Skip Navigation

Halton Region is home to more than 610,000 residents in four communities. Along with its Local Municipalities (City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, Town of Milton, and Town of Oakville) Halton Region is an effective two-tier government recognized for its strong financial position, safe communities, natural environment, progressive approach to urban development and citizen-focused reliable services.

COVID-19 update

Halton Region has remained committed to keeping our community safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic and to delivering essential services when Canadians need them most.

Halton has been working closely with the Federal and Provincial Governments to support our communities through these unprecedented times and in moving forward into recovery. We look forward to continuing to support our community partners to stabilize our local economy. We are calling on all levels of government to take action so that municipalities can continue to deliver essential frontline services and support Canadians through this crisis.

Related correspondence

 

The Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign outlines Halton’s advocacy issues and acts as a guide to support Regional Council in their advocacy efforts. Halton advocates on behalf of the community for legislative and policy changes on issues that have been identified as important to residents and in maintaining their quality of life. Halton Region has been advocating for support from all levels of government to ensure that Halton’s taxpayers are not burdened with the cost of growth and that the appropriate services are in place to meet the needs of the community. Halton’s advocacy positions align with Halton’s programs and services, reflect Council’s approved positions, and respond to priority issues identified by the Halton community, Council, our polling data, and Halton’s Strategic Business Plan. Regional Council has been successful in:

 
icon of group of people being presented to

Advocating

icon of people with lightbulb

Raising awareness

icon of building blocks

Advancing key priority issues

Shared Priorities

A Strong Halton for a Strong Ontario

Halton Region shares the Provincial Government’s priority of protecting the health and safety of Ontarians while working toward a safe and responsible re-opening of the economy, and adapting to a new normal. Learn more in the In this Together: A Strong Recovery for Halton and Ontario document (PDF file), Challenges of Growth Communities (PDF file) and Education Advocacy (PDF file) documents.

 

icon of syrigne

Ensuring the health and safety of Halton residents has been a priority for the Region during the pandemic and will continue to be during the recovery period. As we continue to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 priorities such as case management, contact tracing, outbreak management, increased surveillance, producing local information for public consumption on COVID and assisting community organizations, businesses and schools with infection prevention control advice remain critical. At the same time, Halton will need to continue to meet essential requirements under Ontario’s Public Health Standards as we move forward into recovery and post pandemic efforts. Under-funding for Public Health in Halton Region is a long standing concern that has been further heightened by the pandemic.

In addition, supports are also required from the Provincial Government to continue to respond to the pandemic and as we move into the new normal. Access to COVax data at the local level remains restricted, and local Public Health Units are unable to fully meet their mandate of surveillance under the Ontario Public Health Standards due to this lack of access. Having community primary care offices under the Public Health Authorizing Agreement for COVax has resulted in a lack of supports for primary care offices to operate independently and placed a larger burden on public health to provide supports and manage inventory. Primary care remuneration makes it less favorable for them to offer vaccines in their offices.

 

Halton requests:

  • Funding that keeps pace with costs for Halton Public Health to allow strengthened infectious disease control and vaccine management, and the provision of all services required under the Ontario Public Health Standards.
  • Continuous engagement and timely communication with Public Health Units, to support COVID-19 recovery efforts that meet the needs of local realities, including long-term immunization needs.
  • Access to COVax data for local Public Health Units, for the purposes of local surveillance.
  • A long-term strategy to ensure that Primary Care is able and motivated to continue vaccinating the population in the future and can operate independently, as is the case for many other vaccines.
  • Timely information and schedules for the next phase of the vaccine rollout, specifically for booster shots and pediatric vaccinations.

icon of heart

Since 2014, the Provincial Government has only provided a base increase in Public Health funding once, in 2018. This has resulted in a significant program funding gap. Additional costs have been incurred for Paramedic Services due to similar pressures.

