Choose Halton for Family Day Fun!

One of the many things I love about Halton is the beauty of our natural surroundings and the wide variety of activities available to us in our own backyard. As we celebrate Family Day on February 15, 2016, you can experience so much of what our region has to offer.  There is really something for your whole family to see, do and experience in Halton.

familyinwinterGet outdoors and enjoy our stunning landscapes. Explore Conservation Halton for an active,fun day, from sleigh rides at Mountsberg to skiing and snowboarding at Glen Eden. Try a family hike or snow-shoeing at Kelso or Rattlesnake Point. These are only a few of the locations and activities Conservation Halton has to offer.

Bronte Creek Provincial Park also has family fun planned at the Nature Centre with live animals, crafts and displays. You can even bring your skates for outdoor skating at the rink.

In addition to the parks, each of Halton’s municipalities has plenty of fun planned. For local schedules and events, as well as outdoor skating locations, visit your municipality’s website:

toddlersonskatingrinkHalton is a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. It’s also the perfect destination for your Family Day festivities. For a complete listing of all these winter activities visit halton.ca/tourism. Also as a reminder, all Halton essential services will remain available on the Family Day holiday. For more information, please visit halton.ca/closures.

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”.

Keeping residents informed about e-cigarettes

At Halton Region, we make it a priority to enhance the health and well-being of all residents through the programs and services we offer through our Health and Social and Community Services departments. For many, the New Year is a time for healthy change, and for smokers, quitting is the single best thing you can do to improve your health and quality of life.

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To quit smoking, more and more people are turning to e-cigarettes. These battery-operated devices often look like cigarettes and deliver a mix of chemicals to users as vapour instead of smoke. However, e-cigarettes are unproven as a quit-smoking aid, and for teens and young adults, may even be a gateway to nicotine addiction and future smoking with regular cigarettes or other tobacco products.

On January 1, 2016, the Electronic Cigarettes Act came into effect in Ontario, banning the sale of e-cigarettes in Ontario to anyone under the age of 19. Halton Region tobacco enforcement staff is responsible for enforcing the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) and the Electronic Cigarettes Act. The Region’s enforcement officers also promote the provincial NOT TO KIDS! program by:

  • working with local school boards to educate staff, students and parents about the SFOA in relation to the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes to anyone under 19;
  • educating retailers about the requirements under the SFOA; and
  • monitoring the sales of tobacco products to minors by conducting routine tobacco test shopping.

We recognize that quitting smoking can be tough, but there are better choices than e-cigarettes. To help, Halton Region provides many cessation resources and supports, including:

ThinkstockPhotos-501116514We can improve the overall health and well-being of our community by making safer and healthier choices, including quitting smoking. By working together with our community partners and retailers, we can keep Halton 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”.

Helping newcomers make Halton their home

Newcomer

Celebrating the accomplishments of our local newcomer heroes

Halton is a place where we welcome, respect and celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of all residents, while connecting people to the services they need most. I’m proud of the work Halton Region and our community partners undertake as we work together to make Halton a welcoming, inclusive and supportive community where newcomers can prosper.

When newcomers choose Halton as their home, there are many challenges ahead of them and our community offers support through multiple resources to help them integrate successfully. Halton’s Newcomer Portal outlines resources for arriving, living, working and going to school in the region and is one of the most comprehensive resources for newcomers to Halton.

Other helpful newcomer supports can be found online:

  • Housing: Visit halton.ca/housing for a range of services including access to affordable market housing, subsidized housing, housing with supports, an emergency shelter program, as well as one-time financial assistance for low-income individuals and families experiencing difficulty with housing costs.
  • New doctors: Visit halton.ca/newdoctor for a listing of family physicians that are also new to Halton and currently accepting patients.
  • Jobs: Visit haltonjobs.ca for free programs and services to help people search for a job or train for a new career.
  • Parenting: Visit halton.ca/haltonparentsfor a variety of free parenting programs and parenting and health information from health professionals
  • Childcare subsidy: Visit halton.ca/childcaresubsidy for information on how to apply for childcare subsidy for eligible families.
  • Immunization: Visit halton.ca/immunization for information about immunizations needed for school attendance and the recommended immunization schedule in Ontario.
  • HMC Connections: Visit hmcconnections.com for a variety of services to help newcomers adjust to life in Canada, including counselling and settlement information, help connecting with the community, employment supports, English language training and housing supports (formerly known as the Halton Multicultural Council).

While there are many services for newcomers to Halton, there are also opportunities for our current residents to offer their support. The Halton Newcomer Strategy is an advocacy team that engages the community to empower newcomers to Halton and they’re always looking for passionate volunteers to help create welcoming neighbourhoods. Halton Region also provides specific information for Syrian refugees on its website to help them make a safe and healthy transition into our community.

By continuing to work together, our communities can greatly benefit from the talent, education, experience and commitment newcomers bring and keep our region 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”.

Halton set to host third annual Food Tourism Summit

Regional Council is committed to making Halton a destination of choice and helping the agricultural community succeed. We have something for everyone and we offer both residents and visitors some of the finest restaurants with access to the best local foods and farms. We have a vibrant agricultural sector and Halton Region continues to engage with our local farming community to find new and innovative ways to promote the connection between local agriculture and food distribution systems. Strengthening this connection is what the upcoming Halton Region Food Tourism Summit: From Farmer to Farmpreneur is all about.

