The Regional Municipality Of York

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York Regional Council Highlights - September 21, 2017




Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua appointed to the York Regional Police Services Board

York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson announced the appointment of City of Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua to the York Regional Police Services Board, effective October 2017.

Mayor Bevilacqua replaces City of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti who has served on the Board for the last 10 years and has been the Board Chair for the last five years. Under Mayor Scarpitti’s purview, the Board approved a new police training facility to deliver first-class training to police officers, established the Real Time Operations Centre allowing command staff to use technology to effectively deploy resources to manage emerging situations and continued to adopt innovative approaches to improve crime prevention and traffic safety.

The York Regional Police Services Board is the civilian governing body of York Regional Police.


City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Sunder Singh to join Housing York Inc. Board

York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson announced City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Sunder Singh has been appointed to the Board of Directors for Housing York Inc. Housing York is York Region’s largest housing provider and is responsible for owning and operating affordable rental housing in York Region.

The Board will now comprise of 11 board members who set strategic direction and approve budget and corporate reports including forecasts and financial statements.


Town of Georgina Regional Councillor Naomi Davison appointed to York Region Agricultural Advisory Liaison Group

York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson announced Town of Georgina Regional Councillor Naomi Davison will serve on the York Region Agricultural Advisory Liaison Group.

The advisory group plays an important role in overseeing initiatives that connect residents to local farmers and markets, creating opportunities for engaging the agricultural community.


Municipal Court Managers Association of Ontario award

York Regional Council congratulated Lisa Brooks, Director of Court Operations, on her receipt of the Municipal Court Managers Association Award for Ontario.

Ms. Brooks received this prestigious award based on her ability to advocate for change, be creative and forward thinking and promote new ideas and solutions to improve the Region.

Members of the association are actively engaged in promoting best and proven practices and many individuals contribute their time and expertise on various committees.

Municipal Court Managers Association of Ontario Award

(L to R) York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson;Joy Hulton York Regional Solicitor; Lisa Brooks Director Court Operations,Legal Services; Bruce Macgregor York Region Chief Administrative Officer.


York Region continues to rank first among large municipalities for waste diversion

York Regional Council received an update on the 2016 Annual Solid Waste Diversion Report which highlights the Region’s integrated waste management system. Together with local cities and towns, York Region continues to lead the way with sustainable reuse, recycling and diversion programs that are diverting more than 90 per cent of waste from landfill.

2016 Achievements include collection of over:

  • 84,000 tonnes of blue box recyclables
  • 97,000 tonnes of organics
  • 37,000 tonnes of yard waste
  • 1,200 tonnes of household hazardous waste
  • 1,400 tonnes of waste electronics

York Region is committed to the ‘four Rs’ of recycling, reducing, reusing and the recovery of energy through energy-from-waste initiatives such as the world-class Durham York Energy Centre.

Energy-from-waste captures energy content from waste remaining after all recycling efforts have taken place, lowers greenhouse gas emissions, recovers metals and reduces the volume of waste going to landfill.


Character Community Week

York Regional Council recognizes October 23 to 28, 2017 as Character Community Week to encourage residents to find examples of character in our communities.

A number of events will be held during the week to raise awareness about the Character Community initiatives and the benefits of living with positive character.

The Character Community Foundation of York Region is a group of leaders and volunteers from the community, government, education and business sectors.


Report of the Minister’s Expert Panel on Public Health

York Regional Council received an update on changes being proposed to the governance and operations of public health units across Ontario. The proposal, outlined in an Expert Panel Report, has not been endorsed by the Province. However, if implemented they will significantly transform the delivery of public health services in York Region.

The primary recommendation in the Expert Panel’s report is to restructure current public health units into smaller regional public health entities with free-standing autonomous boards of health. The proposal also includes new catchment areas for new public health entities based on a set of criteria.

York Region will continue to monitor and provide updates on the status of the recommendations. A proposed consultation response will be prepared for consideration by York Regional Council and the Board of Health on October 19, 2017.


2017 credit rating update

York Region’s credit rating has been re-affirmed by Moody’s Investor Service and S&P Global Ratings based on the Region’s financial management and fiscal strategy approved by Regional Council.

