Celebration of Life

Last week I had the honour of attending Halton Region’s Celebration of Life awards ceremony.

The Celebration of Life is an event to profile the important life-saving work by Halton’s Paramedic Services, bystanders, and community partners. The event also gave survivorsHalton Paramedic Celebration of Life of medical emergencies a chance to formally meet and thank the paramedics who saved them.

The Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board were presented with community partner awards for their commitment to the health and safety of their students and staff when they installed defibrillators in all their schools. Along with the installation, they trained hundreds of staff and students how to use the defibrillators and how to do CPR.

Bystanders were also honoured for their bravery. Thrust into a crisis situation they acted with selflessness and courage and were commended for their actions.

DSC_4361In Halton Region, we have an exceptional team of paramedics who make a career out of caring for the health and safety of our community.

Halton Regional Council is committed to providing the necessary tools for not only a paramedic service that succeeds, but one that excels.

In the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, there are a number of high profile actions dedicated to paramedic services such as ensuring appropriate response times, opening a northwest Oakville station and continuing to work with the Central Ambulance Communications Centre to optimize the delivery of paramedical services.

Optimization of the delivery of paramedical services is key because as our population grows, so too does the demand for paramedic service.

For Regional Council, that means striking the right balance between meeting community safety needs and managing tax dollars effectively, something we have been able to do with expanding services while not increasing property taxes on Regional programs and services for the past seven years, one of the best records in Canada.

This is evident in the fact that last year Halton Region’s Paramedic Services responded to over 50,000 calls while still meeting our response time targets.

Halton’s paramedics, community partners and bystanders are part of what make Halton 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.”


Think you might be having a heart attack? Call 911 immediately.

When faced with a medical emergency, there are many things that can run through your mind. Whether you are a witness to the emergency or if you are the emergency, calling 911 should be your first priority. This is especially important if the emergency might be a heart attack.

If you think you or someone else is having a heart attack, DO NOT DRIVE TO THE HOSPITAL. Call 911 for an ambulance.Ambulance

Most Common Signs of a Heart Attack

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain*
  • Sweating

*Women often don’t feel any chest pain.

Less Common Signs of a Heart Attack

  • Light headedness/dizziness
  • Upset stomach, vomiting, nausea
  • Anxiety
  • DenialEMS

It is important to know the signs of a heart attack. Don’t risk your life or someone else’s. Call 911 immediately.  Halton’s paramedics are highly skilled and can begin treating a person suffering from a heart attack immediately.

Upon reaching the patient, the Paramedics can perform tests to determine if the type of heart attack is one that can be most effectively treated in a regional cardiac centre, either in Mississauga or Hamilton. If the heart attack is considered a “STEMI,” the patient will be quickly taken to a cardiac centre where they undergo a surgical procedure to restore blood flow to the heart. This is called the STEMI Program and we are very fortunate to have it. The STEMI program is showing positive outcomes when these patients are transported directly to the cardiac centre by paramedics.

If a person were to have a family member or friend drive them to a hospital, there would be delays in getting the patient the proper cardiac care. Any delay decreases a person’s chance of surviving a heart attack. Calling 911 is your best option.

In 2012, the Halton Region Paramedic Services created a series of educational videos for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillators which include:

Please watch and share these videos.

CPR is a skill that is easy to learn and can save a life. Halton Region Paramedic Services offers several options for learning CPR. There are other community organizations that offer training as well.

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 or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Halton’s quarterly accomplishments (Q4, 2012)

Fiscal Responsibility

2013 Budget and Business Plan – On December 12, 2012, Regional Council approved the 2013 Budget and Business Plan with a zero per cent tax increase. This is the seventh consecutive year with an average zero percent tax increase for Regional programs and services. This is one of the best records in all of Canada.

Attracting and Retaining Jobs

Real Estate Forum – On November 8, 2012, more than 200 industrial, commercial developers and real estate brokers from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) attended Halton Region’s Real Estate Forum, for an update on the industrial and commercial real estate market in Halton and the GTA. Participants took away the key message that Halton is indeed a location of choice, and a “hot spot” for forward thinking businesses.

Entrepreneurship Week – From November 12 to 14, 2012, more than100 entrepreneurs in Halton Region attended the second annual Entrepreneurship Week Event hosted by Halton Region Small Business Centre and the regional innovation centre, HalTech.

Data centre launched – Halton Economic Development launched a new online regional data centre in November.  The data centre provides a central online resource location for Regional economic research and investment information.  These new pages include a wealth of data and information regarding Development Activity, Economic Activity, Demographics, Labour Force, Industries, Taxes and Utilities.

