Season’s greetings from Halton Region!

Chair's social media- Facebook1

On behalf of Halton Regional Council, I would like to extend my best wishes to everyone in Halton this holiday season. This is a wonderful time to gather with family, friends and neighbours to celebrate traditions, create new memories and reflect on everything we are fortunate to have here in Halton.

Whether you are a resident spending the Holidays at home or visiting us from another community, there are plenty of fun things to see and do in Halton! Visit any of our four municipalities—Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton or Oakville—to discover family-friendly activities and events. Explore all Halton has to offer, from breathtaking natural landscapes and winter hiking to quaint downtown cores and fantastic local shopping, restaurants and more.

Our essential and 24-hour Regional services will remain available during the holidays. If you require assistance from Halton Region during this time, please visit halton.ca or call 311. Some public facilities will be closed from 4:30 p.m. on Friday, December 22 until 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 2. To learn about holiday hours at our public facilities, please visit halton.ca/closures.

I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

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”.

Investing in resident priority areas with the 2018 Budget and Business Plan

On December 13, Regional Council approved Halton’s 2018 Budget and Business Plan, establishing our financial roadmap for the coming year. It outlines how we will deliver Regional services and address resident priority areas to support the successful completion of our current Strategic Action Plan.

Delivering value for taxpayers

budget business plan chairs cornerHalton’s annual budget demonstrates how we continue to succeed by putting residents first. It is an essential part of our annual financial cycle—including planning, performance and reporting—that preserves our strong financial position and AAA credit rating.

The 2018 budget ensures our programs and services provide top value for taxpayers while supporting a high quality of life in Halton for years to come. It focuses on:

  • identifying savings and efficiencies while promoting long-term sustainability by reorganizing resources to priority areas;
  • maintaining service levels for Regional programs and services; and
  • making strategic investments in new and existing community infrastructure.

As always, it is based on prudent, forward-looking financial planning principles, and keeps property tax increases for Regional services at or below the rate of inflation.

Budget highlights

  • Children’s Services: $9.4 million increase (no net Regional impact) to improve quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity in licensed child care programs based on Provincial/Federal funding allocated for 2018.
  • Comprehensive Housing Strategy: $3.2 million increase (no net Regional impact) to acquire new housing units and provide additional rent supplements for Halton housing clients based on Provincial/Federal funding allocated for 2018.
  • Paramedic Services: $1.8 million to address increasing call volumes and maintain existing service levels.
  • Roads Capital State-of-Good-Repair: $1.7 million increase ($1.0 million in the operating base budget and $726,000 in Federal Gas Tax funding) to address rising state-of-good-repair needs and updated costs.
  • Relief Staff Resources: $835,000 increase for the phase-in of additional casual relief hours required to maintain services levels in Paramedic Services, Services for Seniors and Children’s Services.
  • Greenland Securement: $800,000 increase to provide sustainable funding for the Waterfront Master Plan.
  • Regional Facilities State-of-Good-Repair: $651,000 increase to support the corporate facilities State-of-Good-Repair capital program.
  • Waste Management: $490,000 increase for the inclusion of plastic bags and film in the Blue Box beginning in April 2018.
  • Road Maintenance Program: $396,000 increase to support road maintenance contracts with the Local Municipalities and address growth in the Regional road network.
  • Halton Region Community Investment Fund: $350,000 to increase the fund’s total annual contribution to $2.4 million to support community initiatives with a focus on health or social services.
  • Capacity to Prevent and Address Homelessness: $346,000 increase (no net Regional impact) to help prevent homelessness based on provincial funding allocated for 2018.
  • Emerald Ash Borer (EAB): $121,000 increase in operating contributions to the Tax Stabilization reserve in support of the EAB program implementation by Conservation Halton and Credit Valley Conservation.

The 2018 budget includes a 1.9 per cent increase in property taxes for Regional services and a 3.8 per cent increase in the water and wastewater rate to support these actions.

