York Regional Council – Thursday, April 28, 2022
Live streaming of the public session of Council and Committee of the Whole meetings is available on the day of the meeting from 9 a.m. until the close of the meeting. Past sessions are also available at york.ca/councilandcommittee
York Region lifts state of emergency
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 officially lifted the state of emergency in York Region on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.
The state of emergency was first declared under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act on Monday, March 23, 2020.
The 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.
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 and 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.
As York Region moves from emergency response to endemic state, residents are reminded that vaccination remain the most effective tool to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from serious outcomes related to COVID-19, including severe illness and hospitalization. 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.
For more information on specific York Region programs and services, including the resumption of services, please visit york.ca
York Region’s continued response to COVID-19
York Regional Council received a number of updates on the continued response to COVID-19, including a verbal update from York Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barry Pakes, an update on the financial impacts of COVID-19 and a final update on the Social Services response to the pandemic.
Following the lifting of masking mandates and other public health measures, there has been a steady increase in COVID-19 cases, outbreaks and hospitalizations. However, the health care system and community partners continue to have capacity to meet current demand, and while COVID-19 continues to circulate in our communities, wastewater data indicates that York Region may have reached the peak of the sixth wave of this pandemic.
Vaccination remains the most effective tool to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from serious outcomes related to COVID-19. Currently, 57.2% of York Region residents have received a third dose booster vaccination, and York Region continues the rollout of fourth dose vaccinations for residents 60 years of age and older. Residents who are eligible and have not yet received a third or fourth booster dose vaccination you are encouraged to book an appointment or visit one of York Region’s many walk-in, mobile or community hub vaccination clinics at the earliest opportunity.
Throughout the pandemic, York Region, in partnership with senior levels of government, has taken steps to ensure the critical needs of the community and our most vulnerable residents continued to be met. This included the operation of self-isolation and transitional shelters, emergency child care and virtual Adult Day programs.
Many of these pandemic-related efforts were supported through the Social Services Relief Fund, which will offer a fifth and final phase of funding to ensure the continuation of services that were established to address the impacts of COVID-19 and enable an orderly wind-down of programs as provincial funds come to an end.
As York Region looks to the post-pandemic recovery of our communities, continued resources will be required to stabilize and sustain Regional programs and services. As part of the Region’s 2022 Budget, Regional Council approved a one-time $1 million contribution to the Community Investment Fund to help address COVID-19 needs. As of March 2022, approximately $800,000 has been allocated to community agencies to continue to address critical needs, including those related to food security, mental health and housing. The balance of the funds will remain available to help community agencies address critical gaps in services.
The Region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has required program modifications to sustain services, ensure they operate safely, and in some cases escalate to respond to community and resident needs. The pandemic response has also provided opportunities to strengthen relationships with community partners to coordinate on critical issues.
York Region will continue to monitor community trends and needs, and work with community partners to adjust, enhance or introduce new services to address the needs of vulnerable populations.
The 2022 year-to-date financial impacts of York Region’s COVID-19 response total $42.3 million, with an average weekly impact of $3.25 million. These impacts are above the average weekly cost of $3.05 million reflected in the 2022 budget. However, York Region expects to offset these costs through additional senior government funding designed to extend the operation of the Region’s transitional shelter and address municipal transit shortfalls resulting from the pandemic.
More information about York Region’s ongoing response to COVID-19 is available at york.ca/COVID19
York Regional Council to begin hybrid meetings in May
Regional Council has approved amendments to Procedural Bylaw 2018-59 that will see meetings of Regional Council and Committee of the Whole facilitated through a blended hybrid approach, where Members of Council will attend either virtually or in-person, beginning Thursday, May 26, 2022. All other meetings of Committees of Council will continue virtually.
In addition to amending the bylaw to permit hybrid meetings and allow deputations to address Council in-person or through electronic format, Regional Council also endorsed a transition to full paperless meetings as of the 2022-2026 Council Term.
Regional staff will continue to gauge Council’s ongoing satisfaction with the format of meetings and propose any necessary modifications at future meetings of Regional Council.
$420 million being invested in roads and transit infrastructure
Regional Council approved an investment of $420 million in 2022 for roads and transit infrastructure improvement programs. This contributes to an overall investment of $3.5 billion over the next 10 years to build and maintain infrastructure, increasing the capacity of the Regional road and transit network to provide communities and travellers with access to safe, reliable and convenient transportation options.