Promoting Tourism

Jeff’s Home award – On October 18th 2012, the Halton Region Museum received an Award of Excellence from the Ontario Museum Association (OMA) for Jeff’s Home: a virtual tour of the escarpment in Halton. The OMA Award of Excellence in Programs is awarded to individuals, institutions, corporations or agencies for programming that creatively engages new audiences, or provides exemplary service to existing ones.  Since it was launched, there have been more than 38,000 visits to the Jeff’s Home website.

Emergency Preparedness

Exercise “Lights Out” – On October 4, 2012, Halton Regional and Local emergency staff and officials participated in Exercise “Lights Out” as part of Halton Region’s emergency exercise program. As the name suggests, participants responded to a simulated community emergency – a large, area-wide power black-out that lasted several days – the result of an ice storm.

Community Emergency Notification Service test – On Thursday, December 6, 2012, Halton Region and the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton and the Town of Oakville successfully tested Halton’s Community Emergency Notification Service (CENS). CENS is an emergency telephone notification service. In the event of a major disaster or catastrophe, CENS will phone affected households throughout Halton.


Launch of Halton Newcomer Portal – The Halton Newcomer Portal was launched in November before an audience of over 200 newcomers who attended the annual Halton Information Services Fair.  The portal is a community based website that helps newcomers identify the community supports and services they can access prior to or when they arrive in Halton. The portal is part of the Halton Newcomer Strategy which is a key initiative in the Citizens’ Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan. Through the Halton Newcomer Strategy, Halton Region’s focus is on removing barriers to employment for newcomers and supporting initiatives that improve access to services for newcomers in Halton.

Planning Sustainable Communities

Joint public information session: review of the current Master Plan for the Burloak Regional Waterfront Park – On December 12, 2012, together with the City of Burlington, the Town of Oakville and Conservation Halton, Halton Region held a successful Public Information Meeting to invite public input into the review of the current Master Plan for the Burloak Regional Waterfront Park as well as to invite comment on a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Study for the Burlington East drainage area to confirm the preferred wastewater servicing strategy.

Affordable and Assisted Housing

Be a Hero contest and awards ceremony – A class from Assumption Secondary High School won first place for their YouTube video entitled “Home” at the Be a Hero – Be a Voice for Affordable Housing awards ceremony on November 21, 2012. Over 200 people were in attendance at the awards ceremony and over 160 youth participated in this year’s contest. Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children and Me to We was the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony.  The Be a Hero contest challenges Halton youth (ages 14-18) to use their creativity to raise awareness about the issues of affordable housing and homelessness in Halton.

Children and Youth Development

Events supporting parents and positive youth development – In November, the Halton Our Kids Network hosted the Do Your Part! National Conference on Positive Youth Development. Over 240 people, including over 40 youth, participated in the two-day conference dedicated to positive youth development. The two days were filled with 28 inspiring learning sessions; many led and delivered by youth.

At the conference, public health nurses presented the “A New Kind of Parenting: Raising Kids Ages 10 to 16” resource to service providers from across Canada. The resource was also presented to Halton parents at the annual Parent Involvement Conference with the Halton District School Board, to support parents in their journey and promote positive parenting and developmental assets messages.

Events for Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week (November 18 to 24) – During Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week, the Our Kids Network Bullying Prevention Task Force held two events on November 22, 2012.  A community forum was coordinated during the morning as an opportunity for service providers to dialogue about gaps in bullying prevention and intervention programs and services and to identify potential opportunities for collaboration to address bullying among children and youth across Halton Region.  An evening presentation was also held for parents with a keynote presentation by Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt of the University of Ottawa, which focused on debunking myths about bullying.

Consultation with schools and child care centres – Halton Region Children’s Services Program Support Consultants visited approximately 20 classrooms in the Halton District and Catholic District School Boards, and used the Environmental Ratings Scales to complete an observation and consultation with the Early Childhood Educators and Kindergarten Teachers. Supporting Full Day Kindergarten programs in this manner gives the educators an opportunity to look at their room set up, supervision of children and program through consultative discussions.

Five community child care centres and three schools offering Full Day Kindergarten toured our Halton Region Child Care Centres to observe inclusive, high quality and play-based curriculum. In total, 15 Early Childhood Educators and four Kindergarten Teachers have toured and observed classrooms.  

Protecting Public Health

Making progress with Ontario’s Defibrillator Access Initiative – In 2012 Halton Region received grant funding from the Government of Ontario, through the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, to place 116 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in all elementary schools in the Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board.   This grant funding includes training of at least 10 people per defibrillator location. Halton EMS instructors placed over 100 of the AEDs and trained over 1000 people in October, November and December alone.

