Municipal Elections 2010
Election time is fast approaching. Make sure that you find out who is running for council, what they stand for, and ask them the questions that are important to you. Most importantly, take the time to vote. You will not see a council that represents you, unless you cast a vote for who makes up that council!
This summary of demographic characteristics by wards in Halton Region (based on 2006 Census data) is provided to allow residents to ask pertinent questions of their candidates regarding issues of concern. The data is organized by municipality.
Poverty Free Halton Questionnaire Responses
Poverty Free Halton is a non-partisan citizens group that educates and advocates on issues of poverty and related social issues. We are conducting a brief survey among all registered candidates in Halton to help the community understand your views on these important topics.
Please note that Poverty Free Halton will not endorse any candidate, these responses are for educational purposes only. These responses reflect those received as of October 8, 2010.
1. Issue: Housing and Homelessness across Halton
Background: As of December 31, 2009, there were 1,952 applications for subsidized housing on the central waiting list managed by the Regional Municipality of Halton (Halton Region). This figure does not include the many individuals and families who fall off the list because the wait is simply too long. In addition to the high demand for subsidized housing units, Halton Region received 1,568 requests for emergency shelter in 2009. Combined with the high cost of market rents, these figures paint a picture in which many Halton residents simply cannot afford to live in their community.
Question: If elected, what measures will you advocate to ensure more residents with low-incomes can access affordable housing in the community you would like to represent?
Carol D’Amelio (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Housing is a fundamental part of a healthy community. It is critical that all the “players”? that support affordable housing in our community work together. I will bring them together, listen, and identify how City Hall and the Region of Halton can best support the very valuable work that is being done to provide housing that is affordable and meets the needs of our residents.
As the Halton Community Housing Corporation Vice President, I have supported various new types of housing developments such as Bonnie Place II that opened last August that offers both below market value rentals as well as current market rentals. We need to integrate different types of housing in Burlington and continue to work with developers to make it attractive for them to want to build these types of buildings. We need more kinds of new partnerships such as the Plains Road project which includes the Burlington Public Library, the Rotary Club, the Region of Halton and New Horizons Homes. This development will see affordable and accessible housing with 10 assisted living units in Aldershot and a revitalized local library branch in the neighbourhood.
Cam Jackson (Mayor/Regional Councillor): My work this term as a member of the Halton Housing Task Force has enabled me to both learn and contribute to the important work of funding short term early housing initiatives as well as longer term larger affordable housing projects. I continue to request that all development applications for new buildings be canvassed for opportunities to partner with the Region on additional subsidized units. My active support and intervention with Habitat for Humanity has led to one of the largest projects in the nation. We should use section 37 credits and modified development charges to produce more truly affordable housing.
Rick Craven (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 1): I would work with the Region of Halton and other community groups to call an Affordable Housing Summit to work towards a strategy to create more options for affordable housing .Community groups such as Halton Habitat for Humanity, the United Ways, Oakville and Burlington Foundations and the Service Clubs along with people who face this tough challenge need to be heard. There needs to be a continuum of options ranging from rent relief, geared to income, affordable to emergency shelter space. This region is lacking in emergency beds compared to neighbouring communities. Why? Many groups in Halton have been working at these issues for a long time. It is time the City of Burlington and the Region of Halton joined them in coming up with creative solutions for the future.
Cory Judson (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 3): 1,952 residents on a waiting list for subsidized housing is not acceptable in a Region as affluent as Halton. One of the challenges to seniors and young people remaining in our community is the high cost of housing which for many is insurmountable. We are losing too many of our long-time residents and bright young minds to other communities because of the housing challenge that we face. To counter this there are some things that we can do as both city and regional councillors. We need to resist the conversion of rental properties to condominiums and work with developers to ensure that new development includes ‘truly’ affordable housing. Groups such as Habitat for Humanity have expressed frustration over the land acquisition process to build housing; accordingly, we also need to streamline the process for the development of affordable housing. Further, we need to work with our Provincial and Federal partners to find ways to form partnerships to build more supportive and affordable housing.
John Taylor (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 3): The Region of Halton will be undertaking a five year review of the Region’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy in 2011. The demand for subsidized housing continues to exceed the supply as the background report correctly points out. As part of the review I will be proposing that we evaluate a European model whereby the housing subsidy is attached to the person rather than a unit of housing. This may result in a more efficient operation and therefore would better meet need. This would also result in better integration within the community.
From a Ward 3 perspective there is also ongoing need for fairer funding for Bethany Residence so that better care can be provided to our most disadvantaged residents.
Jim Blake (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 4): There are some low income housing areas in my Ward and I know some people in those homes – they usually are the ones to help others in the community without question. I think we should do whatever we can to inspire them more, and help their situation -“ there are ways to assist where it is not a free gift – I think most prefer that method – they want to work, and live a normal life – but don’t feel comfortable with plain handouts – let’s make a system that works both ways – communication with representatives from most groups is a good start.
Brian Heagle (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 4): Burlington is considered by most measures to be affluent. However, affordability is a new reality and increasing challenge. With rapid urban growth and an aging and changing population, we have increasing numbers of people in need. Our citizenship has many privileges, but also shared responsibilities: we must address, among other things, our short-sighted lack of affordable housing.
To begin, the problem receives little attention, largely because it’s still invisible or hidden. Mixed neighbourhoods help build stronger, diverse communities and that message needs to be communicated better by City Hall. Awareness animates. In particular, the work of the Region’s Housing Task Force should be given a higher profile. As well, the City must be proactive by identifying immediate housing development opportunities, and encouraging innovative solutions with tangible incentives.
To that end, City Hall must work closer with local developers and other appropriate groups (especially those with a goal of poverty reduction, such as Habitat for Humanity Halton with its office already here). They should advocate together with other levels of government for a stronger local voice.
As set out in my www.voteheagle.ca website, I will champion affordable housing to develop a shared vision and clearer path today for an affordable future.
Serge Beraldo (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): I was very impressed with the speakers at the CASH meeting earlier this month. It was clearly stated that one very viable solution was to include affordable housing units in new developments. This of course would need to be mandated by the city in negotiations with
There are several houses on Queensway Boulevard that have sat empty for quite some time. These are the type of dwellings that Habitat for Humanity could put to productive use.
I would be willing to consider options brought forth by Poverty Free Halton.
Cal Millar (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): Obviously housing is a critical need and everything possible must be done to accommodate those in dire situations. A review should be made to determine those who are most in need and prioritize those cases. We should be creative in looking at ways to find space and in providing assistance to those who make applications for help.
Peggy Russell (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): It is time that the Community comes together and resolve the issue of appropriate and affordable housing for our citizens. Myself and two other members of the Halton Violence Prevention Council struck the Emergency Shelter Task Force in the mid to late nineties and although this brought attention and Regional resources to Emergency Shelter, programs and services, we are no further ahead on long-term solutions of affordable housing. We do not need to create additional infrastructure to achieve this immediately, what we need to do is find ways to keep people in the their current housing. The three most vulnerable groups are children who live in single parent led homes, seniors on fixed incomes and single woman with disabilities. Let’s develop a Comprehensive Regional and City plan much like the Provincial initiative to reduce poverty levels now, 25% in five years. We need to stop using the economic downturn as an excuse to not do anything, we just need to be more creative and consult with the expertise in the community and those most impacted by the lack of affordable housing, we all must be part of the solution, to do anything less, leaves us as part of the problem.
Blair Lancaster (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 6): Concerns regarding affordable, assisted housing and emergency shelter are addressed in The Halton Comprehensive Housing Strategy. This report speaks to regaining and retaining affordable housing in Halton, encouraging and protecting assisted and affordable housing and the importance of varied types of housing values in healthy communities. I am in support of these recommendations but would like to see programs developed around the needs of our residents versus residents fitting our existing programs. The development of community partnerships could assist us in fulfilling the gaps in housing by providing opportunities such as vacant apartments as emergency shelters. Programs should also be developed in ways that keep people within their existing communities providing a more stable environment for families in need.
Halton Hills Candidates
Moya Johnson (Town Councillor, Ward 3): As a Councillor, I have supported the following efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing:
I will continue to advocate for affordable housing as in-filling and new development applications are filed with the town. Council has instructed planning staff to work with developers to increase the affordability of the projects they are submitting to the Town.
Gordon Krantz (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Balance all needs of residents in Halton.
Al Volpe (Mayor/Regional Councillor): A part of development charges will be allocated directly to constructing affordable homes.
Jan Mowbray (Local/Regional Councillor, Wards 2, 3, 4, 5): Lack of sufficient affordable housing forces many people out of their community, away from their support system. This is particularly so in Milton.
“Affordable Housing For All” is a priority I’ve identified for Milton when I first launched my candidacy for Local & Regional Councillors for Wards 2, 3, 4 & 5. See www.janmowbray.ca.
