November 20, 2009
Media Release

York Region charters a new Human Services Planning Board

Second generation planning body to tackle unresolved inequities
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York has adopted a proposal to create a Human Services Planning Board of York Region, a collaborative body that will build on the strengths of the former Human Services Planning Coalition.
 
“The new Human Services Planning Board represents York Region’s commitment to a strategic and collaborative approach when addressing the growing demands and pressures that our human services sector continues to face,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “It will serve as a united voice at Queen’s Park and Ottawa as we seek to address the human service funding inequities in York Region.”
 
Comprised of 25 members representing key community stakeholders, the Human Services Planning Board will pursue strategic opportunities to build capacity within York Region’s human services sector.
 
“Building on the capacity of our human services sector enables us to ensure our residents can access the quality of life they expect through healthier neighbourhoods and communities,” said Town of Markham Deputy Mayor Jack Heath, Chair of the Region’s Community and Health Services Committee.
 
The Board will be co-chaired by a Regional Councillor and a member of the human services sector.
 
The immediate priorities of the new Board will be determined by the membership in consultation with the broader human services sector.
 
A sampling of some of the pressures and trends facing the York Region human services sector include:
 
Continued growth pressures
• In accordance with the proposed updated Regional Official Plan, York Region will add roughly 23,000 residents annually to 2031, with the growth rate increasing during the next five to 10 years.
 
Socio-economic pressures
• A 55 per cent increase between 2001 and 2006 in the number of York Region residents living in low income households and a 62 per cent increase in the number of children living in low income households  
• A rising social assistance caseload, which reached 5,601 cases in September 2009, up approximately 26 per cent over September 2008.
 
Funding pressures
• York Region continues to receive significantly less funding per capita from the Province in the areas of health care and social services.  The 2007 per capita health care spending for the Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) was the second lowest of Ontario’s LHINs.
 

Affordable housing
• According to the 2006 Census, nearly half of tenant-occupied residences and more than one quarter of homeowners in York Region spent more than 30 per cent of their household income on shelter costs.
• As of September 2009, the Region's social housing wait list rose to 6,472 applicants, a 13.3 per cent increase over September 2008.
 
Newcomer integration
• Immigration continues to drive population growth in York Region, accounting for almost 60 per cent of the growth between 2001 and 2006. 
• While newcomers are critical to the future health and economic prosperity of York Region, many face a variety of challenges and barriers to achieving success and integration.  Putting in place services and supports and removing barriers to ensure the rapid and early success of newcomers are paramount to ensuring a strong Region.
• The significance of this issue is elevated when considering that a large portion of the baby boomer cohort (ages 41 to 60 in 2006), which made up 31 per cent of the total population and 44 per cent of the working age population (ages 15 to 64) in 2006, will leave the labour market over the next 10 to 20 years.
 
A rapidly aging demographic
• In 2006, York Region’s population aged 65-plus was about 96,000 people or 10 per cent of the total population.  By 2031, the population aged 65-plus is projected to exceed 311,000 people and account for nearly 21 per cent of the population.  This represents a total change of 225 per cent over 25 years.  This unprecedented growth is anticipated to place significant pressures on a variety of human services.
 
Combined, these issues and trends create an environment that both supports and necessitates the need for an integrated and collaborative network of human service organizations working together to address these unique and changing socio-economic characteristics of the residents and communities of York Region.
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications Specialist, York Region
                       Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 1238, (416) 297-9696 or Toll free 1-877-464-9675
                       Cell:  905 251-6413  Email: tim.paleczny@york.ca

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