Public Health and Paramedic Services provide service at a local level effectively, within the boundaries of the Region. They also participate in a number of collaborative community partnerships. The ability to continue to do this will be critical to recovery and to ensure the health of the people of Halton. Paramedic Services is a key contributor through community paramedic programs to reduce hallway medicine. Public Health and Paramedic Services have worked collaboratively with all parts of the local and provincial health care system throughout the pandemic, and actively contribute to Halton’s Ontario Health Teams.

The Modernization reviews began pre-pandemic. Public Health and Paramedic Services have played a key role in the pandemic response and demonstrate the value of these local services. Historic under-funding of these services have created challenges in the pandemic response and must be addressed.

Halton requests:

  • Re-focus the Public Health & EMS Modernization on determining the provincial investments required in Public Health and Paramedic Services post-pandemic to improve the health of Ontarians.

icon of buildings

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical need for long-term care reform as evidenced by the Final Report by the Ontario Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission. Halton Region is supportive of the Provincial Government’s decision to overhaul the “one-size-fits-all” funding model for long-term care homes. Halton Region operates three long-term care homes throughout the region and requires long-term funding to support required service levels that respond to the Commission’s recommendations.

Halton requests that the Provincial Government continue to accelerate the development of new and redeveloped long-term care beds within the region. There is currently an insufficient number of long-term care beds available to meet the needs of the current population and to implement the recommendations from the Commission. Care requirements at long-term care homes in Ontario are increasing as per the increasing Case Mix Index (CMI).

Staffing needs continue to be a critical issue for long-term care homes across the province. Immediate investments and implementation in a human resources strategy are needed to make long-term care a career of choice.

Halton requests:

  • Additional long-term care beds in Halton to meet the growing needs of our aging residents and underserviced communities. A new assessment by the Provincial Government to ensure that Halton receives support in the long-term care sector, which reflects its position as one of the fastest growing municipalities in Ontario.
  • Immediate delivery and implementation of the recommendations from the Long-Term Care Commission, in partnership with longterm care operators.
  • Increased assistance and support with ongoing long-term care resourcing including human resources and staffing, personal protective equipment and financial supports, in addition to those announced in Budget 2021 and as part of the Province’s longterm staffing plan.
  • Funding to support the implementation of the increase in hours of direct care for long-term care residents as announced on November 2, 2020, to ensure to delivery of care can be provided, particularly from a staffing perspective.
  • Address the CMI funding shortfall by providing funding that reflects and keeps pace with the increasing complexity and care requirements of residents.

icon of children's building blocks

Child care will play a key role in Ontario’s economic and social recovery from COVID-19 by allowing parents to return to work and supporting early childhood development and improved educational outcomes.

Child care operators are experiencing significant financial challenges due to COVID-19. This includes new costs associated with provincial infection control guidance, as well as revenue loss from decreased enrollment and program closures due to outbreaks.

As well, the Provincial Government is implementing new cost-sharing arrangements, reductions to administrative funding and have not updated well established funding mechanisms. These actions will create a funding shortfall for Halton Region in 2022 and future years.

Halton requests:

  • Adequate funding to stabilize the child care sector, maintain the current number of licenced spaces, and allow planning for needed growth.
  • Reversal of the funding reductions that will have future financial implications for Halton Region.
  • Work to fill staffing shortages in child-care facilities caused by COVID-19.
  • That the Provincial Government work with their Federal counterparts and Halton Region to confirm details and funding for the $10-a-day child care program announced in Budget 2021.

icon of family in house

Through Halton’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy, Halton Region has made tremendous progress in preserving existing housing stock and creating new housing opportunities for residents. Halton Region appreciates the investments made through the Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative and Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative, however, current funding allocations for the two programs is significantly lower than the federal/provincial funding previously received. Halton Region’s portfolio of housing opportunities can create up to 600 new units over time with estimated costs of $451 million. Beyond the 2021 contribution of $7 million (for supportive housing units in Burlington) there is no further Federal/Provincial commitment to new assisted housing in Halton. The Region’s current Comprehensive Housing Strategy financing plan provides $174 million to 2031. Federal and Provincial commitments are required to make up for the $270 million funding shortfall.

