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York Regional Council Highlights - Thursday, June 28, 2018




Uniting and strengthening communities through the Inclusion Charter for York Region

York Regional Council has endorsed the Inclusion Charter for York Region, a community initiative bringing together organizations with a common commitment to creating inclusive environments for all who live, work and play here.

The Inclusion Charter for York Region was developed in collaboration with the Municipal Diversity and Inclusion Group (MDIG) and the Community Partnership Council (CPC). Consultations with over 1,800 residents and organizations were also conducted throughout its development.

To date, 11 MDIG partners have endorsed their own version of the Inclusion Charter. Partners include municipalities, police services, hospitals, school boards, conservation authorities and agencies. Through endorsement, participating organizations commit to taking action to achieve its vision in their organization and in the community.

This work has also gained international support. The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR CIFAL Atlanta) recognizes the Inclusion Charter as a leading practice model for communities around the world to use to become more inclusive.

For more information on the Inclusion Charter for York Region, visit york.ca/inclusiveyr


Helping newcomers feel welcome and at home in York Region

Creating welcoming communities for all newcomers and residents continues to be a priority for York Regional Council. Regional Council received an update on the actions included in the 2017 to 2021 York Region Newcomer Strategy. York Region’s Local Immigration Partnership and its Community Partnership Council (CPC) are working together to create welcoming communities for all newcomers.

Highlights include:

  • Bringing together approximately 500 newcomers, employers, professional associations and government representatives at the 2017 Gateway Conference for Internationally Educated Professionals
  • Developing a business case that identifies the most effective way to assist newcomers find employment opportunities
  • Developing a new web strategy that modernizes and makes yorkwelcome.ca more accessible and informative to newcomers, service providers and employers

Immigrants represent 47 per cent of York Region’s population and much of the Region’s growth since 2006 can be attributed to immigrants moving into the Region. The growing immigrant population will continue to change the demographic and cultural diversity of York Region in years to come. Municipal policies and services will need to continue to respond and adjust to the changing demographics and support population growth, economic development and social integration of newcomers.

Local municipalities have an important role in creating welcoming communities and in helping newcomers integrate economically and socially. Actions are underway in local municipalities that celebrate multiculturalism, promote diversity in the workplace and reduce barriers to employment.

For more information on the strategy, visit yorkwelcome.ca


Regional Councillor Naomi Davison acclaimed to AMO Board of Directors

Town of Georgina Regional Councillor Naomi Davison has been acclaimed to the Board of Directors of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), Regional and Single Tier Caucus. As a member of the Board, Councillor Davison will help set policy and serve as a key municipal leader at AMO.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. They support strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promote the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada's political system.


Planning a stronger future for the residents of York Region

York Regional Council received an update on the implementation of the Human Services Planning Board of York Region’s 2016 to 2018 Action Plan. The Human Services Planning Board of York Region (HSPB) is a York Region led, multi-sector collaborative comprised of leaders and decision-makers from social service agencies, funders, government and education, health care and private sectors.

The HSPB works to improve the effectiveness of human services in York Region through developing and strengthening the skills, and collective advocacy. Through the actions of the last four years, the HSPB’s work has had a positive impact on local municipalities and on residents living with low and moderate income. Between 2016 and 2018, board members worked together to implement actions in eight areas – four for housing and four for employment.

Highlights include:

  • Developing strategies that encourage more housing affordability options
  • Identifying programs and tools that provide incentives to increase the private market rental housing supply
  • Advocating for funding, policies and programs that support housing affordability options
  • Enhancing the services and supports to help residents access affordable housing options
  • Exploring new workforce development strategies that provide a better understanding of the impact of underemployment and precarious employment on York Region’s economic vitality
  • Building and showcasing a business case for employers outlining the benefits of adopting progressive employment practices to open the doors to new employees and experiences
  • Advocating for public policy and programming that supports progressive employment practices
  • Enhancing services and supports to help residents pursue progressive employment opportunities

For more information on the Human Services Planning Board, visit york.ca


York Region taking action to address affordable housing

The Regional Municipality of York continues to make progress implementing the actions identified in Housing Solutions; A place for everyone, York Region’s 10-year housing plan. The plan includes four goals: to increase the supply of rental housing, sustain the existing rental supply, support home ownership and strengthen the homelessness and housing stability system.

