The Regional Municipality Of York

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York Regional Council Highlights - February 16, 2017




Katherine Chislett appointed Commissioner of Community and Health Services

Regional Council confirmed the appointment of Katherine Chislett as Commissioner, Community and Health Services for The Regional Municipality of York. The appointment is effective March 20, 2017, allowing for a brief transition period before current Commissioner Adelina Urbanski begins her retirement after March 31.

Ms. Chislett brings 30 years of public sector experience to lead our largest Regional department. She has an abundance of expertise in the human services sector, specifically related to housing supports and homelessness prevention.

In her most recent position in the City Manager’s Office at the City of Toronto, Ms. Chislett was responsible for leading complex projects and government-wide initiatives including the coordination of Toronto’s housing programs and activities in support of the Mayor and Council’s Housing Advocate.

As former Commissioner of Community Services at The Regional Municipality of Niagara, her understanding of a two-tier municipal system is an asset in continuing to advance the important work of this department and our Region.


Employment in York Region continues to grow

York Regional Council received the 2016 Employment and Industry Report, which provides an economic overview of the Region’s businesses and job growth. Between mid-year 2015 and mid-year 2016 York Region employment growth outpaced national and provincial labour force growth, with a gain of 3.1 per cent.
 
York Region has:

  • More than 50,000 employer businesses, making it the third highest in the GTA
  • An estimated 595,200 jobs in York Region as of mid-year 2016
  • More than 460 foreign companies with local operations

York Region achieves its first LEED Platinum designation forest building

The Regional Municipality of York Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre attained LEED Platinum certification, the highest designation by the Canada Green Building Council. This is York Region’s first LEED Platinum certification.

Green features of the forestry building include:

  • Net zero energy use: Through the use of solar panels, the building is designed to generate more energy than it uses
  • Net zero water use: A storage tank to gather rainwater and snow melt to service bathroom facilities
  • Facility built almost entirely of wood using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sustainably harvested materials and all wood structural elements
  • Green building and forest education program through classroom learning, tours and events
  • Diversion of 94 per cent of construction waste from landfill   

York Region has also received the 2016 Ontario Public Works Association Project of the Year in the area of historic restoration and preservation, the 2016 Professional Engineers of Ontario and the 2015 Green Building Wood Design Award by Ontario Wood Works.


Proposed Development Charges Bylaw ensures equitable rates for all development

York Regional Council received the draft 2017 Development Charge Background Study and Bylaw which will help implement bylaw charges to help pay for growth-related infrastructure including water, wastewater, roads, transit, subway, police, waste diversion, public health and paramedic services over the next 15 years.

A public meeting will be held prior to the York Region Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday, March 9, 2017. Residents, business owners and other stakeholders are invited to attend and comment on the proposed bylaw.

York Regional staff will consult with local municipalities on the critical infrastructure requirements, relative priorities for road improvements and expected timing of related growth, and incorporate comments and requirements into a further report for Council.

In May, after additional public consultation, staff will bring a report to Council with the proposed bylaw. If approved, the new Development Charge Bylaw will come into effect on Saturday, June 17, 2017.


York Regional Council supporting changes to Highway Traffic Act to benefit communities

York Regional Council voted to adopt a resolution requesting the province to enact regulations under the Highway Traffic Act, allowing technology-based traffic enforcement, such as red-light cameras, to be administered by local cities and towns through administrative penalties similar to parking tickets.
 
Without the amendment, cities and towns implementing and using technology in designated areas would incur the cost of implementing and maintaining the required technology, while administration and fine revenue would remain within the provincial court system.


York Region housing stability and homelessness program growing to reach more residents in need

Additional investment in The Regional Municipality of York’s homelessness and housing stability program will bring improved access and more support options to residents in need.

York Region will receive an increase of more than $5.1 million by 2020 through Ontario’s Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative. In addition to improving overall access and support options, the funding will also help the Region expand current programs and add new initiatives such as:

  • Planning, implementing and reporting on a homelessness enumeration every two years
  • Better understanding and supporting at-risk populations such as chronic homeless, youth and Indigenous peoples in the community

Investing in and strengthening homelessness prevention and housing stability support’s Council’s commitment under the 10-Year Housing Plan Housing Solutions: A place for everyone. For more information on York Region emergency and transitional housing, visit York.ca/housing


Residents invited to join new Planning Advisory Committee

York Regional Council will establish a new Planning Advisory Committee made up of residents and council members to review and make recommendations to Council on key planning related-matters.
 
The committee is being established in response to a recent amendment to Ontario’s Planning Act intended to increase the involvement of the community in the planning process.
 
Region staff will start the recruitment process for members this spring and report back to York Regional Council later this year. The advisory committee will likely be in place for early 2018.


York Region programs and services support good health for all

The Regional Municipality of York is helping residents of all ages, stages and income levels achieve their best possible health through prevention and early intervention-focused programs and services.
 
