Assisting Halton’s Low Income Residents (video)

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Driven to Quit Challenge Helps Halton Residents Quit Smoking and Improve Their Health

With the New Year in full swing, Halton Region’s Health Department is partnering with the Canadian Cancer Society to help smokers keep a resolution and quit smoking with the seventh annual Driven to Quit Challenge.

Running throughout the remainder of February, the Driven to Quit Challenge is a health promotion campaign that encourages Ontario adult tobacco users to give up tobacco.Ontario adults who can quit smoking by March 1 and remain smoke free for the month of March are entered for the chance to win a new Ford Fusion hybrid or Ford Edge, or more than $25,000 in other prizes.

Whether you are renewing a New Year’s resolution, or are thinking of making a quit attempt, the Driven to Quit Challenge is a great opportunity that provides some extra incentive to give up tobacco.

Last year, more than 36,000 Ontarians took The Challenge province-wide, including Halton’s very own Jacqueline Kobow of Acton who was recognized as an official winner. Not only did Jacqueline successfully become tobacco-free, but she also went home with a $5,000 vacation getaway.

Since the first contest, the campaign has helped more than 6,000 entrants across Halton to quit smoking. I congratulate all 1,293 Halton residents who participated in the challenge last year and encourage members of our community who want to quit smoking to participate this year.

The deadline to register for the Driven to Quit Challenge is Wednesday, February 29, 2012. To register and for details about the Driven to Quit Challenge, go to www.DrivenToQuit.ca or contact Halton Region by dialing 311 or visit www.halton.ca/health.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

2012 Halton Seniors’ Directory Now Available

Seniors, families and caregivers in Halton will benefit from the great information contained within the 2012 edition of the Halton Seniors’ Directory.  Compiled by Halton Region’s Elder Services Advisory Committee, the directory contains important information about services provided to seniors in Halton by various levels of government, service clubs, non-profit, for profit and community based agencies. Key categories in the 2012 directory include community information; financial aid programs; home and community support programs; housing; legal services; leisure and education; multicultural programs; safety; support groups/counselling services; and transportation. 

On Tuesday, January 24, 2012 I had the pleasure of helping members of ESAC as they began to unpack boxes of the directories for distribution to community service providers during a special directory “pick up day”.  We held this event to get the directory out to as many community service agencies as possible so that seniors could go to their local library, CCAC office, seniors’ centre or municipal office to pick up a copy of the directory.

The Halton Seniors’ Directory is a great resource for seniors in Halton and it is an important way we connect seniors, their families and caregivers with services in the community. The directory is an action item identified in The Citizens’ Priorities Plan – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan.  It is part of the Region’s commitment to providing information and resources to seniors, their families and their caregivers.

In addition to the directory, Halton Region’s Elder Services Advisory Committee distributes a number of informative resources to seniors in Halton.  Visit www.halton.ca/esac for links to online resources for seniors. To order a copy of the directory contact Halton Region by dialing 311 or visit  your local seniors’ centre, library, the Community Care Access Centre, and municipal offices to pick up a copy.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Employment Halton opens doors to job seekers and employers of Halton

At Halton Region, we are working to implement a new ten-year Halton Region Economic Development Strategy Implementation Plan in partnership with our Local Municipal partners in Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville, that will guide the fulfilment of the Region’s vision for economic development to 2021. One of the great things we have going for us is the fact that Halton Region is such a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. Businesses realize this, which is why companies like Siemens and Target are choosing to locate in Halton. These two businesses will bring about 1300 jobs to the Region. Through our Citizens’ Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan, Regional Council is committed to both attracting and retaining jobs, and helping job seekers to find work and employers to find employees.

On January 24, 2012, I had the pleasure of joining the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, local elected officials, community partners and members of the public to celebrate the official opening of the Employment Halton office in Oakville. Employment Halton offers personalized services to help job seekers meet their goals and employers achieve success in today’s labour market by providing a comprehensive range of programs and services.

