Demonstrating Halton’s strong financial position

financialreport2015Each summer, Halton Region publishes its Annual Financial Report for the previous calendar year, and I am pleased to announce that the 2015 report is now available on halton.ca. The report includes audited financial statements, as well as a year-end analysis of Halton’s financial position. Halton Region is committed to being a transparent, accountable and fiscally responsible government­—this report helps us deliver on that commitment.

The report demonstrates our accountability to residents and builds international confidence in Halton Region as we keep taxes low and foster a high quality of life. By providing financial data for the credit rating assessments completed by external rating agencies, the report contributes to preserving our AAA credit rating. This top rating allows the Region and its four Local Municipalities to finance major infrastructure projects at the lowest possible cost to tax and rate payers.

The Annual Financial Report also helps guide strategic investment by providing a look back at some of our achievements last year, all of which align with the resident priorities identified in the Strategic Action Plan. Highlighted achievements in the 2015 report include:

  • investment of over $3.7 billion in infrastructure capital over the next 10 years;
  • ongoing investment in our transportation network to strengthen the economy and reduce traffic;
  • introduction of new initiatives, such as the Region-wide Basement Flooding Mitigation Study, to increase the resilience of our infrastructure;
  • approval and implementation of long-term planning projects, such as the Burlington Beach Waterfront Master Plan; and
  • an annual investment of $35.9 million in social infrastructure, which will have created a projected 1,323 new assisted housing opportunities by the end of 2016.

On July 13, Regional Council approved the 2017 Budget Directions Report, and development of the 2017 Budget and Business Plan is now well underway. The 2015 Annual Financial Report will assist us in preparing this essential document by providing valuable insight that will help drive our strategic investments in the coming year.

To learn more, please visit halton.ca/annualreport.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Welcoming the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to Halton

From September 13 to 16, Halton Region will host the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Board Meeting.

FCM is the national voice of municipal governments, improving the quality of life in Canada by promoting strong, effective and accountable municipal government. Its members work with the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and other federal leaders to represent the priorities of almost 2,000 Canadian municipalities. In doing so, they highlight the need to align federal and local priorities based on the principle that strong hometowns make for a strong Canada.

This week’s Board Meeting in Halton will assemble FCM’s Board of Directors, comprised of nearly 100 elected municipal officials from across the country. It provides a valuable opportunity for us to join other municipalities in highlighting priority issues facing our community and others like it, advocating on behalf of all Canadians for policies that will positively impact millions of residents.

Halton is strongly represented on the national stage—Regional Councillor Clark Somerville of Halton Hills was elected President of FCM in June, and has been a strong representative of Halton in FCM for several years. I am confident that his leadership, strategic perspectives and collaborative approach will greatly contribute to this meeting’s success. A strong Halton helps build a strong Canada, and the FCM Board Meeting will ensure that the voices of all Canadians are heard.

Our work with FCM is just one way that Regional Council and staff advocate on your behalf to help maintain a high quality of life for all people of Halton, today and into the future. The Region continues to advocate to the Provincial and Federal governments for long-term, predictable funding and legislative amendments on issues facing the region through our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign. To learn more, please visit halton.ca/advocacy.

As we welcome the FCM delegates arriving in Halton, I would like to thank them for their service and dedication to Canadian communities. By working together with our friends and neighbours nationwide to achieve our common goals, we help keep our country a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Fall fun in Halton

Agriculture plays a vital role in our economy and in attracting visitors to the region. The harvest season provides us with wonderful opportunities to showcase our local farmers, retailers, restaurants and attractions. This fall, explore all that Halton has to offer by experiencing the best local food and farms in Halton. From fall fairs to Harvest Halton and the new Pumpkin to Pastries Trail, Halton has something for everyone.

Pumpkins to Pastries Trail

Cute Little Girls Pulling Their Pumpkins In A Wagon

Halton’s new Pumpkins to Pastries Trail profiles the people and places that produce and offer local food in Halton. Explore themed events, on-farm markets, restaurants, specialty shops and local attractions for a taste of the harvest season.

Join us from September 12 to October 31 on Halton Region’s Pumpkins to Pastries Trail and explore the best local food, farms and fall experiences around Halton! Visit halton.ca/pumpkinstopastries for more details.

Fall fairs

farmfairFall fairs have been a favourite tradition of Halton residents for over a century, offering a variety of exhibits, events and attractions for the entire family to enjoy.

