Q1 Accomplishments 2014

Fiscal Responsibility

Moody’s Investors Services Reaffirms AAA Credit Rating for Halton Region
In February, Moody’s Investors Services assigned an AAA credit rating to Halton Region in recognition of the Region’s strong financial position and prudent budgetary practices. In its annual review, Moody’s attached a “stable outlook” to this rating, indicating its confidence in Halton’s ability to maintain this standing in the future.

Attracting & Retaining Jobs

Women Entrepreneurs in Halton Invited to ‘Learn, Connect and Grow’
On March 5, in celebration of International Women’s Day, the Halton Region Small Business Centre partnered with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment to host a business event for over 60 Women Entrepreneurs and small business owners at the OE Banquet Hall & Conference Centre in Oakville.  

Economic Development Strategy on Track
On March 26, Regional Council approved the Progress Achieved under Halton Region’s Economic Development Strategic Implementation Plan 2012-2021as well as the 2013 Economic Review. The review highlights both the significant real estate and business investment in Halton in 2013 and the tremendous growth in non-residential development over the past several years.

Physician Recruitment Initiative 2013 Reports Year-End Results
On March 26 Regional Council approved the 2013 year-end report for the Physician Recruitment Initiative which saw the recruitment of 22 new family physicians to Halton.

Promoting Tourism

Halton Food Tourism Summit
On March 6, Halton Region held the Halton Food Tourism Summit at the Halton Region Museum. This session, part of the Region’s Agritourism Action Plan, provided educational and networking opportunities for local farmers and restaurateurs interested in taking advantage of the rapidly growing local food movement. Topics included Food Tourism 101, Food Tourism Best Practices and Strategies for local food sourcing.

Emergency Preparedness

Station Expansion
On March 11, construction started on the new northwest Oakville paramedic station located at Bronte Rd. and Pine Glen Rd. The new station will help paramedics respond to calls in the area more quickly, improving patient outcomes and saving lives. The new station is scheduled to open in early 2015. 

Customer Service 

SQM North American Call Centre Industry 2013 Award
This past January, Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM) recognized Access Halton as a Service Quality Award of Excellence Winner for 2013. Halton Region received the SQM North American Call Centre Industry 2013 Award for highest customer service in government. This award is based on first call resolution (FCR), the measure of how many calls are required to resolve an issue, answer a question or get a requested service. Halton Region measures call centre customer satisfaction annually. 

Accessibility Update
During the first quarter, Halton Region continued to remove barriers to people with disabilities and meet provincial accessibility standards. Halton worked with the Local Municipalities to arrange joint training for Regional and Local Municipal staff on new accessible built environment standards and accessibility changes in the Ontario Building Code. The Accessibility at Halton Region booklet was completed to supplement the accessibility training module launched in 2013. 

Advocacy

Advocating for a Strong Halton
On March 26, Regional Council approved recommendations provided through the report “Advocating for a Strong Halton Update”, to support Council in their ongoing advocacy work. Halton Region continues to Advocate for a Strong Haltonon issues that are important to Halton residents. The support of both levels of government in the form of long-term predictable funding is essential to maintaining the quality of life in Halton. 

Infrastructure

2014 Civil Engineering Infrastructure Project of the Year Award
This spring, Halton Region received the 2014 Civil Engineering Infrastructure Project of the Year Award, presented by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (Halton-Hamilton Engineering Week). The award was presented for outstanding work on the Halton Zone 3 Interconnecting Watermain project (Burlington and Oakville). 

2014 Project of the Year Award
On March 1, Halton Region received the 2014 Project of the Year Award in the Civil Large Project Category for the North Oakville East Wastewater Pumping Station. The award was presented by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers at the Hamilton/Halton Engineering Awards Ceremony.

Planning Sustainable Communities

Partial Approval of Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA) 38
On February 4, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) issued a decision partially approving ROPA 38 to bring it into conformity with the provincial Growth Plan. 

Environmental Protection and Conservation of Water

Drinking Water Quality Management Review Completed

This spring, the 2013 Drinking Water Quality Management Review was completed for Halton’s water systems. This review reconfirmed that the Region’s water systems are well managed to ensure safe drinking water services for all residents.

100% Compliance Rating for Halton’s Drinking Water Systems
Eleven annual Ministry of the Environment inspections were completed for Halton’s drinking water systems for the 2013 cycle. The findings revealed zero instances of regulatory non-compliance and 100% compliance rating for each of the 11 inspections.

Waste Management

Winter Ice Storm Emergency Yard Waste Collection Program
From January 1 to February 7, Halton Region implemented an emergency yard waste collection program in response to the December 2013 major winter ice storm. The Region worked closely with the Local Municipalities to ensure that storm debris was collected in an effective and efficient manner. 

