York Regional Council Update – Thursday, February 25, 2021

York Region returns to Red-Control zone

On Monday, February 22, 2021, York Region moved back into the Red-Control zone within the revised and strengthened Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.

York Regional Council welcomed the Government of Ontario’s decision to gradually transition York Region in a way that balances the health and well-being of residents with the economic interest of businesses.

Regional Council’s support of moving to the Red-Control zone takes into account the expert advice of York Region’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karim Kurji, a downward trend in positive cases of COVID-19 across all nine cities and towns and broader-scale restrictions in the updated framework to control transmission of COVID-19.

As some businesses begin to reopen across York Region, the best action to address the spread of COVID-19 in our communities is for ALL York Region residents to continue adhering to public health guidelines, including stay home as much as possible, keep socialization to the immediate household, ensure physical distancing and to wear a mask if you must leave home.

These measures combined with continued enhanced enforcement measures will help in the on-going fight against this virus and further reopen our communities.

Regional Council remains committed to supporting strong, caring, safe communities. Throughout this crisis, York Region has maintained york.ca/covid19 as a trusted source of information related to public health and safety.

Regional staff will continue to monitor community needs and their impact on Regional programs and services and provide update to Regional Council and the community on the ongoing response.

York Region’s COVID-19 vaccination plan

Following a presentation of York Region’s COVID-19 vaccination plan and governance model, Regional Council received an update from Dr. Kurji outlining the Region’s plans to begin vaccinating residents 80 years of age and older.

As of Monday, March 1, 2021, York Region residents age 80 and older (born in 1941 or earlier) are able to book an appointment for their COVID-19 vaccination.

Opening vaccinations to this priority group identified in Phase One of the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Plan is welcomed news for many vulnerable residents and marks another step forward in bringing an end to the pandemic through vaccination.

Through collaboration with public and private partners, residents of York Region who are 80 years or older and eligible priority health-care workers can now book an appointment to receive their vaccination at one of 5 clinic locations:

  • Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital located in the City of Vaughan, operated by Mackenzie Health
  • Cornell Community Centre located in the City of Markham, operated by Eastern York Region North Durham (EYRND) Ontario Health Team (OHT)
  • Ray Twinney Recreation Complex located in the Town of Newmarket, operated by Southlake Regional Health Centre
  • Richmond Green located in the City of Richmond Hill, operated by York Region Public Health
  • Georgina Ice Palace located in the Town of Georgina, operated by York Region Public Health

Residents who are eligible for a vaccine but who are not comfortable booking an online appointment are encouraged to seek out a support person (caregiver, family member or friend) who can assist in booking a vaccine appointment on their behalf.

Alternatively, residents can reach out to Access York Contact Centre at 1-877-464-9675.
As more vaccine supply becomes available, York Region will look to open additional clinics across its nine cities and towns, including drive-thru vaccine clinics to be located at Canada’s Wonderland in the City of Vaughan and Markham Fairgrounds in the City of Markham.

At this time, residents who are not 80 years of age or older cannot book an appointment to receive a vaccine. Only those in eligible priority groups can currently get vaccinated. Vaccines will be made available to the general public in Phase Three of provincial plan.

While the COVID-19 vaccinations rollout, Regional Council reminds residents to be patient and continue following public health advice to limit the spread of COVID-19.

York Region’s 2021 Budget tabled

York Region’s 2021 proposed budget was tabled at Regional Council on February 25, 2021.

The proposed $3.3 billion budget includes $2.6 billion in operating costs and $763 million in capital spending.

Budget presentation will take place at Committee of the Whole on Thursday, March 4 and Thursday, March 11, 2021, and submitted for approval by Regional Council on Thursday, March 25, 2021.

City of Richmond Hill Mayor Barrow takes leave of absence

Regional Council received a resolution from the City of Richmond Hill authorizing a medical leave of absence for City of Richmond Hill Mayor Dave Barrow.

Under the Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, Regional Council authorized Mayor Barrow to be absent from meetings and from his duties as a member of Regional Council without his seat becoming vacant.

In Mayor Barrow’s absence, Regional Councillor Joe DiPaola will serve as Acting Mayor for the City of Richmond Hill.

