Highlights from the Lanark County Council meeting held Wednesday, Nov. 24.

Friday, 26 November 2021 14:45

Highlights from the Lanark County Council meeting held Wednesday, Nov. 24

United Way Cheque Presented: Warden Christa Lowry (Mississippi Mills Mayor) presented a cheque for $2,500 to the United Way’s Lanark County Advisory Council Chair Helen McIntosh. The donation represents proceeds of the Warden’s Slow Roll event on the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail from Almonte to Pakenham on Oct. 23. More than 50 cyclists took part in the second annual event.

“We are delighted to present this cheque to the United Way in support of the many activities you do to improve quality of life for residents in Lanark County,” Lowry said.

Nominations Received for 2022 Warden and Committee Chairs: Council received a report from Deputy Clerk Casey Whiticar regarding nominations received for the positions of warden and committee chairs in 2022.

Nominations for 2022 are as follows:

• Lanark County Warden: Councillor John Fenik (Perth Mayor), nominated by Councillors Ed McPherson (Perth Deputy Mayor) and Richard Kidd (Beckwith Reeve). Acclaimed.
• Community Services Chair: Councillor Sharon Mousseau (Beckwith Deputy Reeve), nominated by Councillors John Fenik and current Warden Christa Lowry (Mississippi Mills Mayor). Councillor Klaas Van Der Meer (Montague Deputy Reeve), nominated by Councillors Rickey Minnille (Mississippi Mills Deputy Mayor) and Peter McLaren (Lanark Highlands Reeve).
• Corporate Services Chair: Warden Christa Lowry, nominated by Councillors John Fenik and Rickey Minnille. Acclaimed.
• Economic Development Chair: Councillor Ray Scissons (Drummond/North Elmsley Deputy Reeve), nominated by Councillors Steve Fournier (Drummond/North Elmsley Reeve) and Sean Redmond (Carleton Place Deputy Mayor); Councillor Rickey Minnille, nominated by Councillor Ed McPherson and Warden Christa Lowry.
• Public Works Chair: Councillor Steve Fournier, nominated by Councillors Ray Scissons and Sean Redmond; Councillor Ed McPherson, nominated by Councillors Barrie Crampton (Tay Valley Deputy Reeve) and John Fenik.

The inaugural meeting is planned for Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m., at which point the new warden will be sworn in and elections will be held for the three chair positions that were not acclaimed. For more information, contact Casey Whiticar, Deputy Clerk, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 1102.

Children’s Services Receives Provincial Award: Warden Christa Lowry (Mississippi Mills Mayor)congratulated Lanark County Children’s Services staff on the news they have received a Local Municipal Champion Award from the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA). The award recognizes the great work done in advancing excellence in human services integration and service system management by teams from Consolidated Municipal Services Managers, such as Lanark County, which are responsible for overseeing local municipal social services. It is in recognition of Lanark County’s early childhood educator (ECE) recruitment and retention initiative as a notable example of the ongoing commitment to both the ECE profession and service system management.

OMSSA indicated the nominated team brought strong ties to community groups that were typically segregated and created a community-wide system that had three specific outcomes: Retain current ECEs, attract new individuals to the ECE course, and guaranteed employment for ECE graduates. Lanark County Children’s Services had several initiatives to support the goals, such as standardized training, providers’ succession planning tool, media and social media blitz, mentorship opportunities and guaranteed employment pathways.

OMSSA noted preliminary findings indicate “child care and early years providers and their staff feel supported and valued, families appreciate stability in staffing, and soon-to-be graduates of the local community college are able to find work in their home community. The circular system supports ECEs from pre-entrance to the field to becoming active, long-term professionals.” “Congratulations and thank you to our children’s services team for their exceptional work in supporting the child care and early years field during a time of incredible uncertainty,” Lowry said.

For more information, contact Emily Hollington, Director of Social Services, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 2101.

Lanark Lodge to Proceed with Staffing Enhancements: Council has passed a motion authorizing the Director of Long-Term Care to implement an enhanced staffing structure at Lanark Lodge based on the need to achieve four hours of direct care per resident per day using provincial “Staffing Increase Funding” to fund the increase.

At the community services committee meeting earlier this month, Director of Long-Term Care Carey Duncan explained the province’s “Long-Term Care Staffing Plan,” released in December 2020, outlines a commitment to a resident-centred sector providing the highest quality of care.

