MEETING PREVIEW: County Social Services Meeting for March 8, 2023

After taking a month off, the Social Service Committee of Wellington County meets again with a new and interesting agenda that will cover new and concerning stats from Paramedic Service, new funding models to support social housing, and new information about the current slate of new housing projects, the expansion of childcare, and the potential renovation of the social services office.

NOTE: This meeting takes place at 1 pm in Guthrie Room at the Wellington County Administration Centre on Woolwich Street.

Paramedic Service 2022 Data Review – The Paramedic Service answers about 82 calls per day, which, in 2022, meant about 30,000 calls in total. That’s an eight per cent increase year-over-year, and it’s not one that’s unexpected. A consultant’s report in 2016 predicted that the service would see a 43 per cent increase in call volume by 2026 and in 2022 we got to 40.5 per cent.

That increased number of calls are having some unsurprising impacts. It’s taking paramedics longer to triage the life-threatening cases, and offload delays required paramedics to stay at the hospital for almost 11,000 hours in total in 2022, which is more than double the amount of time spent at the hospital in 2021. Guelph General Hospital has received one-time funding for a dedicated offload nurse, which they’re hoping will decrease the delays but the Service is anticipating that this will remain a problem through 2023 even as they’re looking for other solutions.

Canada-wide Early Leaning and Child Care: Directed Growth Approach to Child Care Expansion – Ontario needs to create 86,000 new childcare spaces by 2026; we’ve made 33,000 operational since this goal was set in 2016 so that leaves 53,000 to go. The County’s Children’s Early Years Division has to commit to this plan in order to access capital funds that will allow for the needed expansion, and further information about what kind of commitment will be required will be released by the Federal government this spring.

In the meantime, County staff will review the Access and Inclusion Framework, which will look at targeting about 37 per cent of facility access to low-income families, children with special needs, Indigenous families, Francophone families and families that may need more flexible childcare options outside 9-to-5 regular business hours. This information will be received for information.

Pictures of Community Housing Properties In Development – This item is fairly straightforward, an answer to a request from the committee to see images of the current housing projects underway. You can see the images yourself here.

2023-25 Planned Funding Allocations for Provincially-Delivered Housing and Homelessness Prevention Programmes – The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing sent the County the list of funding allocations for programs delivered by the Housing Services Division last month, and it seems like there were no real surprises.

Provincial government funds for capital programs like the Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative and the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative received an increase in funding, operation programs like the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit and the Homelessness Prevention Programme are received funding cuts or are remaining at 2022 funding levels. Because this is provincial funding, there’s no impact on the County’s bottom line.

End of Mortgages System Planning Update – Last year, new regulations were introduced that will allow Housing Service Managers, like Wellington County, to negotiate new funding agreements with housing providers if they meet a number of conditions including the maintenance of units in good states of repair, the provision of other types of housing to reduce rental rates, and to insure that rent is at most 30 per cent of the renter’s income.

The County has reviewed their funding model and has separated their agreements with providers into three components: baseline affordability through tax relief, rent subsidies, and capital repairs. The idea is to simplify funding models, improve cash flow, and stabilize operations. Each agreement will require a minimum 10-year commitment, and staff will need to be authorized to negotiate and execute new agreements with housing providers.

Renovations to 129 Wyndham Street – The County is looking at some minor renovations at their social services office at 129 Wyndham Street to address visibility and health and safety issues. Among the changes being look at is the establishment of a help centre where people can access computers, phones and photocopiers, as well as some public safety by design principles including the ability to control access to the staff office area and more direct entrances and exits.

Now, there are architectural drawings for the committee to look at, but presently there is no information about the potential costs or potential timelines. This report will be received for information.

Ontario Works – No report for this item was attached to the agenda, but this will likely be the local Ontario Works statistics from December and maybe January.

CLOSED MEETING – This agenda was not included in the open meeting materials.



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