The Regional Municipality Of York

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York Regional Council Highlights - Thursday, June 27, 2019



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 here.


Ontario Nurses Association Negotiation

York Regional Council approved a two-year renewal collective agreement between The Regional Municipality of York and the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA).

The previous collective agreement, representing 239 nursing professionals, expired March 31, 2019. Negotiation teams began bargaining earlier this year, reaching a tentative agreement on May 22 and subsequently ratified by the Association membership on June 4, 2019.

The contract is retroactive to April 1, 2019 and expires on March 31, 2021. Details of the agreement include a wage increase of 1 per cent effective April 1, 2019 and April 1, 2020.

At York Region, the Ontario Nurses’ Association represents public health nurses, registered nurses, childbirth educators and clinical nurse specialists.


York Region’s city centres prime location for business investment

York Regional Council received an update on the state of office development in the Region, and reconfirmed its commitment to city building by considering the potential use of financial incentives to encourage new office development in key locations.

Changing trends in the office development market, combined with provincial changes to development charges outlined in Bill 108, have prompted the Region’s to consider financial incentives as a means to help stimulate the supply of office space within key areas.

With Council’s endorsement, York Region will consult with our cities and towns, Building Industry and Land Development Association and industry stakeholders on potential financial incentives and report back with proposed recommendations in late 2019.


York Regional Council asks Province to advance highway projects

York Regional Council is asking the Province of Ontario to accelerate three highway projects needed to allow better travel and access to lands designated for employment. The projects include:

  • GTA West Highway – 50-kilometre, four-to-six-lane provincial highway extending from Highway 400 in York Region to Highway 401 in Halton Region
  • Highway 400-404 Connecting Link - proposed 16-kilometre, four-lane provincial highway to connect Highway 400 in the Town of Bradford-West Gwillimbury to Highway 404 in the Town of East Gwillimbury
  • Highway 404 Extension - proposed 39-kilometre, four-lane provincial highway to extend Highway 404 from Woodbine Avenue south of Ravenshoe Road in the Town of East Gwillimbury to Highway 12 in Durham Region

All three highway projects are identified in York Region’s Transportation Master Plan, which assesses existing transportation system performance, forecasts future travel demand and defines actions and policies to address road, transit and active transportation needs in York Region to 2041.


Community Report provides insight into York Region financial health

York Regional Council received the 2018 Community Report, which profiles key 2018 accomplishments. It also highlights the Region’s strong financial state, information about York Region’s multi-year budgeting and the Regional Fiscal Strategy.

The Community Report delivers a comprehensive look into York Region’s strategic goals, demographics and highlights the Regional Services provided to our residents.

Regional Council also received annual updates for four York Region partner organizations:


York Region’s waste reduction efforts continue to be strong

York Regional Council received an update on the Region’s plan to address the four Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle and recover) and zero in on long-term waste reduction.

York Region’s SM4RT Living Plan sets direction for waste management policy and programs, with a focus on waste reduction and continuous improvement of services in the integrated waste management system for the next 25 to 40 years.

The Balanced Scorecard report is updated annually and measures progress on programs delivered as part of the SM4RT Living Plan.

The report highlights initiatives in the following areas:

  • Products and packaging: Advocating the province to make producers fully responsible for collecting and recycling their products and packaging. This will drive producers to make better packaging and product designs that are recyclable, as well as generate more recycling markets to turn these items into new products.
  • Influence consumer choices: Providing residents with opportunities for reuse and repair through innovative programs such as repair cafés, lending libraries, curbside giveaway days and textile diversion.
  • Increasing diversion through recycling and composting: Providing convenient, easily accessible recycling programs, generating energy and reclaiming resources such as metals from waste, and increasing the opportunities for recycled material to become new products and packaging. The Region also strongly supports a deposit return program for single use-plastic, aluminum and metal drink containers to augment the curbside Blue Box program.

York Region will continue to update and refine the initiatives of the SM4RT Living plan to ensure it is well-aligned with the province’s shift towards a circular economy.


