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I am pleased to share with you some of Halton Region’s major accomplishments for the first quarter of 2011.
If you have any concerns or comments, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In early 2011, Halton Region began working with residents in new and innovative ways to get their input on identifying Halton's priorities for the next four years. This included focus groups, an online survey, the creation of Halton's first ever Citizens' Reference Panel and a Public Roundtable Meeting hosted by the Panel. The results from our multi-faceted consultation activities provided critical information for staff and Regional Council as work began on developing an action plan that would set out priorities and initiatives that reflect what residents said they liked about living in Halton and what should be focused on going forward.
The feedback received earlier this year, along with additional input that will be sought in the spring of 2011, will contribute to the development of Halton Region's 2011-2014 Action Plan.
On January 26, Regional Council unanimously approved the 2011 Budget and Business Plan, delivering a 0.2% tax reduction for Regional programs and services. This is the second consecutive year the Region has not increased property taxes for its services, while continuing to invest in important programs for its residents. For more information, visit www.halton.ca/budget.
On January 18, 2011, Moody’s Investors Service published its annual review of Halton Region’s credit standing, affirming the highest rating of AAA for Halton for the 21st year in a row. Halton Region’s high international credit rating is excellent news for residents because it ensures the Region and our Local Municipalities are able to borrow money at the best possible financing rates in the capital markets, minimizing the longer term costs of infrastructure capital. The Region’s lower costs can then be passed on to taxpayers. For more information about Halton Region’s AAA credit rating: Download a copy of Moody’s report
On Saturday, March 26, Halton Region joined communities around the world by turning out the lights for Earth Hour. Starting at 8:30 p.m. lights and non-essential electrical equipment at Regional facilities (that did not compromise public safety or interfere with essential services) were turned off for one hour in support of the global initiative led by the World Wildlife Fund . Halton Region also encouraged local residents and businesses to turn out lights and non-essential electrical appliances to symbolize their commitment to fighting climate change.
Halton Region launched an online tool designed to help parents determine if they may be eligible for child care subsidy. The Child Care Subsidy Calculator takes information inputted by parents, e.g. family net income and number of children requiring child care, and provides a basic screening to determine if the user may be eligible for child care subsidy, including the estimated parental contribution fee. The tool is intended to be used as a guide only and parents should contact Halton Region directly to find out if they are eligible for the child care subsidy.
A report evaluating the progress of Halton's Our Kids Network (OKN) over the past six years (2004-2010) was released in March. The Our Kids Network effectively gathers data, plans and aligns support for young people and their families in Halton. The Network is a Halton-wide partnership of organizations and agencies serving children and youth. The evaluation report indicates OKN has achieved a great amount of success in the last six years, creating relationships that have allowed for rapid response and easier implementation of provincial initiatives for communities. To view the full report visit www.ourkidsnetwork.ca .
Halton Region has been approved by the federal government to receive three additional years of Homelessness Partnering Strategy funding to address issues of homelessness and eviction prevention throughout the region. Halton will receive a total of $1,003,941 over the three year period ($334,647 annually). A community-wide grant application process is anticipated this spring to develop funding recommendations for council approval.
Since 2001, Halton has received federal funding to help to combat homelessness. Seven community organizations are currently delivering 10 projects throughout Halton with support from federal homelessness and regional funds.
In January 2011, Halton Region opened Employment Halton a new resource centre in Oakville. This centre offers a comprehensive range of programs and services to anyone who is searching for a job or interested in training for a new career. Employment Halton also provides extensive services to employers in Halton in support of their efforts to recruit staff. As a service provider for Employment Ontario, this centre offers apprenticeship opportunities and programs such as Second Career which provides participants with financial support to assist them as they re-train for a new career.
Partners of the Employment Ontario Network of Halton recently launched a new employment service delivery system for Employment Ontario in Halton. As of January 2011, all service providers in the Halton Network are providing employment services that meet the Provincial Government's mandate for an employment system that is accessible, customer focused and integrated, making the experience for individuals accessing the system seamless.
The Employment Ontario Network of Halton’s six service providers include the Goodwill Career Centre, Halton Region, Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, The Centre for Skills Development & Training, vpi Inc., and the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford
From March 2010 to March 2011, Post Inn Village Long Term Care home was selected to participate in Residents First through the Ontario Health Quality Council (OHQC). The Residents First program provides Quality Improvement education and leadership to the Long Term Care sector.
Through the Residents First program, Post Inn Village has reduced the number of resident falls resulting in injury by 57% (from 35 - 15 per month). Avoidable Emergency Department visits were reduced by 45% (from 6 - 3.3 per month).
Post Inn Village management and staff are proud of their Quality Improvement success in enhancing safe, quality care for their residents.
Halton Region’s Waste Management Services Division provides workshops to both elementary and secondary schools in Halton Region and to various community and business groups. From January 1 to March 31, Halton’s Waste Diversion Education Coordinator provided 54 workshops to over 8,994 students and community group members. The workshops focus on the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle). Participants learn how waste is recycled, composted or put in a landfill and how to reduce the amount of waste their lunches generate, as well as ways to increase their class and home recycling efforts.
On March 11, 2011, HalTech officially became part of the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE), a network of 14 regional innovation centres. The launch took place at the Sheridan Centre of Animation and Emerging Technology. The centre's aim is to help local entrepreneurs bring innovative ideas to market. Halton Region established HalTech in partnership with Communitech, a not-for-profit organization that helps technology entrepreneurs grow their businesses. HalTech will act as a catalyst for innovation and commercialization in the region by delivering services to help Halton enterprises start, grow and succeed.