Halton Region has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of individuals and families at-risk of and experiencing homelessness. The pandemic environment has required new approaches to emergency shelter and supportive housing programs to enable physical distancing and appropriate infection prevention and control. Halton Region, like many other municipalities, has increased its footprint of physical infrastructure for homeless populations by capitalizing on one-time provincial capital funding to better meet the needs of this highly vulnerable population. Halton Region requires increased Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) funding to support ongoing operational expenses associated with housing and supporting homeless populations going forward. The post pandemic environment cannot be funded in the same pre-pandemic manner – costs have increased significantly and provincial funding must keep pace.

Halton requests:

  • The Provincial Government provide funding commitments for the $270 million shortfall required to develop Halton’s rental and assisted housing capital portfolio.
  • Provide adequate capital and operational allocation based funding and flexibility to allow Halton to increase the supply of assisted housing for families.
  • Review Halton’s base CHPI allocation and provide increased funding to allow us to meet operational requirements beyond the pandemic for at-risk and homeless populations and to fund increased homelessness prevention capacity.
  • Communicate clear and timely information on funding and program changes.

icon of line graph

Halton Region and its Local Municipalities have long-term infrastructure plans to ensure that municipal infrastructure is available to support planned growth and grow the economy in a responsible way. In November 2019, Regional Council approved the 2020 Allocation Program that represents a financing plan to provide roughly $1 Billion worth of water, wastewater and transportation infrastructure to support growth, development and new housing supply across the Region for the next 6-10 years. While this investment in infrastructure underscores the Region’s commitment to advancing housing supply, the absence of a provincial infrastructure plan focused on growing communities, including the delivery of schools, hospitals and highways, has resulted in barriers to increasing housing supply and economic growth. These Provincial assets are integral to unlocking housing supply opportunities and need to be financed, planned, designed and commissioned seamlessly in time to support the needs of growth in new communities. A strong partnership with the Provincial Government is vital to our community’s long-term success.

Halton requests:

  • A coordinated, provincial infrastructure investment plan and funding connected to the Growth Plan, to support high-growth communities in advancing critical Provincial infrastructure:
    • New schools to support families in high growth areas like North Oakville and the Boyne Survey in Milton;
    • The expansion of Hospital services in Georgetown;
    • Investments in Provincial Transit infrastructure, such as enhanced GO service including: all day, two way service to Milton, and new 407 Transitway Stations in Halton, including a Neyagawa Road Station.
  • Appropriate funding tools and mechanisms for delivering timely funding to pay for municipal infrastructure required to support growth.
 

icon of person holding shopping bag

Survival of the small business sector is essential to pandemic recovery efforts. Online and digital channels are an important method for main street businesses to interact with customers and generate revenues. Halton is appreciative of the additional $10 million announced in the 2021 Provincial Budget for the Digital Main Street program in 2021–22 to help more small businesses achieve a digital transformation and serve customers effectively online. The Digital Main Street Program has supported over 1,100 businesses in Halton and a long-term investment into this program would allow more Halton businesses to benefit.

In addition, Halton appreciates the Province’s renewal of multi-year funding of the Region’s Small Business Enterprise Centre commencing 2022-23, which will allow the Region to support over 1,000 entrepreneurs in 2022 to grow and create jobs, and to run the provincial Starter Company Plus and Summer Company programs which provide important grant opportunities to eligible entrepreneurs.

Halton requests:

  • Renewed funding of the expanded Digital Main Street program and Digital Transformation grants in 2022-23.

icon of wifi bars

Halton Region continues to advocate to the Provincial and Federal Governments to increase broadband connectivity in Halton’s rural and urban communities. Advocating and encouraging telecommunications providers has resulted in over 15 rural Halton applications for Provincial and Federal broadband funding. To date, eight projects have been awarded, addressing 1,410 or 31% of the approximately 4,631 underserved rural Halton homes and businesses.