Through investments in the Growth Program and the Asset Management Program, York Region is expanding the capacity of the Regional road and transit network and ensuring the more than $6.2 billion in roads and transit infrastructure, including Regional roads, cycling lanes, bridges and transit terminals, remain in a state of good repair.
To enhance road and transit, over 90 projects are planned across the Region for 2022. These projects include road widening, major intersection improvements, rail bridge replacements, rehabilitation of 243 lane-kilometres of roads and a new bus terminal opposite the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital.
In 2021, $283 million was invested in various roads and transit projects improving access to work, home, schools and other destinations across the Region.
Yonge North Subway Extension moves forward with advancement of Royal Orchard station
Regional Council welcomed news of an additional subway stop at Royal Orchard station to further connect residents to housing, transit and high-value jobs along the Yonge North Subway Extension corridor. This new station will add to the Yonge North Subway Extension project scope and will be funded and built through the provincial government.
Royal Orchard station is in addition to the two Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) proposed at Bridge and High-Tech stations in the Richmond Hill/Langstaff Gateway Regional Centre.
There have been a number of requests for TOC proposals to more closely align with the planned vision of the local municipal secondary plans that have not been addressed, though the province has made other changes to Bridge and High-Tech proposals. York Region has been aligned with its local municipalities in providing comments on the TOC proposals and Regional Council has passed a motion directing staff to negotiate the draft terms in the TOC site specific Memorandums of Understanding with the province to protect Regional interests.
The province has since issued Enhanced Minister’s Zoning Orders (eMZOs) for the Bridge and High-Tech stations, setting out permitted uses and densities and removing municipal authority for site plan approval. York Region will continue to work with the province as they unfold future plans to ensure residents have the municipal services and amenities needed.
Responding to changes in long-term care
Regional Council received an update on Bill 37, the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021 (The Act) and how it will impact staffing, care, accountability, transparency, enforcement and licensing in long-term care homes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified longstanding challenges and issues in the long-term care sector, and Regional Council in it’s role as Committee of Management for the Region’s two long-term care homes, has been supportive and influential in advocating for transformative change across the sector. Through The Act, which received Royal Assent on December 9, 2021, long-term care improvements include:
- Providing four hours of direct care per resident per day by March 31, 2025
- Establishing new compliance and enforcement tools to improve accountability, enforcement, and transparency in the sector
- Strengthening the Residents’ Bill of Rights, recognizing the important role of caregivers and focusing on resident-centred care
The province estimates direct costs for homes to comply with requirements in The Act and proposed national standards to be in the range of $20 to $23 million annually. While the province has committed $1.75 billion to long-term care homes over five years to increase staffing levels, without additional funding York Region’s two long-term care homes will be required to rely on tax levy funding to comply with provincial requirements and care targets.
It is important York Region seniors have local options available for their long-term care needs and can access a high-quality municipal home. Addressing the needs of the Region’s long-term care residents involves coordination and collaboration to effectively serve and support a resident-centred model of care. Staff continue to develop an implementation plan to prepare for these legislative changes and report back to Regional Council once regulations are finalized.
York Region responds to provincial consultation on Housing Services Act
Regulatory amendments are needed to enact provisions of the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020, which will impact the funding and administrative relationship between service managers and community housing providers, delivery of minimum rent-geared-to-income (RGI) service levels and the system used to access housing subsidies.
While the Province has not yet proposed regulations to enact these changes, information on areas of proposed regulation development has been shared and York Region has submitted a response based on principles previously endorsed by Council:
- No new costs: municipalities in Ontario are responsible for delivering and funding community housing through the property tax system, and the potential addition of further costs and/or service delivery requirements on the property tax base through regulation is unreasonable and unsustainable
- Local flexibility: service managers are best positioned to plan for the needs of their communities and regulations should provide flexibility to meet local housing needs and priorities as identified through 10-year housing and homelessness plans
- Pay for say: as the primary funders of community housing in Ontario, the province should continue engaging with service managers on the development of regulations to ensure any policy and regulatory frameworks allow municipalities to guide investments based on local needs
Regional Council supports the province’s efforts under the Community Housing Renewal Strategy to ensure a more streamlined and sustainable community housing system that allows service managers to respond to growing local need.
Growth and Development Review and Annual Development Activity Summary
Regional Council received the Growth and Development Review and the Annual Development Activity Summary for 2021, which highlight exponential growth in York Region despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The achievements outlined in these reports, including the Region’s highest-ever total construction value estimated at $5.19 billion and 512 new primary development applications, directly contribute to the economic vitality of York Region.
