The Regional Municipality Of York

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York Regional Council Highlights - February 27, 2020




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 responds to provincial consultations on health care modernization

York Regional Council and the York Region Board of Health have formally responded to the Ontario Ministry of Health’s proposed modernization of public health and emergency medical services.

Recognizing the Ministry’s consultation process as an important opportunity for municipalities to provide input on the future of public health in Ontario, York Region continues to advocate in favour of maintaining current governance, geography, service delivery and funding models. York Region Public Health is a best practice model and is well positioned to efficiently meet the needs of York Region residents.

Through the consultation, Regional Council has indicated strong support for a provincially-coordinated and centralized technology strategy to drive efficiencies, improve data quality and save money across the public health system.

Regional Council further supports the Ministry’s actions to modernize emergency health services and encourages the Ministry to accelerate the modernization of dispatch technologies to ensure residents receive the best possible level of emergency medical care. At the same time, Regional Council is advocating the province provide funding of paramedic services at 50% of actual costs and provide additional funding for capital costs.


Council asks local municipalities for feedback on Regional Fire Service

Regional Council has approved a motion requesting feedback from its nine local city and town councils on the potential creation of a Regional Fire Service.

With support from the local councils, York Region would proceed with a study to review the operating efficiencies, increased service levels and cost avoidance opportunities that could potentially result from the amalgamation of York Region’s local fire services.

Local councils have been asked to share their resolution to the motion by May 29, 2020 indicating support or opposition for a study on the potential creation of a Regional Fire Service.


York Region is now home to more than 54,000 businesses and over 650,000 jobs

Regional Council received the 2019 Employment and Industry Report which provides an annual overview of industry and employment trends in York Region.

Highlights from the report include:

  • 2.2% employment growth from 2018, continuing to outpace national and provincial employment rates for the fifth consecutive year
  • 654,650 estimated jobs in York Region as of mid-2019
  • 13,800 jobs added between 2018 and 2019
  • 78% of surveyed employment jobs are in service-producing sectors

In 2019, York Region surveyed 35,400 businesses through the York Region employment survey. The survey collects employment data and provides a snap shot of York Region’s economy. Data is compared over time to identify trends.


Major Mackenzie Drive construction project being accelerated

Regional Council approved accelerated improvements on Major Mackenzie Drive between McNaughton/Avro Road and Keele Street in the City of Vaughan. Enhancements will support travel to and from Highway 400, between the existing Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital and proposed Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital, as well as surrounding communities and businesses in the area.

To provide more efficient access to business and properties and improve traffic flow, a continuous centre turn lane will be installed. Other improvements include new traffic signals at Gram Street, a new eastbound right-turn lane at Keele Street and new active transportation facilities on Major Mackenzie Drive between Jane Street and Keele Street in the City of Vaughan. Detailed design will begin this year with construction expected to begin in 2022.


Bill 108 results in amendment to York Region’s Development Charge and Interest policies

Regional Council has approved a new interest charge policy in response to changes to the Development Charges Act introduced by Bill 108.

Starting January 1, 2020, developers can freeze the rate they will be charged at the date of site plan application or zoning bylaw amendment application. In addition, eligible types of development can now delay payment until the time of the building’s occupancy and then phase the payments over five or 20 years.

Council approved a fixed 5% interest rate per year on both frozen and phased development charges. Charging an annual interest rate of 5% helps the Region recover growth related costs for new infrastructure.

An amendment of the Development Charge bylaw is also planned in 2020 to reflect changes in Bill 108 and deal with administrative issues.


2019 Annual Tourism Update

Regional Council continues to play an important role in supporting and promoting tourism through its partnership with the York Region Arts Council, Experience York Region and other tourism stakeholders. In 2019 these partnerships resulted in increased community participation, attracting over 500,000 people and generating millions of dollars in tourism-related activities.

Based on 2019 successes, York Region’s partnership with the York Region Arts Council will continue through 2020 to provide more entertainment options and further enhance the Region’s appeal as a great place to live, work and play.