In addition, Halton continues to plan for the coordinated implementation of next generation digital access technologies, including 5G, to ensure affordable and equitable access for Halton rural and urban homes and businesses.

Halton requests:

  • That the Provincial Government work with Halton Region on the recently announced Infrastructure Ontario – Ontario Connects program to identify, incent and implement all remaining broadband gaps in Halton at least by the current 2025 deadline, if not sooner.
  • Develop new strategies, funding programs and tools to ensure that the availability of next generation technologies is equitable and affordable across Halton.
  • The Federal and Provincial governments to ensure awarded fiber investments through the UBF/ICON programs support 5G backhaul requirements and the 1GMbps target.
  • The Federal and Provincial governments to ensure fiber investments include urban underserved pockets.
  • The Federal and Provincial governments and telecommunication providers to ensure affordability of fiber and 5G services.

Watch our webinar from Wednesday, August 12 to learn about broadband in Halton and opportunities to participate in industry-led solutions. Participants heard from Regional staff on:

  • Background on rural broadband in Halton
  • Current state of rural broadband, including gaps and challenges
  • Recent, current and future broadband funding programs
  • Opportunities to participate in industry-lead solutions

Learn more about Halton’s support of recent broadband proposals and advocacy for improved rural broadband from our news release on January 14, 2021.

Links to related media releases:

icon of people with heart over their heads

CN Rail is proposing to build a new truck-rail hub in the Town of Milton which would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and result in 1,600 truck trips to and from the facility each day. On January 21, 2021, the Federal Government approved the truck-rail hub, putting the health and safety of Halton residents at risk. Halton Region commenced litigation in the Federal Court of Canada to review the decisions by the Federal Minister and Cabinet to approve the CN Project. Halton is taking this step to protect the health and well-being of its residents. In addition, in April, the Halton Municipalities and Conservation Halton resumed their 2018 Ontario court case to ensure that the proposed Milton CN truck-rail hub to ensure CN complies with laws that protect the health of residents and the environment. The Halton Municipalities have commenced litigation through an Ontario Court Challenge, an application for a Federal Judicial Review that seeks to overturn the decision by the Federal Minister and Cabinet, and we are also appealing the Canadian Transportation Agency’s decision to approve CN’s application for railway lines required for this proposed project.

Halton is seeking to ensure that should the project move forward, that all provincial and municipal by-laws and approvals are applied to the project.

Halton requests:

  • The Provincial Government to support Halton’s position on the CN Truck Rail Hub in Milton, at Federal-Provincial tables and in ongoing Ontario court proceedings.


A Strong Halton for a Strong Canada

To be successful in meeting the expectations and addressing the concerns of Halton residents, a strong, collaborative, action oriented partnership with the Federal Government is necessary. Learn more in the In this Together: A Strong Recovery for Halton and Canada (PDF file)  document.
 

canada

While facing unprecedented challenges, municipalities have played a vital role in supporting residents, non-profits, and businesses during the COVID-19 response and recovery. Municipalities and businesses have experienced significant increase in costs and large decreases in revenue while delivering critical services and responding to the new normal.

Canada’s economic recovery will rely on municipalities continuing to deliver economic stimulus, infrastructure projects, childcare, public health services, and water and wastewater treatment while addressing increased costs in long-term care and public health in the post-pandemic world.

Halton Region’s recovery relies on the Federal and Provincial Governments continuing to work together to address the long-term costs resulting from COVID-19 and beyond.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on main street businesses. The survival of the small business sector is essential to the country’s recovery efforts. Online and digital channels are important tools for main street businesses to interact with customers and generate revenue. The Digital Main Street Program has supported over 1,100 businesses in Halton and a long-term investment would allow more Halton businesses to benefit from this program.