Three key areas of the plan include:

  • Increasing staffing levels (registered nurses (RNs), registered practical nurses (RPNs), personal support workers (PSWs) and allied health professionals (e.g. physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers) to support the average amount of direct, hands-on care to increase to four hours per day per resident. The government has committed funding for staffing increases into 2025.
  • Disrupting, accelerating and increasing education and training pathways. This includes removing barriers to employment for internationally educated professionals, training PSWs on the job, and scaling up traditional education and training streams.
  •  Supporting ongoing staff development. The province is providing a “Professional Growth Fund” that allocates additional monthly funding per bed in the home.

Duncan indicated the Lodge currently provides care hours above the provincial average of two hours and 45 minutes, achieving 3.19 hours of care per resident per day. She noted the home is committed to achieving the new target, but reaching 4.06 in 2022 will be difficult due to a severe province-wide shortage of health human resources. The home is planning to add an additional 16 full-time PSWs and three full-time RPNs, as well as recreation team support and a dedicated infection prevention and control professional.

“The increase in resident care hours is an important step forward in further enhancing the quality of direct care provided to the residents of Lanark Lodge,” Duncan said, noting recruitment of staff will begin as soon as possible.

Council also passed a motion to send a letter to Ontario Minister of Health Rod Phillips expressing thanks for the province’s commitment to staffing long-term care homes. For more information, contact Carey Duncan, Director of Long-Term Care, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 7101.

Report on Homelessness Enumeration Received: Council accepted a report on the provincially mandated point-in-time (PIT) count and by-name list registry week results, which help illustrate the scope of homelessness in Lanark County and identify where more resources may be needed.

Homelessness Service Coordinator Brooke Coutts presented the results at the community services committee meeting earlier this month. The PIT count was conducted on Sept. 21 and found 58 people presenting as homeless, meaning they were staying in an emergency-funded motel, domestic violence shelter or in public spaces that night. This also included people who didn’t know where they would be staying or declined to answer. Coutts indicated this was an increase from 27 in the 2018 count. The highest number of respondents were in Perth, Smiths Falls and Carleton Place. In terms of demographics, 59 per cent were female and 69 per cent were adults, followed by youths (16 to 25) at 19 per cent. The survey also looked at sexual orientation, ancestry and language, Indigenous data, source of income and program supports.

“The average length of time respondents spent homeless in the past year was 230 days,” Coutts said, noting 41 per cent of respondents had been homeless for 10 to 12 months or longer. Most, 44 per cent, stay at someone else’s home (couch surfing), followed by transitional housing/shelter at 20 per cent. Motels, camping, vehicles and public spaces were also listed. Low income, landlord/tenant  conflict, mental health issues, abuse, spouse/family conflict and substance use were the top reasons for homelessness. Mental health issues topped the list in terms of wellness concerns for respondents. Identified barriers to securing housing were had high rents (93 per cent) and low income (78 per cent) topping the list.

Forty-seven homeless individuals consented to taking part in the by-name list, which enables the county and community partners to work in a case management capacity in an effort to secure support and move individuals towards stable housing. “A committee is currently working on prioritization and coordinated access,” Coutts explained. For more information, contact Emily Hollington, Director of  coordinated access,” Coutts explained. For more information, contact Emily Hollington, Director of Social Services, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 2101.

Results of Non-Profit Housing EOI Discussed: Council has passed a motion to proceed with an option to provide rent subsidy for 28 rent-geared-to-income (RGI) units starting in 2023.

At the community services committee meeting earlier this month, Housing Services Manager Shawna Stone outlined the results of an expression of interest process for affordable housing in January/February. Only one proposal was received from current non-profit housing providers for the creation of new affordable housing projects within the county. Carebridge Community Support has proposed a four-storey, 28-unit residential building at 44 Chambers St. in Smiths Falls. It features a mix of unit types, primarily one- and two-bedroom units, including accessible ones.

Stone explained the project has been submitted to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Rapid Housing Initiative, but Carebridge intends to proceed with the project even if it is not successful there. RGI support from the county would benefit the application, she said, which is anticipated to be completed in 2023. Carebridge would own and operate the project, including the ongoing property management and maintenance.

“The county is on track to potentially meet our service level standard this year; however, we are dealing with a loss of rent supplement landlords and this trend is likely to continue, as is being seen across service areas,” Stone explained. “If the county partners on the Carebridge project, it would help to offset the loss of rent supplement units and fulfil the target of our 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan.”

For more information, contact Emily Hollington, Director of Social Services, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext 2101.