Halton EMS participating in drug study to improve patient outcomes – For several years Halton EMS has participated in the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium, a large North American study regarding cardiac arrest and traumatic injury.  Halton EMS was the first service in Canada to enroll a patient in the new ALPS (Amiodarone, Lidocaine or Placebo Study)trial that started in October 2012.  The goal of ALPS is to determine if survival to hospital discharge after cardiac arrest is improved with early (and if necessary) repeated administration of a new formulation of IV amiodarone compared to no antiarrhythmic drug (placebo) or lidocaine.

Promoting Healthy Living

Dental supplies to food banks – A new initiative to provide dental supplies to food banks began in mid 2012 with the goal of providing tools and education to reduce oral health problems experienced by residents attending food banks. Through early December, staff distributed oral care products to 11 Halton area food banks. A total of 34,026 items including tooth brushes, toothpaste, dental floss, and brushing instructions were donated. Follow-up evaluations showed great appreciation and continued need for these supplies. Based on these responses, the Health Department will continue the distribution twice per year.

The Honourable Bob Rae, M.P., and Dr. Amy Cheung keynote speakers at Halton Suicide Prevention Coalition annual general meeting – On November 9, 2012, the Halton Suicide Prevention Coalition welcomed The Honourable Bob Rae, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and M.P. for Toronto Centre, and Dr. Amy Cheung to their Annual General Meeting. Over 300 people attended this event. Mr. Rae provided an inspirational message to those working in the mental health field, and also offered his insights into Bill C-300, a Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention. Dr. Amy Cheung, a psychiatrist specializing in child and adolescent depression and suicide highlighted the risk factors and interventions for youth at risk of suicide.

Air Quality

Rollout of “Wings and Thingamajigs” – In September, the Health Department’s children’s book, “Wings and Thingamajigs,” was distributed to elementary schools. This was followed by several additional events, including distribution at several libraries, health and environmental events throughout Halton. At a few events, owls from Mountsberg’s Raptor Centre helped to present the book. In addition, staff were invited to present at the Municipal Communications Conference on “A Farewell to Featherwagons,” the first book in the series and a featured 2012 Gold Quill Award Winner.  


New Programming Options for Seniors in HCHC Sites – In the fall, staff in the Older Adults Program collaborated with the Halton Community Housing Corporation to launch several activities designed to support residents’ health. The activities include: facilitating additional sites for the Food for Life Program; organizing display racks for information on community resources; introducing an outreach program from one of the seniors’ centres; initiating a pedometer-lending kit program; and facilitating a WalkOn workshop to improve walkability in the neighbourhood.

Milton Place celebrates 25th anniversary – On October 25, 2012, Halton Region’s Milton Place adult day program proudly celebrated its 25th anniversary.  Milton Place offers innovative, therapeutic recreational programming to seniors, adults with disabilities and their caregivers.

Allendale celebrates 60th anniversary – On November 12, 2012, Halton Region’s Allendale Long-Term Care Home celebrated its 60th anniversary.  Allendale originally opened in 1952 as Halton Centennial Manor and is now home to 200 residents.

Waste Management

Revised waste collection by-law – In November, Halton Regional Council passed a new waste collection By-law which will assist in the public education and implementation of waste collection program changes starting on April 1, 2013, including more acceptable items in Blue Boxes and a new garbage bag limit.

Waste management awards – Halton Region’s  Waste Management program was the recipient of several awards from the Recycling Council of Ontario in October, including: Combined Gold Waste Minimization Award for Municipal Diversion for overall program, Communications for HaltonRecycles social media program, and Unique Program for the hot beverage paper cup recycling pilot with industry partners.

In October, Halton Region also received Promotion & Education Awards from the Municipal Waste Association, including Gold Digital Tool for HaltonRecycles social media program, Gold Newsletter for WasteLess News (Spring 2012 issue), and Bronze Brochure/Booklet for “Rethinking Our Waste: 2012-2016 Solid Waste Management Strategy” booklet.


New CN Rail overpass on extended James Snow Parkway in the Town of Milton – A four-lane extension to James Snow Parkway (Regional Road 4) was completed recently, extending east from Regional Road 25 to Boston Church Road in the Town of Milton. The project also included the construction of a new four-lane overpass for the Canadian National Railway line east of Regional Road 25.

Dundas Street widening and Sixteen Mile Creek bridges in the Town of Oakville – Halton Region’s five-year and almost $60 million project to widen a section of Dundas Street (Regional Road 5) and replace the bridge spanning Lions Valley Park was completed last year. The road was widened from four to six lanes between Proudfoot Trail and Neyagawa Boulevard (Regional Road 4), and the existing four-lane bridge was replaced by twin bridges, each with three vehicle lanes and a three-metre dedicated pedestrian/bike path.