If elected, I will continue to advocate the provincial government to adopt Private Member’s Bill 198 with respect to Inclusionary Zoning. Exclusionary Zoning is an opportunity to aid a system at the least cost to the taxpayer.
Bill 198 would give the tools to municipalities to ensure a percentage of affordable housing is included in all new subdivisions. At the same time, I will advocate for more funding partnerships with the upper levels of government.
Martin Capper (Local Councillor, Ward 1): The Official Plan for Milton commits to ensuring a meaningful supply of affordable housing as the Town grows. I will work with Staff to ensure that our developers are aware of the Town’s commitment in this regard and that the needs are taken into account as sub developments are planned.
Ian Thompson (Local Councillor, Ward 2):I will continue to advocate for subsidized housing. Ideally a portion of every new development should come with an allotment of subsidized housing. Housing of this nature is primarily a Regional and Provincial responsibility. At the local level we can advocate for and insure that other levels of government are living up to their responsibilities. We can also stimulate economic growth to provide more employment within the community which in turn helps to alleviate some of the poverty that people face. Emergency housing needs to be readily available in the community and as a local council we should keep pressure on Regional government to ensure that it is available.
Adhish Sharma (Local Councillor, Ward 4): In my view we need to accommodate everyone in our society. I am complete against the word homeless, we are born to help everyone in our society and make sure everyone get a roof to live under. We all should stick together and create more stable jobs so that they are able to earn the living and be able to live peacefully. A person to me is not able to afford housing because of money, which to me is main cause. If we can work on creating jobs for everyone we should be able to resolve most of the problem that we are facing in terms of housing. This will help the younger generation to devote more time on studies and hopefully by the next generation they are able to create a better living standard. I don’t like to lie and say I will do this and that but I definitely will do what I would consider doing for my family because now Milton is a part of my family.
Paul Virdo (Local Councillor, Ward 7): I believe we need to incorporate more affordable housing into our developments. The town should be negotiating better deals with developers for more community benefits like affordable housing. That is why I am opposed to allow more development charges to pay for hospital expansion in Milton.
Rob Burton (Mayor/Regional Councillor): I will continue to support work at the Region of Halton and at Halton Community Housing Corporation to plan for and provide a range of housing for all ages and income levels. I will also support programs to make available housing for seniors and special needs clients, emergency housing and rent-geared-to- income housing. Oakville provided land to Habitat for Humanity so it could build its first two homes in Oakville. I look forward to future partnerships with that organization and others to provide affordable housing.
Oakville’s new official plan, Livable Oakville, directs growth – including infill growth – to places where it is appropriate and away from stable neighbourhoods. One of the goals of this plan is to prevent monster homes from raising assessments in neighbourhoods of modest homes and forcing those residents out.
Ann Mulvale (Mayor/Regional Councillor): We need a plan, not a dream as the National Alliance to End Homelessness (US) says. We need to think of homelessness not as a problem to be managed and held to ‘acceptable’ levels but as something to be eliminated.
Key to this elimination is a National Housing Strategy with inter agency support coordinated by engaging all orders of government and community agencies faith, communities etc., in a collaborated way. Halton Region can not solve this challenge on their own.
The provincial government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy provides opportunity for such collaboration.
My past leadership role with the United Way of Oakville and engagement with agencies like Home Suite Hope, Salvation Army and Kerr Street Ministries reminds me of the challenges Oakville residents face. My personal and, if elected commitment as an elected official, remains to build sustainable solutions that have meaningful targets clearly identified in an action plan. I propose an annual Round Table to learn/showcase best practices while bench marking Halton against its peers and reporting in a open and transparent way on progress made and blocks to further progress, while confirming the plan for the coming year.
Bob Aceti (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 1): Homeless individuals are the ghosts among us that pass under the radar of collective social consciousness. Social justice demands that we own up to the fact that we do have homeless adults and children living in poverty in our region. Benign neglect, or the “export” of homeless individuals to Toronto or Hamilton, is not a solution.
We can help our homeless by providing emergency housing to accommodate them until they’re able to receive longer-term assistance and care. I will review our current plan to meet the needs of the homeless within our community and engage discussion and consensus with Councillors on deficiencies and interdictions to help people to find adequate shelter. I would propose and sponsor appropriate civic measures with Council to accommodate emergency housing requirements.
A living wage and full time employment standards are necessary to support our residents’ vital financial requirements.
I commit to sponsor a “living wage” bylaw before Council. We need to increase the supply of affordable housing in our region near established business districts and mass transit services. I commit to a policy of development that emphasizes rebuilding established community with higher density homes – apartment condominiums that offer diversified living spaces and affordable rental accommodation.
Ralph Robinson (Town Councillor, Ward 1): Since this is a Regional issue, I will ask the Region to work with the Town and keep us posted on the needs for assistance for the homeless and this would include bi annually statistics showing the increases or decreases. The Region should also be working with the Municipality in an effort to tie together suitable facilities.
I am a Board Member of The Halton Multicultural Council and via the Region we do offer short term residential assistance to those that qualify. As a member of the selection committee there is a substantial need.
Pam Damoff (Town Councillor, Ward 2): Affordable housing is something that needs to be addressed in Oakville. Habitat for Humanity’s first two builds in Oakville are a welcome addition to Ward 2, and I would encourage more of these “builds” – perhaps on a larger scale. Equity financing options (like Options for Homes) should be explored. We should also work with developers to encourage affordable housing options integrated in their developments. I would also like to meet with the people and agencies involved on a day-to-day basis (e.g.. Kerr Street Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, etc) as well as my Regional Councillor counterpart in Ward 2 to get suggestions and ideas to move forward.
Bruce Grant (Town Councillor, Ward 2): I am well aware of the need for subsidized housing in Halton. My son volunteered at the Food Bank on Speers Road and I was shocked (as I accept many Oakville residents would be) at the number of people utilizing the food bank. I would advocate a plan to build subsidized housing in areas of Ward 2 (my ward) that are currently vacant lots or under utilized lands, there are a few of them in our ward. To be honest this is my first run at council and I need to learn more about what exactly the Town can do in this matter, but should I be elected I will make this a priority.
Keith Bird (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 3): We continue to seek additional funding from the senior orders of government to address these fundamental needs.
Jeff Knoll (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 5): As President of Halton Community Housing Corporation and Chair of Halton Housing Task Force, this is an area I have devoted a great deal of time to find solutions for this human crisis. Coming out of the Task Force, we proposed a number of ideas that I will pursue during the next term of Council.
HCHC has established itself as a developer of housing with two new building starts in 2010, I will lead the corporation to do more with focus on new units for singles and families.
Empower non-government organizations, through seed funding and other supports, to develop housing opportunities following on the great examples of Habitat for Humanity, Home Suite Hope and Supportive Housing Halton.
Develop creative, Region sponsored solutions eg. home sharing and portable rent subsidies.
Support and encourage the development industry to develop affordable projects following some terrific examples seen in other communities such as Somerset Gardens, Ottawa.
Adaptive reuse of surplus government buildings and land for conversion to housing.
Use provisions of Planning Act and local Official Plans to incent development industry to include affordable/rental housing in new subdivisions and work towards enshrined municipal affordable housing strategies such as those in Langley BC.
Marc Grant (Town Councillor, Ward 5): As Oakville’s area north of Dundas is developed, I’d continue to ensure that we have the proper balance of housing stock to allow young and low-income families to have affordable places to live, whether it be to either rent or own. I’d also strive to ensure that our current stock of assisted and affordable housing is well-maintained and ready for the needs of the community.
Additionally, we need to find more spaces for people in need of transitional and emergency shelter, mainly by reducing the stigma attached to these places – as with the controversy over placement of the Salvation Army Lighthouse years ago – and by seeking help from the development community to place such spaces on major transportation routes with access to needed services.
Mark Straub (Town Councillor, Ward 5): I would advocate for stronger partnerships with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Home Suite Hope, and others. These organizations have the expertise and infrastructure to provide solutions.
Tom Adams (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 6): I recognize affordable housing as vital to creating healthy communities for all residents, despite income or stage of life. I support the work of the Region of Halton to create programs and services that promote a range of housing types and affordability levels to match the needs of the community. Beyond creating a planning framework that promotes different housing options, I also support the continued availability of emergency housing, subsidized (or rent geared to income) housing, housing for seniors and housing for those with special needs.
I support continuing the work of the Halton Community Housing Corporation to provide housing in a variety of forms including apartments, townhouses, semi-detached and detached homes.
I also support working with organizations like Habitat for Humanity to help create successful local initiatives to provide affordable housing.
Jim Smith (Town Councillor, Ward 6): This is a problem for our region, however as a local councillor, I would be willing to sit on a committee to advance the town view, and that of ward 6.