Mandated Review of Council Composition

The Province of Ontario, through the Municipal Act, requires Regional Council to review the number of representatives from each of its nine local municipalities by December 2020.

Based on representation by population, each current member of Council represents approximately 59,000 residents. However, representation varies across the Region with population per elected member as high as 82,258 in the City of Vaughan. In reviewing representation by population, Council has elected to support an additional member for the City of Vaughan.

In order to pass a bylaw to change the composition of Regional Council, the motion must pass a triple majority approval.

  • A triple majority is attained when the following three factors are met:
  • A majority of Regional Council votes in favour of the bylaw
  • A majority of the nine local municipal councils pass a resolution consenting to the bylaw

The total number of voters in the local municipalities that have passed resolutions for a majority of all electors in York Region
Council has considered the issue of regional representation on a number of occasions over the past 49 years, mostly with respect to council composition and representation by population. Demonstrating a commitment to responsible government, Council currently consists of 21 members, increasing by just four members since 1971 while population has grown from 170,000 to 1.2 million.


Piloting sustainable transit options

Regional Council has demonstrated their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by taking York Region Transit’s new battery electric buses for a test drive.

As part of a pilot program, the electric buses will service routes 55 Davis and 44 Bristol in the Town of Newmarket, and are possible through partnerships with the federal government, the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium, the Town of Newmarket and Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution.

Electrification of the transit fleet is one of many ways Regional Council is working to reduce its carbon footprint and achieve a goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2051.


York Region supports the need for long-term care beds

Regional Council has passed a resolution supporting the development of 100 long-term care beds in the City of Richmond Hill.

The resolution supports land use conversion of 9893 Leslie Street in the City of Richmond Hill from Employment to Employment/Institutional uses to permit the development of a proposed community hub and long-term care facility. In order to open the facility by the end of 2023, Regional Council agreed to a coordinated planning application process between York Region and the City of Richmond Hill to ensure development is not delayed by the Regional Municipal Comprehensive Review.


York Region and Windfall Ecology Center launch the Mayors’ Benchmarking Challenge

York Region Mayors and York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson joined Windfall Ecology Centre to launch the Climate Wise Mayors’ Benchmarking Challenge.

A friendly competition between local municipalities, the challenge is to aid in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions generated by York Region commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet. The challenge will help build awareness of the Provincial Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking program among local business and commercial building owners and help build sustainable communities across York Region.


Black History Month

Regional Council recognizes February as Black History Month. During Black History Month, Canadians celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous nation it is today.

York Region is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment that recognizes and celebrates all dimensions of diversity. Black History Month provides the opportunity to celebrate this diversity by honouring the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present.


Epilepsy awareness month

Regional Council recognizes March as Epilepsy awareness month and supports the fight against the misconceptions, discrimination and isolation those living with epilepsy face.

Epilepsy York Region and Epilepsy awareness month promote independence, optimal quality of life, specialized services and uniformed access to care for the more than 11,000 adults and children living with epilepsy in our communities.


Celebrating local food on Canada’s Agriculture Day

February 11, 2020 was Canada’s Agriculture Day, and Regional Council celebrated by recognizing the more than 700 farm-based businesses that make up York Region’s vibrant agriculture and food sector. Agriculture plays a vital role in York Region’s economic prosperity, contributing 57,000 jobs and $2.7 billion to the local economy every year.

Through the York Region Agriculture and Agri-Food Strategy and the development of the Agriculture Advisory Board, Regional Council continues to support and celebrate local food and the people who produce it.


Next regular meeting of York Regional Council

York Regional Council will meet on Thursday, March 26, 2020 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 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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Compiled by:
Kylie-Anne Doerner, Corporate Communications, The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 1-877-464-9675, ext. 71232 Cell: 289-716-6035
kylie-anne.doerner@york.ca

Council Highliht The Regional Municipality of York en-US Media Release