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Halton Region is home to more than 580,000 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:

 
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Advocating

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Raising awareness

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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: Halton and Ontario document (PDF file), Challenges of Growth Communities (PDF file) and Education Advocacy (PDF file) documents.

 

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

Ontario’s economic recovery will rely on municipalities continuing to deliver economic stimulus, infrastructure projects, child care, public health services, and water and wastewater treatment while addressing increased costs in long-term care and public health in the post-COVID-19 world. Halton Region’s recovery relies on the Federal and Provincial Government continuting to work together to address the long-term costs resulting from COVID-19 for 2021 and beyond.

Similarly, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on main street businesses and the survival of the small business sector is essential to the Province’s recovery efforts. Online and digital channels have emerged as an important method for main street businesses to interact with customers and to generate revenues. The Digital Main Street Program has supported over 550 businesses in Halton and more could benefit, however applications are no longer being accepted. In addition the rise in workplace transmission of COVID-19 has highlighted the crucial need for paid sick time. The lack of paid sick days, financial/income supports, and sick leave protection are known barriers to COVID-19 control measures, including testing and isolation, due to the fear of income loss and financial hardship.

Halton requests:

  • The delivery of relief funding for 2021, to support ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
  • Renew and expand the Digital Main Street program for 2 additional years, to help Halton businesses survive the recovery.
  • Expand the Digital Transformation Grant to those businesses outside of Business Improvement Areas.
  • The delivery of longer, better funded sick leave to help address the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

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 impacts of COVID-19, case management and contact tracing remain critical to responding to potential outbreaks throughout the second wave and beyond. At the same time, Halton will need to continue to meet essential requirements under Ontario’s Public Health Standards.

Halton requests:

  • Support for resources, such as staffing, to ensure Halton’s capability to continue to conduct timely case management and contact tracing while still being able to deliver programs required under Ontario’s Public Health Standards.
  • Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) boundary realignment to ensure Halton is in one LHIN. This will enhance collaboration and better support an ongoing response to COVID-19 through the recovery period. The alignment of LHIN and municipal boundaries will be critical to ensuring improved coordination of, and access to, community care services beyond the recovery phase and into the new normal.

The Federal Government has responsibility for procuring and delivering COVID-19 vaccines for use in Canada. The Provincial Government receives the vaccine from the Federal Government and is responsible for the rollout of vaccines across the Province, this includes identifying priority populations and communities that receive vaccinations, however, there continues to be a lack of clarity regarding priority groups, availability and timing of vaccine distribution.

COVID-19 vaccinations are an important step in Canada’s response to reduce the spread of COVID-19, keeping Canadians physically and mentally healthy and avoiding 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 the quick vaccination of priority groups including our Long-Term Care homes. This is not possible without the adequate supply and equitable distribution of vaccines to meet with needs of Halton.

Uncertainty of supply of vaccinations from the Federal Government, including the redirection of vaccinations within the Province causes significant issues for Halton to plan and provide vaccinations within the Halton community.

Halton requests:

  • The Provincial Government to clearly and consistently communicate publically the priority populations for receipt of COVID-19 vaccinations, the timing of delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations for each priority population, and the timing of delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations for the general population.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical need for long-term care reform and that there is an insufficient number of long-term care beds available to meet the needs of the current population. Care requirements at long-term care homes in Ontario are increasing as per the increasing Case Mix Index (CMI).

Halton Region is also experiencing this reality. CMIs at all Halton long-term care homes exceed the current provincial average. Halton Region is supportive of the Provincial Government’s decision to overhaul the “one-size-fits-all” funding model for long-term care homes and looks forward to working with the Province to accelerate the development of new and redeveloped beds within the region.

Halton requests:

  • Additional long-term care beds in Halton to meet the growing needs of our aging residents and underserviced communities.
  • Increased care, service and supports to those seniors whose needs cannot be safely or effectively managed with current service levels.
  • Participation and the ability to provide meaningful input into the transformation of the long-term care system, including the Independent Commission.
  • Assistance and support with ongoing long-term care resourcing including human resources and staffing, personal protective equipment and financial supports.

Reliable access to broadband internet drives economic investment and job creation and enables small businesses to effectively compete in a digital world. Halton Region has long advocated to the Provincial and Federal Government to support enhanced access to broadband internet for residents and businesses across Halton. The COVID-19 pandemic and recent Halton studies show increased broadband coverage in rural Halton communities would address opportunities to increase working from home capabilities, support on-line learning, and provide critical access to telehealth services. Enhancing access to broadband coverage remains a priority for Regional Council as outlined in the Region’s 2019-2022 Strategic Business Plan.

Halton requests:

  • Increase the eligibility of rural Halton Region to all and any funding programs.
  • Approve applications to Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) and Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) program for rural Halton.
  • That the Province continue to incentivize and encourage investments, partnerships and innovation for broadband deployment in Halton.
  • Coordinate broadband funding and enhancements with the Federal Government.

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:

Halton is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada, and is vital to the Ontario economy. Halton Region is mandated to grow to a population of 1 million by 2041 in order to meet the expectations of the Provincial Growth Plan.

Halton and the Local Municipalities experience a combined funding shortfall of approximately $87.7 million per year as a result of limitations related to existing funding tools. Municipalities need appropriate funding tools that allow delivery of planned infrastructure to achieve provincial growth projections, while ensuring that growth pays for itself, which is critical to the long-term recovery of the community.

Halton requests:

  • Provincial investments and municipal funding tools to ensure that growth pays for itself.

Halton's population growth

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.

