Regional Council: Making Decisions That Matter February 23, 2022

Posted on Wednesday February 23, 2022

 

With input from the community, Regional Council sets the direction for the Region as an organization and makes decisions that affect Waterloo Region residents every day. Here is a summary of the major decisions made by Council on February 23. Please refer to the minutes for an official record of the meeting.  

Council approves plan for future of child care in Waterloo Region

Council has approved a Regional plan for early years and licensed child care that will improve affordability and quality, increase access to child care, and remove system barriers for Indigenous, Black, and racialized families, among others that experience inequities. Children’s Services developed the 2022-2026 EYCC Service System Plan based on research, data, and engagement with over 2,900 parents as well as community partners. The plan is designed to strengthen child care and address challenges amplified by the pandemic, particularly in the areas of workforce recruitment and retention. It will guide transformational change made possible through the expected federal plan for $10 average per day child care.

Regional Council provides transitional funding to A Better Tent City

Regional Council has approved a request for one-time funding of $155,000 to cover the expense of transitioning A Better Tent City to its new location. The funding will help pay for the cost of electrical supply to each cabin, as well as rental and diesel costs for operating the generator. The funding will come from the 2021 Housing Services Operating Budget.

Region gives input into new regulatory framework that will shape the affordable housing system  

Regional Council has endorsed staff recommendations for the Province that would support a stable housing sector. This would address local needs and ensure community investment in affordable housing continues as mortgages of housing providers end. The Region is proposing a new regulatory framework that:

 

  •        Gives municipalities like the Region (service managers) flexibility and autonomy to respond to local needs.
  •        Ensures investment in affordable housing continues well beyond the expiry of mortgages.
  •        Creates opportunities for capital improvements and renewed sustainability of affordable units.
  •        Builds and supports the capacity of local boards to continue the delivery of community housing.

 

As mortgages become fully paid, the Region will have an opportunity under the new community housing landscape to reallocate the mortgage subsidies within the Housing Programs budget, continuing to provide strong leadership in responding to the growing need for affordable housing.

Council supports business community by extending ambassador program

Regional Council has approved up to $275,000 in funding to extend the COVID-Safe Ambassador Program for small to medium-sized businesses. To date, the program has provided assessments and educational information to over 4,100 businesses across

Waterloo Region. The program responds to requests from businesses for clarity on how to safely operate and remain open while complying with applicable legislation and orders. Extending the program for up to four months will provide ongoing support as local businesses respond to the challenges associated with new COVID-19 variants such as capacity restrictions and safe practices for employees and patrons.

Region joins call to address financial impact of joint and several liability on municipalities.

Regional Council is joining the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) in calling on the province to address the impact of joint and several liability on municipalities, including implementing full proportionate liability and a cap on economic loss awards. As AMO states in a letter to the Attorney General of Ontario, the principle of joint and several liability means municipalities may be looked at as the insurer of last resort, leading to higher defense and insurance costs, and diverting property tax dollars from delivering public services. The Region is calling on the Attorney General to work with municipalities on a plan of action to address joint and several liability so that municipalities can continue to offer high quality services to their communities.

 

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