As a service provider for Employment Ontarioexternal link, Halton Region is part of a network of providers in Halton who are committed to providing accessible, customer focused and integrated services so that the experience for individuals accessing the system is seamless. Employment Ontario programsexternal link include apprenticeship opportunities and programs such as Second Career external link which provides participants with financial support to assist them as they re-train for a new career.
 
In addition to the services offered onsite, job seekers and employers benefit from the free online job posting board operated by Employment Halton. Our staff is also working closely with employers in Halton to help them meet their hiring needs. If you are an employer in Halton you may be interested in the services Employment Halton can offer you.

While last week’s event marked the official opening of Employment Halton, this location has actually been providing services to our community for a year. During this time, staff have developed an innovative and integrated model of service delivery that has achieved impressive results. In its first year of operation, Employment Halton exceeded Ministry targets for the number of clients and employers served and the number of clients placed in jobs. Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to help make our first year such a huge success.

I would like to thank the Provincial government for the funding provided through Employment Ontario. Your support has enabled us to strengthen access to employment opportunities in our community. I would also like to thank the Federal government for the support they provide us for employment programs for youth and newcomers.

If you are looking for a job, interested in a new career or are an employer in Halton who wants to learn more about what we can do for you, contact us by dialing 311 or 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866, or visit www.halton.ca/employmenthalton. Our Employment Halton office is located in Bronte Village Mall in Oakville (2441 Lakeshore Road, view mapexternal link).

Employment Halton Grand Opening
If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Regional Accomplishments: October – December 2011

Every day, Halton Region works to provide residents and businesses with valuable programs and services. From affordable housing and public health; to business development and emergency management; from waste collection to water/wastewater treatment, we are committed to delivering our programs and services in a cost-effective and easily accessible manner.I am pleased to share with you some of Halton Region’s major accomplishments for the 4th quarter of 2011.If you have any concerns or comments, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca.
 

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Approved 2012 budget with a zero per cent tax increase
    On December 14, Halton Regional Council approved the Region’s 2012 Budget and Business Plan, delivering a zero per cent tax rate increase for Regional programs and services. In the past six years, Halton Region has one of the best records in all of Canada for keeping taxes low. The approval of the 2012 budget marks the third consecutive year the Region has not increased taxes for its services, while maintaining service levels in a growing community. Regional services account for approximately 25 per cent of the residential property tax bill received by Halton residents.

Attracting and Retaining Jobs

  • The Economic Development Strategy 2012-2021 Implementation Plan
    The Economic Development Strategy 2012-2021 Implementation Planwas approved by Regional Council on December 14th. The Implementation Plan will guide Halton Region Economic Development, in concert with its local municipal partners to fulfil the Region’s vision for economic development by 2021.
  • Halton Region’s Small Business Centre reaches 1000 followers
    Over 1,000 people are now following the Centre on Twitter and connecting with each other for small business news, tips, expert advice, and information about the Centre’s services, resources, and events.
  • Entrepreneurship Week
    Halton Region’s Small Business Centre and HalTech, Halton’s regional innovation centre, combined for a successful inaugural Entrepreneurship Week, November 15-17 at Sheridan College in Oakville. More than 200 registrants participated in learning sessions and enjoyed networking opportunities.
  • Release of the Development Charges Background Study
    Halton Region released a Development Charges Background Study for Water, Wastewater, Roads & General Services Development Charges pdf 4.5 MB on November 30. The Background Study has been prepared in accordance with the Development Charges Act, 1997 and, together with the proposed By-laws, is being made available to the public prior to a public meeting scheduled for February.

Promoting Tourism

  • Social media
    Halton Tourism announced the winner of the fall photo contest on its Facebook page and reached 442 twitter followers.
  • Halton Region Museum hosted successful fall events
    Halton Region Museum hosted a number of events in fall 2011. In addition to its successful Jazz at the Museum concert series, the Museum brought back its popular Hearthside event, an evening of entertainment, great music and superb food. Held in honour of the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration, the well-attended event featured a new caterer, talented Juno nominated entertainment and a younger trio and served to showcase the Museum.

