The Regional Municipality Of York

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York Regional Council HIghlights - December 17, 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 honours lives lost to COVID-19

York Regional Council held a moment of silence on Thursday, December 17, 2020, to pay respect to the residents who lost their lives to COVID-19 this year.

York Region reported its first positive cases of COVID-19 on February 29, 2020 and declared a state of emergency on March 23, 2020. Throughout the pandemic, protecting the health and safety of York Region residents has been the top priority of Regional Council.

In a moment of recognition and acknowledgement, Regional Council extended condolences to the families and loved one of those who lost the fight against COVID-19 and reaffirmed their commitment to protecting the health and safety of all who live and work in York Region.


York Region lockdown extended to January 23, 2021 

Effective December 26, 2020, York Region will entered a province-wide shutdown as part of the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.

New and enhanced restrictions in the shutdown include the closure of indoor and outdoor dining and drinking in bars and restaurants, sports, recreational facilities, community centres, meeting and event spaces, the prohibition of indoor shopping in non-essential retail stores and malls and the closure of personal care services, cinemas, performing art and gaming venues. In York Region, these closures will remain in place until January 23, 2021.

Additional measures in the province-wide shutdown include restricting access to shopping-malls and limiting capacity to 25% in discount and big box retail stores selling groceries.

To further slow the spread of COVID-19, students across the province will move to remote learning following the winter break on January 4, 2021. Elementary students will return to in-class learning on January 11, 2021, while secondary students will continue remote learning until January 25, 2021.


York Region’s on-going response to COVID-19

 Regional Council received an update on the continuing response to COVID-19 and actions taken to prevent the spread of the virus in the local community.

As the global pandemic evolves York Region remains responsive to the changing demands of COVID-19 with case and contact management, outbreak management, infection prevention control measures, transparent reporting and communications.

In his weekly update to Regional Council, York Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karim Kurji indicated pending mass vaccination of the population, the community can expect continued waves of infection. With recent federal approval of the Pfizer vaccine, it is estimated most of the population will be vaccinated by September 2021.

COVID-19 mass immunization planning is underway. However, many aspects are yet to be determined. In early 2021, staff will bring forward a more detailed report and presentation outlining York Region immunization plans for Regional Council’s consideration.

York Region’s actions continue to be focused on managing and preventing further transmission of the virus while protecting those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, York Region has been allocated more than $8.2 million in Social Services Relief Funding to continue necessary projects that support vulnerable populations. Most of this funding will support the continuation of York Region’s Self-Isolation Shelter and Transitional Shelter.

Funding will also support individuals and households at risk of homelessness through the Homelessness Prevention Program, Housing Stability Program or through a new short-term Temporary Rent Benefit Program.

An additional $8.1 million in anticipated Social Services Relief Funding, announced December 15, 2020, will be directed to further support vulnerable populations by mitigating on-going COVID-19 risks, encouraging longer-term housing-based solutions and enhancing rent assistance to vulnerable households.

As York Region continues to respond to COVID-19, Regional Council remains committed to supporting strong, caring and safe communities. Throughout this crisis, York Region has maintained york.ca/covid19 as a trusted source of information related to public health and safety.

Regional staff will continue to monitor community needs and their impact on Regional programs and services and provide updates to Regional Council and the community on the on-going response.


Regional Council receives presentation on COVID-19 therapeutics

Dr. Jeya Nadaraja, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control, Anti-microbial Stewardship and Medical Microbiology Laboratory Programs at Markham Stouffville Hospital, provided Regional Council with and overview of therapies and therapeutics used in the treatment of COVID-19.

During the presentation, Dr. Nadarajah walked through the progression of COVID-19 and described how the virus targets an individual’s immune system. Regional Council was also provided with an overview of the pharmaceutical and medical therapies available to individuals with severe cases of COVID-19, many of which are still in clinical trials.

Through a deeper understanding of the limited medical interventions and therapies available to treat COVID-19, Regional Council is better equipped to make decisions in response to the pandemic that protect the health and well-being of all residents.


Financial impacts of COVID-19

Regional Council received a memo outlining the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario’s independent report on the financial impact of COVID-19 on municipal budgets.

The report, which uses internal municipal estimates and publicly available information, projects Ontario municipalities will incur significantly lower revenues and higher expenses in 2020, 2021 and 2022 as a result of COVID-19.