York Region expands partnership with ventureLAB

York Regional Council has renewed its partnership agreement with ventureLAB, increasing annual core funding to $150,000 and introducing an additional one-year $100,000 investment through the Region’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund.

Regional Innovation Centres such as ventureLAB develop and deliver support programs and services that target technology-based entrepreneurs starting and growing global enterprises.

York Region has invested more than $800,000 since 2011 to support ventureLAB. Some successes of this partnership include:

  • Assisting 2,000 businesses create more than 3,500 jobs
  • Helping more than 100 companies raise over $103 million in private and public investments
  • Engaging 158 local businesses through one-on-one growth advisory services

Collaborating with MaRS and Communitech for an advanced manufacturing supercluster called Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGEN Canada)


York Region continues to protect thriving agriculture sector

York Regional Council has received a report outlining the Region’s proposed approach to implementing the provincial agricultural system approach to land use planning.

In 2017, the Province introduced an agricultural systems approach to support the protection of farmland and the promotion of agri-food in Ontario. In York Region, the agriculture and agri-food sector have a strong economic presence and the implementation of the provincial system will further support its prosperity.

As part of the Municipal Comprehensive Review process, York Region will begin updating policies and proposed land-use maps to designate the agricultural system, prime agricultural areas, rural lands and specialty crop areas including the Holland Marsh. Through continued consultation with local municipalities, the Agriculture Committee, provincial staff and the public, York Region will update the draft Regional Official Plan, which will be presented to Regional Council in 2020.


Mobility On-Demand service providing connection to travellers in rural areas

York Regional Council received an update on Mobility On-Demand service in the Towns of East Gwillimbury, Georgina and Aurora. Mobility On-Demand is a YRT service connecting travellers in rural areas to convenient transit.

The service is very flexible, with a sedan, mini-van or a small bus picking up travellers at an addressed, curb location and taking them to the closest bus stop. Travellers then transfer onto conventional transit to complete their journey.

Benefits of the Mobility On-Demand service include:

  • Achieving a high-level of customer satisfaction by limiting wait time, travel time and the need to pre-order or pre-schedule travel
  • Reducing traffic by creating more shared rides
  • Providing an economical transportation option for those who do not have access to direct transit service
  • Reducing the number of vehicles on the road and ultimately, greenhouse gas emissions

YRT will continue to build Mobility On-Demand services, focusing on areas in York Region where ridership does not warrant traditional transit service, with a goal to help reduce the number of single occupant vehicles on the roads during peak periods.


Stepping up and improving road safety

The Regional Municipality of York is continuing to make road and intersection improvements to further enhance
pedestrian and cyclist safety.

The following five intersections have been selected for additional safety enhancements this summer:

  • Major Mackenzie Drive and Bayview Avenue in the City of Richmond Hill
  • Highway 7 and Leslie Street in the City of Richmond Hill
  • Yonge Street and Clark Avenue in the City of Markham
  • Bathurst Street and Carrville/Rutherford Road in the City of Richmond Hill
  • Bathurst Street and Clark Avenue in the City of Vaughan

Improvements include no right turns on red lights, exclusive left turn signal, pedestrian and cyclist right-of-way signage and advanced pedestrian crossing signal.

The performance of these safety measures will be measured over a one-year period to evaluate benefits and better understand the impacts on traffic flow.

For more information on road safety, visit york.ca/transportation


Three additional rapidways set to open by 2020

As part of the Region’s commitment to improve the traveller experience, York Region continues to build rapidways providing more efficient travel options. Rapidway lanes operating in the centre of the road are dedicated for bus rapid transit service and allow Viva buses – and emergency vehicles – to move out of mixed traffic lanes, decreasing transit travel times and increasing on-time performance.

Anticipated completion dates of current rapidway projects include:

  • December 2019: Highway 7 West Rapidway in the City of Vaughan
  • December 2019: Yonge Street in the Town of Newmarket
  • December 2020: Yonge Street section of rapidway in the City of Richmond Hill

Ontario Community Housing Renewal Strategy

York Regional Council authorized implementation of two federal and provincial housing programs to improve access to community housing and supports for homelessness.

