Tips to keep you safe this holiday season

The holiday season is well underway and many people are travelling to friends and families and enjoying holiday parties and activities. No matter what you have planned, there are some simple tips you can follow to keep you and your family healthy this December.

Drive safely

  • Be prepared for winter weather. Always carry and an emergency kit in your car and drive according to the conditions on the road.
  • Consider switching to winter tires – they perform much better than all-season tires on snow and icy pavements.
  • Call a cab or arrange for a designated driver—if you are drinking at a holiday party, make sure you can get home safely and don’t drink and drive.
  • If you see someone you suspect may be impaired, call 911.

Visit halton.ca/beprepared to learn more about emergency car kits and halton.ca/drivesafe for safe driving tips.

Remember the four food safety tips

Preparing and handling food safely is key to preventing foodborne illness. Follow these tips so to ensure any holiday meals you prepare and serve are safe to eat.

  • Clean – Always wash your hands, utensils and cooking surfaces with soap and hot water before you handle food, repeatedly while you prepare it, and again when you have finished.
  • Separate – Keep certain foods, like meats and their juices, separated from other foods during storage and preparation and use separate cutting boards for raw meat and vegetables.
  • Cook – Prepare foods quickly, cook them thoroughly, and serve them immediately. Don’t let foods linger at temperatures where bacteria can grow. The danger zone is between 4°C (39°F) and 60°C (140°F).
  • Chill – Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours..

If you are a guest at a dinner or party, ensure what you eat is properly heated or chilled. If you are dining out, check out our Dinewise information to find the latest inspection reports for restaurants in Halton. For more details on the four safety tips visit halton.ca/foodsafety.

Wash your hands regularly to prevent colds and get immunized against the flu

  • Holiday time is the perfect time for the spread of colds and flu.
  • With more people gathered together indoors (or at malls in crowded conditions), it is more likely you will encounter germs that can make you sick.
  • Wash your hands to prevent colds and other illnesses.
  • If you are sick, wait until your symptoms have gone away before visiting loved ones in retirement homes or long-term care homes. Older adults are at greater risk of complications from illnesses such as the flu.
  • Get the flu vaccine to protect yourself and others.

To learn more about flu, visit halton.ca/flu.

Enjoy a healthy and happy holiday season! Together we make 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 @garycarrhaltonLinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Halton celebrates the grand opening of the Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant

Halton Region is committed to the health and safety of our residents by investing in quality infrastructure. The expansion and upgrade of the Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant will enable us to continue to further enhance the protection of the natural environment.

6In celebration of the grand opening of the plant, MP Karina Gould and MPP Eleanor McMahon joined us on November 7 to tour the state-of-the-art tertiary building and to see the plant upgrades in person.

At a cost of almost $160 million, the Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion is the largest capital project undertaken to date by Halton Region. Funding for this project was provided by all three levels of government – the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and Halton Region – as part of the Green Infrastructure Fund.

2Regional Council was instrumental in advocating the funding for this project, which resulted in the single largest investment in municipal infrastructure by the federal and provincial governments in Halton Region’s almost 40-year history. We are very excited to say that plant upgrades and expansions are now complete.

The Skyway expansion will:

  • expand the capacity of the plant, allowing the Region to safely treat higher volumes of wastewater from the City of Burlington and the west side of Oakville;
  • improve  the water quality in Hamilton Harbour; and
  • manage increased water flows during storms and extreme weather.

9Although the Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion has been Halton’s largest capital project to date, we are maintaining, upgrading and expanding the wastewater collection and treatment system across Halton Region, as part of the Building a Better Halton initiative.

High quality infrastructure projects, including the Skyway Plant expansion, are one of the reasons Halton is 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”.

New investments in Halton will increase housing opportunities

Delivering new, affordable and assisted housing opportunities is one of Regional Council’s strategic priorities, and this commitment is an essential part of building healthy and inclusive communities in Halton.

In recent weeks I have attended two events that highlighted the important issue of affordable housing in Halton. On October 28, I joined the Honourable Kevin Flynn (MPP Oakville), the Honourable ) Eleanor McMahon (MPP Burlington) and the Honourable Indira Naidoo-Harris (MPP Halton) as they announced that Halton will receive over $10 million in provincial funding through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI).

CHPI funding is used to support various initiatives in Halton including:

  •  the Emergency Shelter program;
  • the Housing with Related Supports program (formerly the Domiciliary Hostel program which supports 152 beds);
  • our Housing Stability Fund which keeps Halton residents housed by providing first/last month’s rent, utility assistance and moving/storage costs;  and,
  • our Halton Housing Help service, which helps residents obtain housing in Halton Region’s private market place and supports landlords to provide affordable housing opportunities.

Regional Council has also enhanced CHPI funding with an additional $550,000 in 2016-17 to assist our efforts to create more affordable housing options and supports in our community.

On November 1, I joined Halton Community Housing Corporation (HCHC) board members and staff as they celebrated 15 years of service to the community. HCHC plays an important role providing property and tenant management services including life enrichment activities to families and older adults living in 32 Regionally-owned, assisted housing communities.

The Region invests $35.9 million annually in our social infrastructure through Halton’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy (2014-2024) which provides affordable and assisted housing options for eligible residents. Between 2008 and the end of 2016, the Region will have established at least 1,323 new affordable or assisted housing opportunities in our community.