2. Issue: Poverty Across Halton
Background: Despite Halton’s image as an affluent community, more than 28,000 residents live below the Low Income Cut Off Statistics Canada (after tax measure). This includes one in every thirteen children. For a family of four (LICO is calculated on family size), this would mean having to get by on an after-tax income of $33,216 or less.
Question: If elected, what actions would you propose to make life more affordable for residents with low or fixed incomes?
Carol D’Amelio (Mayor/Regional Councillor): People want to work and to support themselves and their dependents. We know that many working families still cannot make ends meet. I want a Halton wide plan to adopt an appropriate living wage for Halton. I will support coordination of other services such as recreation subsidies for children, affordable childcare and development of workplace skills.
Cam Jackson (Mayor/Regional Councillor): We could more effectively utilize existing resources at the City and the Region. Families living below the poverty line should receive free bus passes locally and all children should have a parks and recreation program credit that removes barriers to their full participation. I continue as Chair of Burlington Food Share and work cooperatively with several agencies committed to the distribution of food and other resources to those in need.
Rick Craven (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 1): I would work with the Region to ensure that all barriers within the Region’s control are examined so that people may be lifted out of poverty and not kept in poverty. Residents living below the LICO cutoff, need to get the supports they need to be successful in working their way out of poverty. We need to work with all not for profit organizations and all levels of government to develop an integrated and networked system to service those in need. We also need to work with school boards to identify barriers such as transportation and food issues and collaboratively work towards solutions to decrease dropout rates. Studies have shown that students who graduate from high school are less of a drain on the health and social systems. It just makes sense to invest in families now when the outcomes can be changed.
Cory Judson (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 3): The image of Burlington is often one of tremendous affluence. This is one of the reasons that publications such as Money Sense magazine rank us as the 3rd best City in Canada. While it is true that there is a tremendous amount of wealth in our community, poverty is also a reality for too many residents. As the Ward 3 City and Regional Councillor I will work to create a more inclusive community. This includes exploring reduced transit fares for seniors during off-peak hours, working to control frivolous capital spending so that we can focus on true priorities, and working with our Provincial and Federal partners to ensure that adequate and dignified assistance is provided to those in times of need. We also need to develop a local jobs strategy to provide opportunities for more Burlington residents to have job opportunities in their own community.
John Taylor (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 3): Given the present worldwide economic condition and the huge budget deficits being incurred by the Federal and Provincial Government’s funding this issue will probably fall entirely to the Region of Halton. The most benefit would probably come through better coordination of interventions for spot assistance.
Jim Blake (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 4): I would like to introduce to the City and the Region and have them propose to the province – a cap on assessment for Seniors when they reach age 70 and have lived in their current residence for at least 20 years. It was suggested to me recently by an individual who knew when it was proposed in another community – only to be blocked by one MPP at the Ontario Legislature. That individual is no longer an MPP – and that community is trying again. I feel this would be a great benefit for Seniors in Halton and Burlington – and when elected – will table this proposal quickly so we can get the ball rolling. I hope I get support from other councillors because I have heard a lot of support already from Seniors.
Brian Heagle (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 4): To begin, please see my comments and ideas in Question 1 – which apply not only to Burlington, but across Halton. However, affordable housing is only part of the equation.
We require a comprehensive poverty reduction plan for sustainable long-term solutions. Burlington and other Halton municipalities must increase their efforts to collaborate and advocate together with appropriate groups and other levels of government, to create a truly shared vision with achievable, measurable steps. This means providing more resources and defined milestones locally. I believe the wide-ranging, long-term social and economic challenges of poverty deserve that kind of massive effort now, particularly since Halton communities continue to grow and evolve at an unprecedented rate.
Burlington should lead as a role model in this battle. For example: it can examine strategies to adopt a living wage, whether as a policy to annually review its own employee wages, or more forcefully as a by-law for not only employees, but also suppliers.
The City must also find more meaningful ways to connect and consult with residents with low or fixed incomes, so their voices can be heard and included as part of finding local common-sense opportunities to help.
Serge Beraldo (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): I would be happy to bring forth a motion that would provide no registration fee’s for families with children who would like to play sports. A child’s self-esteem can be greatly enhanced through participation in sports. I would certainly be willing to consider other options.
Cal Millar (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): Steps should be taken to improve the quality of life for everyone in Halton, including those considered below the poverty line. A coordinated approach should be taken by the communities within Halton to attract new jobs and all levels of government should be encouraged to come to the table with ideas and tangible assistance to look after those who are deemed to be in need.
Peggy Russell (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): Affordable and appropriate housing needs to be implemented into municipal and Regional plans to meet the overwhelming need, which include interim measures to maintain citizens where possible in current housing. Work with food banks and local growers to get fresh produce into the food banks and work with food banks to extend hours of operation to provide working families the ability to access their organization. Reduce the cost of Public transit to all users and increase routes in targeted areas where we know the need is greatest, as identified by the Our Kids Network via community based research and rely on the statistical data provided to the community through Community Development Halton. The need is greater than ever and we cannot turn our backs or throw our hands up in the air, based on tough economic times. We must act now or the long-term social implications and real cost of alternative systems such, as Social, Health, Judicial and Policing will become cost prohibitive to maintain as a society. This is not the direction any citizen would like too see unravel in the future and we can no longer avoid the real crisis that is occurring right now in our Community.
Blair Lancaster (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 6): Families living below the poverty line need support and opportunities to improve their income. Programs such as skills training can help to meet this need leading to job improvements and better income. Programs must be designed with no obstacles or barriers for these people because the last thing they need is difficulties accessing information or filling out forms. Skills training should also be offered in a way that provides both short term and long-term gains. Short term gains will help families immediately while still being able to work towards longer term goals.
Halton Hills Candidates
Moya Johnson (Town Councillor, Ward 3): We have policies in place to support people with low incomes who register for town recreation programs. With expressed need, fees can be either reduced or waived completely. Our library services and programs are free to all members of the public. We have instituted a senior’s tax rebate to make property taxes more affordable for fixed-income seniors.
Gordon Krantz (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Take into consideration their wants and needs.
Al Volpe (Mayor/Regional Councillor): I will help through the tax system.
Jan Mowbray (Local/Regional Councillor, Wards 2, 3, 4, 5)
Martin Capper (Local Councillor, Ward 1): The best course of action that I can and will take is to ensure that Town services are delivered at the lowest possible cost without impacting negatively the quality of that Service. I will also continue to foster good working relationships with NGOs and charitable organizations working in this arena.
Ian Thompson (Local Councillor, Ward 2): Again some of the responsibility for this lies with other levels of government. I have for my whole life been an anti poverty advocate and have had a number of successes in the work that I do. Some specific federal and provincial reforms need to occur to ensure that the Employment Insurance Program and the Canada Pension Plan are reformed. There are proposals outstanding to deal with both that I support. At the provincial and regional level we need to look at Disability Allowance and Social Service Allowance payments to ensure they are adequate. At the local level we need to stimulate employment opportunities in our communities. There is absolutely no justification for the amount of poverty in our communities this is particularly true for the elderly and single parent, women lead families.
Adhish Sharma (Local Councillor, Ward 4): If elected I would like to create organization who would specifically work in terms of providing jobs to those in need. I would like to encourage out town to work together and I am sure if we can cut down on some unnecessary expenses, then we definitely will be able to accommodate our Miltonians who are in need of help.
Paul Virdo (Local Councillor, Ward 7): I support enhancing the property tax increase deferral program and creating a cancellation program as well for those in need. I support utilizing zero-based budgeting and value-for-money audits to hold the line on property tax increases. We need to find a fair way to fund enhancements to public transit.
Rob Burton (Mayor/Regional Councillor): I would continue to support:
Ann Mulvale (Mayor/Regional Councillor): The reason I sited the need for a National Housing Strategy is that shelter costs are typically the largest expense within any household budget. It really does not matter how much money your earn, or from what source, if more than 50% is consumed by shelter costs the potential for real challenge arises.
Individuals and families routinely have to choose between paying their rent and food resulting in growing numbers of people needing help from food banks etc., prior to the end of the month. With more geared to income accommodation people would have the chance to meet their needs for shelter, food, medical and transportation needs within their household budgets, thus live with dignity.
More coordinated services for people in transition from homeless shelters, those journeying with mental illness or addictions would provide greater support and thus a significantly better outcome in terms of people being able to realize their potential. Often, with just a little help people, can become independent improving their quality of life, their ability to secure and remain employed once again contributing to the community they reside in via their engagement and taxes paid.
We know, from numerous reports, that when children are supported in their formative years better outcomes result in their quality of life, education, physical and mental health empowering them to lead full and contributing lives while lessening the types and number of services they consume as adults. In addition they become a positive role image for their own children often breaking the poverty cycle, the ultimate goal.