Ontario’s Community Housing Renewal Strategy includes funding for two new housing programs: the Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative (COCHI) and the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI), as well as continuation of funding for the Community Homeless Prevention Initiative (CHPI) and the Home for Good program. Under the COCHI and OPHI, York Region will receive $17.4 million in new funding that can be used to increase and sustain the supply of community housing and address housing affordability between 2019 and 2022.

Since 2001, the federal and provincial governments have made investments to increase the supply of rental housing and increase housing affordability. Over the past five years, York Region has built 327 new affordable housing units, 42 emergency housing beds and 20 transitional units. An additional 459 affordable housing units are set to open between 2019 and 2021.

Under the Housing Services Act 2011, York Region is the service manager for community housing, as well as homelessness prevention and housing stability programs. Community housing provides subsidized and affordable housing for low and moderate income households. Homelessness prevention and housing stability programs include emergency and transitional housing, drop-in and aftercare supports, financial assistance and case management supports.


Update on York Region’s 10-year Housing and Homelessness Prevention Plan

York Regional Council received an update on the 10-Year Housing and Homeless Plan, Housing Solutions: A Place for Everyone.

Between 2014 and 2018, all 28 of the phase one actions outlined in the Housing Solutions plan were completed or initiated. Work is already underway on six of nine actions outlined in phase two of the plan.

In 2018, progress toward the action plan included incentives for affordable rental housing, help for people waiting for subsidized housing and enhancing supports for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

York Region’s first Housing and Homeless Plan was approved by Council in 2014. Actions in the plan directly support York Region’s 2019-2023 strategic priority to support community health and well-being and align with the Region’s Vision 2051 of appropriate housing for all ages and stages.


Transit Assistance Program pilot extended until December 2019

The Transit Assistance Program (TAP) was implemented in January 2018 as a one-year pilot to investigate improving access to YRT services for York Region residents living on a low-income.

At the end of December 2018, there were 402 participants enrolled in the program and an estimated 7,200 new trips taken on YRT. There are approximately 111,000 York Region residents living on a low income with 7,800 to 11,000 citizens requiring assistance to pay for daily and/or occasional transit use. The Transit Assistance Program is one of a number of programs provided by York Region and the Province of Ontario to help low-income earners travel.

As a result of the program success to date, the TAP pilot has been extended until December 2019. In the second year of the pilot, staff will explore a discounted single fare payment option, the effect on the overall budget and implementation of this option on PRESTO or the YRT Pay App.


Growing concern over improper disposal of products in Region’s sanitary sewer system

York Region continues to look for ways to keep products which are improperly disposed of out of our sewer system.

Over the last several years, York Region has noticed an increasing number of issues in wastewater infrastructure caused by improperly disposed items such as “flushable” wipes. As well, items such as fats, oil and grease, paper towels and wipes cost the Region approximately $1 million per year for these to be removed from the sewer system.

York Region is taking a multi-pronged approach to address these issues, including:

  • Advocating for provincial and federal governments to take action to improve product design and labelling
  • Working with the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association and Municipal Enforcement Sewer Use Group to advocate for a Canadian standard for “flushable”
  • Strengthening the Sewer Use Bylaw to further protect wastewater infrastructure
  • Educating residents the only flushable product is toilet paper

York Regional Council has included these comments in a detailed response to Reducing Litter and Waste in our Communities Discussion paper to Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.


Corporate Energy report outlines progress towards goal of net-zero carbon emissions

York Regional Council received an update on Regional operations energy costs based on targets detailed in the Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan.

The Corporate Energy report highlights 2018 Regional initiatives and tracks progress toward York Region’s achievement of its greenhouse gases (GHG) targets.