Be an Employer of Choice

  • Halton named one of the GTA’s Top Employers for 2012
    Halton Region was named one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for 2012. The annual Greater Toronto’s Top Employers competition recognizes employers that lead their sectors in areas such as health, financial and family benefits; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement.

Safe Communities

  • Halton announced as safest regional municipality in Canada
    For the fourth year in a row, Maclean’s Magazine has named Halton Region the Safest Place to live in the Great Toronto Area and the Safest Regional Municipality in Canada. Maclean’s bases its ranking on aggregate results of the 2010 annual crime data from Statistics Canada’s for Municipal police services serving the nation’s 100 largest populations and the Crime Severity Index (CSI) scores.

Transportation

  • Tremaine Road widening, Derry Road to Main Street, Milton, includes roundabout
    Thank you to all the drivers who use Tremaine Road, between Derry Road and Main Street, for your patience during the construction over the last two years. This $16 million project (including federal and provincial funding) included widening Tremaine Road to four lanes between Derry Road and Main Street, installing new watermains, building Halton’s first Regional roundabout, creating dedicated on-road cycling lanes, adding multi-use paths on the east side of the road and more. For more details on how to safely drive the roundabout, visit www.halton.ca/goround.
  • Derry Road repaving from Walkers Line to Tremaine Road including intersection improvements at Walkers Line and Derry Road
    This quarter also saw the repaving on Derry Roadbetween Walkers Line and Tremaine Road. Not only will this give a smoother ride to drivers, but the intersection at Walkers Line and Derry Road has been improved.
  • 16 Mile Creek North Bridge (Dundas Street from Proudfoot Trail to Neyagawa Boulevard)
    Drivers using Dundas Street in Oakville will have noticed construction between Proudfoot Trail and Neyagawa Boulevard. This infrastructure project hit a milestone this quarter when the new north bridge crossing the 16 Mile Creek opened to traffic in October. When the project is finished later this year, Dundas Street will be six lanes with bicycle paths and sidewalks on both sides of the two new bridges.
  • Transportation Master Plan
    On Wednesday, October 5, Regional Council approved Halton’s most recent Transportation Master Plan, The Road to Change, which plans the Regional transportation system up to the year 2031. The master plan examines transportation infrastructure, identifies new road corridors and ways to provide for cycling and walking, promotes travel demand management programs (such as carpooling) and accommodates enhanced municipal and inter-regional (GO) transit services. For more details on The Road to Change – Halton’s Transportation Master Plan 2031, please visit www.halton.ca/htmp

Infrastructure

  • Water and Wastewater Master Plan
    On October 5, 2011 Regional Council approved the Sustainable Halton Water and Wastewater Master Plan. This plan ensures that Halton will continue to provide a safe and uninterrupted water supply for all Halton residents and businesses that receive Regional water, as well as ensuring that wastewater is treated efficiently and effectively.

Waste Management

  • Solid Waste Management Strategy
    On November 16, Regional Council approved Halton’s new Solid Waste Management Strategy which will guide Regional waste diversion programs towards the goal of achieving a 65 per cent waste diversion rate by the year 2016. To learn more about each of the new initiatives included in the 2012 to 2016 Solid Waste Management Strategy visit www.halton.ca/wastestrategy.

Planning Sustainable Communities

  • Approval of ROPA 38
    On November 25, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing external link issued a Notice of Decision to approve ROPA 38 (Sustainable Halton) with modifications to align the Region’s Official Plan with the Province’s Growth Plan, Greenbelt Plan and the Provincial Policy Statement.