The reliability and frequency of GO train service throughout Halton is vital to the Region’s economic prosperity. The absence of a provincial multi-year, multi-ministry infrastructure plan focused on growing communities, including the delivery of schools, hospitals, highways, has resulted in obstacles to increasing housing supply and economic growth. This remains critical to the Halton community through the recovery phase.

Halton acknowledges and appreciates the recent announcement of funding that will be directed to building four new schools in the region. However, approximately 20 short-term Halton school improvements are still required and enormous pressures are being placed on the region to increase school capacity.

Halton requests:

  • A coordinated, multi-year, multi-ministry provincial infrastructure investment plan and funding connected to the Growth Plan for the delivery of schools, hospitals, transit, highways and housing. This would include commitments to:
    • Timing and delivery of all day, two-way GO service to Milton and Georgetown to support significant planned population growth.
    • Timing and delivery of a new GO station at Trafalgar and Highway 401 which is a key hub in Halton’s Mobility Plan.
    • Highway improvements to the 401 and QEW.
    • Continued approval and


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 A Strong Halton for a Strong 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 emergency. Municipalities and businessses have experienced significantly increased 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, child care, public health services, and water and wastewater treatment while addressing increased costs in long-term care and public health in the post-COVID-19 world. Halton Region’s recovery relies on the Federal and Provincial Government continuting to work together to address the long-term costs resulting from COVID-19 for 2021 and beyond.

Similarly, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on main street businesses and the survival of the small business sector is essential to the country’s recovery efforts. Online and digital channels have emerged as an important method for main street businesses to interact with customers and to generate revenues. The Digital Main Street Program has supported over 550 businesses in Halton and more could benefit, however applications are no longer being accepted.

In addition the rise in workplace transmission of COVID-19 has highlighted the crucial need for paid sick time. The lack of paid sick days, financial/income supports, and sick leave protection are known barriers to COVID-19 control measures, including testing and isolation, due to the fear of income loss and financial hardship.

Halton requests:

  • The delivery of relief funding for 2021, to support ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
  • Renew and expand the Digital Main Street program for 2 additional years, to help Halton businesses survive the recovery.
  • Expand the Digital Transformation Grant to those businesses outside of Business Improvement Areas.
  • The delivery of longer, better funded sick leave to help address the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

canada

The Federal Government has responsibility for procuring and delivering COVID-19 vaccines for use in Canada. There continues to be a lack of clarity regarding priority groups, availability and timing of vaccine distribution.

COVID-19 vaccinations are an important step in Canada’s response to reduce the spread of COVID-19, keeping Canadians physically and mentally healthy and avoiding 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 the quick vaccination of priority groups including our Long-Term Care homes. This is not possible without the adequate supply and equitable distribution of vaccines to meet with needs of Halton.

Uncertainty of supply of vaccinations from the Federal Government, including the redirection of vaccinations within the Province causes significant issues for Halton to plan and provide vaccinations within the Halton community.

Halton requests:

  • The Federal Government acquire and distribute more vaccines to ensure adequate supply and inoculation of vaccines for all Canadians that want one, by September 2021, as committed by the provincial government.

roads

Transportation and infrastructure continue to be priority issues for Halton residents. Investments in infrastructure make Halton Region a desirable place to live and do business.

Halton Region is committed to creating complete communities that ensure a high quality of life for residents and a competitive economy. Investments in infrastructure support a strong economy and a desirable place to live and do business. Making significant investments in infrastructure is a priority for Regional Council. While Halton Region is appreciative of the Federal Government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, our 10-year capital infrastructure program totals $4.4 billion, including $2.1 billion to fund the state of good repair. Federal Gas Tax funding is $0.2 billion. Funding for necessary infrastructure with outdated funding tools, that do not provide long-term sustainable funding, continues to be a challenge for our growing community.

Halton requests:

  • Provide long-term sustainable infrastructure funding and investments to support the movement of goods and people.

housing

The provision of safe, affordable, accessible housing is a critical component of fostering healthy communities. Housing has become less affordable in both the ownership and rental markets. The cost of housing has outpaced income and it has now even more challenging for Halton residents to find housing that is affordable. In addition, demand for housing in Halton has increased exponentially as illustrated by the increase in applications to the centralized wait list.

Halton Region is investing $107 million in our social infrastructure through the 10-year Comprehensive Housing Strategy (2014-2024). This Strategy provides government-assisted housing options to low income residents. Housing is a shared responsibility across all levels of government, as well as the private and non-profit sectors. Long-term sustainable investments allow for the planning and delivery of, and access to, safe, affordable, and accessible housing which improves the lives of residents and strengthens communities.

By the end of 2020, Halton Region will have created a total of 875 government assisted housing opportunities, since 2014. Halton is projecting to have 927 government assisted housing opportunities by the end of 2021.

Although Halton is ahead of schedule in achieving the targeted 900 new housing opportunities by 2024, the increased demand and need for affordable housing demonstrates that long-term sustainable solutions are needed from higher levels of government.

In 2018, the Federal Government announced Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy. While this 10-year, $55+ billion plan is intended to help drive the success of Canada’s housing sector by giving more Canadians affordable homes, it is unclear when municipalities will receive funding.

Halton requests:

  • Deliver predictable long-term, sustainable 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:

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

broadband

Reliable access to broadband internet drives economic investment and 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 has advocated for universal access to broadband internet for several years. It was announced that all Canadians will have access to broadband by 2030, while this commitment is welcomed news, it is too far in the distant future.

Halton requests:

  • Increase the eligibility of rural Halton Region to all and any funding programs.
  • Continue to incentivize and encourage investments, partnerships and innovation for broadband deployment in Halton.
  • Coordinate broadband funding and enhancements with the Provincial Government.

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

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