Thanking doctors for keeping Halton healthy

Halton’s Physician Appreciation Week (April 28-May2) is the perfect time to thank our doctors for all they do to keep us healthy.

Now in its 11th year, Physician Appreciation Week in Halton was originally established in 2003 as part of the Halton Physician Recruitment program, supporting our commitment towards achieving the best possible health and wellbeing for all.

During Halton Physician Appreciation Week, we say a collective thank you to all of Halton’s dedicated physicians who work tirelessly year round, making a difference in every life they touch. Thanks to our physicians, Halton is a safe and healthy community, and a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

Attracting new doctors to establish medical practices in Halton is a priority in Halton’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan. A collaborative effort with all four Halton Local Municipalities, local hospitals, clinics and community representatives, the program has helped bring more than 200 new family doctors to Halton since 2003.

Not only does our Physician Recruitment program market Halton to current and prospective physicians to help ensure all our residents have access to a family doctor, it also supports the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre in Burlington. The Family Health Centre is part of the 2009 Halton McMaster partnership which saw Halton Region and the City of Burlington provide 10-year funding to McMaster University to help establish a variety of programs in the Region.

And this partnership is garnering concrete results with more physicians staying in Halton. Last year, the first group of Halton McMaster Family Health Centre family medicine residents completed their training and from those five residents, three are now establishing practices in Halton.

For a list of doctors who are accepting patients across Halton, dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/newphysicians. To learn more about the physician recruitment program, visit www.haltondoctors.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.”

Advocating for a Strong Halton

Halton Region is a vibrant and growing community. My Regional Council colleagues and I are committed to ensuring that Halton remains strong and stable in the future.

Our advocacy work with other levels of government helps raise awareness and advance Halton’s positions on key issues important to Halton residents. Our efforts respond to issues identified in Halton’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, polling data and align with Halton’s program delivery and overall communications campaigns.

Current advocacy efforts include meetings with Ministers, MPs and MPPs, election readiness surveys and municipal association participation. Our participation in Association of Municipalities of Ontario initiatives and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’Advocacy Days has provided us with many opportunities to initiate discussions with other levels of government about issues that impact Halton residents.

Our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign outlines and defines Halton’s advocacy issues and assists Regional Council in our advocacy efforts. It also serves as a resource for residents.

Halton’s current advocacy issues include:

  • Protecting Halton’s taxpayers from the financial impacts of growth and the costs associated with conforming to Provincial legislation (including changes to the Development Charges Act)
  • Meeting Halton’s community infrastructure needs of today and tomorrow
  • Ensuring that Provincial funding for cost shared programs keeps pace with growth
  • Addressing Central Ambulance Communications Centre (CCAC) issues and offloading delays
  • Partnering with all levels of government to create real and affordable housing solutions

Halton Region is advocating for support from all levels of government in the form of long-term, predictable funding and legislative changes in order to ensure that Halton’s taxpayers are not burdened with the cost of growth.

I invite you to visit http://www.halton.ca/advocacy and learn more about the Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign. By working together we can ensure that 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 Citizens’ Report 2013

Halton Regional Council is committed to ensuring that you are informed about our priorities and the management of your tax dollars. Our Citizens’ Report 2013 provides a progress report on both.Citizen Report 2

I am very proud of what we have accomplished over the past year. According to our most recent survey, Halton residents rate the overall quality of life in Halton very high at 99%, which is above the national average. Satisfaction with Halton Regional services is also very high, with 97% of Halton residents satisfied with the job that the Region is doing.

The very high satisfaction rating further supports the achievements of the Action Plan priority areas. Here are just a few highlights from this year’s report:

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Maintained a strong, sustainable financial position, including an AAA credit rating while minimizing impacts on you the taxpayer. In fact, on average, we have had a 0% tax increase over the past eight years.

Transportation and Infrastructure

  • Increased investment in regional roads of $289 million and approved a Development Financing Plan that ensures growth pays for itself. Planning for and investing in our infrastructure is critical to ensure we can meet the needs of our growing community now and in the future, with minimal impact to taxpayers.

Economic Development

Affordable and Assisted Housing

  • 894 new affordable/assisted housing units built since 2007. Launched the Halton Housing Help service providing online, telephone and in-person support for people searching for affordable housing. In partnership with our federal and provincial partners, we updated the Comprehensive Housing Strategy, Halton’s 10 year roadmap for delivering affordable and assisted housing.

Municipalities receive only 11 per cent of every tax dollar. With this small amount, we provide cost effective and high quality programs and services that touch your life daily. Through our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign, we work with the provincial and federal governments to ensure that they are our funding partners in delivering the programs and services that Halton residents have identified as a priority. You can find more information at www.halton.ca/advocacy.