Additional growth and development activity highlights include:
- Total population growth of 14,600 or 1.2% to 1,228,200
- 10% increase in development applications and an overall development application activity increase of 24% in 2021
- 64% increase in development charge collections, totaling more than $457 million in 2021
- Residential building permits were issued for 10,787 dwelling units, representing an 85% increase from 2020
- 29,000 draft approved housing units and 7,500 registered housing units awaiting construction
- 124% increase in total construction values for industrial, commercial and institutional building permits totaling $1.51 billion in 2021
- 4% increase in employment with 643,280 jobs in York Region in 2021
- 6% year-end unemployment rate, trending below the 8.8% rate experienced in January 2021
Though supply chain issues through the COVID-19 pandemic held back growth in previous years, a strong recovery is anticipated in 2022 with increased engineering approvals and a strong housing supply of draft approved units to date.
2021 Development Charge Reserve Fund Statement
Regional Council received a year-end summary of development charge activity and reserve balances for 2021, which totalled $469.8 million.
Development Charges (DC) recover growth-related capital costs from residential and non-residential developments. Reserve balances increased by $86.8 million from 2020 due to collection exceeding draws by $68.3 million, DC deferred accounts increasing by $9.6 million and $9.1 million of interest earned during the year.
The Region offers the ability to defer payment of development charges for qualifying developments, with each deferred amount moved into its own Deferred DC Reserve for tracking purposes. Each Reserve has a parallel account to store any DC collections arising from deferral agreements.
The Deferred Development Charge Reserve has now increased to $100.8 million.
Hospital Financing Reserve Contribution for 2022
York Region will make its annual reserve contribution for hospital capital funding for the Council-approved Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital project, as the hospital met the paramedic 30-minute off-load target in 2021. As a result, York Region’s contribution will be approximately $7 million to support the existing commitment to the hospital.
To help decrease off-load delay times, the Region ties contribution levels to progress on reducing processing time for emergency patients. Although two of three Regional hospitals no longer receive funding, all three met the 2021 off-load targets.
Investing in hospital capital projects and working together to reduce off-load delays supports the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan objective to improve access to health and social support services.
GO Transit harmonizing fares with GTHA transit agencies
On March 1, 2022, the Government of Ontario announced several GO Transit fare changes that harmonized their fares with other Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) transit agencies and made it more affordable to ride GO Transit services.
Effective March 14, 2022, travellers receive free transit trips in the 905 area when connecting to and from GO Transit. This is part of the three-phase approach of the Fare and Service Integration work underway between the Province and GTHA transit agencies. More information on the service can be found at yrt.ca
York Region continues to work with the Province and GTHA transit agencies to develop fare and service integration to provide seamless and affordable travel throughout the area.
Helping electrify York Region’s buses
York Region has submitted an Expression of Interest to the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to cover the difference in cost for up to 180 electric buses and related equipment to support the electric conversion of York Region’s transit fleet.
The Canada Infrastructure Bank, which helps public-private partnerships by providing financing for infrastructure of national importance, introduced a $10 billion, three-year growth plan in 2020 which includes $1.5 billion for a Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) initiative. Under York Region’s Expression of Interest, CIB could finance the difference in cost between buying electric buses and conventional diesel buses.
Funding through this program could reduce York Region’s conversion period by 10 years and result in approximately 31% of the transit fleet being converted to electric through the Zero Emissions Transit Fund program.
YRT continued to provide service to travellers throughout pandemic
Regional Council received a system performance update from York Region Transit’s (YRT), which continued to provide essential service to travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, pandemic-related measures continued to significantly impact transit agencies, including YRT. As public health measures began lifting, ridership increased to 9.4 million in 2021, but continued remain low compared to 22.3 million in 2019. In response to lower ridership, YRT service levels were adjusted, some conventional routes were replaced with more effective Mobility On-Request service and routes with historically low ridership were discontinued.
In addition to finding efficiencies, YRT achievements in 2021 also include:
- Added six new YRT electric buses into service in support of the Transit Bus Fleet Electrification Plan that will see all YRT buses converted to zero-emission technology by 2047
- Continued collaboration with Ministry of Transportation, Metrolinx and other Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area transit agencies on fare and service integration, including harmonizing fare-age categories
- Started construction on expansion of the Region’s operations, maintenance and storage facility and on the Major Mackenzie Drive West Bus Terminal
- Ongoing technology improvements, including PRESTO equipment modernization and driver support systems
- York Region will continue to work with partners across the GTHA and federal and provincial governments to increase ridership and provide safe, effective and reliable transit services throughout 2022.