Learn more

Making community investments for today and tomorrow helps us continue to improve the quality of life in our region. To learn more or view the 2018 Budget and Business Plan, visit halton.ca/budget.

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”.

Have a fun and safe holiday season

Halton continues to be one of the safest places to live in Canada. Halton Region provides programs, services and resources for individuals and families to make safe and healthy decisions. Below are some tips and resources Halton Region has to ensure you and your family have a safe and fun holiday.

Prepare for winter driving conditions and drive safely

  • Always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle. Your kit could include blankets, a
    flashlight, a first aid kit and snow removal items such as a scraper and shovel.
  • Drivers should also consider putting on winter tires – they perform much better than all-season tires on snow and icy pavement.
  • Visit halton.ca/beprepared for more safety tips and how to assemble your emergency kit.
  • If you plan to drink at a holiday party, please don’t drink and drive. Make sure you plan a safe ride home. You can call a taxi, take public transit or arrange for a designated driver.
  • Remember, impaired driving is a crime in progress so if you see someone you suspect may be impaired, call 911.
  • Visit halton.ca/drivesafe for more safe driving tips.

holiday-safety-drive-safely

Follow the four food safety tips

Gathering with family and friends over a meal is one of my favourite things about the holiday season. Follow these tips to ensure any holiday meals you prepare and serve are safe to eat.

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

holiday-safety-food-safety

If you’re dining out, check our Dinewise information to find the latest inspection reports for restaurants across Halton. For more tips on safe food, visit halton.ca/foodsafety.

Protect yourself and others from the flu

The holidays are prime time for spreading cold and flu viruses as we attend many social gatherings. Here are simple ways to keep yourself and others protected:

  • Wash your hands frequently and cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • If you don’t feel well, wait until your symptoms have gone away before visiting loved ones in retirement homes or long-term care homes. Older adults are at a greater risk of complications from illnesses such as the flu.
  • Get the flu vaccine at your pharmacy or family doctor.
  • To find out where to get your vaccine and learn more about protecting yourself
    and others, visit halton.ca/flu.

Enjoy a healthy and happy holiday season! As we get ready to ring in 2018, thank you for all you do to make Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire…and keeping our community safe.

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”.

Enjoy Halton’s clean drinking water, anytime.

rethink_waterHalton Region ensures that the 550,000 residents across Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville have access to clean, safe drinking water. Residents count on the Region to provide this valuable resource to use and enjoy every day. From laundry to dishes, from bathing to drinking – clean and safe water is something we all rely on.

Halton’s Water and Wastewater Master Plan is our guide to ensure that future generations enjoy the same access to clean drinking water that we count on today. This Plan includes a 20 year, $1.8 billion investment to service resident and business needs in urban areas through to 2031.

Today, Halton Region operates 12 Water Purification Plants across the region (three surface water treatment plants and nine groundwater treatment facilities). These plants and plant operators work 24/7 to ensure that clean and safe drinking water is available whenever you need it.

Our annual Drinking Water Quality Reports show that Halton Region continues to exceed the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s water quality standards. Halton Region conducts routine water testing and continuous monitoring to ensure we always meet and exceed the mark.

Ensuring residents have clean water every time they turn on the tap is only half of the story. Halton is also responsible for taking wastewater away, treating it and discharging it safely back into the environment. We also operate seven Wastewater Treatment Plants across the region that treat over 232,000 cubic metres of wastewater on a daily basis.

Water quality, reliability and sustainability will always be a top priority for Halton Region. This, among many reasons, is why Halton will continue to be a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. To learn more about how Halton is providing reliable and safe drinking water, visit halton.ca/rethinkwater.

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”.

Employment Halton helps job seekers connect with employers

Halton Region is dedicated to providing residents with meaningful employment opportunities and connecting our highly skilled workforce to employers across the region.

