line services and critical infrastructure, others perform just as well remotely.
Technology continues to play a critical role in how York Region delivers programs and services to a growing and diverse community. It will be essential to continue providing and improving the digital tools to enable seamless interactions with residents and businesses.
For more information on specific York Region programs and services, please visit york.ca
The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns and provides a variety of programs and services to 1.2 million residents and 54,000 businesses with 650,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at york.ca/regionalservices
The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 1-877-464-9675, ext. 71234