The impacts of COVID-19, projected to be $151 million in 2020, have been mitigated by staffing redeployments, deferral of non-essential activities, senior government funding to assist with pandemic-related impacts and other savings. As the 2021 budget is developed, known COVID-19-related pressures are expected to reach almost $70 million in 2021 and $45 million in 2022.

On December 10, 2020, Regional Council approved the creation of a Pandemic Management Reserve Fund to assist any future tax-supported expenditure or revenue shortfall due to COVID-19.

Funding received from other levels of government through pandemic relief funds could be directed to the Pandemic Management Reserve Fund to address future pressures. These funds would be in addition to any potential operating surpluses; based on projected year-end results, the contribution to this reserve could be almost $63 million for 2020.

Council has also temporarily suspended the Surplus Management Policy, redirecting the contribution of any future tax supported operating surplus to the new Pandemic Management Reserve Fund. The creation of this dedicated reserve fund complies with requirement that municipalities hold any excess 2020 funding from the Phase 1 Safe Restart Agreement of offset future pressures.


2021 Water and Wastewater User Rates move to 0% increase

Regional Council has adopted amended recommendations to 2021 Water and Wastewater User Rates. The previously approved 2.9% increase in the combined water and wastewater wholesale rate for the year beginning April 1, 2021 has moved to 0% increase, maintaining the rate at the existing $3.07 per cubic metre.

In April 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Council decided not to proceed with a planned water and wastewater rate increase for 2020, instead maintaining user rates at their 2019 level. Any operating shortfall due to changes against budget will be drawn from rate stabilization reserves.

After the Region completes a User Rate Study in Q2 2021, Council will be asked to consider recommendations for a new multi-year plan for future rates. The 2021 User Rate Study will assess COVID-19 impacts and other pressures in more detail to recommend rates in 2022 and beyond that will ensure long-term financial sustainability for water and wastewater.

York Region water is safe, reliable, clean, affordable and convenient. To learn more about your water visit york.ca/wateris


York Region encourages residents to stay home New Year’s Eve

York Region Transit, along with various transit agencies across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, will not offer free transit on New Year’s Eve.

Under provincewide shutdown restrictions, Regional Council is encouraging residents to make responsible choices and limit New Year’s Eve celebrations to members of the immediate household.

York Region Transit will look to resume annual New Year’s Eve service to discourage residents from driving while impaired in 2021.


Set fines in place for mask and face-covering offenses on York Region Transit

Regional Council authorized a request to the Ontario Court of Justice to establish a set fine for York Region Transit travellers who do not follow mandatory face-covering requirements.

Under York Region’s Transit Bylaw 2017-17, travellers failing to wear a face-covering while on a transit vehicle or at a transit facility may face a set fine of $150.

York Region Transit enforcement officers continue to exercise discretion in bylaw compliance, focusing on education, verbal and written warnings. The issuance of fines will be reserved for travellers who blatantly disregard face-covering requirements.


Recommendation for End of Community Housing Mortgages

Regional Council endorsed the Provincial Service Manager Position Paper on how mortgage savings might be redirected to allow the Region to support existing community housing assets and invest in its 10-year housing and homelessness plan.

Regional Council also endorsed in principle that mortgage savings remain in the housing and homelessness sector and up to 40% of the savings be allocated to capital repairs of all effected housing providers.

If approved by the Province, Service Managers would retain the mortgage savings and reinvest the savings to address the unique needs of their local communities. This approach can enable the Region to advance local goals, including priorities under the 2019 to 2023 Corporate Strategic Plan and goals under the 10-year housing and homelessness plan, without additional financial burden on municipal taxpayers.


More affordable housing coming to Town of Georgina

Regional Council has approved the addition of four modular affordable housing units in the Town of Georgina.

Located at Housing York Inc.’s Sutton Youth Shelter at 20898 Dalton Road, when complete these homes will provide new transitional housing units for individuals and families at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness.

Construction of these units are funded by the Ontario Government’s Social Services Relief Fund (SSRF) Phase Two allocation. As one of the Emergency Housing providers for York Region, The Salvation Army will operate these four units.


Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with York Region fleets

Regional Council approved the Transit and Corporate Fleet Electrification Plans which includes the transition of all sedans and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) owned by the Region to electric vehicles by 2030 and the transition of York Region Transit’s fleet to clean electric bus technology by 2051.

The conversion of Regional sedans and SUVs to electric technology has been underway since 2013 and identifies short, medium and long-term goals to convert sedans and SUVs to GHG emissions-free technology. Corporate fleet electrification plans support York Region’s long-term goal of producing zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2051.


Input provided for the Ontario government’s Food and Organic Waste Policy Statement

Regional Council reviewed the Ontario government’s proposed amendments to the Food and Organic Waste Policy Statement and York Region’s recommendations for food waste reduction and organics diversion:

  • Add targets for recovery of compostable products and packaging to the blue box regulation
  • Strengthen language regarding producer responsibility in the policy statement
  • Ensure producers are held responsible for finding cost effective solutions to managing materials
  • Collaborate with federal government and other stakeholders to update compostability certification standards to ensure products are designed to break down with existing green bin processing technology
  • Standardize labelling requirements so consumers clearly understand which products are acceptable in green bin programs

The policy statement aligns with the Region’s existing commitments and leadership on food waste reduction and diversion through the Good Food and Green Bin programs. York Region supports shifting to a circular economy, including collaboration with other sectors to find solutions for compostable packaging and reducing reliance on single-use plastics that end up in landfills or polluting ecosystems.

York Region will continue to advocate, develop policy, support innovative technologies and engage with our residents and businesses to help find solutions and keep moving towards a world where nothing goes to waste.


Funding application for universal broadband

Regional Council reviewed the upcoming Universal Broadband Funding Application to further expand YorkNet’s broadband connectivity in York Region.

This funding application is in addition to a previously approved application for Improving Connectivity for Ontario Program and will address allocations in a number of important areas such as:

  • Funding dedicated to projects that can be started and completed quickly with immediate connectivity
  • Funding available to advance large-scale, high impact projects
  • Funding for projects primarily benefiting Indigenous peoples

Through the Universal Broadband Fund, York Region will bring high-speed internet to 462 households on Georgina Island and in the community of Udora by early 2021.


Regional Council endorses policy direction for Regional Official Plan update

Regional Council approved the Regional Official Plan Policy Directions Report as part of the Municipal Comprehensive Review leading to the Regional Official Plan update scheduled for late 2021.

A number of updates are being undertaken to conform with updates in the Provincial Policy Statement forecasting York Region’s growth to approximately 2.02 million people and 990,000 jobs by 2051.

Specific policy directions for consideration are laid out in the current report, with additional reports to be presented to Regional Council early in 2021.


York Region recognizes World AIDS Day

Regional Council recognized Tuesday, December 1, 2020 as World AIDS Day and the start of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week in Canada.

While important advancements in treatment have been made in recent years, many living with HIV/AIDS are still confronted with stigma and discrimination. Regional Council stands with those affected by Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and acknowledge we all have a responsibility to work together to educate those who have misconceptions about HIV/AIDS to eliminate bias and judgement.

York Region Public Health has health clinics offering a wide range of testing and treatment services in a confidential, non-judgmental setting, including HIV testing. Services at the clinics are available at no cost to all York Region residents and a health card is not required.


National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Regional Council recognized December 6, 2020 as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

This solemn day is recognized in remembrance of the 14 women at Ecole Poly-technique Montreal, who in 1989 were murdered in a senseless act of violence against women.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is acknowledged annually to honour lives lost and reaffirm a collective commitment to prevent and address gender-based violence.


International Human Rights Day

Regional Council recognized International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2020.

Observed annually, International Human Rights Day commemorates the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaims the basic rights everyone is entitled to as a human being, regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political opinion, birth or other status.

Human Rights Day also offers opportunity for Regional Council to reaffirm their commitment to the Inclusion Charter for York Region and to eradicating social injustices and inequalities in our communities.


Next meeting of York Regional Council

York Regional Council will meet on Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 9 a.m. To maintain physical distancing and protect the health and well-being of residents, this is currently planned to be a virtual meeting and 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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Media Contact:
Kylie-Anne Doerner, Corporate Communications
The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 1-877-464-9675, ext. 71232, Cell: 289-176-6035
Kylie-anne.doerner@york.ca

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