Halton secures top credit rating once again

Halton has earned yet another AAA credit rating from S&P Global Ratings, indicating a high level of international confidence in the Region and its Local Municipalities. This achievement ranks us at the top end of Canadian municipalities, and we are pleased to celebrate another year of success.

S&P Global Ratings’ decision to uphold our top credit rating is based on our excellent financial performance, low exposure to risks and high-quality financial plans, policies and reports. Their research update features a wealth of high praise for the Region’s practices, including the following:

“Halton’s management is very strong, and has consistently proven its capacity to implement its strategic plan and budget. The region provides robust, comprehensive, and transparent disclosure and has well-defined financial policies and a well-documented financial plan… it has prudent and conservative policies as well as a stable and well-qualified management team to govern its debt and liquidity management. Halton demonstrates what we view as good political and managerial strength.”

Earning the highest possible credit rating from two international rating agencies—Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa) and S&P Global Ratings (AAA)—provides the Region with access to the best capital financing rates available. We use this advantage to help your tax dollars go further when we complete major road, water and wastewater projects in Halton.

Over the next 10 years, we will invest $4.2 billion into community infrastructure, with $1.6 billion for transportation and $2.1 billion into water and wastewater. While these strategic investments will help preserve the high quality of life in Halton, our top credit rating will help the Region ensure that every dollar spent delivers maximum value for taxpayers.

Our excellent track record is the result of prudent planning, strong performance and transparent reporting. By maintaining our strong financial position supported by a top credit rating, we can maximize investments in the future to ensure Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. To learn more about our finances and investments, visit halton.ca.

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”.

Celebrate Canada Day in Halton this long weekend

CanadaDayOn July 1, we celebrate Canada Day, which marks our nation’s 151st birthday. This day is an opportunity to reflect on what makes our country, and our community, a great place to live. It reminds us of our values for freedom, diversity and inclusion, and it is a time to reflect upon our history, learn new aspects of our culture and identity, and take pride in the community we have built together.

This Canada Day, there are many ways you can come together and celebrate with your community.  Communities across Halton are hosting special events to celebrate our nation’s birthday. For a list of local events in honour of Canada Day, please visit your local municipality’s website.

Happy Canada Day everyone and thank you for helping make Halton Region a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire!

Halton Region’s essential and 24-hour services will remain available this weekend and during long weekends throughout the summer. For more information, please visit halton.ca or call 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”.

 

Tips to stay safe and have fun in Halton this summer

Today marks the first official day of summer. As the days get warmer and you spend more time outside, I’d like to remind residents about some of the Regional programs and services available to help keep you safe and protect you and your family this summer.

Be ready for warm days

Are you going outside for the day to explore our region? Remember to protect yourself by checking the forecast, dressing appropriately for the weather and drinking plenty of liquids! On extremely warm days, try to avoid prolonged sun exposure or reschedule outdoor activities to cooler parts of the day.

If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to sign up for heat and air quality alerts, which send notifications directly to your mobile device. Visit halton.ca/heat or halton.ca/aqhi to subscribe and find more tips to prevent heat-related illness or injuries.

Stay safe at the beach

The Region’s public health inspectors monitor beach water quality to make sure it is safe for swimming. If you are planning on going to a beach in Halton, you can find the latest beach water quality results at halton.ca/beach.

Food safety

Hosting a long weekend BBQ or taking the family to a local park for a picnic? Practice these four food safety tips—clean, separate, cook and chill—to reduce the risk of food-borne illness. Learn more at halton.ca/foodsafety.

Protect yourself from West Nile virus and Lyme disease

The Halton Region Health Department works hard to reduce the risks of West Nile virus and Lyme disease in our community. Make sure you are prepared by wearing light, long-sleeved clothing and using insect repellant with DEET or Icardin and avoid going outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Find more safety tips at halton.ca/wnv and halton.ca/lymedisease.

By making safe choices this summer, you can stay safe and healthy while enjoying everything that makes Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

Have a great summer and enjoy all Halton has to offer!

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’s Simply Local: your guide to local farms and markets

One of the many great features of Halton region is our diverse local agricultural community including local farms, stables, markets and recreational activities. Halton’s farming industry also provides us with access to fresh, local produce that has many health benefits and simply tastes great.

Supporting our local economy, including agri-business, has always been a priority for Regional Council. Our Simply Local program aims to promote and support the many agri-businesses across the region and provide resources for residents looking to find local activities, buy local produce and support local farms.

The summer is a great time to explore everything Halton’s agricultural community has to offer:

  • Local farms to pick in-season produce and take part in fun activities for the whole family.
  • Seven farmers’ markets across Halton’s four local municipalities.
  • Ranches and stables to participate in equestrian activities such as riding lessons and camps.
  • Nurseries and garden centres to stock up on native plants and shrubs for your home garden.

Plan your visits to local farms and markets using Halton’s Simply Local map!

Residents and tourists can use our interactive online map to access year-round up-to-date information on farms and markets, including what produce is in season and ripe for picking.

Visit halton.ca/simplylocal to learn more or follow @RegionofHalton on social media to get updates on what local produce is in season and discover what makes 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.”