I would continue to advocate for collaborative and coordinated delivery of services while focusing on a National Housing Strategy.
Bob Aceti (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 1): Poverty results from extended job loss and the reduction of living wage fulltime employment opportunities. Many graduates entering the workforce will likely have several jobs before retirement. Poverty also results from insufficient disability benefits and financial burdens incidental to chronic
Ralph Robinson (Town Councillor, Ward 1): No response.
Pam Damoff (Town Councillor, Ward 2): Ward 2 has a high number of families living at or near the “low income cut off” and it is a concern. Food banks and non-profit agencies can only do so much to address the situation. The cost of living in Oakville is a controlled by all levels of government, and I would work with elected officials to see what measures we can take to make Oakville “livable” for everyone. I also think a dialogue needs to take place with people working in the sector to find out how best to tackle this issue, to have the greatest impact on the most people.
Bruce Grant (Town Councillor, Ward 2): I would attend to promote the food bank in a more positive manner and get business’s more involved in helping to stock the Food Bank. I think we should be offering some form of tax rebate on municipal taxes for those living under the poverty line.
Keith Bird (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 3): I would remind the two senior orders of government who currently collect some 92% per cent of our tax dollar, that they made a commitment to conduct a ‘war on poverty’ and its now time to address these income distribution needs.
Jeff Knoll (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 5): Continue to work vigorously on options for adequate affordable housing opportunities.
Develop better ways to ensure an adequate supply of food to those in need. This includes working with the non-profit as well as business. Early in the new term, I would propose the creation of a food security task force so we can study and propose improvements to access to food to those who need it.
Support and develop ways to assist children who live in poverty to make sure that they are given every possible opportunity to succeed and be happy. This can include recreation and direct supports, where we need to work towards breaking down barriers to access based on financial means.
Develop a strategy to provide greater access to public transit for those who cannot afford it. We have a great deal of excess capacity on our buses and those in poverty are often stranded because they cannot afford to ride. I will work to find a viable way to provide inexpensive or free access to those most in need.
Marc Grant (Town Councillor, Ward 5): I’d maintain my efforts to ensure that the basics are kept to an affordable level, whether it be municipal taxes, transportation services or recreational programming. We also need a better public outreach to show the need to fill and maintain food banks throughout the year. Oakville is filled with many people with big hearts and once we can demonstrate the problems, I believe we can get the support for needed services.
Mark Straub (Town Councillor, Ward 5): The Town’s budgetary process needs to be managed in a more fiscally responsible manner. If the Town can get spending under control, then future tax increases can be minimal or non-existent. Also, the Town should explore activities/venues that are fun and affordable/free.
Tom Adams (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 6): In addition to those measures that I listed with respect to affordable housing in the community, I would also continue to support the work conducted for individuals and families at the Region of Halton. These programs include the Ontario Works Halton program and child care subsidy program. Both of these programs are important services that help residents with low or fixed incomes.
I would continue to work to ensure that a range of recreational programs are available in Oakville that allow residents with low or fixed incomes to participate. These include a variety of drop-in programs at the local library and recreation centres for both youth and seniors.
Jim Smith (Town Councillor, Ward 6): We should arrange for these people to have reduced bills, hydro, water, taxes, etc.
3. Issue: Transportation
Background: Many would suggest that Halton and its four local municipalities are inadequately served by public transit. Investments continue to be made on more and wider roads while investments on transit have not been adequate.
Halton Hills has no local transit. Milton would benefit from increased transit services. According to reports from the Sustainable Urban Development Association, Burlington and Oakville spend significantly less on transit than their peer communities in the GTA. Inadequate transit services hit seniors, youth, citizens with disabilities and persons experiencing poverty particularly hard.
With cars accounting for over 90% of all trips, Halton will be facing gridlock as our population increases. The Regional Official Plan (ROPA 38) will require municipalities to significantly increase the modal split for transit.
Question: If elected, will you commit to improving transit services, increasing transit use, and will you support significantly higher municipal investment in transit to at least the average of peer GTA communities?
Carol D’Amelio (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Yes, I will support higher municipal investment in transit use. Public transit is good for people and it’s good for the environment.
Cam Jackson (Mayor/Regional Councillor): My commitment and my efforts are directed at improving access and removing barriers to transit for those on fixed incomes and those living below the poverty line. Expand Handi-Van services to allow for more passenger trips for medical appointments and community events.
Rick Craven (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 1): City councils in Halton have looked at the transportation from a cost recoverable stand point as opposed to an investment in the future of a vibrant, healthy, greener city. The City of Burlington needs a dependable transit system to attract new businesses who have employees that will use the system if it is reliable. Helping people out of their cars and using the transit starts with a true understanding of the commuter, the student and the seniors. Seniors are rapidly becoming the majority in Burlington and many seniors as they age, begin to give up their license. However, they still want to maintain their independence in their homes as they “age in place”. Community groups can organize transportation hubs that supplement the regular transit. Incentives to seniors to use the bus, could increase ridership. School boards and cities need to work together to make the best use of their transit systems. We need to invest in the future by improving our transit system.
Cory Judson (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 3): Yes! Council has paid lip service to transit for many years and it is time that we take a serious look at how we move people in our City and Region. Too often City Hall has examined the cost of providing transit without fully exploring the implications of not providing adequate transit. At a time when municipalities around the world are investing in forward looking transportation solutions, Burlington is stuck in the past. It is time to move forward.
John Taylor (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 3): Despite millions of dollars invested in Burlington Transit service improvements over the last two decades we still have fewer riders today than we did twenty years ago despite a doubling of the population. Therefore our first priority must be to increase transit use within the current population. A Marketing Manager has been hired to achieve this objective and we are in the process of looking at increased high school student ridership with the Board of Education and incentive fares for off-peak periods.
Longer term we will also have to address the 2031 20% transit modal split objective of the Regional Official Plan Amendment 38. A Regional Transportation Master Plan is currently being prepared and will be completed in draft by the Spring of 2011. Key among the issues will be how to phase this transit objective as this will require a major change in people’s transportation habits. If the habit change is not made in inter-regional transit and the population targets are reached traffic chaos will result. Therefore careful monitoring of road and transit investments will be mandatory.
Jim Blake (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 4): I have spoken about this situation with a few colleagues and mentioned to a few residents – the suggestion is as follows: Get Seniors and handicapped a pass for transit use. Handicapped persons may want to use their pass when someone travels with them as a paying rider – Seniors probably would be able to travel more independently however it may prove that a relative or friend, a paying customer – would also accompany this senior on outings. The result could prove interesting. Rider capacity would be up during daytime hours – not during rush hour – those new riders would increase revenues. The transit vehicles are going through their routes anyway – the free transit passes for seniors would not affect revenues, but riders that do pay and accompany them – would help cash flows.
Brian Heagle (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 4): Yes – except not for the last point. It would be fiscally irresponsible to commit now to a ‘significantly higher municipal investment’. I would first need to know, for example: exactly what is meant by ‘significantly higher’; what other Halton budget priorities are needed, and what funding is available at the relevant time; and what are the efficiencies, methods and goals of peer GTA communities at their current levels of investments.
Serge Beraldo (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): I would be willing to support (as per Carol D’Amelio’s suggestion of free bus service to seniors. I think there is room for improvement in our bus services.
Cal Millar (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): It is necessary to make a full review of our transit system, both urban and interurban, to ensure they meet the needs of all residents. Consideration should be given to providing free bus transportation to seniors and reduced fares for young people, but at the same time elected officials should be finding partners within the community to offset the revenue losses that giving free or reduced fares would create. I cannot support increases for municipalities at the level of average GTA communities, but would be willing to review the needs of the transit companies and find ways to improve and integrate bus systems to ensure taxpayers get the best value. I agree some areas are poorly served and in other communities steps need to be taken to vastly improve the current service.
Peggy Russell (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): Yes. I will use the knowledge and relationships I have developed at the local and provincial levels to turn the City of Burlington Transit into a Revenue positive organization, by encouraging deeper partnerships between the Boards of Educations, the Transportation Consortia and Burlington Transit and work towards getting our high school youth onto Transit systems in Burlington and throughout the Region. Dollars in Education can be invested into Municipal Transit systems and will increase revenue via ridership. Increased revenue will make it possible to make a business case to the Provincial, Federal, Regional and City taxpayers and bureaucrats, to increase investment for infrastructure, improve and increase routes in Burlington, Halton Municipalities and beyond our borders. It is about improving quality of life for all and helping single parents to be at home more for their kids, by spending less time trying to navigate to and from work, seniors getting to very important medical appointments, youth using public transit to get to and from their part-time jobs and school. Some benefits will be immediately measurable; increased revenue and environmental impact, some will take time to measure; decline in vandalism, etc. Ultimately the dividends to Society as a whole are endless.