Most of the actions identified in the plan have been completed or are currently underway.

As well, York Region is updating the York Region Affordable Housing Measuring and Monitoring guidelines to ensure the approach to measuring and monitoring the supply of affordable housing best reflects affordability conditions throughout the Region. Previously approved by Council in 2015, the guidelines were developed in conjunction with the Housing Plan to monitor the amount, type and location of new affordable housing units.

With rental units in high demand with low supply, the Region will continue to look to federal and provincial government funding initiatives like the National Housing Strategy and Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan for additional support.

More information on York Region’s housing programs is available at york.ca/housing


Draft Rental Housing Incentives Guidelines

Building complete communities that include purpose-built rental housing supply and affordability remains a priority in York Region. Regional Council received Draft Rental Housing Incentives Guideline and Community Improvement Plan outlining guidelines to encourage development of mid-range affordable housing.

Two new proposed incentives include:

  • A Tax Increment Equivalent Grants for the Regional portion of property taxes for up to five years
  • Deferrals of 48 months for Regional development application fees for purpose-built rentals

The Rental Housing Incentives draft guidelines report supports Vision 2051, the Regional Official Plan and the York Region 2015- 2019 Strategic Plan. Additional affordable housing measures include the 10-year Housing Plan 2017 Progress Report and Affordable Housing Measuring and Monitoring report.


York Region continues to take steps towards ending homelessness

The Regional Municipality of York provided an update on the Region’s count of homelessness: I Count. I’m not just a number as a followup to the March 2018 report to Council entitled York Region’s Homeless Count, April 17 to 20, 2018.

In April 2018, the Region successfully undertook a count of homeless in the Region as part of Ontario’s province-wide effort to understand homelessness. From April 17 to 20, 2018, York Region staff and citizen volunteers worked together to complete I Count. I’m not just a number.

York Region worked closely with United Way of Greater Toronto to gain insights from their 2016 count and United Way staff partnered with the Region in planning and implementing this year’s count. Contact was also made with local municipalities, police, paramedics and many more partners, all of whom worked together to make the count a successful community event.

Data on the total number of homeless individuals counted is being analyzed. However, early results show 226 individuals chose to complete surveys during I Count. Information on the surveys included everything from health, housing and social needs to a report on the duration of, and reasons for, the individual’s homelessness. The results of York Region’s count of homelessness will help the Region better understand the needs and barriers facing homeless and at-risk of homeless residents in all nine local cities and towns. Accurate and reliable information on homelessness is essential to addressing how we can plan and deliver services to prevent, reduce and end homelessness.

For more information on I Count, visit york.ca/icount  


Capacity assignment for East Gwillimbury, Newmarket and Aurora

Regional Council received a report recommending an interim solution be implemented to temporarily address constraints due to delay in approval of the Upper York Sewage Solutions. An interim solution is required as the Town of Aurora and the Town of Newmarket require additional wastewater capacity to support their growth through 2021.

  • Regional Council authorized staff to assign capacity of 10,500 persons to the Town of Aurora, Town of Newmarket and Town of East Gwillimbury and asked each provide their annual capacity allocation to York Region
  • Each local municipality continue participation in the Long Term Water Conservation Strategy and Inflow and Infiltration Reduction Strategy

The Upper York Sewage Solutions project is a critical component of York Region’s future wastewater infrastructure, accommodating planned employment and residential growth within Aurora, Newmarket and East Gwillimbury. York Region is committed to providing safe, reliable, clean, affordable and convenient water while protecting and improving the quality of our lakes and streams for now and for future generations.


Two independent studies aim to support the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation and the Upper York Sewage Solutions project

York Regional Council has approved funds to complete a Traditional Ecological Knowledge study including integration with an ongoing Health Impact Assessment to further support the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation and the Upper York Sewage Solutions project.