Road resurfacing in the Towns of Milton and Halton Hills – As part of the Region’s road resurfacing program, work was completed on four roads in the Town of Milton and the Town of Halton Hills: Campbellville Road (Regional Road 9) from Milburough Line to Guelph Line; Steeles Avenue (Regional Road 8) from Martin Street to Esquesing Line; Martin Street (Regional Road 25) from Steeles Avenue to Highway 401; and Trafalgar Road (Regional Road 3) from 5 Side Road to 15 Side Road.

Citizens view of Regional construction projects – In December, Halton Region launched a new interactive mapping tool to help residents learn more about Regional construction projects. The online tool is being tested as part of a pilot project. Try it at www.halton.ca/construction and give us your feedback!


Watermain replacement completed on Elmwood Crescent in the Town of Milton – In a joint project with the Town of Milton, Halton Region replaced the aging watermain on Elmwood Crescent, from Bell Street to Heslop Road to ensure a safe and reliable drinking water supply.

New watermain installed along Steeles Avenue in the Town of Milton – Last November, the Region replaced an aging watermain on Steeles Avenue, between Martin Street and Harrop Drive, as part of the road resurfacing project between Martin Street and Esquesing Line in the Town of Milton. The existing cast iron watermain had reached the end of its service life and was replaced with a new watermain to ensure a safe and reliable drinking water supply.

Dundas Street corridor projects completed in the Town of Oakville – A number of projects were completed along the Dundas Street corridor in North Oakville. A new wastewater main was completed on Neyagawa Boulevard (Regional Road 4) between Sixteen Mile Drive and Burnhamthorpe Road (Regional Road 27). The existing wastewater main was upgraded along Third Line between Upper Middle Road (Regional Road 38) and Dundas Street. The new North Oakville East Wastewater Pumping Station was also completed and commissioned at the end of 2012.

Environmental Protection and Conservation of Water

Submission of joint municipal comments on proposed source water protection plans – Halton Region staff provided input into a joint submission with the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville on the proposed Source Water Protection Plans (CTC and Lake Erie Source Protection Areas) to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the Plan’s implementation requirements, issues and challenges.

Municipal water treatment facilities and distribution systems achieve 100% compliance rating – All of Halton’s municipal water treatment facilities and distributions systems inspected by the provincial Ministry of the Environment in 2012 achieved a 100% compliance rating.

Halton Region completed biennial audit of Region’s environmental laboratories – The Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation Inc. conducts biennial on-site assessments of Halton’s water-testing laboratory along with regular proficiency testing to ensure the laboratory constantly demonstrates quality and competence in testing. Laboratories performing testing on drinking water in Ontario must be licensed by the Ministry of the Environment, accredited and inspected. Accreditation is also a regulatory requirement for some types of wastewater and biosolids testing. Laboratory accreditation is an important mechanism to provide assurance to regulators and customers.

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 or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

2013 Budget and Business Plan (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. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Community involvement and CPR/Defibrillator training saves lives

Studies show that the most important part of surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is early bystander involvement. When members of the public begin effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) before the arrival of professional responders, survival rates increase greatly.

In 2002 Halton Region Council made a commitment to strengthen the Cardiac Chain of Survival in our Local Municipalities. Since then:

  • Nearly 300 AED have been placed in Regional, Municipal, school and private sector sites throughout Halton.
  • Over 5,000 people have been trained in CPR and AED use.
  • Halton paramedics and hospitals are better prepared, equipped and trained to manage cardiac arrest.
  • Halton is widely recognized as a leader in adapting new practices and resuscitation programs.

This community wide commitment is delivering very real results. In 2005 seven people in Halton survived out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. In 2010 that number rose to 31 survivors. Most of these additional “saves” were as a result of bystander involvement. In order to make sure this trend continues it is important that we each take the time to learn CPR and AED use.

Last month, Regional Councillors and I participated in a very worthwhile CPR and AED training session (view 2 photos ).  We had the opportunity to learn that there are new and easier guidelines for effective CPR from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada External Link. There is now more emphasis on performing good chest compressions and less emphasis on mouth-to-mouth breathing. I was impressed that the AED is also very easy to use and even gives audio instructions to the user. I encourage you all to participate in a training session like this, as few hours spent learning and practising these simple skills can give you the confidence that you need to save someone’s life. 

I am very proud that at Halton Region we have one of the best emergency medical services response times in Ontario but the more people who are trained in CPR/AED use and the faster people start doing CPR and defibrillation, the better a person’s chances are of survival.

Saving the lives of cardiac arrest victims is really a simple numbers game – the communities with the highest number of people trained in CPR/AED have the highest percentage of people who survive cardiac arrest. By getting trained in CPR/AED you will be helping to keep survival rates on the rise and will continue to show why Halton Region is a great place to live, play, work, and retire.

For more information on CPR and AED training visit the Halton EMS training webpage. 

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.”