Regional Council appointed City of Richmond Hill Councillor Godwin Chan as an alternate member of Regional Council during Mayor Barrow’s leave.

Upon approving the leave of absence, Regional Council wished Mayor Barrow the best in health as he steps away from his duties.

York Region planning for future Regional roads with GTA West Transportation Corridor

As part of the Environmental Assessment currently underway, Regional Council is requesting the Ontario Ministry of Transportation reconstruct Weston Road, Highway 27 and King-Vaughan Road to include a four-lane cross-section with walking and cycling facilities across the future GTA West Highway. These crossings will allow residents and travellers to cross the future highway safely, whether taking transit, driving, walking or cycling.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation also propose a future reduction in the speed limits on Weston Road, Highway 27 and King-Vaughan Road in the area of the proposed GTA West interchanges and road crossings.

The Environmental Assessment is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022.

York Region providing input to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada for two proposed highways

Regional Council referred responses to provide input to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada for the Highway 400-404 Link (Bradford Bypass) and the GTA West Transportation Corridor to a meeting on March 25.

York Region is supportive of critical provincial infrastructure needed to accommodate future growth, including the GTA West Transportation Corridor and the Highway 400-404 Link and will continue to work with all levels of governments and environmental partners on the advancement of these projects.

York Region and local cities and towns would benefit significantly from these two highways, including support for population and employment growth, improved goods movement, improved mobility and reduced traffic on Regional roads.

Addressing affordable housing in York Region

Regional Council passed a motion acknowledging a lack of affordable housing in York Region and committing to facilitate rental development and more housing options in the Region’s city centres and major transit areas.

As part of Council’s commitment to ensuring affordable housing options for all residents, development applications for rental and affordable housing that abide by regulatory requirements will be prioritized and fast-tracked for approvals.

Development of affordable housing options in York Region supports Council’s vision of complete communities that support residents of all ages and abilities.

Continuing dental services for low-income seniors

Regional Council approved the implementation of interim dental services for the Seniors Dental program to ensure low-income seniors have access to dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, York Region received $3.96 million in funding to support the creation and administration of a new dental program geared to low-income seniors. In 2020, the province provided more than $1 million in additional funding to support the capital construction, equipment and furniture costs required to operate four seniors’ dental clinics in York Region.

With all four clinics expected to be functioning by December 2021, Regional Council has granted the Commissioner of Community and Health Services authority to procure interim and specialty dental services for eligible residents until York Region’s clinics are operational.

York Region appoints Dan Kuzmyk as Regional Solicitor

York Region has appointed Dan Kuzmyk as its new Regional Solicitor, effective February 16, 2021.

In his role as Regional Solicitor, Mr. Kuzmyk oversees York Region’s Legal and Court Service Department and provides legal advice to inform Regional Council, Committee and Board decisions.

Over the past 17 years, Mr. Kuzmyk has been a valued member of York Region’s senior legal team, providing advice for a number of critical and contentious issues and projects. His experience, leadership and focused drive will help lead the future of Legal and Court Service as they work to meet the diverse needs of Regional departments, the York Regional Police Services Board and York Region corporations.

Thanking the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Board of Health

On behalf of York Region and York Region Public Health, Regional Council extended appreciation and thanks to the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFLA) Board of Health for their ongoing support in COVID-19 case management and contact tracing.

From October 2020 to February 2021, the KFLA Board of Health provided much needed support to York Region’s pandemic response by investigating more than 1,760 York Region COVID-19 cases. Thanks to this sustained commitment and added capacity, York Region was better equipped to respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation.

Detective Constable Meghan Crook

Regional Council extended condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of York Regional Police Detective Constable Meghan Crook, who died on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 following an off-duty accident earlier in the year.

Detective Constable Crook joined York Regional Police (YRP) as a cadet-in-training in November 2014 and was sworn in on May 14, 2015. During her time with YRP she served with #4 District as a Uniform Officer, in the Guns and Gangs Unit and the Special Victims Unit.

In honour of Detective Constable Crook, flags at the York Region Administrative Centre and York Region Operations Centre – a shared facility with YRP – were lowered to half-mast.

Raising the Roof Toque Campaign

Regional Council joined organizations across the country by acknowledging February as the official start of the Raising The Roof Toque Campaign.