Through an independent third party, the Health Impact Assessment is being completed at the request of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation to evaluate and provide supplemental information about the health impacts of the Upper York Sewage Solutions project to the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation.

The Traditional Ecological Knowledge study involves obtaining Indigenous knowledge, belief and practices handed down through generations. Pending agreement with the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, the Region will commence the Traditional Ecological Knowledge study to support the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in obtaining and recording Traditional Ecological Knowledge from their community. The study will also provide an important link to integrate Traditional Ecological Knowledge into the Health Impact Assessment.

York Region continues to volunteer its services in supporting the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in their consultation regarding the Upper York Sewage Solutions project.


York Region residents show strong engagement in waste reduction initiatives

York Regional Council received an update on the 2017 York Region SM4RT Living Plan which highlights the Region’s plan to address the 4Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle and recover) and zero in on long-term waste reduction efforts.

The Balanced Scorecard report provides an update on all 32 initiatives outlined in the SM4RT Living Integrated Waste Management Plan including achievements between 2014 and 2017.

Between 2014 and 2017 initiatives include:

  • Reducing waste through backyard composting, yard waste and Good Food programs
  • Reuse activities focusing on curbside giveaways events, textile collection and repair cafés
  • Recycling activities with 13 pilot programs including work with multi-residential buildings and waste-related advocacy meetings
  • Recovering resources from waste at its end of life through high-performing facilities such as the Durham York Energy Centre

York Region is one of the first municipalities in Canada to commit to targets on waste reduction and continues to rank first among large municipalities in Ontario for waste diversion. In the most recent ranking, the Region was first overall in the province.

York Region will soon be conducting a review to set priorities for the next five years of the SM4RT Living Plan and prioritize a new work plan.

For more information on the SM4RT Living Plan, visit york.ca/sm4rtliving

Corporate Energy Report shows steady progress towards reducing greenhouse gases

York Region’s 2017 Corporate Energy Report shows steady progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Regional operations and associated energy consumption and cost.

Accomplishments in 2017 include:

  • Installed anti-idling technologies on 46 ambulances
  • Generated enough electricity to power 25 homes (242 megawatt hours) for one year through solar generation
  • Improved transit bus fuel by four per cent through fleet upgrades
  • Built York Regional Police training facility to LEED Silver certification
  • Audited 15 Regional facilities for optimal performance, comfort and energy savings

The annual report highlights 2017 Regional initiatives set out in the Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan. Endorsed by Regional Council in 2016, the plan establishes a roadmap with identified programs and targets to reduce greenhouse gases as outlined in the Green Energy Act, 2009.

Through collective effort, the Region is making steady progress on goals identified, and work is underway to update the plan to meet regulatory requirements by July 2019.


York Region forestry building achieves Living Building Challenge certification

The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre is the first in Canada to achieve Living Building Challenge certification. This global sustainability standard puts York Region among only 21 buildings worldwide to meet this criterion.

The status of Living Certified by the International Living Future Institute is considered the most rigorous green building standard in the world based on sustainability requirements related to site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. These seven categories are named Petals in the challenge.

In addition to meeting stringent environmental design requirements, buildings must demonstrate net zero energy and water performance over a 12-month period.

Other awards and certification include the Centre achieving LEED Platinum Certification, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Leadership Award and Public Project of the Year by the Ontario and American Public Works Associations.


Traffic delays and collisions significantly reduced by roundabouts on Regional roads

York Regional Council received a performance review of roundabouts on Regional roads. The results of York Region’s study find drivers are experiencing up to five seconds less delay during rush hour periods and collisions have significantly reduced. A particular improvement was noted at the Lloydtown/Aurora Road and Keele Street roundabout where a 71 per cent reduction in collisions was recorded.

In addition to the technical benefits, roundabouts provide an opportunity to act as a gateway for communities, and inform motorists of a transition from rural highway to urban community.