Blair Lancaster (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 6): Transit is a consideration for all communities in Halton, however in 2005/2006 the Halton Hills and Milton communities voted against transit system improvements. I would be prepared to support that this item be revisited if Halton Hills and Milton were interested. Transit systems must make sense for communities such as Burlington and others in Halton; a review would identify our real needs for now and the potential of transit in the future.
Halton Hills Candidates
Moya Johnson (Town Councillor, Ward 3): We have increased the usage of our Activan Services by:
We have instituted a taxi-script service to allow Activan users to ride in taxis for a reduced fee In addition, we have incorporated a seniors discount on all taxi trips and have advocated for increased GO Train and Bus service to permit all day travel along the bus and train routes.
Gordon Krantz (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Yes.
Al Volpe (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Yes.
Jan Mowbray (Local/Regional Councillor, Wards 2, 3, 4, 5): If elected, I will support transportation service improvements of all kinds. Many would say Milton is already facing gridlock! I have been a confirmed supporter of public transit for years and will continue to support it.
Martin Capper (Local Councillor, Ward 1): Yes, yes and yes. I am a Transportation Junkie and before retiring was a member of the American Public Transportation Assoc. or APTA. My answer to this question should also be read in conjunction with question 2.
Ian Thompson (Local Councillor, Ward 2): I support improving transit and supporting a higher municipal investment in transit in Milton, As our community has grown and will continue to grow we need to ensure that transit is available to allow a reduction in the use of cars both as a way of improving our physical environment and our social environment.
Adhish Sharma (Local Councillor, Ward 4): If elected I would make this a priority to encourage our citizens to travel in public transit, this would help Milton’s economy. I think our senior citizens would defiantly need the transit system. I would like to speak for my seniors, as they need transportation to get to places. Right now we have no bus service that takes us to Brampton, Oakville locally except GO transit. We should encourage our town to get into this and look at this more seriously. I would like to say that our citizens are not able to work in another town if they don’t have car, not everyone can afford a car. So this is one of my priorities.
Paul Virdo (Local Councillor, Ward 7): Yes. I believe this should be done in an integrated fashion throughout Halton Region and the GTA, perhaps under the leadership of Metrolinx.
Rob Burton (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Ridership on Oakville Transit buses has increased 17% since we rolled out new grid-based routes that make it easier for people to get across town. Oakville was successful in getting federal infrastructure funds to build a new transit depot to support its new, enlarged service. We have protected routes that service low-income families.
I kept a campaign promise to create the Freedom Pass, which lets students have unlimited bus travel after 5 p.m. weekdays and all weekend long for $10/month. This has been popular with both students and parents of all income levels.
Going forward, I will be working with other councillors on a Regional Transportation Master Plan to improve connections across the region. I will also lobby Metrolinx for continued service improvements to our area.
Ann Mulvale (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Municipalities budgets are stretched as they still strive to recover from the downloading, which was not revenue neutral, in the Harris era. Progress has been made in terms of gas tax revenues from both the Federal and Provincial orders of government, I am proud of the role I played to secure those sustainable revenues and convince the Province to take back capital costs for inter regional transit i.e. GO. Clearly more needs to be done.
The Province should empower transit as a component of support for the working poor and persons with special needs via income tax filing or funding of transit tickets. They should also see transit as a tool to improve air quality thus a multi ministerial task force i.e. health, environment and transportation is required to remove the continuation of ‘silo thinking’, each ministry protecting their budget rather than working together for sustainable solutions.
With the certainty of such coordinated Provincial engagement the five municipal governments within Halton can be more creative in their approach.
In the interim the three existing transit can continue to work together to advance their individual services with off peak passes, I am calling for a flat monthly fee of $10 for seniors and open to review this for people with special needs and financial challenges. The number one concerns at the doors as I canvass focuses on empty buses. I would use the Audit General to bench mark Oakville Transit against its peers in terms of service, cost and effectiveness to ensure the money already in the budget is being fully utilized.
Continued funding for the Ontario Bus Replacement Program is needed, 30 minute off peak GO service is also needed to encourage more people to leave their cars and or provide services to those who have no car resulting in greater service and less air pollution as fewer cars are driven in the GTA.
Transit needs to be seen as a solution not a problem. Transit should be a factor in both the Town’s Economic and Environmental Strategic Plans however, the Province who receives the income tax generated by people working and the savings in health care budget from people breathing cleaner air and enhance fitness from walking to transit, need to be at the table with their cheque book. The property tax payer can only be expected to be part of the solution, not the solution.
Bob Aceti (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 1): Urban sprawl is a primary cause in the decline of effective and cost-efficient transit services. When we spread our population across more territory we make it more costly to provide effective transit services over the entire community. And this leads to inconvenient and costly local transit services for all.
Decentralized urban sprawl promotes more vehicle use and increased greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. We have too many cars on the roads that are creating gridlock in the GTA. We solve this problem with joint planning by redevelopment of environmentally friendly affordable homes in established areas serviced by more regular and lower cost bus transit services.
When we redevelop established communities with higher density affordable housing we also make it easier and less costly for bus transit planners to focus transit assets on built-up higher density areas. Residents would be more inclined to leave their cars at home if we had convenient, low-cost and regular bus services to shuttle them to established business districts and the intercity MetroLinx mass transit
I commit to support lower cost mass transit and shuttle services to established communities within our region.
Ralph Robinson (Town Councillor, Ward 1): Actually, I believe that our transit service has show certain improvements with free summer service to students and my current plans on working for a discounted fare structure for Seniors. Actually Oakville does have sufficient transit and the stats that the use is slowly growing. From time to time I just recently had a request for a bus stop in front of 2511 Lakeshore Rd W and that is being worked on.
Pam Damoff (Town Councillor, Ward 2): Yes, I will commit to improving transit services – for some routes there may be ways of adjusting schedules to increase ridership. I also think we need to explore ways to get more people using public transit, which would in turn generate more revenue and allow us to provide even better service. When Oakville Transit offered free bus service for students over the summer, then introduced the student “freedom pass”, student ridership increased dramatically. We need to explore these types of incentives to increase ridership & therefore service.
Bruce Grant (Town Councillor, Ward 2): This is a big issue for me certainly in Ward 2. We need an intelligent, eco-friendly and cost effective system and we do not have that now. We are already spending enough money on transit we simply need to spend it more wisely to meet the needs of those using the transit system.
Keith Bird (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 3): Oakville continues to make substantial financial commitments to public transit, including a new $45 million transit garage as part of the Federal stimulus programme… We have increased levels of service and introducing the new grid pattern an attempt reverse the current intermodal split and make transit use a more viable alternative to the automobile.
Jeff Knoll (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 5): I have always been and will always be a supporter of public transit. I was one of the two main proponents in 2001 to return Sunday and holiday bussing in Oakville and I have continued to fight for reasonable fares and have supported enhancements to our system to make it more relevant to the needs of our citizens.
Going forward, I will continue to support investment in our public transit system and would not be reticent to support funding to the average of peer GTA communities.
I believe that the time has come to thoroughly investigate the costs and benefits of amalgamating Halton public transit services to help provide greater access to transit for our citizens and to help break down barriers between our communities.
As stated previously, I believe we need to find ways to reduce or eliminate the cost of transit to those in poverty.
Marc Grant (Town Councillor, Ward 5): Already, as a member of the Oakville Transit Advisory Committee, I’ve worked with local advocacy groups and have strived to ensure that as Oakville’s grid system is deployed, it addresses the needs of all members of the community. I’ve also pressed to ensure that transit fares are kept to the same levels for over a year as well as pushed for the Region to provide support for a subsidized transit pass. Finally, through municipal powers, I’ve been able to press developers to provide extra busses to our system.
By working to make transit more convenient, I hope to make it more attractive to those who may have not considered using it in the past, which will allow us to provide a more frequent and affordable service.
Mark Straub (Town Councillor, Ward 5): Improving transit services and useage should be a major focus during the next council term. If rapid transit lines are created, this can help subsidize the less profitable transit routes. If the transit system is more fiscally efficient, then fares can be held to competitive rates.
Tom Adams (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 6): Oakville has already invested very significantly in transit over the last term of council and we will build on these investments in the future. In fact, we have introduced a grid based system to enhance our services. This has resulted in improved ridership figures. Oakville has also introduced the Freedom Pass for youth which has increased the ability of students to get around in the evenings and on weekends. The Town of Oakville has also invested significantly in a new transit facility to allow the community to expand its fleet of buses into the future. North Oakville will be built as a more transit friendly community and it will require additional transit capacity to make the transportation system work. In addition to the work being conducted by the Town of Oakville, I will also continue to work on a Regional Transportation Master Plan that will include planning for transit along major arterial roads throughout Halton in order to properly manage the growth throughout the area. I will also continue to support a strong GO train system in the area and to ensure that the local transit system integrates properly with the interregional system.
