Redeployment and Recruitment Planning and Social Work Support
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Long-Term Care and Seniors Services (LTCSS) has depended upon additional staffing made up of redeployed staff from across the County of Simcoe's divisions – almost 100 staff working in non-essential service roles have been redeployed to support urgent needs in LTCSS. With the gradual phased reopening, plans are underway to return these redeployed staff to their permanent/home roles, staff have developed a number of strategies that will enable the continuation of enhanced protocols needed to ensure the continued safety of LTCSS residents and staff from COVID-19, while addressing the social, physical and emotional challenges related to the pandemic.
This week, Council voted to fund the recruitment of one full-time Social Worker, as well as additional temporary Home Services Assistants (39 full-time positions and 13 part-time positions) that will allow for the gradual return of redeployed staff covering roles created by COVID-19, ensure increased safety and support protocols are met, address labour challenges and enable the ongoing training and development for a needed PSW workforce for the future. These roles are posted on www.simcoe.ca.
County Forest Growth, Investment & Protection Policy
The County of Simcoe owns and operates the largest municipal forestry network in Ontario. At 33,000 acres spanning more than 150 properties, Simcoe County Forests provide a wealth of recreational opportunities for local residents, including more than 750 kilometres of trails. In addition, timber sales from our sustainably managed forests are reinvested into forestry for reforestation projects, planting and property acquisitions that all enhance our green and growing network.
With the Simcoe County Forest approaching the 100-year milestone, a review and evaluation of key practices is warranted. The County Forest 'Acquisition Principles' and 'Reforestation Reserve' have been critical elements of continued growth and success, however both have been in place for nearly 25 years.
This week, Council voted in favour of a more comprehensive and updated Policy and 'County Forest Reserve Fund', which will provide for improved clarity and transparency and comply with regulations requiring municipalities to maintain policies that protect and enhance tree canopies and natural vegetation.
Oro-Medonte Medical Innovation Park MZO
The Oro-Medonte Medical Innovation Park is the next phase of a new employment development in Oro-Medonte, with the focus of bringing economic development and jobs to the Township and County. Adjacent to the Oro Station Automotive Innovation Park and across Line 7 from the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport, the project will focus on non-automotive industrial use with an emphasis on medical and personal protective equipment (PPE).
This week, County Council voted to support a Ministerial Zoning Order request for the Medical Innovation Park, to bolster our regional manufacturing capabilities within our borders and help to support our healthcare industry. This project aims to reduce reliance on imported PPE, which is an objective of the Federal and Provincial governments. This MZO request to expedite the Oro-Medonte Medical Innovation Park will require approval from the Province.
The Narcotics, Substance Use, and Community Safety Well-Being Initiative
In collaboration with Statistics Canada and the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy Group (SMOS), the County of Simcoe Paramedic Services has been asked to provide paramedic call information data to contribute to the understanding of primary risk factors of populations at risk of drug overdose.
This week, Council voted for County of Simcoe Paramedic Services and other County support areas to participate in the Narcotics, Substance Use, and Community Safety Well-Being Initiative, subject to appropriate privacy impact assessments.
Special Council Meeting – September 8, 2020
The County of Simcoe Governance Committee presented recommendations to modify Council composition from 32 to 16 members and consider the creation of directly elected sub-regional County Councillors under a conceptual structure.
Council defeated the recommendation and passed a motion directing the Governance Committee to review and explore options that would allow for a full-time Warden and Deputy Warden.