Moody’s re-affirmed its Aaa/Stable rating for York Region based on:

  • A high level of cash investments
  • Prudent and far-sighted fiscal management
  • A track record of positive operating outcomes
  • York Region’s diversified and expanding economy

S&P Global Ratings re-affirmed its AA+/Stable rating for York Region based on:

  • Budgetary flexibility
  • Excellent liquidity balances
  • A well-diversified economy
  • Strong financial management practices

These ratings contribute to York Region’s ability to access the capital markets and borrow at historically low rates.


Federal and provincial funding opportunities: 2017 update

York Region continues to benefit from federal and provincial funding. To date, the Region has received $72 million in funding as part of Phase I of the government’s $180 billion infrastructure program. Thirty-one York Region projects received funding under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, as well as the Rail Safety Improvement Program. The Region also benefited from the provinces cap and trade program, which invests in programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Phase II of the federal government’s $180 billion infrastructure program is expected to support York Region initiatives, specifically in transit. However, York Regional staff have concerns with how the government plans to allocate public transit funding based on ridership. As such, staff will continue to monitor and pursue additional funding opportunities. View the Federal and Provincial funding opportunities memo.


Proposed changes to the Land Use Planning Appeal System and Conservation Authorities Act under Bill 139

York Regional Council received an update on proposed changes to the Ontario Land Use Planning Appeal System and Conservation Authorities Act under Bill 139, Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017.

Proposed changes to Bill 139 reflect York Region’s previous recommendations to eliminate the majority of appeals and shelter provincially approved plans. York Region submitted two letters to the Province outlining further recommendations to Bill 139.

Land Use Planning Appeal System recommendations include:

  • Official Plan Amendment applications should not be permitted prior to the provincially mandated review
  • Provide further clarification on the process for appeals currently in the Ontario Municipal Board
  • Extend timelines with respect to decisions found by the Tribunal not to be in conformity with provincial policies or plans

Conservation Authorities Act recommendations include:

  • Conservation Authorities core mandate be clearly defined, including a role for Conservation Authorities in climate change adaptation
  • Requesting the Ministry restore their historic levels of its 50-50 funding commitment to the Conservation Authorities
  • Support greater enforcement powers for all Conservation Authorities

These recommendations have been shared with the Province, local municipalities and local Conservation Authorities.


Mid-year development activity summary

York Regional Council received the Mid-Year Development Activity Summary 2017 Report, which provides an overview of York Region’s planning and engineering development approvals within the first half of 2017. Development Charge revenue totaled $263,393,724, representing a 68-per cent increase from mid-year 2016. These achievements directly contribute to the growth and economic vitality of York Region.

Additional highlights include:

  • Development activity remained strong in the first half of 2017 with the Region responding to 144 development applications, an increase of six per cent compared to the first half of 2016
  • Regional staff actively participate in Technical Advisory Committees and Project Working Groups
  • Regional staff continue to be involved with Ontario Municipal Board proceedings
  • Development is anticipated to remain strong in the second half of 2017

Expansion of after-school program at social housing sites

York Regional Council approved a recommendation to maintain and expand after-school programs at four social housing sites in the City of Markham and Towns of Richmond Hill and Newmarket.

Transportation costs, social isolation, mental health and complex situations can make it difficult for families and children living in social housing to access supports.

With the on-site after-school programs, children and youth (age seven to 17) living in social housing benefit from various age-specific activities, including homework help, sports, cooking and employment skills.

Starting in 2018, after-school programs will move to include school breaks, professional development days and summer programming. Subject to budget approval and consultation on proposed locations, two more social housing sites will be added in 2019 bringing the total to six.

View the report for more information on after-school program at social housing sites.


Early learning and child care agreement funding

York Region received $5.8 million in Canada-Ontario Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) funding from the Government of Ontario to increase service levels and improve child care environments.

With the additional funding, more money is available to increase access to child care for families with a combined income of $36,000 or less, or those who qualify based on a provincial income test. Previous provincial investment has successfully reduced the Region’s child care fee assistance waitlist by 65 per cent.

York Region helps make child care more affordable for families with low-to-moderate incomes by providing child care fee assistance, offering family services and operator funding to support children with special needs. The Region also manages provincial funding to enhance wages of Early Childhood Educators and supporting local children’s services planning.