Affordable and Assisted Housing

  • Completion of two new HCHC seniors buildings – Martin House Residence in Milton and Aldershot Village in Burlington
    The construction of two new Halton Community Housing Corporation (HCHC) seniors’ housing developments was completed at the end of 2011. Martin House Seniors Residence  pdf 203 MB, located at 189 Ontario Street South in Milton, provides Halton with 80 new units for seniors, including eight units for persons with disabilities. Aldershot Village Residence pdf 144 MB, located at 540 Plains Road East in Burlington, offers 65 new affordable housing units and is home to the Burlington Public Library’s new Aldershot Branch.

Children and Youth Development

  • Innovation funding
    Halton’s Our Kids Network/Early Years Committee received Innovation Funding from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services external link for the development of a new Service Navigation System model. The new system will allow Halton to move forward with the Best Start Child and Family System (BSCFS) designed to support families during a child’s early years
  • Our Kids Network Report Card
    Halton Our Kids Network external link released A Vision for Children in Halton, Report Card 2011. The third report card since 2004, A Vision for Children in Halton 2011 is a powerful tool and more information can be found online external link pdf 5.69 MB.
  • Halton Our Kids highlighted in Ontario’s Chief MOH Annual report
    On December 1, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Arlene King, released her 2010 Annual Report, Health, Not Health Care external link– Changing the Conversation. The report cited Halton Our Kids Network (OKN) as an example of an Ontario municipality crossing government and sectoral lines to create healthy public policy. Halton Region’s Health and Social and Community Services Departments are key partners in OKN.
  • New intake/information line accessed by dialing 311
    Based on the research from two focus group surveys conducted in 2010, the Health Department created a new intake/information line staffed by public health nurses to increase access to comprehensive health and parenting information. This new intake/information line went live on December 5. Public health nurses provide comprehensive, best-practice advice, information, support, and counselling on a variety of topics. They also assist with linkages and referrals to Halton Region programs, classes, services and other community resources. The line also benefits health care professionals, school staff, childcare professionals, and staff from community agencies.
  • Halton Baby Friendly Initiative common messages document to become provincial resource
    In November, the Health Department signed an agreement with the Province to adapt the department’s “Key Common Messages Supporting the BFI (Baby Friendly Initiative)” working document into a provincial resource. The document has been widely used in the Halton community to provide consistent messages for health care providers. Health Nexus, Best Start Resource Centre external link and the Ontario Breastfeeding Committee external linkrecognized it as a valuable tool for other organizations working towards BFI accreditation and maintenance. This recent agreement means that the Halton document will be adapted by a committee of academics, hospital and community experts and become a provincial resource.
  • Community of Aldershot focuses on mental health
    In October the Aldershot community hosted a youth event called the Big Chill. The day was organized by the “Partnering Aldershot Safety Team” to promote mental health and increase awareness of community resources.

Seniors

  • Successful bid for provincial funding to support community seniors’ fall prevention
    Halton Region Health Department staff provided key leadership in a successful bid for provincial funding of seniors’ fall prevention research. The research project, “Engaging Community-Based Organizations in Fall Prevention for Older Adults: Moving from Research to Action,” received $100,000 to better inform public health and the community to prevent falls in older adults.

Protecting Public Health

  • Health indicators reports
    Monitoring the health of Halton citizens is a key priority for Regional Council and the Halton Region Health Department (HRHD). Using data from a variety of sources including the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System, Canadian Community Health Survey, Our Kids Halton Youth Survey and sources such as vital statistics births and deaths, and hospital discharges, HRHD regularly develops Health Indicator Reports on various health issues such as tobacco use or body mass index (i.e., weight). Each report includes demographic comparisons by age, sex, and municipality, as well as trends over time related to that health issue and helps to inform HRHD programs and services. In the fall, several new and updated reports were posted on the Region’s website.
  • Fall 2011 paramedic continuing medical education training
    All paramedic staff completed an eight-hour continuing medical education session in November. Continuing education is delivered throughout the year to ensure Halton paramedics are proficient with current standards, and to educate paramedics on new protocols, medication and equipment.
  • Emergency Services tiered response agreement completed
    In the early 1990s, a tiered response guideline was established amongst the three emergency services—EMS, police and fire services. The agreement outlined when the various emergency service agencies would be dispatched to emergency incidents that require more than once agency to respond to assist the primary emergency service. Halton’s EMS, police and fire services have been working under this guideline since 2000 when Halton Region assumed responsibility for EMS. One of Regional Council’s key actions identified in the 2011-2014 Action Plan was to create an updated tiered response agreement with the three emergency services. The new agreement was completed in fall 2011 by a working group of Deputy Chiefs from each agency, and was implemented early January 2012.  

