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”.

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’s 35th Annual Farm Tour – showcasing farming diversity

farmtour1Halton Region is home to an active and vibrant farming industry that includes a wide range of farming types, including livestock operations, cash crops, fruit and vegetable growers, horse farms, nurseries and more. Halton is committed to preserving this vibrant sector by working with community partners to support the sustainability of agriculture and food industries locally.

As part of our commitment to preserving this vibrant sector, the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee (HAAC) hosted the 35th Annual Halton Farm & Food Tour.

The Tour showcases farm operations within the region and provides attendees with the opportunity to learn about Halton’s agricultural sector and see first-hand some of the challenges facing the farming industry. This year, attendees visited three unique agricultural businesses and learned about their farming operations.

  • Mabel May’s farm in Burlington is a diverse farming operation. The farm is involved in quality forage production and services an extensive list of equine clients. They are also involved in innovative farming practices such as biomass production, a renewable energy source. They raise chickens, duck, lamb, grass fed beef and heritage pork, which are available for purchase at their on-farm shop.
  • Terre Bleu is the largest lavender farm in Ontario and offers an extensive list of products, all made with lavender from the farm. This farm is unique as all of their promotion is exclusively done through social media – specifically Facebook. In fact, Facebook for Business International wrote a front-page case-study about their outstanding success.
  • J.P. Saliba Market Gardening Inc. in Halton Hills is a commercial vegetable farm specializing in broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Their farming operation has a long standing history of selling products at the Ontario Food Terminal – the largest wholesale fruit and produce distribution centre in Canada. They also currently sell their produce to Bay Shore vegetable shippers in Burlington.

farmtour2Participants of the tour included representatives from Regional and Local Councils, as well as regional staff. Attendees had the opportunity to meet and hear from agricultural leaders, ask questions and learn about common misconceptions about the industry.

This important event reminds us that as a region we need to continue to support our agricultural neighbours. They provide us, and the communities around us, with food to eat and jobs within the region. Halton’s agriculture industry helps to keep our community 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”.

Improving lives by connecting people and employers

Halton’s commitment to attracting and retaining jobs, helping job seekers find work and employers find employees is demonstrated through the success of our Employment Halton offices.

jobfairEmployment Halton offers a wide range of programs and services to more than 8,000 job seekers and 200 employers every year. Employment Halton also provides a variety of services to employers in Halton to support their recruitment efforts and help fill more than 250 positions every year. Employment Halton programs include apprenticeship opportunities and programs such as Second Career which provides financial assistance to participants as they retrain for a new career.

This is another example of a Regional program that not only contributes to the success of our residents, but also to the businesses that choose Halton as their home. Halton’s unemployment rate is significantly lower than both the provincial and national rates and we’ll continue to partner with local employers to provide opportunities for job seekers, helping to keep our economy strong.

Whether residents need help launching a career or employers want assistance attracting the right employee, our employment resource centre, free online job posting board and job fairs can help people build a presence in Halton.

The next job fair is coming up on October 19 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Burlington Convention Centre. To learn more about what we can do for you, and how we’re keeping Halton a great place to live and work, visit halton.ca/employmenthalton 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”.

One click. One call. One Halton.

This week, we celebrate customer service in Halton and our commitment to providing high-quality customer service that is professional, consistent, informative and friendly. By promoting service excellence and leveraging multiple service channels, we help ensure that Halton provides effective community supports for everyone.

One click

Halton services are easy to access through multiple channels, including enhanced online tools. Visit halton.ca for forms and resources that can help you complete a wide range of Regional tasks. For example:

Halton Region’s social media channels are monitored by customer service representatives from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We post frequently with reminders and valuable information about how to access services as well as Regional initiatives, supports and events. Follow us to stay up-to-date on all that Halton has to offer:

One call

If you have a specific inquiry or concern, contact us to connect with a Halton Customer Service Representative:

  • email accesshalton@halton.ca for a full written response within one business day; or
  • dial 311—24 hours a day, seven days a week—to speak with someone who will respond to your question or connect you with someone who can.

Residents can also visit us at Halton Regional Centre, 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville to pick up Blue Boxes and Greencarts, access Regional information and more. Our customer service representatives can also arrange for oral interpretation in over 200 languages.

One Halton

  • In 2015, our customer service team managed 258,266 phone calls, 8,690 emails, 14,447 web service requests and 25,714 reception visits. As our community continues to grow, we will continue to focus on delivering high-quality customer service. I encourage all residents to remember that Halton Region is only one click or one call away.

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”.

Demonstrating Halton’s strong financial position

financialreport2015Each summer, Halton Region publishes its Annual Financial Report for the previous calendar year, and I am pleased to announce that the 2015 report is now available on halton.ca. The report includes audited financial statements, as well as a year-end analysis of Halton’s financial position. Halton Region is committed to being a transparent, accountable and fiscally responsible government­—this report helps us deliver on that commitment.

The report demonstrates our accountability to residents and builds international confidence in Halton Region as we keep taxes low and foster a high quality of life. By providing financial data for the credit rating assessments completed by external rating agencies, the report contributes to preserving our AAA credit rating. This top rating allows the Region and its four Local Municipalities to finance major infrastructure projects at the lowest possible cost to tax and rate payers.

The Annual Financial Report also helps guide strategic investment by providing a look back at some of our achievements last year, all of which align with the resident priorities identified in the Strategic Action Plan. Highlighted achievements in the 2015 report include:

  • investment of over $3.7 billion in infrastructure capital over the next 10 years;
  • ongoing investment in our transportation network to strengthen the economy and reduce traffic;
  • introduction of new initiatives, such as the Region-wide Basement Flooding Mitigation Study, to increase the resilience of our infrastructure;
  • approval and implementation of long-term planning projects, such as the Burlington Beach Waterfront Master Plan; and
  • an annual investment of $35.9 million in social infrastructure, which will have created a projected 1,323 new assisted housing opportunities by the end of 2016.

On July 13, Regional Council approved the 2017 Budget Directions Report, and development of the 2017 Budget and Business Plan is now well underway. The 2015 Annual Financial Report will assist us in preparing this essential document by providing valuable insight that will help drive our strategic investments in the coming year.

To learn more, please visit halton.ca/annualreport.

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