Since 1997, this important campaign has supported long-term solutions to homelessness in our communities and takes steps to address homelessness prevention as a key element in ending homelessness across Canada.

To support the 2021 campaign, Regional Council encourages all who are able to buy a toque at raisingtheroof.com and prevent homelessness tomorrow.

Learning more about Black History

On Thursday, February 11, 2021, Regional Council received a presentation from representatives of the African Canadian National Coalition Against Hate, Oppression and Racism (ANCHOR).

In the backdrop of Black History Month Regional Council remains committed to taking meaningful action against anti-Black racism in York Region and doing more to end discrimination in our communities.

Through ongoing dialogues on racism and discrimination with community partners like ANCHOR, Regional Council is better informed to build inclusive communities where all are welcomed and celebrated.

York Region celebrates Lunar New Year

Regional Council extended warmest wishes to all residents who celebrated the Lunar New Year on Friday, February 12, 2021.

As one of the most important and celebrated holidays for Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and many other South East Asia communities, Lunar New Year is a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year ahead with hope and optimism.

In celebrating Lunar New Year, Council also recognize the tremendous cultural, social and economic contributions members of our Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other South East Asian residents have made to the heritage of York Region.

Family Day

Regional Council recognized Monday, February 15, 2021 as Family Day in York Region and encouraged residents to take time to safely connect, energize and focus on the importance of family.

In a collective effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 over the past year, many have not been able to visit or see family, friends and loved ones. In keeping this distance York Region residents have demonstrated the importance and perseverance of family, while each doing their part to protect the health and well-being of our communities.

Flag Day

Regional Council recognized Monday, February 15, 2021 as National Flag Day in honour of the first raising of the red and white maple leaf flag on Parliament Hill in 1965.

Celebrated across the country, National Flag Day is an opportunity to celebrate Canadian heritage, reflect on the common values of equality, diversity and inclusions and show national pride by celebrating the Canadian flag.

Canada Agriculture Day

Regional Council recognized Tuesday, February 23, 2021 as Canada’s Agriculture Day by celebrating York Region’s diverse farming and agri-food community.

Home to more than 700 farm-based businesses and 270 food and beverage manufactures, York Region’s agriculture and agri-food sector contributes more than $2.7 billion to the local economy every year, ensuring we all have access to high-quality, fresh and local food.

Pink Shirt Day

Regional Council recognized Wednesday, February 24, 2021 as Pink Shirt Day and acknowledged the importance of addressing bullying in schools, workplaces, homes and online.

Founded in 2007 and celebrated around the world, Pink Shirt Day aims to raise awareness and support anti-bullying programs that foster healthy self-esteem. In celebration of Pink Shirt Day, residents are encouraged to practice kindness and wear pink to symbolize that you do not tolerate bullying.

Epilepsy awareness month

Regional Council recognizes March as Epilepsy awareness month and support the fight against misconceptions, discrimination and isolation those living with epilepsy face.

Epilepsy York Region and Epilepsy awareness month promote independence, optimal quality of life, specialized services and uniformed access to care for the more than 11,000 adults and children living with epilepsy in our communities.

World Down Syndrome Day

Regional Council proclaimed Sunday, March 21, 2021 as World Down Syndrome Day in York Region.

For more than 24 years the Down Syndrome Association of York Region has promoted a positive image of people with Down Syndrome as being valuable community members.

On World Down Syndrome Day, and all year long, York Region supports strong, caring, safe communities that are welcoming and inclusive, and where people of all abilities can reach their full potential.

150th Anniversary of Toronto & York Region Labour Council

Regional Council proclaimed Monday, April 12, 2020, in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council.

Founded in 1871, the Toronto & York Region Labour Council represents more than 20,000 individuals across all sectors of the economy. The work of the Labour Council and its members strengthens communities and helps sustain vital public services and programs for York Region residents.

Next meeting of York Regional Council

York Regional Council will meet on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 9 a.m. To maintain physical distancing and protect the health and well-being of residents, this is currently planned to be a virtual meeting and streamed on york.ca/live

The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns and provides a variety of programs and services to 1.2 million residents and 54,000 businesses with over 650,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at york.ca/regionalservices

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