February 12, 2002

York Region launches Character Community initiative


NEWMARKET Regional Chair Bill Fisch joined Markham Mayor Don Cousens, York Region Chief Administrative Officer Alan Wells, Brenda Larson of the York Region Newspaper Group, and other community and business leaders in launching the York Region Community Character initiative this morning at the York Region Administrative Centre in Newmarket.

"In an increasingly complex and challenging world, we can be prepared for the pressures of life in the 21st century by following good character values," said Regional Chair Bill Fisch in his welcoming remarks.

A Character Community is one in which elected officials, community leaders in the education, business, law enforcement, faith and media sectors, and residents-at-large recognize and promote the importance of good character. Everyone works together to ensure that families are strong, homes and streets are safe, education is effective, business is productive, neighbours care about one another and residents are free to make wise choices for their lives and families.

"At the York Region District School Board's Quest for Character symposium last spring, I took on the challenge of hosting a forum about building cities of character," said Markham Mayor Don Cousens. "In less than a year later, not only did I host that forum, but with the enthusiastic support and help of many people who are here today, York Region has been declared a Character Community, we have a Character Council, a mission, logo and Web site."

The York Regional Police Chief, Directors of Education and students from the public and Catholic school boards, as well as a business leader provided testimonials about how character education and promotion is working in their sectors.

Public forums will be conducted at locations throughout York Region in the coming months to help further establish a list of attributes residents believe are important to foster and adopt as part of the York Region Character Community program.

To find out more or get involved, visit the Web site at www.region.york.on.ca/cc, or contact Markham Mayor Don Cousens' office at (905) 475-4872 .

For more information on the Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at www.region.york.on.ca

See attached Backgrounder and Fact Sheet

Contact: Wendy Lewis, Corporate Communications Services, York Region

(905) 830-4444, Ext. 1238 or


The York Region Character Community initiative


 A Resolution

To designate York Region as a CHARACTER COMMUNITY

WHEREAS, the people of York Region wish to strengthen our citizens, families and community as a whole by encouraging excellence in character.

WHEREAS, we desire to build a Region where families are strong, homes and streets are safe, education is effective, business is productive, neighbours care about one another, and citizens are free to make wise choices for their lives and families; and

WHEREAS, our schools should be a safe atmosphere where character is exemplified, taught, and rewarded, and where learning is encouraged; and

WHEREAS, encouraging employees by recognizing positive character qualities has resulted in an increase in workplace morale, employee safety, and corporate profits; and

WHEREAS, the emphasis of positive character qualities in every sector of society can only occur as individuals commit themselves to exemplifying character in their personal lives and inspiring others to do the same;

WHEREAS, there is a need for positive role models among our young people to help foster a community culture where good character is praised and encouraged; and

WHEREAS, people who demonstrate positive character qualities and moral choices improve the health, safety and welfare of their fellow citizens, resulting in a lower financial burden upon the taxpayers for the costs of services that protect and enhance our quality of life; and

WHEREAS, many current societal problems can be alleviated by citizens of this Region by embracing positive and constructive character qualities which distinguish between right and wrong.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the people of York Region pledge our commitment to character and designate ourselves as a Character Community in order to formally launch a region-wide initiative to encourage character in our schools, businesses, government, media, community groups, and families, and we urge the leaders of each of these organizations to support and contribute to this endeavour.


Fact Sheet

The York Region Character Community initiative

-Mayor Don Cousens, Markham (Chair)
-Regional Chair Bill Fisch (ex-officio)
-Mayor Tim Jones, Aurora
-Regional Councillor Tony Wong
-Stephen Chait, Markham
-Brian Dodd, Rogers Television
-Carol Felepchuk, IBM Canada Ltd.
-Dr. Avis Glaze, York Region District School Board (YRDSB)(until February 15, 2002)
-John Havercroft, York Region District School Board   
-Bill Hogarth, YRDSB
-Toni Hughes, Oak Ridges community member
-Susan LaRosa, York Region Catholic School Board (YRCSB)
-Brenda Larson, York Region Newspaper Group
-Nadia Magarelli, Weston Downs Ratepayers Association
-Bob McCulloch, Community Alliance for York Region Education (CAYRE)
-Chief Robert Middaugh, York Region Police
-Karen Powell, Magna International
-Liz Tobin, YRDSB student
-Lois Tori, Royal Bank of Canada
-Christy Wei, CWPR Marketing
-Peter Wightman, YRCSB student
-Alan Wells, York Region
-Susan Taylor, York Region
-Ghislaine Boulianne, York Region

We will work together to make York Region a Character Community by nurturing positive character attributes.

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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