On Thursday, February 25, Halton will host the third annual summit. This event offers a great networking opportunity for Halton chefs, restaurateurs, farmers and tourism professionals, as well as interested residents. It also provides attendees with information about some strategies that can help them benefit from the rapidly growing local food movement.

This year’s event will showcase some entrepreneurial initiatives in the industry and provide insight on how to grow agri-businesses while further contributing to the economic vitality of the agricultural and culinary communities. The summit will feature two keynote speakers Brant Preston and Linda Reader, a panel discussion with the Farm Women of Halton, a break-out session about the Halton Region Pumpkin Trail and several networking opportunities.

Our farming and agricultural community is a key part of our economy, and one that Halton will continue to support through the development and delivery of the Comprehensive Rural Strategy, the Agri-tourism Action Plan and the work of the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee (HAAC). The agriculture and farming industry has great potential for sustainable growth, and through cooperative action and partnership with the culinary community, this sector will continue to play an important role in making Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

The Halton Region Food Tourism Summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Country Heritage Park (Gambrel Barn) in Milton. The event is free of charge and will feature a complimentary breakfast and locally-sourced lunch. For registration and event details, please visit halton.ca/foodtourism 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.”

Mental health supports for new parents

Halton is a caring, compassionate community and we are committed to enhancing the health and well-being of all residents through our programs and services. We promote good mental health by partnering with local organizations to provide essential services and supports needed to achieve the best possible health for all, including parents adjusting to the arrival of their new child.


PMD_1Perinatal mood disorders (PMD)
, including depression and anxiety, can affect both women and men during pregnancy and following birth. The biggest obstacle to seeking help is the stigma associated with mental illness. It is only by talking openly about PMD and all mental illnesses that we can raise awareness of the signs and symptoms, and reduce the stigma so that all women and their partners get the help they need.

Connecting those at risk with the services and supports they need is essential to mental health recovery. If you or someone you know needs help, you can visit halton.ca to find:

PMD_2Alternatively, you can speak directly with a public health nurse, simply by dialing 311.

If you are interested in learning more about the many ways Halton Region supports good mental health in the community, please read my blog from November 30, 2015.

Our dedicated staff continue to work with our community partners and volunteers to help support good mental health for everyone and ensure that Halton Region remains 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”.

Halton committed to family literacy

Literacy3The Region provides a wide range of important services to Halton residents to support a high-quality of health and wellbeing. Offering our residents easy access to the services they need is a high priority – this includes access to supports for literacy.

Literacy is an important part of a healthy community and together with our community partners, Halton Region is working to connect those at risk with the programs and supports they need to be successful. On January 27, we celebrate National Family Literacy Day to raise awareness about the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.

Literacy1Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said, “Literacy is the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.” Strong literacy skills can provide the foundation for life-long education, rewarding employment and financial security.

Halton Region supports community literacy in a number of ways, including:

Spending just 15 minutes each day reading with your child is important for their growing brain – no matter what their age. It is an activity where both parents and children can have some relaxed time to reconnect.

Literacy2There are excellent supports in our community that can help build adult literacy as well.  If you know an English-speaking adult who needs support with essential literacy skills, refer them to the various Halton Literacy Councils offering classes and tutoring in your community. For newcomers to Canada, HMC Connections (formerly the Halton Multicultural Council) offers free English language instruction, as well as enhanced business language training designed to help newcomers with a profession or trade to improve their English skills in order to enter the job market.

We will continue to prioritize literacy to ensure that every resident has the essential skills needed to reach their full potential and lead healthy and happy lives. This is another important effort in helping to ensure that Halton Region remains 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”.

Halton helps parents ease the transition to kindergarten for their children

Connecting people to services is a strategic priority for Halton Region. The dedicated staff of the Region’s Health Department work hard to ensure that Halton’s parents and guardians have access to the information they need to give their children a safe and healthy experience at home and at school.

One of the most important transitions in a young child’s life is the one from preschool (or home) to kindergarten. While it can be an exciting change for many parents/guardians and children, kindergarten can also be a nervous, unpredictable time for some youngsters and their families. Whether you and your child feel prepared for kindergarten or are worried about the transition to “big kids school”, it’s comforting to know that Halton Region has the tools you need to help your child get Ready, Set, Go!

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Provided to all parents of children entering kindergarten within the Halton District School Board (HDSB) and the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB), the Ready, Set, Go! package provides parents with some excellent resources to help their child thrive in kindergarten. For the past four years, the Region has collaborated with the HDSB, HCDSB and Ontario Early Years Centres to create a practical toolkit for parents that includes information about:

Parents and guardians can also visit halton.ca/readysetgo or halton.ca/haltonparents to access a variety of helpful community supports and programs, checklists, tips and much more! We hope that you and your family find these resources useful.

At Halton Region, we have made it a high priority to help connect residents to the services they need. Our HaltonParents team of public health nurses is committed to helping parents and guardians access the best programs, supports and resources available to help their children succeed in kindergarten and beyond. We are also proud of the strong partnerships we have with the Halton District School Board, the Halton Catholic District School Board, Ontario Early Years Centres and the many other community groups who contribute to the positive development of our children and families. Programs such as Ready, Set, Go! are another example of what makes Halton such 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”.