Employment Halton works with nearly 9,500 job seekers and over 200 local employers every year. They work closely with local businesses to provide free job postings, opportunities to participate in job fairs and over 350 high quality placements each year. Job seekers can also benefit from free employment workshops to enhance skills and networking opportunities, including free job fairs.

This year’s job fair will be held on Tuesday, November 7 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Oakville Conference & Banquet Centre. Whether you’re just starting out in your career or looking to make new connections, job seekers of all experience levels are invited to attend. This is a great opportunity to network with local employers from industries such as government, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, media, retail, technology and more.

Employment Halton also offers programs such as the Youth Job Connection which provides placement opportunities for young people between the ages of 15 to 29, giving them a head start in their careers. For those looking to transition into a new career, the Second Career program can provide financial assistance necessary to succeed.

I hope you take advantage of these services and if you’re seeking employment and networking opportunities, you will definitely want to attend this year’s job fair. To learn more, visit halton.ca/employmenthalton 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”.

 

Halton helps small businesses succeed

Have a great business idea? Looking to grow your existing business? Want to take your business global? Halton Region’s Small Business Centre offers the resources and tools to help you every step of the way. We work with all levels of government and community partners to support small business enterprises in Halton.

We know that starting and running a small business requires planning and a great deal of effort. The Small Business Centre provides entrepreneurs and small business owners with the tools and resources to start, run and grow businesses in Halton, which helps our economy thrive now and in the future.

Over the past 10 years, Small Business Centre 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 of seminars and education sessions. From our Starter Company Plus program to our Getting Started seminars, Halton continues to support small businesses and local entrepreneurs. Some of the programs our Small Business Centre offers residents include:

  • Starter Company Plus: an entrepreneurship program that provides training, mentoring and advice for eligible individuals 18 years of age or older, to help build a small business. The program also provides an opportunity to apply for a micro-grant to help start, or grow a small business.
  • Futurpreneur: the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Futurpreneur Canada has helped young Canadian entrepreneurs launch over 5,000 start-ups!

These programs support a high standard of living and strong local economy which helps make Halton one of the best places in Canada to grow a business. I encourage you and your small business to register for upcoming programs and events and learn why more and more businesses are choosing to locate and grow in Halton Region.

To learn more about the programs and services available through the Small Business Centre, please visit halton.ca/smallbusiness. You can also follow the Halton Region Small Business Centre on Twitter at @HaltonBusiness, 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”.

 

Celebrating Canada 150 and Ontario 150

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Canada and Ontario, and over the summer months every community in Halton will come alive in celebration of these milestones.

Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville will each hold many events and activities for everyone to enjoy, including unique art exhibitions, special events, commemorative tree plantings and gardens, recreational activities, festivals and more. You can also enjoy local culture by shopping and dining in bustling downtown areas, visiting outdoor markets and farms offering local food or exploring Halton’s beautiful conservation areas and waterfront parks. However you choose to celebrate, the Canada 150 festivities will bring us together and showcase our Canadian pride.

Like every Canada Day, this anniversary highlights the strong community that we Canadians cherish and continue to build together. It honours those who came before us, from the people who settled this land to those who bravely fought to defend our rights and freedoms. Moving from our foundational values of peace, order and good government to the celebratory themes of diversity, inclusion, reconciliation, youth and the natural environment, Canada 150 is as much about our bright future as it is about our past.

In the words of Canadian paralympian and activist Rick Hansen, “Canada is a country built on dreams… If you combine the richness of the country with the spirit of the people, our potential as a nation is unlimited”. These words ring true for all Canadians, and the years ahead for our community will be defined by the limitless potential of our home and native land. We are proud to celebrate the countless opportunities Canada provides to us all.

I hope to see many of you at the events taking place this summer. To learn what is happening in your community, visit halton.ca/Canada150.

On behalf of Regional Council, I wish you a wonderful Canada and Ontario 150. By coming together to celebrate our country, we live the Canadian values that help 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 @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.