County Council Highlights - Sept. 11, 2018

PSW Train the Trainer Program

Bobier Villa and Elgin Manor have been approved for funding through the Personal Support Worker (PSW) Education Fund for Long-Term Care (LTC) for the Excellence in Resident-Centred Care training program. This training program was designed for PSWs to build practical skills using a person-centred approach. A variety of topics will be covered by this training including but not limited to Person-Centred Care, Safety and mobility, Continence, Delirium, Dementia and Depression, Palliative/End-of-Life Care, and Infection Prevention and Control.

Using a train the trainer model, select PSWs from Bobier Villa and Elgin Manor will complete the course and then bring their knowledge back to become trainers at their respective homes. Other PSWs at Bobier Villa and Elgin Manor will be trained as will PSWs at Terrace Lodge.

Rough Railway Crossings in Elgin County

In response to a formal complaint regarding safety at rough railway crossings in Elgin, County Council has committed to a dialogue with Transport Canada regarding the condition of unsafe railway crossings and will advocate for immediate repair of these issues. Rail authorities are responsible for the section of road crossing the length of the railway tie, or approximately 2 feet past the rails on either side. This is normally the area that requires the most maintenance. Local municipalities who maintain County roads will fill pot holes in these areas; however, these fixes are only temporary. Gaps near the rails cannot be dealt with by the municipality as any work completed may interfere with rail traffic. Although Elgin County has no direct control over the condition of these rail crossings, the safety and convenience of motorists is a primary concern, therefore Elgin will play a role in advocating on behalf of this issue. The first step in this process will be to identify which crossings require immediate attention and follow up directly with the proper authorities.

Elgin to Advocate for Provincial Farm Tax Rebate

Elgin County farmers continue to face increased property tax burdens due to their property assessments being increased by MPAC. These increased values, combined with maintaining extremely expensive equipment are increasing the debt burden considerably. In response to these pressures the Elgin Federation of Agriculture has asked the County of Elgin to lower its tax ratios on agricultural properties to below 25%. Doing this would be problematic as it would shift the tax burden to other sectors of Elgin’s rural economy.

At its September 11, 2018 meeting, Council voted to approach the new provincial government with a request for a farm tax rebate program.  Up until 1998 the province ran such a program, at which time the province downloaded it to the municipalities in the form of a 25% tax ratio.  Maintaining the current 25% tax ratio, funded by the municipalities, combined with a new farm tax rebate program, funded by the province, would effectively reduce the net tax to a proposed 20%, providing needed relief to the province’s farmers.

It is in the best interests of the Province of Ontario to support a strong agricultural base who provide food security in an increasingly volatile global marketplace. The newly elected provincial government appears to be supportive of the issues facing rural communities and Elgin hopes the province will be responsive to the burdens farmers are facing today.