Check with your local fair to see the entire list of events:

I would like to thank the three committees – Georgetown Agricultural Society, Acton Agricultural Society and the Halton Agricultural Society – who work tirelessly year after year to ensure the fairs are a success.

Harvest Halton

Pumpkin pie on rustic background

Harvest Halton is an annual premier culinary event that brings Halton’s finest restaurants and local farmers together for an unforgettable farm-to-chef experience. This year, the celebration of local food and the autumn harvest will be held at two locations across Halton.

Each event will feature some of the region’s top chefs along with local farmers, breweries, and more. Come down and experience great food and entertainment:

  • Thursday, September 22 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Toronto Premium Outlets
  • Sunday, October 16 from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m. in downtown Oakville

Visit halton.ca/harvest for more details and to see which farmers and restaurants will be featured at each event.

Halton Region is home to an active and vibrant farming industry. As part of the Halton Region Strategic Action Plan 2015-2018, Regional Council is committed to supporting the economic sustainability of our agricultural sector. Our fall events help to showcase this industry and provide us with excellent opportunities to support the residents who make it all happen.

To learn more about Halton’s agricultural industry, attractions and events, please visit halton.ca/tourism.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Practice the 3Rs in Halton this fall

Halton Region is committed to protecting and enhancing our rich natural environment as one of the strategic priorities outlined in the Halton Region Strategic Action Plan 2015-2018. As part of that commitment, we work to promote environmental sustainability in the delivery of Regional services, and one of the key services we provide is the Halton Waste Management Site (HWMS).

The HWMS is Halton’s “one-stop” solution to encourage residents to practice the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The 3Rs help to increase the Region’s waste diversion rate, which extends the life of the Waste Management Site and generates long-term savings for all of us. By providing residents with yard waste composting, the safe disposal of household hazardous waste and garbage disposal, we are preserving Halton’s future.

To help divert waste, Halton offers residents with a series of annual events to make it easier for residents to properly dispose of their waste and support a more sustainable Halton. During the late summer and early autumn, Halton is once again offering our fall Compost Giveaway  and two Special Waste Drop-off Days.

FallWaste1Compost Giveaway

Each year during the Compost Giveaway, Halton Region offers compost to Halton residents free of charge. To participate, visit the HWMS on Saturday, September 17 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with:

  • your own bags or containers (maximum seven garbage bags or equivalent per household) and a shovel, in order to bag your own compost; and
  • a non-perishable food item or cash donation to be distributed to Halton-area food banks.

During last year’s Compost Giveaway events, 4,400 residents picked up approximately 2,000 tonnes of compost. Residents also donated $9,784 and 4,500 kilograms of food to local food banks as part of the event. For a complete list of event details please visit halton.ca/compost.

Special Waste Drop-off Days

FallWaste2To make the recycling of household hazardous waste and electronic waste more convenient to residents, the Region also holds Special Waste Drop-off Days throughout the year.

Visit the Oakville campus of Sheridan College on Saturday, September 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or the Mohawk Race Track on Saturday, October 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Be sure to review the complete list of acceptable materials before you visit one of the drop-off locations (commercial waste is not accepted at these events).

I encourage everyone to practice the 3Rs, give back to our community and reduce our ecological footprint to keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. For more information, tips and online waste tools, visit halton.ca/waste or dial 311.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Protect yourself from West Nile virus

As the summer winds up, it’s easy to start thinking about back-to-school and the autumn season, but did you know that late summer and early autumn are also the times when West Nile virus (WNV) is often spread and when the symptoms of mosquito-borne diseases often start to appear? Working together, we can work to reduce WNV in our communities while making smart, healthy choices.

Since the virus is spread by mosquitoes, until the first hard frost in the fall, the most important step to preventing WNV is to prevent mosquito bites. Taking a few simple actions can make all the difference in protecting your family’s health:

  1. Wear insect repellent with DEET or Icaridin;
  2. Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn;
  3. Cover up – wear light coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs; and
  4. Remove areas of standing water from your home since mosquitoes lay their eggs in water that doesn’t flow.

To help control the mosquito population and reduce the risk of WNV, the Halton Region Health Department treats areas of standing water, such as catch basins, with a larvicide. This larvicide prevents the mosquito larvae from maturing into adult mosquitoes. When walking around your neighbourhood, you may have noticed some dots of spray paint on catch basins – these indicate how many rounds of larvicide have been applied to each catch basin.