In addition, workplace transmission of COVID-19 has highlighted the crucial need for paid sick time. In November 2021, the Federal Government introduced legislation that would provide ten days of permanent paid sick leave per year to workers in the federally regulated private sector. However, many workers outside of the federally regulated private sector still do not have access paid sick days. This is a barrier to COVID-19 control measures, including testing and isolation, due to the fear of income loss and financial hardship.

Halton requests:

  • The continued delivery of relief funding for 2022, to support ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
  • Renew funding of the expanded Digital Main Street program and Digital Transformation grants in 2022-23 to help Halton businesses benefit from this program.
  • The Federal Government consults with provinces, territories, and other stakeholders to develop a national action plan to legislate paid sick leave across the country, while respecting provincial-territorial jurisdiction and recognizing the unique needs of small business owners.

canada

The Federal Government has the responsibility for procuring and delivering COVID-19 vaccines for use in Canada. With increasing cases and the emergence of new variants, there continues to be a demand for vaccines particularly with the roll out of 5-11 year olds and third doses/boosters for eligible groups.

COVID-19 vaccinations are an important step in Canada’s response to reduce the spread of COVID-19, while keeping Canadians healthy, and avoiding further lockdowns that impact the economy.

Halton Region is committed to working with the Federal and Provincial Governments as well as our community partners to ensure timely access to vaccinations. This is not possible without a consistent supply and equitable distribution of vaccines to meet with needs of Halton.

Halton requests:

  • The Federal Government procure sufficient vaccines to ensure adequate supply for vaccinating children and third doses/boosters for eligible groups.

roads

Transportation and infrastructure continue to be priority issues for Halton residents. Halton Region is committed to creating complete communities that ensure a high quality of life for residents and a competitive economy. Investments in infrastructure make Halton Region a desirable place to live and do business.

Making significant investments in infrastructure is a priority for Regional Council. In March 2021, the Federal Government proposed an additional $2.2 billion through the Canada Community-Building Fund (CCBF) to address short-term infrastructure priorities in municipalities and First Nation Communities. In August 2021, Halton received $16.7 million of the $2.2 billion one-time funding from the Federal Government, which was welcomed and will be critical in supporting the Halton community.

While Halton Region is appreciative of the Federal Government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, our 10-year capital infrastructure program totals $5.7 billion, including $2.4 billion to fund the state of good repair. Funding for necessary infrastructure together with outdated funding tools that do not provide long-term sustainable funding continues to be a challenge for our growing community.

Halton requests:

  • Develop updated funding tools and mechanisms for delivering long-term sustainable infrastructure funding and investments to support municipal infrastructure planning.

housing

The provision of safe, affordable, accessible housing is a critical component of fostering healthy communities. For many residents, affordable homeownership remains out of reach.

Halton Region is investing $107 million in our social infrastructure through the 10- year Comprehensive Housing Strategy (2014-2024) to provide government-assisted housing options to low income residents.

By the end of 2021, Halton will have created a total of 1,899 government-assisted housing opportunities since 2008. Halton is projecting to have 1,979 governmentassisted housing opportunities by the end of 2022.

Halton Region has taken significant steps to prepare a portfolio for funding from the Federal Government, which will allow us to create more housing, faster. Halton is positioned to deliver 600 new purpose built rental and assisted units over the next 10 years, with an estimated cost of $451 million. The Region’s current Comprehensive Housing Strategy financing plan provides $174 million to 2031. Partnering with the Federal and Provincial Governments to make up the approximately $270 million funding shortfall to fund these projects will be essential for success.

Halton requests:

  • Federal funding of approximately $270 million over 10 years to ensure the success of all projects in Halton Region’s housing portfolio.
  • Predictable long-term, sustainable, allocation based federal/provincial funding to match the Region’s commitment, in affordable and assisted housing.

climate change

Halton Region is committed to responding to climate change by reducing the impacts to the environment, ensuring its infrastructure and services are resilient, and that risks associated with severe weather events are mitigated. Halton has committed $85 million to flood mitigation strategies and continues to make this a priority as well as reducing our carbon footprint.