Halton Region is in the process of developing a new 10-year Economic Development Strategy. The strategy will reflect future aspirations and provide direction for Halton Region's priorities in economic development and service delivery. Community input will be key. There are several ways for residents, the business community and others to participate in the process. Learn more at www.halton.ca/ecdevstrategy.
On Thursday, February 24, 2011, Halton Region's Small Business Centre hosted "Bridges to Better Business - Stand Out in a Crowd: Marketing Strategies for Success" at the Oakville Conference Centre. This unique educational and networking event brought together small businesses from across Halton Region with inspiring speakers. This year’s keynote speaker was Ron Buist, former Marketing Director for Tim Hortons. Other sessions featured such topics as marketing and promotion, social media and media relations. The session sold out early and was a stand out success. In the words of one attendee: “It is amazing who you meet at these events! So inspirational to see the range of committed entrepreneurs who attended. As always, a professionally run event, with a lot of value for the time invested in attending.”
Attendance at the Halton Museum Foundation's 2010 monthly jazz concert series, Jazz at the Museum, held in the Alexander Barn, was double that of the 2009 jazz series. Performers included Sitar Django, The Fern Lindzon Duo, Brenda Lewis, Jane Bunnett, Hilario Durán, Bria Skonberg and George Grosman. The 2011 series has been even more popular, with 80 people in attendance for the most recent performance in March, featuring pianist Ron Davis.
On Thursday, March 24, 2011 the Halton Museum Foundation presented two performances of "The Spirit of Harriet Tubman” at The Meeting House in Oakville. The one-woman show follows the journey of Harriet Tubman's life from her early years of slavery, involvement in the Underground Railroad and the Civil War, to her years as a tireless worker for social justice. The two shows were attended by a record number of students, teachers and members of the public and raised $5,000 for the Museum Foundation, up from $3,000 in 2010.
On Sunday March 6, the Halton Region Museum celebrated International Women's Day with topical speakers, presentations, entertainment and light snacks. Guests of the second annual celebration named “Women Through the Ages—Footprints of the Past 50 Years” enjoyed two presentations. Author Norma Shephard, founder and director of the Mobile Millinery Museum, presented Shoe and Tell, a one hour program focusing on the history of women's footwear. Milton’s well-known sculptor and artist Nancy Cuttle shared her journey and perspective of the history of women through stories and art. The session was attended by close to 40 women of all ages, as well as a few men.
Staff provide new parenting resource Halton Region partnered with the Our Kids Network to bring Jean Clinton to speak to parents of pre-teens and teens as well as local service providers. Over 120 service providers and roughly 300 parents attended on February 23rd in Oakville. “It’s important to remember that…teens’ brains are still ‘under construction’ ”, says Dr. Jean Clinton, child development expert. “Building and maintaining strong and positive relationships helps that construction. Parents need to look at their children as being at promise or potential, rather than at risk. It’s a new kind of parenting.” Halton Region staff developed a new resource to support parents of teens who attended the workshop. It shares research on adolescent development and addresses common concerns identified by parents and caregivers of preteens and teens. A video of Dr. Clinton’s presentation will be developed to support the messages getting out to an even larger number of Halton residents in the coming months.
The Region now has a web page listing the personal service premises that provide services that are considered higher risk for infection transmission and that are regularly inspected by staff of the Health Department. Staff inspect personal service settings that provide tattooing, body piercing and permanent make-up. Public awareness of basic infection control requirements for these premises is growing, and citizens that receive such services want to be aware of which establishments are known to the Health Department. The new web page will allow greater access to the current information. The list is not intended to provide information on inspection results or whether the premises are compliant with the infection prevention and control requirements. However, the inspection reports are available from the operators of the premises or by contacting the Health Department. In addition, we encourage citizens to notify the Health Department of premises that appear to not be compliant with infection prevention and control practices, and of premises that offer these services but are not listed on the Region’s web page.
The Halton Health Statistics web page was launched in February 2011. This page contains health status reports, program evaluations, demographic information and links to key documents. The website features over 43 Health Indicator Reports. These short reports include general information and demographic comparisons for various health indicators such as smoking status and body mass index. Reports focus primarily on chronic disease and injury prevention, but will be expanded to other areas including family health in the future.
On February 16, 2011, 16 members of Regional Council were trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) by Halton Region Paramedic Services staff.
On February 28, 2011, Halton Region Paramedic Services launched the dedicated Emergency Response Unit (ERU) program that was approved in the 2011 budget. The ERU program operates 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and is intended to maintain paramedic response times.
Halton Region Paramedic Services has started a pilot project to reduce engine emissions from ambulances and emergency response units. A small number of Paramedic Services vehicles have been equipped with new technology that limits the amount of time that a vehicle can idle. This new technology is intended to support Halton’s Corporate Sustainability Action Plan.
The Healthy Communities Fund (HCF) is a provincial program to support the creation of policies and programs to enhance the health of Ontarians. It is focussed on six priority areas; physical activity, sport and recreation, injury prevention, healthy eating, tobacco use and exposure, substance and alcohol misuse, and mental health promotion. Earlier this year the Health Department oversaw the preparation of a detailed report on the health status of Halton across these six priority areas. Between mid-January and early March, the Health Department hosted two large community consultation events and three webinars to share this information with the community.
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Halton Region is composed of
the City of Burlington,
the Town of Halton Hills,
the Town of Milton,
and the Town of Oakville .