Accomplishments in 2018 include:

  • Installed anti-idle technology on 77% of the Region’s ambulance fleet which conserves 55,000 litres of gasoline per year
  • Installed hybrid-electric drivetrains on two ambulances which reduce fuel consumption by 7,900 litres of gasoline per year
  • Council-approved purchase of six battery electric transit buses to work toward reducing corporate emissions
  • Installed technologies on 40 fleet vehicles to identify ways to integrate plug-in hybrid vehicles into the corporate fleet.

Through collective effort, York Region continues to make steady progress on goals identified in the Energy Conservation and Demand Management plan and work is underway to update next year’s Corporate Energy report.


Court Services Annual Report

The Regional Municipality of York continues to find innovative ways to provide effective court services to residents, local municipalities and the province, as reported in the Court Services Annual Report 2018.

As the second largest Provincial Offenses Act court program in Ontario, York Region Court Services provides two distinct functions – court administration and prosecution.

Highlights captured in the Court Services Annual Report include:

  • 169,654 customers were helped in-person or by telephone, a 1% increase over 2017
  • 159,389 charges were filed
  • 117,000 matters were addressed in trial courts
  • 37,208 disclosure requests were processed, representing a 9.9% increase from 2017

Despite increased volume in operations, prosecutions and collections, York Region Court Services led numerous initiatives to improve operational efficiency including the implementation of a remote-testimony solution and expanding the use of civil enforcement to improve collection of defaulted fines.


Regional policy governing pregnancy and parental leave for Council approved

As required by the Municipal Act, York Regional Council approved a 20-week pregnancy and parental leave policy for members of Regional Council. While on leave, the member will continue to receive information from York Region and may participate on Regional Council if she or he chooses.

Financial compensation for members of York Regional Council is arranged through local municipalities; local policies will determine whether compensation will continue while a member is on leave.


York Region recognized with International Association of Business Communicators awards

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) continues to recognize York Region communication campaigns both internationally and here at home.

York Region is the recipient of 18 prestigious communication awards; seven Gold Quill awards and the second consecutive Not-for-Profit Communication Department of the Year award (international) and nine Ovation awards and fourth consecutive Communication Department of the Year award (Greater Toronto Area).

Among the campaigns being recognized:

  • #loveyr – Regional Services campaign
  • #YRCares – Employee campaign for United Way
  • ICount – Homeless enumeration campaign
  • International Day of Older Persons – Senior Strategy campaign
  • EarlyON Community Engagement Report

The IABC awards recognize the talent and innovation of communicators and their marketing and communication campaigns. The IABC is a global association with thousands of members worldwide, representing many of the Global Fortune 500 companies and public sector.


City of Richmond Hill Fire Chief named alternate Regional Fire Coordinator

York Regional Council has endorsed City of Richmond Hill Fire Chief Steve Kraft as one of two alternate Regional Fire Coordinators. The Regional Fire Coordinator is a member of the Regional Emergency Control Group and plays a key role in effective emergency planning and response through coordination of Fire Services.

The position of Regional Fire Coordinator was created in 1971 to better coordinate municipal fire resources within York Region; the Region’s current structure is made up of one Regional Fire Coordinator and two alternates.

The current Regional Fire Coordinator is Ian Laing, Chief of Central York Fire Services. The second alternate Regional Fire Coordinator is City of Markham Fire Chief David Decker.


Environmental Services Commissioner Erin Mahoney appointed to Sustainable Development Technology Canada Board of Directors

York Regional Council congratulated Environmental Services Commissioner Erin Mahoney on her appointment to the Board of Directors with Sustainable Development Technology Canada for a term of four years.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada is a foundation created by the Government of Canada to support Canadian companies with the potential to become world leaders in their efforts to develop and demonstrate new environmental technologies that address climate change, clean air, clean water and clean soil.


Next regular meeting of York Regional Council

York Regional Council will meet on Thursday, September 26 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 52,000 businesses with 636,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at york.ca/regionalservices

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Compiled by:

Barbara Schnier, Communications Advisor, The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 1-877-464-9675, ext. 71237, Cell: 905-505-5775
Email: barbara.schnier@york.ca

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