Halton requests:

  • Ongoing, sustainable funding and climate change mitigation support to enable municipalities to deliver resilient communities.

broadband

Reliable access to broadband internet drives economic investment, job creation, and enables small businesses to effectively compete in a digital world. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical need for universal access to broadband internet services to support on-line learning, mental health resources, family and government support services, and working from home capabilities.

Halton Region continues to advocate to the Provincial and Federal Governments to increase broadband connectivity in Halton’s rural and urban communities which has resulted in over 15 rural Halton applications for Provincial and Federal broadband funding. To date, eight projects have been awarded, addressing 1,410 or 31% of the approximately 4,631 underserved rural Halton homes and businesses.

In addition, Halton continues to plan for the coordinated implementation of next generation digital access technologies, including 5G, to ensure affordable and equitable access for Halton rural and urban homes and businesses. Halton appreciates the Federal Government’s commitment to ensure that all Canadians will have access to broadband by 2030, but this is too far in the distant future, immediate access to connectivity is needed

Halton requests:

  • The award of the remaining seven rural Halton broadband funding applications.
  • Ensure awarded fiber investments through the UBF/ICON programs support 5G backhaul requirements and the 1GMbps target.
  • Ensure that fiber investments include urban underserved pockets.
  • The Federal and Provincial Governments and telecommunication providers ensure affordability of fiber and 5G service.

Watch our webinar from Wednesday, August 12 to learn about broadband in Halton and opportunities to participate in industry-led solutions. Participants heard from Regional staff on:

  • Background on rural broadband in Halton
  • Current state of rural broadband, including gaps and challenges
  • Recent, current and future broadband funding programs
  • Opportunities to participate in industry-lead solutions

icon of hand supporting people

Child care plays a key role in the economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing parents to return to work, supporting early childhood development, and improving educational outcomes. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a decrease in the number of children enrolled in care and licensed child care operators are struggling with the financial impacts of COVID-19 response and recovery.

The creation of accessible and affordable spaces for Halton families is critical to support parents’ return to work and eliminates the financial barriers to high quality, inclusive child care. Halton Regional Council is encouraged by the Canada-wide early learning and child care plan and is eager for the agreement for Ontario to be signed.

The longer the negotiations take, the longer Ontario families have to wait for affordable child care. A national system of early learning and licensed child care services that are high quality, affordable, inclusive, and accessible for all families is in the best interest of all Canadians and an immediate equitable signed agreement with the Province of Ontario is necessary.

Halton requests:

  • The Federal and Provincial Governments reach a timely and equitable child care agreement that acknowledges the provincial investment in full-day kindergarten and delivers affordable and accessible child care spaces for Ontario families.

icon of people with heart above heads

CN Rail is proposing to build a new truck-rail hub in the Town of Milton which would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and result in 1,600 truck trips to and from the facility each day. On January 21, 2021, the Federal Government approved the truck-rail hub, putting the health and safety of Halton residents at risk. The Federal Government’s own environmental assessment panel determined that CN’s Project was likely to cause six significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated, including effects on air quality and human health.

The Halton Municipalities and Conservation Halton remain committed in our opposition to this project going forward with their approval and contrary to multiple municipal and provincial laws, designed to protect the health of residents and the environment. The Halton Municipalities have commenced litigation through an Ontario Court Challenge, an application for a Federal Judicial Review that seeks to overturn the decision by the Federal Minister and Cabinet, and we are also appealing the Canadian Transportation Agency’s decision to approve CN’s application for railway lines required for this proposed project.

Halton requests:

  • Support Halton’s position on the CN truck-rail Hub in Milton

TOP