The Region deployed a variety of resources to manage the storm generated yard waste, including retaining contractors to provide forestry-type equipment to chip and shred brush at the curb, adding waste collection vehicles to manually collect brush from the curbs and boulevards, assisting the Local Municipalities to set up temporary transfer sites where residents and contractors could drop off brush materials at no charge, and waiving the tipping fee for yard waste at the Halton Waste Management Site so that Halton residents and contractors could drop off brush debris or chipped materials at no charge. 

Defining and Preserving Natural Heritage 

Halton Museum Foundation Celebrated Black History with Two One-Woman Shows
On March 5 and 6, over 1,300 Halton students attended the Halton Region Museum’s presentation of the Spirit of Harriet Tubman and Things my Fore-Sisters Saw. The shows were held in celebration of Black History month and International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

Children and Youth Development 

New Online Oral Health Education Guides (OHEG) Available to Teachers
In February, a new online oral health teaching tool for educators was launched. Developed in collaboration with consultants from both Halton school boards, the Oral Health Education Guides connect oral health education directly to the Ontario Curriculum. 

New Support to Children with Mental Health Concerns
As of this spring, Mental Health Liaison Nurses are providing early identification and support to children with mental health concerns from kindergarten age to grade eight. Families can access this service through their child’s school or by calling 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.”

Top 10 things you need to know about 311

Halton Region is committed to delivering quality programs and services to residents. 311 is one of the key services we offer to ensure you have access to the information you need and want.

Here is my top 10 list of things you need to know about 311:

1)      311 is your direct link to information on Regional government programs and services. Residents can call 311 from anywhere in Halton, toll-free and request a service or receive general information.

2)      Access to 311 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

3)      When dialing 311, you can expect to speak to an actual person. Your call will be answered by one of the Region’s knowledgeable customer service representatives, who will listen, answer your question or connect you to someone who can.

4)      If English is not your first language, Halton offers oral interpretation in more than 170 different languages. Residents will be connected with a translation service or the Halton Multicultural Council for further assistance.

5)      311 makes it easy for you to find the information you need. It eliminates the confusion that surrounds multiple phone numbers and contacts, by providing you with one easy number that links you to the right people and places – the first time.

6)      Services accessible by 311 include those offered by:

  • Halton Region
  • City of Burlington
  • Town of Halton Hills
  • Town of Milton
  • Town of Oakville
  • Halton District School Board
  • Halton Catholic District School Board
  • Halton Regional Police Service (non-emergency calls)

7)      Regional departments accessible by 311 include:

  • Office of the Regional Chair
  • Office of the CAO
  • Corporate Services
  • Health
  • Public Works
  • Legislative and Planning Services
  • Social and Community Services

8)      On any given day, residents may come in contact with the Region or use multiple Regional programs and services. 311 is your single access point. You can call 311 to report a pothole you noticed on your way to work, ask about newly acceptable blue box items, book a travel health clinic appointment and more.

9)      If you prefer to get your information online, 311 Halton Online allows you to browse information by municipality, register for programs and services, make online payments and report non-emergency issues.

10)  Access Halton, the Region’s call centre, responds to telephone inquiries through 311, email received via accesshalton@halton.ca, web requests from halton.ca/311and through in-person service. In 2013, Access Halton handled over 304,354 calls, 9,282 emails, 12,357 web service requests and 36,907 reception visits!Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM) recognized Access Halton as a Service Quality Award of Excellence Winner for 2013. Halton Region received the Highest Customer Service (government) award which is based on first call resolution measurement, for the seventh time.

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 Government Services at Your Fingertips

Halton Region is committed to providing high quality services that residents can count on, which is why we have made accessing information about our many Regional programs and services easy. Whether you prefer to click or call, 311 is your direct connection to Halton government services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Dial 311 to speak to a customer service representative who can answer your question or connect you to someone who can. From garbage collection inquiries to reporting a pothole and everything in between, 311 provides residents with assistance and answers.

Halton Region also offers oral interpretation on Regional programs, services and information in more than 170 different languages. Residents are connected with a translation service or the Halton Multicultural Council for further assistance.  

Halton.ca/311 online makes it easy for you to search for program and service information, register for programs and events, make online payments for parking tickets, report non-emergency crimes and more.

Halton Region measures call centre customer satisfaction annually. In January, the Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM) recognized the Region as a Service Quality Award of Excellence Winner for 2013. As a top performing call centre, Halton Region received the Highest Customer Service (government) award which is based on first call resolution, the measure of how many calls are required to resolve an issue, answer a question or to get a requested service. This is the seventh time that Halton Region has received the highest customer service in government rating.  

Here are some of the SQM 2013 survey results:

  • 90 per cent of Halton residents made only one call to get their matter resolved
  • 92 per cent of callers were satisfied overall with their call centre experience
  • 96 per cent of customers were satisfied with the Customer Service Representative who handled their call

These results are especially impressive considering that Access Halton, the Region’s call centre, managed 304,354 calls, 9,282 emails and 12,357 web service requests in 2013.