Health Department staff also set mosquito monitoring traps throughout the region to determine the level of WNV risk. The number and types of mosquitoes trapped are examined and sent for WNV testing. If the Health Department finds West Nile virus positive mosquitoes in the region, we inform the community to remind you how to help prevent the spread of the virus across Halton.

To learn more about how to protect yourself against WNV, visit halton.ca/wnv. Working together to prevent WNV, we can make safe and healthy choice and keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire all year long.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Helping parents and children make the transition back to school

Regional resources and supports to help you get ready for school

It’s that time of the year again for the kids to go back to school. Are you ready for school routines, packing lunches and making sure your kids children know how to get to school safely? As you enjoy the final days of summer vacation, I want to share with you a number of Regional resources that can help make your families’ transition back to school—safe and healthy.

Getting school-ready

Do you have a major change happening in your family? Is your little one starting kindergarten or maybe you have an older child starting high school? Halton Region offers two online resources filled with valuable tips and information to help you support your child as they start school. Ready, Set, Go!, for preschoolers starting kindergarten and Ready, Set, Whoa!, for teens, can help you navigate and support your child’s journey through the next stage of their life.

Keeping your immunizations up-to-date

Immunization is one way to protect our community from the threat of preventable diseases that can easily be spread in schools. If you haven’t already done so, please ensure your family’s immunizations are up-to-date and that your children have all of the legally-required immunizations to attend school. All updated immunizations must be submitted to the Health Department.

Halton has recently been making it easier for parents to report and request immunization records. You can now report immunizations either online, in person or by dialing 311. If you’re unsure what immunizations the Health Department has on file, we recently launched an online immunization records request form to give you a more convenient way to request a copy of the immunization records we have on file.

Safely getting to school

Teaching children to cross the road safely when walking or biking is an important first step towards independence. As parents, we start by holding their hand as they cross the road and reminding them to always look all ways before crossing. When our children begin to head to school with friends—it is still important to keep talking about safety. If your child will be going to school on their own, you may want to practice walking to school together so they feel comfortable with the route. Our website (halton.ca) also includes information on pedestrian and bicycle safety that can help reinforce important safety messages with your children.

Support for parents

Getting organized and managing the demands of “back-to-school” routines can feel overwhelming at times for parents and children. Remember you can call or connect online with HaltonParents where public health nurses will provide support, information and other resources to cope with those everyday issues. Connect with us online at halton.ca/haltonparents, on Twitter @HaltonParents and Facebook, by email at haltonparents@halton.ca, or dial 311 to speak directly with a public health nurse. I would like to wish all Halton parents, students, teachers and school staff a wonderful, safe, healthy and productive school year.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Helping to connect job seekers and employers

Halton Region is committed to connecting residents with the services they need to be successful. In partnership with local employers and community organizations, Halton continues to respond to the changing demographics and diversity of Halton’s residents by connecting job seekers with a variety of free programs, services and resources to help them gain meaningful employment.

Employment Halton provides support to both job seekers, as well as employers. Through complimentary services and resources, Employment Halton offers free consultations, networking opportunities and educational sessions to ensure Halton’s economy thrives now and in the future.

Job Seekers

Employment Halton offers a number of services to help job seekers search for a new job or train for a new career. Residents who are looking for work can contact Employment Halton to gain access to some excellent services and resources, including:

  • job fairs, where attendees have the opportunity to network and meet hiring managers;
  • access to local job postings where job seekers can connect with employers from across the region;
  • practicum placement positions, where college and university students have the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge in a hands-on learning environment;
  • programs designed to enhance the skills of youth who experience multiple barriers to employment;
  • assistance with resume and interview preparation; and
  • a variety of on-site employment resources, reference tools and training.

Employers

With a growing population, easy access to markets and commitment to high-quality infrastructure, Halton is a great place to work and do business. We offer a high quality of life, low taxes and access to a highly educated workforce.

To help local businesses hire qualified candidates, Employment Halton offers a number of services to assist in finding suitable job candidates. Employers who are looking for new employees can contact Employment Halton to gain access to excellent hiring support, including:

  • recruitment and hiring services;
  • screening and matching services to select the best qualified candidates;
  • reference checks and education verification;
  • training incentive programs to off-set hourly wages and training costs;
  • access to Job Fairs; and
  • a free online job board where employers can connect with job seekers from across the region.

To learn about current opportunities, visit haltonjobs.ca, dial 311 or visit Employment Halton in person Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., at 2441 Lakeshore Road West, Unit 16, Oakville (Bronte Village Mall).

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.