11 speed limits decreased on Regional Roads
York Regional Council approved the reduction of speed limits on 11 sections of Regional roads.
The 11 sections of Regional roads with decreased speed limits are:
- Yonge Street from Olive Street/Beckett Avenue to Queensville Sideroad – 60 km/hr to 50 km/hr
- Doane Road from 2nd Concession Road to Leslie Street – 70 km/hr to 60 km/hr
- Mount Albert Road from Leslie Street to 100 metres east of Colonel Wayling Boulevard – 60 km/hr to 50 km/hr
- Leslie Street/The Queensway South from 244 metres south of Ravenshoe Road to 80 metres south of Joe Dale Drive– 70 km/hr to 60 km/hr
- Leslie Street from 840 metres south of Holborn Road to 244 metres south of Ravenshoe Road – 80 km/hr to 70 km/hr
- Park Road from Highway 48 to 800 metres south of Highway 48 – 80 km/hr to 70 km/hr
- Highway 7 from Highway 50 to Vaughan Valley Boulevard – 80 km/hr to 60 km/hr
- Highway 27 from Highway 7 to 500 metres south of Nashville Road – 70 km/hr to 60 km/hr
- Highway 27 from 300 metres north of Hedgerow Lane to King-Vaughan Road – 80 km/hr to 70 km/hr
- Weston Road from Teston Road to King-Vaughan Road – 80 km/hr to 70 km/hr
- Jane Street from 671 metres north of Teston Road to King-Vaughan Road – 80 km/hr to 70 km/hr
Several factors are considered when annually reviewing and revising speed limits on Regional roads, including:
- Adjusting speeds in areas with new community growth and increasing traffic volumes
- Reducing frequent changes to speed limits on a stretch of road to reduce confusion and increase compliance
- Revising speeds to allow drivers to have an appropriate time to react to potential hazards
To notify travellers of the speed limit changes, “new” signs will be posted above the speed limit signs at the beginning of each changed speed zone.
Economic Action Plan Update
The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the economy since 2020 and pandemic-focused support for businesses was provided by a range of stakeholders collaborating through the Business Recovery Support Partnership. In 2021, business advisory services expanded back to broader support including recovery and resilience, using the framework of the Economic Development Action Plan as a basis and guide.
Additional details can be seen in a Year in Review which paints a broader picture of outcomes from the Action Plan and the impact of York Region programs on businesses and growth in the community.
Venture Lab 2021 Results
York Region’s provincially recognized Regional Innovation Centre, ventureLAB, continues to drive Regional economic growth and job creation by supporting the development and delivery of programs and services, targeting technology-based entrepreneurs starting or growing a business.
In addition to Regional Council approving an investment of $1.5 million to expand ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative, an additional $4.73 million in funding has been secured from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, making the total nearly $10 million.
Since 2011, ventureLAB has strengthened the York Region economy by assisting 1,100 businesses create 2,000 jobs (3,100 businesses and 4,700 jobs overall) and supporting these companies in raising more than $80 million in private and public investment.
York Region donates two decommissioned ambulances
Regional Council approved the donation of two decommissioned ambulances to Nunavut through Ambulances4NU, a non-profit organization that connects northern communities in need of ambulances with Ontario municipalities who regularly donate decommissioned ambulances.
Decommissioned ambulances are those that have reached their maximum lifespan of five years or 250,000 kilometres. Since 2014, Regional Council has approved the donation of 12 decommissioned ambulances to registered charities, not-for-profit and humanitarian aid organizations providing training, first aid services at local community events, mobile mental health education and paramedic services.
To support and benefit more communities, Regional Council amended the guidelines to allow for the donation of ambulances to communities and non-registered organizations like Ambulances4NU, who do valuable humanitarian work.
Ready and resilient, celebrating National Public Works Week
National Public Works Week will take place May 14 to 21, 2022, celebrating the hard work that takes place to ensure delivery of essential services to residents every day. This year’s theme is Ready and Resilient and will be highlighted in a number of virtual activities planned for the week.