Since 2008, three roundabouts have been installed in York Region. Based on industry studies, converting a stop-controlled intersection to a roundabout can reduce overall collisions by 40 per cent and severe collisions by 75 per cent.

York Region will continue to consider roundabouts when reviewing intersection improvement opportunities.


Changes to Community Safety Zones for the 2018/2019 school year

York Regional Council received the Community Safety Zones bylaw report which outlines changes for the upcoming 2018/2019 school year. Four new Community Safety Zones will be added to the bylaw.

Community Safety Zones increase traveller safety and advise motorists they are within a zone where public safety is of special concern, including school areas. School locations are reviewed on an annual basis to ensure the Community Safety Zone bylaw is current and accurate.


York Regional Council asks province to enforce automated speed enforcement in Community Safety Zones

York Regional Council is requesting the province enact regulations to Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) in Community Safety Zones. This allows local cities and towns to administer penalties similar to parking tickets for when motorists speed. The use of automated speed enforcement on Regional roads enhances safety.

Speeding is the most common traffic concern raised by community members. Automated speed enforcement (ASE) is a technology-based safety tool to address speeding that supplements traditional speed enforcement by police. Changing driver behaviour to slow down and comply with speed limits is proven to reduce collisions.

York Region is working with its nine local cities and towns to develop the ASE system to ensure it’s consistent at the Regional and local level. For this system to be effective, it is necessary that the province take action on legislative changes in the Highway Traffic Act to remove the financial obligation from the local municipalities to maintain and operate the new technology.


Steeles Avenue road improvements moving forward

York Regional Council received an update on the Toronto/York Steeles Avenue Agreement. The agreement supports much-needed transportation infrastructure in the Markham/Toronto boundary area, and represents a significant achievement in building a partnership with the City of Toronto. Highlights from the agreement include:

  1. The City of Toronto will maintain jurisdictional ownership over Steeles Avenue and will operate and maintain Steeles Avenue on behalf of both municipalities
  2. All municipal maintenance, operations and capital costs will be split equally
  3. A joint 10-year capital plan will be created for consideration by both Councils

The agreement outlines principles to implement long-awaited capital enhancements to Steeles Avenue that will benefit both York Region and City of Toronto travellers. These projects will also include improvements to sidewalks, bike lanes, streetscape and transit facilities. The Region’s share for Steeles Avenue costs will be considered as part of the 2019 multi-year budget submission to Council.


Stouffville GO Corridor to move forward with whistle cessation

York Regional Council approved the implementation of whistle cessation at six at-grade road/rail crossings on the Stouffville GO Corridor. This is consistent with the Region’s Anti-Whistling Warrant Criteria Policy to implement whistling cessation at Regional at-grade rail crossings.

The Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) requires all trains to whistle whenever they approach a public grade crossing. While train whistling is an important way to keep drivers, cyclists and pedestrians’ safe, these whistles can be a bother to people living nearby. This is part of Regional Council’s commitment to a memorandum of understanding with the City of Markham and Metrolinx to address concerns raised by local residents.


Summer begins with the arrival of York Region Matters

Whether it’s a staycation, an overhaul of your garden or planning a business venture, York Region Matters has you covered!

The summer edition of the York Region’s hottest newsletter will start to arrive in mailboxes next week and is filled with news and information for all interests. In this edition:

  • Tips to turn your backyard into a summer oasis
  • Great locations for a Sunday afternoon outing
  • Information to help plan a great York Region staycation
  • Innovation resources for entrepreneurs

Share pictures of your summer adventures and show us why you #loveyr. Complete the survey at york.ca/yorkregionmatters for a chance to win a $200 gift certificate for a tree planting or garden kit from Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF).


York Region receives two Government Finance Officers Association awards

The Regional Municipality of York received two awards from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for the 2016 Annual Community Report; the Canadian Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting and the Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award. These awards recognize easily readable, well-organized reports that present financial information in a clear and concise manner.

The GFOA is a professional association serving more than 18,000 government finance professionals throughout North America.