Promoting Healthy Living

  • Healthy Weights Takes Action Community of Practice
    On November 22, 2011, the Halton Region Health Department launched the Healthy Weights: Halton Takes Action Community of Practice (CoP). CoP’s are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. Twenty-one participants, from many sectors such as education, community-based organizations, NGOs, health and municipal/provincial governments, gathered for the event. The CoP is just one in a series of comprehensive efforts to address obesity in Halton.
  • Halton continues to support smokers in their quit attempts (STOP program)
    On December 13, 2011, 43 Halton residents participated in the STOP on the Road external link program. Each participant received counselling and a five-week supply of nicotine replacement therapy. Telephone follow-up will now be offered to participants by the Center for Addiction and Mental Health. During the past quarter, Halton offered a variety of training opportunities to cessation practitioners. Two hundred practitioners attended sessions on best practices, motivational interviewing, cessation evaluation, and gender-specific approaches to cessation.
  • Safety Drives Us presents at national injury prevention conference
    Safety Drives Us (SDU) external link: Road Safety Initiatives for Newcomers in Halton” is a committee comprised of a unique partnership in Halton, Peel and Hamilton Regions between ethnic media, settlement agencies, children’s safety advocates, public health, police and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. On November 15, SDU presented at the Safe Kids Canada’s Injury Prevention conference in Vancouver. SDU initiatives include translation of child car seat pamphlets and videos into seven languages, training of settlement workers in car seat safety, car seat clinics for newcomer families and PSAs on multicultural radio programs, newspapers, and cable TV.

Air Quality

  • A Farewell to Featherwagons
    On December 22, 2011, Halton Region posted e-book translations on the Region’s website of the popular children’s picture book for children aged four to eight, A Farewell to Featherwagons. The book is now available in French, Spanish, Polish and Cantonese, reflecting the top four languages spoken most often at home in Halton, other than English. A Farewell to Featherwagons introduces children to air quality and climate change themes to inspire earth-friendly living at an early age. Since its launch in June, more than 2,500 copies have been distributed to libraries, schools and day care centres across Halton and there have been close to 2,000 visits to www.halton.ca/featherwagons.

Working with community partners to keep Halton residents safe and healthy

On December 5, Halton Region donated three decommissioned vehicles to local St. John Ambulance branches. The St. John Ambulance Burlington branch received one decommissioned ambulance and one decommissioned emergency response unit (ERU). The St. John Ambulance Oakville-Milton & Halton Hills branch received one decommissioned cargo van.

Over the past few years, Halton Region has donated a number of decommissioned emergency vehicles to local St. John Ambulance branches. Our ongoing partnership is a great way to make the most of existing resources and provide continued service to the residents of Halton.

At the donation event, I was pleased to meet a number of the hardworking people who dedicate their time to improving the health and safety of Halton residents. Many of these folks are volunteers for St. John Ambulance and they support hundreds of public events and commit over 10,000 hours of medical first aid coverage and service each year in Halton.

Among other important community services, the people at St. John Ambulance train over 140,000 Ontarians in first aid and other health care related courses each year. As our community continues to grow, it is important that we recognize and support organizations like St. John Ambulance.

Chair Carr with St. John's Ambulance

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”