We also recently implemented an Assisted Housing Framework (AHF) to acquire ownership of housing units to increase the Region’s stock and ensure a long-term supply of affordable rental housing.  We have acquired 74 condominium units across Halton Region that will be used for assisted housing purposes; the first units will be ready for occupancy early in 2017.

I want to thank the Ontario Government for providing enhancements to the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative which boosts our efforts to provide important housing support and opportunities to Halton residents.

Housing is a joint responsibility that must be delivered with a long-term commitment from all levels of government. By working together to increase assisted and affordable housing opportunities in the community, we are making Halton a great place to live, 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”.

OneHalton: the Region at your fingertips

One tap. OneHalton.

onehalton-rotatingbannerwebLast week, Halton launched its free mobile application (app) designed to put the Region’s high-quality services in the palm of your hand. With OneHalton, our most popular online information and service requests are just one tap away—anytime, anywhere.

OneHalton optimizes the user experience for Apple and Android devices, making it even easier to connect, request or engage with your region. We are committed to high-quality customer service that is easy to access for all residents, and this app will help us continue to deliver service excellence for mobile users.

OneHalton provides direct access to many of Halton’s most popular online services:

Download

To learn more and download OneHalton, visit the App Store on your iPhone or iPad, or visit Google Play on your Android device. If you are using a computer, our many services remain easy to access for all. To learn more about the app or try our online service finder, visit halton.ca/OneHalton.

OneHalton will help the Region continue to promote service excellence in its many program offerings. By improving service access for residents, we help 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”.

Honouring the sacrifices of Canada’s veterans

Remembrance Day honours those who courageously fought in wars and conflict zones across the globe to protect our rights and freedoms. On November 11 at 11 a.m., please observe a moment of silence to honour the bravery, dedication and sacrifice of Canada’s veterans.

poppywebAs Canadians, we have the opportunity to vote, participate in all levels of government and openly celebrate our diverse heritage and culture together. However, our many freedoms came at a great personal cost, paid by the everyday heroes who risked and sacrificed their lives for the good of future generations.
The poppies we wear from the last Friday in October until Remembrance Day serve as reminders that honour all those who have fallen. As Heather Robertson says in A Terrible Beauty, The Art of Canada at War,

We must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those one hundred thousand Canadian lives will be meaningless… The meaning of their sacrifice rests with our collective national consciousness; our future is their monument.

Canada’s veterans protected our country’s foundational values of peace, liberty and hope, and those who continue to serve carry this legacy forward. Halton’s vibrant communities owe their bright future to these courageous individuals.

On behalf of Halton Region, I encourage all residents to wear a poppy this November and honour the sacrifice of all those who braved war and conflict to preserve our future. Lest we forget those who have faithfully served our country—by honouring our nation’s heroes, we celebrate the values that 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”.

Halton Region helps small businesses succeed

Halton Region is committed to helping local small businesses succeed year round. We support entrepreneurs, youth and newcomers looking to start, run and grow their businesses in the region. One of the ways that we support the small business community is through the Halton Region Small Business Centre.

We know that starting and running a small business requires planning and a great deal of effort.  The Centre provides entrepreneurs and small business owners with the tools and resources to start and continue to grow their businesses. Over the past 10 years, staff have responded to over 100,000 inquiries and met with over 10,000 clients in one-on-one consultations. These initiatives are proving successful as more and more businesses are choosing to locate here.

This fall, our Small Business Centre will host a number seminars, educations sessions and events targeted at small business owners and youth entrepreneurs within Halton Region. Some of the events coming up this fall include:

  • Global Entrepreneurship Week events (November 14 to 21)
  • Foodiepreneur Workshop (November 22)

These events aim to help small businesses who are either starting out or looking to grow, with the chance to network and share ideas.

Congratulations to all our entrepreneurs for your achievements over the past year, and for your continued success in shaping Halton’s future.  Thanks to your efforts, Halton continues to be a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

For more information about the Halton Region Small Business Centre, please visit www.haltonsmallbusiness.ca or dial 311. You can also follow the Halton Region Small Business Centre on Twitter at @HaltonEcDev, on Facebook and on WordPress.

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 during the flu season

Fall is such a great time of year to experience the harvest and the beauty of Halton’s natural surroundings, but it is also the season to start thinking about protecting yourself from the flu. The Halton Region Health Department, local pharmacies and physicians are working together to offer residents convenient access to flu clinics and help keep people safe and healthy this flu season.

Visit Ontario’s Flu Clinic Locator for locations of local flu immunization clinics including pharmacies.

While most healthy people recover from the flu within a few days, influenza infection can lead to pneumonia, hospitalization or worse, especially for those at high risk, including the elderly, children under the age of five and those with certain chronic health conditions.

Thankfully, there are some simple things you can do to protect yourself and those you love from getting sick.

Halton Region’s Health Department reports the best way to protect against getting and spreading the flu is to get the annual influenza immunization (flu shot). Remember that when you protect yourself, you protect those around you who may be at risk of severe illness from the flu.

savingyourself-fromthefluThere are many options which make it easier for you to get your flu shot. In Halton, you can get your flu immunization at your physician’s office, walk-in clinics, many pharmacies and some workplaces. Be sure to call the walk-in clinic or pharmacy before you go. Halton Region is also offering flu immunization clinics throughout the Region.

In addition to getting vaccinated, it is important to take everyday precautions by washing your hands frequently, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not available), and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you are sick, stay home from work or school to prevent the flu from spreading to others, and talk to your doctor if your illness continues to worsen or does not begin to improve after a few days.

For more information on the flu, please visit halton.ca/flu 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”.