Regional Council also received a copy of the 2017 Community Report which provides an update on activities undertaken through the York Region 2015 to 2019 Strategic Plan. It includes information about York Region’s financial management policies, multi-year budgeting and the Regional Fiscal Strategy.


Court Services Annual Report

The Regional Municipality of York continues to drive operational efficiency in the area of court operations, prosecutions and collections despite increasing volume, as captured in Court Services Annual 2017 Report.Court Services administers the Provincial Offences Act in York Region and provides two distinct functions – Court Administration and Prosecution. York Region’s court operations are the second largest in all of Ontario based on the number of charges filed.

Highlights captured in the Court Services Annual 2017 Report include:

  • 169,000 plus customers were helped in-person or by telephone
  • 160,515 charges were filed, a five-per cent increase over 2016
  • 33,842 disclosure requests were processed, representing an 8.5-per cent increase from 2016
  • 100,000 plus matters were dealt with in trial courts

Court Services has developed a multi-year business plan to drive operational efficiency in the area of court operations, prosecutions and collections to help create strong, caring and safe communities.


Bird-friendly standards

Regional Council received an update on initiatives to help mitigate the unnecessary death of birds who collide with buildings emitting reflective light. The evaluation comes further to a report Regional Council received in March 2018 on bird-friendly guidelines and requirements implemented in the City of Markham and the City of Toronto.

Report highlights include:

  • York Region is retrofitting existing Regional buildings with a bird-friendly window film
  • York Region incorporates bird-friendly strategies through forestry programs including restricting forest harvesting during spring bird season and prairie creation at York Regional Forest tracts
  • Best practices for sustainably managing growth will be sought from the public and local municipalities through the Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR)

The unnecessary death of birds is best mitigated through bird-friendly building design strategies. These planning and design practices are approved at the local municipal level under the Planning Act.

York Region’s efforts demonstrate commitment to The Greening Strategy and support healthy natural environments and sustainable communities today and for the future as outlined in the York Region Official Plan and Vision 2051.


Transit projects to take advantage of Investing in Canada Plan

York Regional Council approved a selection of transit projects identified in the 10-year Capital Plan for consideration of funding under the Integrated Bilateral Agreement - Public Transit Stream of Phase II of the Investing in Canada Plan.

By selecting projects already identified in the 10-year Capital Plan, York Region can reallocate this money to larger transit projects such as land acquisition for the Yonge Subway Extension, which is not eligible for funding under this program.

Criteria for funding will be announced in the new year.


York Region Rapid Transit Corporation 2017 Annual Report

York Regional Council received the 2017 York Region Rapid Transit Corporation Annual Report which highlights the corporation’s strategic mandate, governance and project milestones achieved last year.

The report demonstrates YRRTC’s expertise and builds momentum for continued investments in York Region’s rapid transit plan.


Region recognized at International Association of Business Communicators Awards

The Regional Municipality of York garnered 20 awards at the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Awards and two Internet Advertising Competition awards for their expertise and creativity in promoting Regional Council-approved programs.

The awards recognize the talent and innovation of communicators and their marketing and communication campaigns. Among nearly 700 entries, York Region received the highest departmental honour in 2018 for attaining the Not-for-Profit Communication Department of the Year.

The IABC is a global association with thousands of members worldwide, representing many of the Global Fortune 500 companies and public sector.


Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

York Regional Council received an update on the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority 2018 Annual Operating plan by Mike Walters, Chief Administrative Officer of the LSRCA.

Development of the plan involved extensive consultation with partners and stakeholders, and contains four major goals, nine outcomes and 42 individual activities.

Mr. Walters outlined 12 top priorities for 2018 including enhanced collaboration with First Nations, engagement, education and training, land acquisition strategy, asset management planning and harmonization to improve service delivery and general business processes.


Next regular meeting of York Regional Council

York Regional Council will meet on Thursday, September 20 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, 51,000 businesses and 620,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at york.ca/regionalservices

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Media Contact: Masrine Guthrie-Peart, Corporate Communication,
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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