Public works services include:
- Providing safe and clean drinking water
- Leading ground-breaking work to sample for traces of the COVID-19 virus at wastewater treatment facilities
- Protecting source water
- Monitoring traffic control and signal operations
- Maintaining and constructing roads
- Providing transit
More information on the fun and educational virtual events taking place throughout the week will be updated on york.ca/publicworks
Emergency Preparedness Week
Regional Council will recognize Emergency Preparedness Week from May 1 to 7, 2022.
This year’s annual Emergency Preparedness Week theme, Emergency Preparedness: Be Ready for Anything, encourages all Canadians to take action and become better prepared for the range of emergencies they could face. York Region residents can visit york.ca/beprepared to learn more about emergency preparedness and what is needed to build a personal emergency preparedness kit.
First Responders Day
Regional Council recognized Sunday, May 1, 2022, as National Physicians and First Responders Day, recognizing those professionals who have dedicated their lives to public service to protect the health and safety of York Region residents.
Throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic and in their day-to-day work, physicians and first responders face challenging and often dangerous situations to provide life-saving assistance and support to those in need.
During National Physicians and First Responders Day, Regional Council celebrates the expertise and dedication of those who continue to ensure our communities remain strong, healthy and safe.
National Day of Mourning
Regional Council recognized Thursday, April 28, 2022, as National Day of Mourning. By lowering flags at Regional facilities, York Region paid respect to the thousands of workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness as a result of work-related incidents.
Holocaust Remembrance Day
On Wednesday, April 27, 2022, Regional Council joined in solidarity with the Jewish community in York Region and around the world to recognize Yom HaShoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day.
This solemn day of observance honours the memory of the six million Jewish men, women and children killed in the Holocaust and serves as a reminder to never repeat the atrocities of the past.
Regional Council recognized Earth Day on Friday, April 22, 2022, encouraging individuals, businesses and government organizations to take action to preserve and protect our health, families and livelihoods by Investing In Our Planet.
First celebrated on April 22, 1970, Earth Day is now a world-wide environmental movement to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment and support environmental protection. As a long-standing leader in environmental protection, York Region encourages the community to celebrate Earth Day all year long by taking individual and collective actions to reduce waste, practice sustainable mobility, reduce energy consumption and protect the natural environment.
National Immunization Week
Regional Council recognized April 21 to 28, 2022, as National Immunization Week, highlighting the importance of immunization for people of all ages. Immunizations play a critical role in stopping the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases and remain a vital component to the health of all Canadians.
Residents are encouraged to visit york.ca/immunizations to learn more about the various child and adult immunization programs that protect against infections like flue, Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus and Meningococcal Disease. York Region also maintains and reviews immunization records for all children attending a licensed child care centre or school in the community.
World Health Day
Regional Council recognized Thursday, April 7, 2022, as World Health Day in commemoration of the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948.
Recognizing a global climate crisis and increasing incidence of disease, World Health Day 2022 focused on the theme Our Planet, Our Health and called for urgent action to keep humans and the planet healthy by creating societies focused on well-being.
Canadian Public Health Week
Regional Council recognized April 4 to 8, 2022, as the first annual Canadian Public Health Week and celebrated public health units across the country as the invisible guardians of health.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the work of public health professionals more visible and appreciated, and Regional Council extended appreciation to the thousands of public health workers across our communities who are working to build a healthier tomorrow for all residents.
Regional Council recognized Friday, April 1, 2022, as the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, wishing members of York Region’s Muslim community a peaceful month of reflection, generosity, gratitude and prayer.
Ontario Civic Leadership Awards
Regional Council recognized three York Region residents who were awarded the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship. Among the 2019 and 2020 recipients were:
- Brian North from the Town of Aurora, recognized for his contributions to numerous community organizations, including Easter Seals, Scouts Canada, the York Small Business Enterprise Centre and Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation
- Noeline Sujithra Paul from the City of Richmond Hill, honoured for 35 years of community service and her support of initiatives that enhance the quality of people’s lives in the communities
- George Markow from the Town of Newmarket, who raised $150,000 for COVID-19 research by walking 100 kilometres before his 100th birthday
Each recipient of the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship was recognized by The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in a virtual ceremony on April 13, 2022.
Next meeting of York Regional Council
York Regional Council will meet on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at 9 a.m. To continue protecting the health and well-being of residents, this is currently planned to be a hybrid meeting, with Members of Council attending either in-person and virtually. The meeting will be streamed on york.ca/live
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 over 650,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at york.ca/regionalservices
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Kylie-Anne Doerner, Corporate Communications
The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 1-877-464-9675, ext. 71232, Cell: 905-806-7138