For more information on child care fee assistance or eligibility, visit york.ca/children


York Region submission to Federal Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultation

As part of York Region’s ongoing commitment to reducing poverty in York Region, York Regional Council endorsed the submission to the Government of Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

York Region’s submission focused on:

  • Improving existing government programs by providing more flexibility and long-term funding commitments for affordable housing and to build new affordable housing
  • Identifying key programs missing in addressing poverty including access to oral health care as part of the universal health care system, and a national Early Learning and Child Care Framework

The Government of Canada is committed to reducing poverty and improving the economic well-being of all Canadians. An online and in-person consultation process took place from February to August 2017 to engage with Canadians on key issues related to poverty. Information gathered from the consultation process will inform the development of Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.


Proposed Municipal Asset Management Planning Regulation

York Regional Council endorsed comments that support a Municipal Asset Management Planning Regulation by the Province.

Some of the Region’s recommendations include:

  • Require a complete asset lifecycle management planning approach with operational costs
  • Avoid conflicting with other legislation, specifically the Development Charges Act
  • Allow municipalities to define levels of service, working with stakeholders and Council

Other municipalities and associations across Ontario have also provided recommendations to the Ministry of Infrastructure on the Proposed Asset Management Planning Regulation, which generally align with York Region’s recommendations.

York Region is committed to ensuring its infrastructure and services are sustainable for the long term. A consistent, streamlined standard for asset management planning will foster a culture of improved asset management across the Province. York Region will continue to monitor the regulation as it comes into effect to ensure its policies and plans align with the legislated requirements.


Addressing food and organic waste in Ontario

York Regional Council provided comments supporting the Province’s development of a framework to address food and organic waste. The framework is intended to gather information and feedback to assist the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in creating an action plan to reduce food waste and support organics processing capacity.

Key recommendations for consideration in developing the framework include:

  • Reduce the amount of food that becomes waste as the primary opportunity for improvement
  • Increase diversion efforts in multi-residential, industrial, commercial and institutional sectors such as buildings and condominiums
  • Engage public health agencies to help support standardizing use and meaning of “best before” dates on food packaging

York Region continues to demonstrate leadership in food waste through its SM4RT Living Plan, which also includes a local strategy to help reduce food waste.

The Region will continue to engage local municipal partners and the Ministry to ensure suggestions and alignment are provided in this process.


Affordable Rental Innovation Fund

York Regional Council received an update on a submission to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Affordable Rental Innovation Fund. The fund provides the Region with an opportunity to develop an innovative housing model to help address gaps in York Region’s high cost ownership and constrained rental markets.

York Region is seeking up to $50,000 from CMHC to develop and test the feasibility of a combined ownership and rental housing model for low and moderate-income households that could be implemented by Housing York Inc. The goal of combining ownership and rental is to generate income to subsidize affordable rents for low-income households and provide capital to invest in future affordable housing developments.


Long-term care performance management report

York Regional Council received an annual performance management report on the Region’s two long-term care homes, which provide care for 232 residents.

Annual satisfaction surveys conducted in 2016 indicate residents’ and families’ strong satisfaction with the homes, with 90 per cent of all respondents rating the homes as “good, very good or excellent.” The homes are meeting Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care requirements and have identified program areas and services for continued improvements.

Looking ahead to 2018, objectives to be achieved include:

  • Continue to implement processes to maintain accreditation for the long-term care homes
  • Increase the amount of one-to-one recreation programming with residents to accommodate their functional challenges
  • Continue work to engage staff in communication, education and leadership development
  • Introduce new and innovative programs and therapies to enhance resident engagement and enjoyment of life and partner with the Ontario Association of Residents’ Council

Response to Provincial guidance on Natural Heritage and Agricultural System

York Regional Council requested the Government of Ontario keep provincial plans in draft form until a consultative community approach can be taken.

Incorporating municipal, public and stakeholder feedback would:

  • Accurately map existing settlement designations
  • Outline concerns with proposed areas for inclusion into the Natural Heritage System
  • Assess the viability of agricultural lands completely surrounded by urbanized areas
  • Permit local municipalities to complete environmental studies before the Natural Heritage System mapping is finalized
  • Municipalities which have completed detailed natural heritage system analysis have the opportunity to highlight additional lands not currently identified by the Province, for example Oak Ridges Corridor Nature Reserve in Richmond Hill

The report will be circulated by the Regional Clerk to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, York Region Agricultural Advisory Liaison Group and the clerks of the local municipalities.