Make an informed decision on June 7

The Provincial election is quickly approaching, and it will soon be time to cast your vote to elect a local Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) to represent you at Queen’s Park.

In a previous post, I outlined the importance of the Region’s partnership with MPPs in advocating for a strong Halton. Council will actively engage the successful candidates to support our requests for solutions from the Ontario government that protect existing taxpayers from the costs of Provincially mandated growth.

On May 10, we sent a questionnaire to candidates in local election ridings. It asked them to indicate their position on the following issues:

  • confirming Regional and Provincial regulatory roles in the proposed CN truck-rail hub;
  • investing in roads and infrastructure to support growth targets;
  • investing in adequate funding to support mandatory public health programs to close the $9.3 million funding gap;
  • immediately investing in new technologies and establishing enforceable performance agreements for area Central Ambulance Communications Centres; and
  • investing in safe, affordable and accessible government-assisted housing.

We are posting candidate responses as we receive them, and will continue to post new responses until Election Day.

Regional Council will work closely with the successful candidates to preserve Halton’s high quality of life. To learn more about our ongoing advocacy efforts to secure long-term, predictable funding and legislative changes from other levels of government, visit halton.ca/advocacy.

I encourage you to read the responses from candidates in your riding before you visit the polls. Remember, your vote counts, and it will help shape the future of our community. By making an informed decision, you help keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

The Provincial election will take place on Thursday, June 7, 2018. Ridings in Halton include Burlington, Milton, Oakville, Oakville North—Burlington and Wellington-Halton Hills—to check your riding or register to vote, visit Elections Ontario.

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”.

 

Join us to celebrate Halton’s second annual Paramedic Day

To kick off this year’s Paramedic Services Week (May 27 to June 2), Halton is hosting our second annual Paramedic Day on Saturday, May 26! The event will run rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Woodlands Operations Centre (1179 Bronte Road) in Oakville.

We often see paramedics on the road or at large community events providing emergency medical services. Paramedic Day is a great opportunity for residents of all ages to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Region’s Paramedic Services and learn more about how they help keep our community safe and healthy. Walk through an ambulance, try on some of the tactical gear, learn about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or chat with some of our paramedics to learn more about what they do. There will also be plenty of other activities, including local food trucks, a bike helmet safety station and more!

Halton supports the health and well-being of all residents. We are fortunate to have more than 250 paramedics who work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each year, Halton’s paramedics respond to 50,000 calls and transport more than 30,000 patients to hospitals in our region.

As Halton’s population grows, we will continue to meet residents’ health needs by building more paramedic stations, installing more Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) in the community, providing training resources for residents, and continuing our Community Paramedicine @Clinic program, which provides health assessments for residents living in assisted housing communities that experience a high volume of 911 calls.

We are fortunate to also have many other Regional staff, including our public health nurses, inspectors, dieticians and more, who work in the community to help residents stay healthy. This month, we thank them for all of their hard work and contributions to making our community a safer and healthier place to live.

For more information about Paramedic Day or the Region’s Paramedic Services, visit halton.ca/paramedics. I look forward to seeing you at the event! By celebrating our paramedics and their dedication to keeping our community safe and healthy, we can ensure Halton 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 Region supports non-profit partners to enhance residents’ quality of life

Halton Region works closely with its non-profit partners to provide funding for initiatives that support the health, safety and well-being of residents. Many non-profits turn to the Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF) to deliver or expand services, upgrade equipment or launch new initiatives.

On April 18, 2018, Regional Council approved more than $2.3 million in funding for community programs dedicated to improving access to services for residents in need. This includes support for programs that address mental health, prevent homelessness, support older adults, children and youth, and enhance food security. The funding is awarded in grants of one, two and three years through the HRCIF.

Halton Region is investing $771,094 in food security programs between 2018 and 2020, including:

FoodForLife_Truck

  • $466,554 to Food For Life to help source and distribute fresh nutritious food to those in need.
  • $174,781 to Halton Food Council to support the growth of community garden programming at assisted housing communities.

One of the key priorities of the Halton Region Strategic Action Plan, 2015-2018, is promoting good mental health. This year, HRCIF is investing in many community mental health programs, including:

  • $304,596 to Resiliency 4 Recovery to provide mental health and addiction support programs for youth aged 16-29; funds will also support adults 30+ who are dealing with opioid misuse challenges.
  • $29,999 to the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario to train frontline staff at two local mental health organizations in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy related to psychosis.

Child psychology, preschooler doing tests

HRCIF is also contributing to programs that support the needs of children and youth, including:

In addition to new funding, 30 programs will receive funding as part of their second or third installment of multi-year grants awarded in 2016 and 2017. In total, the HRCIF will be supporting 55 programs with over $2.3 million of funding in 2018.
Twitter_HRCIF32
Since 2012, the number of projects funded through HRCIF has more than doubled, from 25 to 55 currently, and the amount of funding has increased from $702,691 to more than $2.3 million.

SCS-1810523_HRCIF-Impact-Report-1Halton Region recently released its first-ever HRCIF Impact Report  that profiles four funded projects from 2017 and also demonstrates HRCIF’s impact in the community.

To learn more about the Halton Region Community Investment Fund, visit halton.ca/investmentfund or call 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”.