In 2014, we continue to work to ensure that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

To review the 2013 Citizens’ Report as well as a list of our 2014 key actions, visit www.halton.ca/actionplan.

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.”

 

 

Emergency Preparedness

“Plan for the worst and hope for the best” may be a cliché but it does have some merit.

Working to meet the priorities of the Citizens’ Action Plan, Halton Region has comprehensive, detailed plans in place to respond to many emergency situations, which include coordination with community partners such as each Local Municipality, local fire services and Halton Regional Police. We also regularly put our plans to the test to ensure we are ready to respond effectively. These efforts are all part of our commitment to enhance the safety of all residents in Halton.

Late last year we also launched an enhanced Community Notification Service (eCNS) using a database that includes contact information for more than 95 per cent of Halton residents and businesses with traditional land line telephone service. Halton is one of the first Canadian municipalities to have access to this enhanced data for use in its community notification efforts.

We can’t always prevent or stop an emergency, but we can all be prepared by knowing the risks, having a plan and getting an emergency kit. For more information about Halton’s Emergency Management Program and to download or order Halton’s Personal Emergency Preparedness Guide, visit www.halton.ca/beprepared or dial 311. You can also follow @BPreparedHalton on Twitter for incident updates and preparedness tips.

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.”

Connecting renters and landlords to housing supports!

Halton is a great place to live and a safe and healthy community is essential to a high quality of life.  Access to affordable housing is important and ensuring supports are in place to help people meet their housing needs is a priority for Halton Region.  Halton Housing Help is a new service that provides a central access point to housing supports and services in Halton. We offer services for people searching for affordable housing as well as supports to landlords to help them fill rental vacancies and resolve tenant issues.  This is one more avenue that we are working to ensure that Halton residents enjoy a high quality of life and we are confident that the combination of online resources, telephone and one-to-one support will help individuals achieve this.  

You can connect with Halton Housing Help one of three ways.  

  • Online by visiting www.halton.ca/housinghelp to access resources and links to housing supports in Halton including a free rental listing service.
  • You can also dial 311 to speak with Halton Housing Help staff to ask questions about housing programs in Halton.
  • If you have complex housing needs that require more intensive support, you can dial 311 to book an appointment to meet in-person with our intensive housing case manager.  One-to-one support is offered in a different municipality each day of the week. 

The establishment of housing help supports is an action in the Citizen’s Priorities – Halton Region’s Action Plan for 2011 – 2014 and an initiative identified in our recently updated Comprehensive Housing Strategy.  To access Halton Housing Help visit www.halton.ca/housinghelp 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.”

Council Approves 0.4 per cent property tax reduction for 2014 budget

I am pleased to let you know that Regional Council has approved the 2014 Budget and Business Plan marking the fourth time in the last eight years (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014) that Halton Region has achieved a property tax reduction for Regional tax supported programs and services.  Halton Region has one of the best records in Canada for keeping taxes low while maintaining and enhancing service levels.

This is great news for residents and businesses in Halton.  We are one of the few municipalities in all of Canada that has actually reduced taxes. By maintaining our AAA credit rating and keeping our taxes low we ensure Halton is competitive which attracts jobs and investment to our community.

Halton is a great place to live.  Residents want high quality services and low taxes. We have been able to maintain and enhance service levels without increasing taxes.

You can view the 2014 Budget and Business Plan online.  Here are some highlights of key investments in the 2014 budget:

  • $177 million in transportation capital investment
  • $405,000 to create additional child care subsidies
  • $721,000 to maintain service levels for waste management services
  • $300,000 to increase the number of SPLIT passes available in the community (subsidy for bus passes for low income residents)
  • $65,000 to support the development of an Agri-tourism Program to attract more tourism to Halton’s rural communities
  • $195,000 for Locates (Ontario One Call) a new underground infrastructure notification system
  • $600,000 to support initiatives outlined in the Comprehensive Housing Strategy
  • $320,000 for assisted housing programs including continued implementation of subsidies for low income residents

Halton Region’s strong fiscal management policies ensure we can deliver high quality services for our residents.  Our AAA credit rating demonstrates to our taxpayers and the business community Council’s commitment to fiscally responsible decision making.  A AAA rating and a reduction in taxes attracts companies like Target, Siemens, Toronto Premium Outlets and Gypsum Technologies Inc. making Halton a hotspot for business. 

The 2014 Budget and Business Plan is available online as is the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan which highlights fiscal responsibility and attracting and retaining jobs as key priorities. My video blog on Attracting and Retaining Jobs provides additional information with highlights on Halton Region’s 10 Year Economic Development Strategy.  

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.”