Jim Smith (Town Councillor, Ward 6): Yes, I will also giving free rides to seniors and students and continue to work to meet the transit needs of the town bearing in mind the cost as well as the needs and environmental concerns that both public and private forms of transportation create. As a previous councillor for ward 6 I sat on transit and worked diligently to address these concerns and those of the handicapped.
4. Issue: The Human Services Sector
Background: Many people have or will use the services of a nonprofit or voluntary agency yet recent reports by the Community Development Halton, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Imagine Canada suggest that agencies face increasing demand for services yet at the same time are experiencing funding cuts. In municipalities of demographic growth such as those in Halton, social service agencies cannot begin to meet the increasing demand for services. Human needs are going unmet which has long-term implications for a safe, healthy and caring community.
Question: What plans will you implement to support the community nonprofit sector so that services are available to support community residents?
Carol D’Amelio (Mayor/Regional Councillor): The non-profit sector in Halton not only provides essential services to our community, it is a significant employer and, in many ways, reflects our community values in the work it does and the type of community it fosters. We all benefit from a strong non-profit sector. It’s not only the social service agencies which are experiencing challenges. As Mayor of Burlington, I would continue to support the Leadership Matters initiative to increase the capacity of non-profit organizations not only in the social services, but also in arts, heritage and recreation. I would also develop a Halton-wide strategy and financial plan to address pressing community issues in collaboration with the non-profit sector.
Cam Jackson (Mayor/Regional Councillor): As Mayor, I have raised over $700,000 to provide direct support and assistance to a large number of nonprofit sector service providers through the Mayor’s Pride in Our Community Fund. It is my intention to continue this support for a broad range of social challenges. I will continue my support of the work of the new Seniors Age Friendly Community Task Force and look forward to implementing their recommendations.
Rick Craven (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 1): Review the budget the Region allocates to nonprofit organizations for programs for the Region and compare it to the neighbouring municipalities. An environmental scan is needed to see if Halton is keeping pace per capita with other municipalities in funding the vital nonprofit sector. The Region should continue to work with other funders to provide opportunities for capacity building training programs that provide a vital part of their stability. It is short sighted to not invest in this fund as these organizations do incredible work in the community that the Region or other levels of government depend upon.
Cory Judson (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 3): The nonprofit sector is the backbone of our community that too often fails to receive adequate praise, support, and attention. We have seen an increase in demand on services provided by the nonprofit sector since the latest recession and at the same time organizations in this sector are facing budget deficits and funding cuts. I understand the nonprofit sector because I have been employed in this sector, have met tremendous individuals working in this sector, and I am involved in Sports and Arts groups in this sector. If elected, the nonprofit sector will continue to receive my support and I will be a strong voice for adequate funding in the nonprofit sector.
John Taylor (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 3): The community non-profit sector will continue to be assisted by the Region of Halton by continuing and enhancing present efforts to link the Region’s activities with those of non-profit or voluntary agencies. Increasing those linkages will improve the likelihood of funding through the Halton Community Fund.
Jim Blake (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 4): More needs to be done to help those less fortunate, or struggling with heavy medical issues. The city can have a number of groups assist these causes, and the corporate market I am sure will step in to help. Grants only help when the right people are running the programs. I know of some programs in the Halton region that should have increases – some have too much power and have become very ineffective – the ones that need the help are those which have a genuine interest and concern for the residents, and those should be top priority for extra assistance.
Brian Heagle (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 4): There is no easy answer to this daunting situation.
A fundamental pillar of my campaign platform is to champion volunteering, as set out in my www.voteheagle.ca website. As a longtime community leader and advisor to the nonprofit sector, for which I was recognized as Burlington Citizen of the Year, I believe in the far-reaching benefits of the City and Region increasing their resources and efforts to promote and expand our remarkable culture of volunteering locally. This approach will, in turn, help address the funding deficit and enlist more people to deliver more services to others in need.
As well, many agencies seem to work in silos, often duplicating or overlapping services. The City and Region should take the lead to bring together leaders of groups with similar missions on a regular basis, in order to share their opportunities, challenges and ideas. It would also be beneficial to directly engage the business community (including financial institutions) and community or private foundations in these collective efforts, especially as possible sources for funding and as community advocates or ambassadors.
The simple act of having people at the same table often generates new or renewed relationships and initiatives.
Serge Beraldo (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): I would be willing to invest my time and effort to coordinate fundraisers and public education programs.
I believe that a good example would be to begin at the High School level incorporating volunteer students to help facilitate education and empathy. I am willing to consider your options.
Cal Millar (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): If elected I will help promote the various agencies that provide assistance to residents in the area and actively work to find partners to help non-profit and volunteer organizations to obtain adequate funding.
Peggy Russell (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): Advocate and work at the Provincial level to see Halton achieve the same per capita rates of funding as we see in Peel and Hamilton, currently Halton Non-profit Agencies are achieving Provincial funding at around 38% per capita of our neighbours to the East and West of us and this not acceptable. The waitlist for Children’s Mental Health services for example, are anywhere from 18-36 months in length and the school systems who are not funded/prepared, nor do they have the expertise, spend valuable time and resources trying to help children/families in need, with dollars that should be spent on teaching/learning. Teachers and students in the classroom are paying the price of these waitlists. A child in need of help, will act out in the classroom, get angry and lash out at other children, staff and volunteers and ultimately this impacts the ability of all students to learn and teacher’s ability to teach. We are already paying the price with dropout rates, increased vandalism and youth crime; lets use the dollars for shorter, early interventions now, not later with endless costly, interventions. No one will be immune from the negative long-term implications if we do not change our ways.
Blair Lancaster (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 6): As Executive Director of Breast Cancer Support Services in Burlington I fully understand the importance of this issue. More work needs to be done to recognize the service the non-profit sector currently provides to our community. I do not think it possible that our government could ever duplicate, fund or meet the needs that our non-profits services currently provide. What could be done is that our government could fully recognize the work that is being done by non-profits by validating the importance of their work in our communities. They could partner with non profits, provide listings on their materials and websites, make resources available to them, meet with them regularly to discuss the needs of the community, provide overall support and make meeting space available. I would advocate regular, on going open discussion and communications between government and non-profits. Currently the Region meets once every five years with non-profits for reporting purposes. Regular meetings, open communications and support from government for non-profits would help us to explore community needs more fully.
Halton Hills Candidates
Moya Johnson (Town Councillor, Ward 3): Social services are the responsibility of the Regional Government so, as a local Councillor, I do not have the mandate to fund agencies that provide social services. However, as a local Councillor and personally, I support and contribute to efforts such as the United Way and other local service agencies that assist people with social service needs.
Gordon Krantz (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Work within the Budget process.
Al Volpe (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Funding, funding and more funding.
Jan Mowbray (Local/Regional Councillor, Wards 2, 3, 4, 5): I would ensure the NFP are providing truly complementary services/solutions without duplication, determine where there are inefficiencies, reduce or eliminate duplications. I participated in a number of meetings as part of the Halton Chair’s Volunteerism Forum. I would determine if the Region has auctioned any of the recommendations.
Community Development Halton is well-placed to act as an umbrella for the NFP sector. CDH has a wealth of information from which to draw.
We need to create and support innovative ways to really promote and stimulate local volunteering/funding/sponsorship of local service providers. This is not just about spending more on mass advertising. We need to develop new engagement programs, integrating sponsorship and volunteerism with local employers/places of work, among our Senior Citizens, not just with our high schools. This could also be an opportunity for new immigrants to gain valuable Canadian experience.
Are there any overlaps between the volunteer sector and retraining/experience development for people who are un-or underemployed? Can we increase capacity in the volunteer sector while helping people gain skills, experience, self-confidence for all participants. They may stay on as volunteers after they transition out to paid/better paid jobs.
Martin Capper (Local Councillor, Ward 1): Please see my response to question 2.
Ian Thompson (Local Councillor, Ward 2): I support reasonable funding of non-profit and voluntary agency funding. This funding is often a regional or provincial responsibility and I am prepared to advocate for improvements to funding models. I think that the development of sustaining block funding from those levels of government supplemented by local funding is the way to go. The current model of program specific grant funding destabilizes those agencies and undermines their long term success.
Adhish Sharma (Local Councillor, Ward 4): I will try to gain more investments towards the social programs of our community from the provincial government. I will also try to get more youth involved within these social programs to keep them busy and away from unwanted activities. I will prove to the higher level of government how crucial it is to keep these programs running by showing the impact these programs have had on our community in the past, as well to stop the funding cuts by showing the significant need of these programs. I will also look into creating a petition.
Paul Virdo (Local Councillor, Ward 7): I believe the town should negotiate better deals with developers to build more community facilities that will house these services.