311 is a great resource and I encourage all residents to use this service for non-emergency access to government services from Halton Region, the Halton Regional Police Service and your Local Municipality (City of Burlington, Town of Halton Hills, Town of Milton and Town of Oakville). One click or call does it all.

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.”

A Safe and Healthy Community

Halton Region has been ranked one of the safest communities in Canada, five years in a row.  Programs such as Speedi and Road Watch contribute to this success.  A safe and healthy community is an important contributor to the high quality of life we enjoy in Halton.  Through Council commitment to programs and services that are resident focused, well planned and safe and healthy, we have achieved a 98 per cent satisfaction rating with Halton residents.  I am proud of this achievement and we will continue to strive to meet the needs of Halton residents.  Join me on a walk through Acton as I reflect on these achievements. To learn more about Halton Region’s programs and services, I encourage you to visit www.halton.ca or dial 311 to speak with Access Halton.

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.”

Holiday Closure – 311 services available

On behalf of Regional Council and staff, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and aholiday closure safe, happy and healthy holiday season.

Halton Region’s administrative offices are closed for the holidays as of December 23 at 4:30 p.m. and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 2, 2014.

All essential services will remain available during this time. Essential services include:

If you need help with a Regional service during the holidays, please dial 311. Dialing 311 also gives you access to other Halton Government Services including Local Municipal Services, Halton School Boards, and non-emergency Police services in more than 170 languages. Did you know that 311 services are also available online at 311halton.ca. Through 311 online you can pay a parking ticket, find a Regional or municipal service, sign up for cold alerts, apply for a job, report a collision or missed waste collection and more. 

From my family to yours, I would like to wish you a wonderful Christmas and holiday. All the best for a healthy 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.”

Holiday Closure – 311 services available

On behalf of Regional Council and staff, I would like to wish all Halton residents a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season.

Halton Region’s administrative offices are closed for the holidays and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

All essential services will remain available during this time. Essential services include water and wastewater services, waste collection, low income emergencies, public health emergencies and Regional road issues. If you require assistance with a Regional service during the holidays, please dial 311.

You may also dial 311 to access Halton Government Services including Local Municipal Services, Halton School Boards, and non-emergency Police issues. 311 provides multilingual assistance in more than 170 languages.

Alternatively, 311 services are also available online at Halton.ca/311. 311 online offers access to a variety of government services throughout Halton Region. Through 311 online you can pay a parking ticket, find a Regional or municipal service, report a collision or missed waste collection and so much more.

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.”

Halton Region Holiday Closures

On behalf of Regional Council and employees, I would like to wish all the residents of Halton Region a Merry Christmas and the very best this coming holiday season.

Halton Region’s administration offices will be closed for the holidays from Monday, December 24, 2012 until 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.  All essential services will remain available during this time.  If you require assistance with a Regional service during the holidays, you can Access Halton by dialing 311 or visiting www.halton.ca.

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The holiday season is one of my favourite times of the year. It is a time when we can get together with our friends and family and enjoy the things that bring joy and comfort in our lives. I hope that you’re all fortunate this holiday to be with those you care about the most. The holidays also provide us with an opportunity to discover Halton and experience the things that make it such a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.  Whether you are looking for a Christmas tree, searching for a special gift, or planning a meal or unique activity, think local!  Halton’s farms, nurseries, local retailers, restaurants and tourist attractions have plenty to offer during this festive season.

As we enter the last few days of December, we are given an opportunity to reflect on the passing year and look towards the future.  When I look back at 2012, I am not only proud of the progress that Halton Region has made, but I am also very optimistic about the direction we are taking.

Regional Council recently approved Halton’s 2013 Budget and Business Plan, delivering a zero per cent tax rate increase for our programs and services. This accomplishment gives Halton Region one of the best records in all of Canada for keeping taxes low. Halton also affirmed its AAA credit rating this summer from both Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Services, the highest attainable rating. Halton Region identified fiscal responsibility as a key priority in the Citizen’s Priorities 2012-2014 Action Plan, and the affirmation of an AAA credit rating confirms that we continue to be on the right track.  This past year was also a great year for business in the Region.  More and more businesses, like Target, Siemens and Lowes Canada are choosing to call Halton home. Quality infrastructure and a high quality of life are just two key reasons why businesses are choosing to locate in Halton and we look forward to working with these and other innovative organizations in the future. If you would like to learn more about this past year’s Regional Accomplishments, or are interested in learning more about our programs and services, please visit www.halton.ca.

On behalf of Regional Council, I would like to once again wish all the residents of Halton Region a Merry Christmas, a peaceful and happy holiday season and a prosperous new year. May the blessings of the season be with you and your family now and always.

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.”