Making Decisions That Matter – May 24 edition3 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
This is a summary of Regional Council’s decision from its May 24, 2023 meeting. With input from the community, Council sets the direction for the Region of Waterloo as an organization and makes decisions that help improve the lives of Waterloo Region residents every day.
Please refer to the minutes for an official record of the meeting. You can also watch video of the meeting at the bottom of this post.
Council endorses law that could remove members for harassment or abuse
Regional Council endorsed a bill that would enable municipal councils to remove members of Council who violate workplace harassment policies. Currently, the Region and other municipalities have codes of conduct that prohibit members of Council from harassing or abusing other members, staff, volunteers, or the public. However, there is no option to remove members from office because of their conduct. With the endorsement of Bill 5, the Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act, Council will ask the Province to consult with municipalities and their integrity commissioners when developing regulations related to the act.
Increasing government transparency by adding votes to meeting minutes
To ensure transparency and accountability, the vote of each member of Regional Council taken during meetings will be included in the minutes on the Region’s website, starting June 6. Seeing the votes of Council members enables the public to hold those members accountable to their communities and increases transparency.
Council accelerates expansion of automated speed enforcement
Regional Council is fast-tracking the expansion of automated speed enforcement in school zones after the first 16 locations successfully reduced driver speeds in those areas. The Region will add another 16 automated speed enforcement zones in 2023. In these locations, a camera captures an image of anyone driving over the speed limit and issues a ticket. Visit the Regional yearbook to see the current locations and learn more about the success of the program.
New guidelines for tourism grant program will make it more inclusive
New guidelines for funding distributed through a tourism grant program will support new, diverse applicants and ensure cultural organizations previously funded through formal programs are eligible to apply. The Cultural Drivers of Tourism Grant Program is open to non-profit and not-for-profit organizations that provide arts, culture and/or heritage programming that attracts visitors from outside the region. Through the grant, all eligible applicants will get a portion of the available funds based on the total available program budget, the number of tourism visits to the applicant’s events, and the total number of tourism visits. Applications are due June 30.
Council votes for Region to continue providing employment services
The Region will continue providing employment services to residents of Waterloo Region this year and into 2024 while it evaluates whether to keep providing these services long term. This year, the Province selected Serco Inc., a private company, to oversee Employment Ontario (EO). As one of several local EO providers, the Region will continue to offer training and job placement, and work with Serco to build strong services for Ontario Works recipients that help them become employment ready.
Regional Council passes motion opposing hate and prejudice
Regional Council has passed a motion opposing hate and prejudice in all its forms. Council reiterated that the Region is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and opposes any form of racism and discrimination that undermines the dignity and rights of all residents, including2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and persons with disabilities. Council also encouraged all municipalities to stand against hate in all its forms and directed that the resolution be forwarded to all area municipalities and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.