Rob Burton (Mayor/Regional Councillor): As Mayor, I have used my position to raise the hundreds of thousands of dollars Kerr Street Ministries needed to complete its Dream Centre community outreach centre and to fund its on-going costs. I have also raised $50,000 for Community Living Oakville through my invitational softball tournament. I have supported a wide range of community groups in a variety of ways. I have a particular concern about the welfare of young people in our community, so I have recently joined the board of Halton Children’s Aid Society.
During this past term, I have helped sports groups like the soccer club leverage their money to complete large projects, like the Pine Glen Soccer Centre. I would like to explore opportunities for similar partnerships with social service agencies.
Ann Mulvale (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Lack of a coordinated, collaborative plan increases the pressure on existing services and likely does not encourage economies of scale or true innovation: in both governments and agencies. The same old strategies tend to generate the same inadequate outcomes.
I would continue to call for enhanced communications between and within agencies, that those who can combine backroom services, while respecting the privacy needs of clients, explore streamlining options. Joint training of new boards on best practices and governance to ensure the talents and time of volunteers is fully deployed enhancing their level of satisfaction and dividend paid on their commitment and ‘working relationship’ with staff members.
I have experience both as a paid and volunteer board/campaign member within the not for profit sector. I encouraged the Charter Directors program out of McMaster University to offer for leaders within the not for profit sector similar to the Charter Director program for corporate directors. I am pleased to see the number of people who have completed that program.
As mayor I would annually convene an Oakville Social Economy Roundtable to enable organizations of all sizes and areas of interest to collaborate, share learning and help grow a robust not for profit sector to better meet and anticipate the needs of Oakville people while maximizing their effective engagement with all orders of government.
Bob Aceti (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 1): Volunteers provide substantial value-added services to our community. They are the unsung support that is the glue that binds the cracks in our social service network. We need to recognize the value of volunteers and recognize non-profit organizations that provide a conduit, leadership
There are three general categories of non-profit social-service organizations:
In addition, there are a variety of arts and cultural organizations that fit niches within our cultural mosaic.
I support a policy and by-law that would set a mill rate or percentile of financial support for NPO agencies that do not have a regular source of funding or revenue generation (Category 2 & 3). Financial support should be based on population and allocated from Town & Regional social services budgets. The NPO would need to submit an annual financial report to confirm its corporate objectives and fiscal standing to qualify for continued funding.
Ralph Robinson (Town Councillor, Ward 1): I am not sufficiently familiar as this is a Regional issue.
Pam Damoff (Town Councillor, Ward 2): Food banks were not meant to be permanent fixtures in our communities, but sadly this has become the case. Many agencies are filling needs formerly filled by government. Government cutbacks have been made across all levels of government. I would like to see the service agencies offer suggestions as to how best I can support them, and would be welcome the opportunity to work with them to improve the lives of Oakville residents who are struggling.
Bruce Grant (Town Councillor, Ward 2): It is simple to me. If we know we need additional staff and $ committed to these agencies then lets commit these resources. We need to stop wasting tax dollars at Town Hall and commit funds where they are needed most.
Keith Bird (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 3): Attempt to secure a stable source of funding alternative to the property tax base.
Jeff Knoll (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 5): The non-profit sector provides human services effectively and affordably. We need to support NGOs to meet the needs of our citizens, especially the most vulnerable.
One of the biggest hurdles to ensuring funding – particularly philanthropic – is awareness and public support. It still surprises me how shocked residents, even politicians, are upon learning of poverty and need in our communities. This lack of knowledge manifests in apathy and denial. I will propose the Region sponsor an awareness campaign including messaging like the 1 in 8 campaign by Feeding America. The goal would be to build support within the community to encourage their elected officials to be open to more supports as well as encouraging “give where you live” keeping more charitable giving in Halton.
When Council takes office, it will work to develop its four year strategic plan and I will work with the NGO sector to ensure that they get input and inclusion in the plan.
The federal and provincial governments are critical sources of financial support. I will propose that the Region deploy resources to make external advocacy a greater priority both for our own funding, but also to actively and aggressively help advocate for our NGO sector.
Marc Grant (Town Councillor, Ward 5): As alluded to in a previous question, I think we need a better marketing plan to the rest of Oakville and Halton to ensure that people realize the non-profit sector is doing so much to pick up the slack in helping those in need.
Iâ€™d ensure that we place a focus and financial support on the stressed services provided by non-profits in our community, possibly through some form of Region-wide charity fund established to be distributed evenly among the various support groups.
Mark Straub (Town Councillor, Ward 5): This goes back to my point on managing the Town’s budgetary process in a more fiscally responsible way. If this is done, then more funds are available to maintain and improve existing services.
Tom Adams (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 6): I will continue to support community non-profit organizations on a case by case basis at the Town and the Region where the requests are in line with the ability of the municipal government to provide support. I will also continue to take part in organizations like the United Way of Oakville to which I am currently a Board member.
I will also continue to look for opportunities to have our staff work with the non-profit sector where it makes sense so that service delivery is improved and costs reduced.
Jim Smith (Town Councillor, Ward 6): I think that a % of the mill rate should be put aside to handle this each year.
5. Issue: Financing your Recommendations
Question: Throughout this survey we have asked you to provide your comments on a number of important social issues facing communities across Halton. Please share with us your thoughts on how you would finance any recommendations or plans that you have suggested.
Carol D’Amelio (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Such critical initiatives must be included in municipal plans and incorporated into budget processes.
Cam Jackson (Mayor/Regional Councillor): During our city wide consultations on a new “Strategic Plan”, we will have an opportunity to set our priorities at both the Region and the City. During this time, I will be bringing forward recommendations in accordance with my responses to the previous questions.
Rick Craven (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 1): The Region of Halton is often overlooked by the federal and provincial funding opportunities as it is considered a low need area. We need to make sure that we do the local research, educate ourselves about the poverty that does exist in our community and use an integrated approach in community development. As Halton continues to grow, so will the problems in the social sector and it will become necessary to have the tools and resources in place to advocate at the provincial and federal levels for our piece of the pie.
Cory Judson (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 3): Poverty reduction is a complex issue that cannot be addressed overnight but it is an issue that we need to put more local focus on. It comes down to priorities. My priority is to build a more inclusive community before constructing legacy projects such as Waterfront Piers. GTA pooling dollars should be spent on social services as they were intended and regressive property taxes need to be kept manageable so that seniors are not forced out of their homes. My priorities also include finding creative ways to work with other levels of government and the private sector to build more affordable housing as I truly believe that access to safe and affordable housing is the single biggest challenge in regards to having a more inclusive Burlington and Halton Region.
John Taylor (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 3): As stated previously the present slow recovery from the recession and large deficits by the Federal and Provincial Governments will likely not result in any new funding from those sources. It will therefore be necessary for the Region to prioritize any new spending across all social programme areas. The source of any funding will probably have to come from the Region’s share of the final two years of the expenditure phase out for “pooling dollars” sent to the Provincial Government to subsidize higher social services and social housing costs in Toronto.
Jim Blake (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 4): Fundraising events can always help the causes, and new ideas are always welcome I am sure. Corporations can assist. Volunteers don’t mind helping if they get a boost from interested corporations and individuals. Fundraising is not always all that is needed but it sure is a good start. When it is seen that efforts are being made – that is when corporations can be convinced to help. There are any groups needing help that can be paired with the right sponsor or funder – and there is nothing wrong with publicizing an event and a great sponsor who is dedicated to helping a good cause. What’s a little thank you, advertising, free publicity, when the end result is a safer healthier community.
Brian Heagle (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 4): I addressed financing as part of my responses to Question 1 and, in particular, Question 4. Generally, I believe that the overriding need locally is to advocate better, collaborate more and always seek to be innovative when pursuing funding or other resources from another level of government, foundations or the private sector.
Serge Beraldo (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): I would consider fundraisers specifically targeted towards generating tertiary income for Non Profit Groups. I also would suggest targeting philanthropists in Burlington who would be interested in attaching their name and money to a worthwhile civic cause. Civic pride as well as community recognition is a strong motivator.
Cal Millar (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): It is important not to burden the taxpayer and if elected, my goal is to reduce taxes. I realize essential services must be funded and money has to be available to assist those in true need. To achieve this end, I will consult with the community to determine where tax dollars should be allocated and work with partners to find other revenue that may be necessary for additional services.
Peggy Russell (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 5): Revisit our Priorities as a Community and develop a Strategic Plan/Vision for the community with citizen involvement. Utilize the expertise that exists within City/Regional buildings and the community to build the plan together. Build the plan on well-founded research, data and proven models. The funding exists, we just need to decide when and how those dollars will be invested, will they be invested upfront for less costly earlier interventions or will they be invested later in less constructive and more costly prolonged interventions? As Trustees, we worked with the community and staff at the Board to develop plans that targeted dollars at earlier interventions in programs for children, instead of spending dollars after the fact in costly legal battles with parents and costly staff resources to deal with the fallout from children when the system could not meet their needs and we still managed to achieve positive surpluses year on year. It is all about priorities and the ability to bring together a group of people to work towards a common vision for the system and community, this is how we achieved it, so it is doable; we just need the community and political will to make it happen.
