Canada and Ontario asked to address funding shortfall
NEWMARKET – York Regional Council today endorsed a resolution asking the federal and provincial governments to acknowledge the funding shortfall in York Region for community social services and to develop a more appropriate funding arrangement for these vital services.
"Both the federal and provincial governments have said they intend to establish a new financial deal for municipalities," said York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch. "This resolution asks our senior levels of government to let funding for social services reflect population size, growth patterns, actual need and other characteristics such as immigration figures."
York Region welcomes about 35,000 new residents a year and will reach a population of 1.5 million residents over the next 20 years. In addition, our population is becoming more diverse and is aging.
"Funding is allocated primarily on the basis of historical patterns, not actual needs based on population and demographics," said Town of Richmond Hill Regional Councillor Brenda Hogg, Chair of the Region's Community Services and Housing Committee. "There is increasing pressure on community social service agencies to meet our residents' growing needs."
York Regional Council also endorsed a second resolution brought to Council today by York Region's Human Services Planning Coalition. The resolution requests the senior levels of government to take the recommendations of the Strong Communities Coalition, an alliance of the United Ways of Oakville, Peel, York, Durham and the GTA/905 Healthcare Alliance.
The Strong Communities Coalition published a report on October 24, 2006 entitled Growing Pains: An Urgent Message from the Strong Communities Coalition. The report stated that the four regions – Durham, Halton, Peel and York are undergoing a "population surge" and that the GTA/905 "is not only growing, it is aging at twice the provincial rate and increasingly is culturally and socio-economically diverse." The report adds that "new immigrants have accounted for half of Ontario's annual population growth over the past 10 years. Peel and York have the second highest volume of new immigrants in the country."
These findings were echoed in York Region's 2006 report entitled Community Snapshots: Recent Immigrants Living in York Region. Between 1991 and 2001, the number of recent immigrants coming to York Region increased by 132 per cent while non-immigrants increased by 31 per cent. The data also showed that immigrants increasingly are coming directly to York Region from their countries of origin, rather than starting the integration process in another part of the country before moving here.
York Region has monitored the funding gap in human services funding since 2001. The gap for social services in 2003-2004 was $173 million. For hospital services, the funding gap grew from $338 million in 2002-2003 to almost $453 million in 2006-2007.
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