Transportation capital programming

York Regional Council received an update on the Transportation Capital Programming process used to develop and prioritize projects in the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) and the 10-Year Transportation Capital Plan. This newly-approved process seeks to maximize the return on investment for the prioritized transportation projects. Staff will complete a review of the Transportation Capital Programming process and report back to Council next spring. Any potential changes would be used to guide the development of the 2019-2023 multi-year budget and 2019-2029 10-Year Transportation Capital Plan.


Pedestrian crossing signal on Mulock Drive at Newmarket High School

York Regional Council authorized staff to begin the design work on a pedestrian crossing signal on Mulock Drive at Newmarket High School. Since 2009, 1,000 additional homes have been added within the southeast section of the school’s catchment area. Ongoing development will likely attract more students who would benefit from a pedestrian crossing signal, as well as visitors to Heritage Farm and Community Garden, Fernbank soccer field and local residential homes. This location experiences the highest combination of traffic and pedestrian volumes. The pedestrian signal is expected to be installed in the summer of 2018 in preparation for the 2018 to 2019 school year.


Transition to paperless fare media and zone elimination

York Regional Council received an update on the transition to paperless fare media and zone elimination that was introduced July 1, 2017. Updates include:

  • PRESTO card usage is up three per cent in July compared to usage in June 2017
  • Over 3,300 Mobility Plus customers transitioned to PRESTO before July 1
  • The YRT/Viva Pay app has over 3,100 downloads as customers begin to transition to new, modern mobile payment option
  • Since the launch of PRESTO in 2011, YRT/Viva has issued over 71,000 PRESTO cards. PRESTO is a smart card fare option for YRT/Viva that allows customers to pay their fare with the tap of their card. For more information about PRESTO on YRT/Viva, please visit yrt.ca

Transit staff will continue to advertise paperless options and to educate travellers through community outreach efforts, especially during the month of September as the back-to-school season continues.


2018 transit initiatives

York Regional Council approved five new initiatives York Region Transit (YRT/Viva) will focus on in 2018 to enhance the customer experience while achieving greater efficiencies.  These initiatives are:

  • Aligning transit services with the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension in Vaughan, opening December 17, 2017
  • Aligning transit services with the Cornell Terminal in Markham
  • Increasing capacity on select, high-ridership routes with 60-foot articulated buses
  • Expanding on-demand services through the Dial-a-Ride program
  • Harmonizing Mobility Plus policies and operating practices with other para-transit services across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

Grade separations agreements

York Regional Council authorized staff to enter into agreements for two grade separation projects planned for Major Mackenzie Drive and Rutherford Road in Vaughan.

Grade separations look to separate the roadway from the railway that cross each other to ensure road traffic can pass over or under train traffic, eliminating any inconvenience for motorists and for trains travelling through the area.

The grade separation on Major Mackenzie Drive will accommodate six lanes, multi-use paths and sidewalks and is the first step in the widening of the road between Highways 50 and 400. The existing level crossing requires a grade separation because of future increases in vehicle and train traffic.

The Rutherford Road grade separation consists of a road underpass to be widened to six lanes and travels underneath the Barrie GO Transit rail tracks. The existing level crossing requires a grade separation because of increasing GO Transit service on the GO Barrie Line and will help to improve the management of traffic.


Funding submission for Transport Canada’s National Trade Corridors Fund

York Regional Council endorsed three Regional projects for submission for funding under Transport Canada’s National Trade Corridors Fund program:

  • Elgin Mills Road Grade Separation
  • Keele Street Grade Separation
  • Major Mackenzie Drive Road Widening

The selected projects will help address capacity constraints, facilitate goods movement and improve the safety and efficiency of all modes of transportation.


Greater Toronto Airports Authority update

York Regional Council received an update from the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) which operates Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Plans to accommodate future growth of the airport include:

  • Phased terminal expansion including additional gates, more baggage capacity and increased flights
  • Eventual single adjoining terminal
  • Addition of passenger processing centre

Toronto Pearson is committed to building a Regional Transit Centre that could serve as the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area’s second major mobility hub after Union Station.

The GTAA continues to focus on growing Toronto Pearson's status as an international gateway by enhancing the customer experience, safety, security and the regional economy.


York Region Committee and Council dates for 2018

York Regional Council approved the Committee and Council calendar for 2018. You can view the dates on the events calendar on york.ca or stay up to date by downloading York Region’s mobile app.


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, 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:

Masrine Guthrie-Peart, Communications Specialist
The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 1-877-464-9675, ext. 77272
Cell: 905-251-6416
Email: masrine.guthrie-peart@york.ca


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