Blair Lancaster (City/Regional Councillor, Ward 6): The financial implications of any of these projects will be a considering factor in the feasibility and decision-making process. As a new member to council I would bring fresh eyes to the budget and fiscal responsibility, my experience will assist in bringing efficiencies and opportunities to the forefront for meaningful discussions. I understand both sides of the table, management and community, bringing a balance to discussions moving forward. Community Partnerships will help us to achieve successful and affordable results.
Halton Hills Candidates
Moya Johnson (Town Councillor, Ward 3 ): The only opportunity a Councillor has to increase funding or services, is through the property tax base. I make every effort to keep property taxes low but to still provide a level of public service expected by our citizens and enable our quality of life to be maintained.
Gordon Krantz (Mayor/Regional Councillor): All social issues are important as well as work within financial realities.
Al Volpe (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Through development charges, the tax system in general and the community capital fund. Rest assured I am committed to improving the standard of life for those in need.
Jan Mowbray (Local/Regional Councillor, Wards 2, 3, 4, 5): Most of what I’ve suggested doesn’t require huge dollars. If CDH was to be the umbrella group as suggested above, then they would require additional funding – we can’t stress further, an already stressed organization. But appropriate funding and an appropriate reorganization could reduce costs overall.
I would also encourage a women’s health strategy. The health of low-income women are most affected. Life circumstances can also impact on health: poverty, housing, education, violence, race, ethnicity, gender, etc. Health is affected by many factors and certain groups of women are at high risk.
In my opinion a change in thinking is required.
Martin Capper (Local Councillor, Ward 1): I believe subjecting the Town’s gross spending to the sort of scrutiny that a private sector organization undergoes continuously and by adopted practices like Zero based budgeting and Value Engineering will yield significant cost reductions to the Town. If at the same time we employ some out of the box thinking to Town’s revenues other than tax revenues we will go an incredibly long way to implement my proposals without impacting the Taxpayer.
Ian Thompson (Local Councillor, Ward 2): Again primary responsibility for funding the kinds of programs I have been talking about comes from other levels of government. To the extent allowed local government I am not opposed to having it funded from general tax revenues. Economic stimulus can be funded from the local tax base and should be done on the basis of targeted tax arrangements that are specific to certain commitments being made around employment.
Adhish Sharma (Local Councillor, Ward 4): I will look into putting people’s taxes to better use, also make a list of priorities of what needs action immediately. I will keep more finances for the community rather than personal use. I will also gain financial aid from neighbouring communities, especially people who can afford or are willing to assist. I am willing to give up a portion of my pay to our community, my family Milton. I promise to write a cherub in front of everyone from my pay directly to people who are in need. If I can set an example to our community I am sure people will consider Milton a part of them, a part of family. This is not a lie but I will prove this when I get elected I will donate a portion of my pay which I will earn to my family which is Milton.
Paul Virdo (Local Councillor, Ward 7): Through a combination of property tax, development agreements, provincial/federal funding, regional funding, user fees where reasonable – keeping in mind the taxpayer.
Rob Burton (Mayor/Regional Councillor): Under my leadership, Oakville Council has instituted new cost cutting techniques and begun developing new revenue streams for meeting the needs of local taxpayers of all kinds. All residents will benefit from many of the resulting new recreational arts and sports facilities, as well as the new hospital. These measures also create the capacity to expand and strengthen our social safety net.
Many social service programs require continued provincial funding. I will be a strong voice for continuing and expanding this funding and explaining how it fits into our vision of a more Livable Oakville.
Ann Mulvale (Mayor/Regional Councillor): The enhanced coordinated and collaborative approach outlined in previous answers both at the local level and between orders of government really can result in better, more sustainable outcomes for the residents of Oakville and Halton within existing budgets. It is not only or always about more money, or how existing budgets are carved up. We need to spend with a clearer vision to achieve better outcomes for people.
Other funding solutions must come from encouraging a ‘culture of compassion’ in Oakville. As a veteran fund-raiser (United Way campaign Chair 2008/09) and volunteer with many service organizations, I know that this compassion is within our community. Our Oakville Community Foundation is proof; from zero to $38 million in fifteen years. Oakville’s residents will support needed initiatives if they are made aware of the need and see the change they’ve been able to effect in a sustainable, coordinated and open ways.
I will continue to engage every segment of our Town, to advocate with the other orders of government for Oakville’s fair share while demonstrating new sustainable solutions that bench mark our innovation and best practices so that, as we learn from others, they too can learn from us.
I believe that together we can find better solutions, driving better outcomes: that in doing so we become worthy of the trust others place in us to be productive agents of change in the lives of the people we are striving to enhance and advocate for.
Bob Aceti (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 1): I would fund my recommendations by promoting initiatives that reduces waste and increases our tax base without burdening taxpayers with higher taxes. There is an alternative to raising taxes. Our opportunity is to develop new Green industry sustainable jobs to generate economic growth and raise new taxes instead of raising tax rates. I believe we can raise additional funds for social services from better fiscal management.
We need to reduce our reliance on foreign sources of carbon based non-renewable energy to keep more money working at home. We need to rebuild established neighbourhoods to higher density energy efficient communities. We need to invest our tax dollars wisely in capital projects, including Smart GRID technologies, to conserve electricity. The Green Energy Act is a significant game changer that delivers a tax incented platform to bring Green investments to our community. The combination of economic growth and savings will afford us an opportunity to help those that need our help.
My mission as Councillor will be to improve our community standards for those least advantaged by bringing good paying Green Energy jobs home. And raise our tax base to generate the funds required to meet our social justice commitments to those in need.
Ralph Robinson (Town Councillor, Ward 1): The discount for Seniors won’t really cost us any money because the buses are running anyway and stopping for a Senior would not increase a cost. Additionally we will have to budget some tax dollars but surely we could activate some additional funding through MPP Kevin Flynn.
Pam Damoff (Town Councillor, Ward 2): No response.
Bruce Grant (Town Councillor, Ward 2): I would finance these recommendations through our current tax levy ie. No tax increase required. Too much money is being wasted on unnecessary programs. Let’s put the money where it will do the most good.
Jeff Knoll (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 5): There is very little appetite for increased taxation amongst Halton Residents so funding is always going to be a challenge. The province realizes this when they download so many of the services to the local/regional level for delivery. Rising to the challenge, I am proud of how much the Region has been able to do within the resources we have.
Going forward, I would propose that we look for ways of doing more for less in the Health & Social Services Department. While our staff are amazing and creative, there are still many examples of inefficiencies in the way we deliver social services and I believe that we can find economies and put the benefit back to work in social programming and support for NGOs.
One of my favorite examples is how the Region hands out emergency food vouchers for redemption at local grocery stores. This means that we are paying retail prices for food for those in need on an emergency basis. If we took the +$200,000 we spend in such vouchers and invest in a better food security network â€“ then the recipients would have greater access to healthy foods on a more consistent basis. So to be clear, I am not suggesting that we cut programs – instead we need to ask is this the right way to deliver this service and see if, perhaps, the NGO sector could do it, or help, better/cheaper.
I always have walked my talk on issues of Health, Social and Housing services and I will continue to support worthy initiatives and find ways to make them work within the budget of the Region.
Marc Grant (Town Councillor, Ward 5): Because the Region allocates most funds into the caring community, I believe it needs to establish a better system and perhaps a fund to provide a better system of financial distribution to the community. As well, the Province should expand programs such as Ontario Works to provide a hand up to those who are falling between the cracks.
Mark Straub (Town Councillor, Ward 5): The key here ensuring tax dollars are spent efficiently. By eliminating unnecessary spending, the Town can free up capital to invest in programs such as social issues. As well, create public/private partnerships that will help share some of the costs.
Tom Adams (Town & Regional Councillor, Ward 6): Many of the programs described in my responses will require continued provincial funding in order to succeed. With respect to the transportation system enhancements, I will continue to work towards having the development community pay for the costs of improved transit infrastructure to deal with growth, so that existing residents do not have to carry these costs on their taxes. Some of the existing recreational programs and operating costs for transit are currently subsidized through the property tax system and I expect that to continue.
Jim Smith (Town Councillor, Ward 6): I would propose to use tax payers money far better than it is today by eliminating 6 seats on council having 1 representative per ward who would sit on town and regional council. At present, this has been in place in Burlington for several terms and is working effectively. That money can be used for these items; here I am talking 1.2 million in the first 4 years. This town can complete its business with 6 people I know I was on town council before and it can be done!