York Region has developed a number or strategies and programs to support the social determinants of health – the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age – including:

  • Strengthening the network of human services to support people in achieving their potential
  • Promoting job creation and business development
  • Focusing efforts on the availability of affordable housing
  • Making our communities welcoming and inclusive
  • Public awareness, advocacy and partnership opportunities

 A recent health improvement initiative undertaken through York Region’s Community and Health Services brought together York Region Public Health, the Town of Richmond Hill and residents of Housing York Inc. in the Age Friendly Communities Project. The partnership led to a community garden to increase socialization and provide fresh produce, a food skills program to improve cooking skills and nutrition, as well as an exercise area to increase physical activity.


Discretionary benefits updates for Ontario Works clients

York Regional Council received an update on discretionary benefits for Ontario Works program clients.
 
Following consultation with staff, service providers and clients, updates were introduced to continue supporting resident health and employability, while also managing costs and improving administrative efficiency.
 
Changes include modification of adult dental service options, funding for bed allowance once every five years and foot orthotic funding for medically verified needs only. Savings gained through these changes have been reinvested back into the program to meet the needs of a growing number of clients.
 
Under the Ontario Works Act, York Region’s Community and Health Services acts as administrator for the provincial Ontario Works program. In addition to basic financial assistance, clients are eligible for a variety of discretionary benefits, such as dental and vision care, mobility devices, baby supplies and funeral expenses.


Social Services transformation allows for made-in-York Region solutions

Provincial legislation changes are providing York Region with increased control over social service program funding, design, management and operation. This allows the Region to create local solutions for programs and services that are accessible, flexible and build economic independence for families.
Ongoing changes are impacting how all income-based benefits are accessed and delivered across Ontario to:

  • Improve client experience through a 'no wrong door' approach with multiple access points
  • Modernize tools, processes and policies
  • Stabilize and improve outcomes for clients and their families

 York Region is already making changes to modernize social service programs, including Child Care Fee Assistance, Children’s Community Programs, Early Intervention Services, Social Assistance and homelessness and housing stability programs.
 
York Region provides services directly to approximately 50,000 residents annually, and over 100,000 indirectly through parents, caregivers and individuals connected to clients. For more information on York Region community support for housing, health, child care and seniors, visit york.ca/communitysupport


YRT/Viva enhancing traveller experience

To enhance and improve YRT/Viva customer travel, York Regional Council approved amendments to the Transit Bylaw.
 
New offences added to the amended bylaw and subject to a fine include:  

  • Using electronic cigarettes and marijuana on transit property or transit vehicles
  • Operating a non-transit vehicle within a rapidway
  • Interference with or activating an emergency device on regional property or vehicle other than in an emergency

Guidelines for Municipally Collected Commercial and Institutional Waste

The Regional Municipality of York has worked with partners in our local towns and cities to develop best practice guidelines for municipally collected waste from commercial businesses and institutions.
                        
In York Region, curbside waste collection is managed by local towns and cities and then delivered to York Region for processing. The majority of municipally collected waste is from single family homes and multi-residential apartments and condominiums, and a small portion is from mixed-use commercial buildings, heritage downtown areas, main streets, places of worship, schools, small offices and retail buildings.
 
By collaborating with our local municipalities to develop best practice guidelines, we can offer consistent practices in waste separation, collection, recycling and disposal for commercial business and institutional properties.


Health and Safety Training

The Regional Municipality of York has obtained specialized Health and Safety Training for its Environmental Services Department using the services of Team-1 Academy Inc.
 
The delivery of water and wastewater services is highly regulated and requires specialized training for operators to ensure a safe work environment for certified water and wastewater staff to deliver services throughout the Region.
 
Some of the specialized health and safety courses include:

  • Confined space entry and rescue
  • Working at Heights and High Angle Climbing and Rescue
  • Self-contained Breathing Apparatus

Safe Handling and Storage of Water and Wastewater Chemicals


York Region renews contract with Google Maps

York Regional Council approved the contract renewal with Google Inc. to enable York Region’s expanded use of the licenced version of Google Maps.
 
York Region websites such as york.ca and yorkmaps.ca incorporate content from Google Maps to provide users with street view and trip-planning capability. York Region Transit’s mobile application uses Google Maps to provide real-time information to transit-users.


Next regular meeting of York Regional Council

York Regional Council will meet on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 9 a.m. in the York Region Administrative Centre Council Chambers, located at 17250 Yonge Street in the Town of Newmarket.

The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns, and provides a variety of programs and services to almost 1.2 million residents, 50,000 businesses and 595,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at york.ca/regionalservices

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Compiled by:      
Tamara Ostrowski, Corporate Communications Advisor
The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 1-877-464-9675, ext. 71226, Cell: 905-251-6415 
Email:   tamara.ostrowski@york.ca


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