If you are new to Canada or this area you may be asking yourself what is the Region of Durham and how does it relate to cities like Oshawa, Whitby and Pickering and with the Province of Ontario?
Because of population growth and increased density in the Toronto area the Province of Ontario created Regional governments in the Greater Toronto Area in 1973 to provide a mid-level of government services.
Others Regions that have been created are York, Peel, Halton, Niagara and Waterloo.
The provincial government looks after broad responsibilities such as education, employment regulations, business incorporation, health and social services, provincial highways and transportation, agriculture and other province-wide issues and needs, setting policy.
Regional governments were created to look after the administration of local public health, social and police services, waste management, regional roads and transportation as well as the coordination of services such as economic planning and development, recreation and tourism within their geographic area.
Municipal levels of government focus on local matters such as streets and roads within their boundaries, property development and taxes, fire services, local parks, libraries, and recreation, animal control, parking and property bylaws as well as zoning regulations and local services such as waste removal, sewers and water supply.
How is Regional Government and Municipal Government run?
Regional governments are a federation of all of the municipalities that are within their boundaries. During municipal elections we elect a mayor and local councillors who represent people in their area on the local city, town or township council. At the same time, representatives are elected from each municipal area to also sit on Regional Council. Regional Council is made up of the 8 Mayors of the local municipalities and 20 Councillors representing those municipalities, according to population. Regional Council and the Region of Durham are headed by Regional Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Roger Anderson. This is an appointed position. A list of the Mayors and the Regional Councillors can be found at "Region of Durham Regional Council 2014 - 2018"
All residents and taxpayers in each municipality within the Region of Durham can vote in municipal elections if they are over the age of 18 and are Canadian citizens. Canadian citizenship is a requirement in Provincial and Federal elections as well. Municipal elections are held every 4 years and will be held in October of 2010 and then October of 2014.
An overview of Durham Region and its corporate priorities, mission and vision can be found at "Overview of Durham Region".
You can learn more about Ontario and how it is governed at "How Municipal Government Works".
As mentioned earlier, public education is funded and governed by the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Ministry of Education but it is administered locally. Local schools are administered by regional school boards that report to publically elected School
Trustees. Learn more about the role of local school boards at "How Schools are Governed in Ontario". If you need to enrol your children in school you can find information at "Enrolling Your Child in School".
What is the economy of the Region of Durham and its
Major employers include General Motors of Canada, Ontario Power Generation, Lakeridge Health Corporation, Durham District School Board, Durham College, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and many small firms that supply parts and materials for the automotive industry and other manufacturing. Traditional manufacturing continues to decline but is being replaced by greater use of advanced manufacturing and technology and new industries related to bio-technology, renewable energy and new agricultural methods. New construction, especially residential housing and expansions of Ontario Power Generation capacity and development related to the expansion of the 407 highway east through Durham are expected to drive the local economy over the next decade.
Did you know? 42% of Durham Region’s workforce commutes outside of the area for work. Durham’s housing, semi-rural setting, excellent services and recreational activities plus the ease of commuting into Toronto and other parts of the GTA make it an attractive place to live. This means that living in Durham still provides access to major labour markets outside of Durham where there is a wide diversity of employment opportunities. Residential growth also creates many opportunities within Durham for employment related to personal services, retail sales and food services.
Major Economic and Employment Trends in Durham Region
The Durham Workforce Authority is a public agency that studies the local labour market (employment). They identify opportunities and needs and make recommendations to government for new initiatives to improve how the labour market works. A priority that they have identified for Durham Region is the attraction and retention of skilled and professionally trained immigrants to meet the future needs of local business and industry.