Warden's Report 2023 Year in Review
Thank You from Your 2022-2023 Warden
“As we approach the end of another year, it is with great pleasure that I present to you the third Annual Warden's Report. Serving as your Warden has been a true honour and privilege, and I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on the remarkable accomplishments we have achieved in 2023. We’ve made significant strides to acknowledge the County’s relationship with Indigenous Communities, taken steps forward to promote diversity and inclusion, and continue our advocacy to support our most vulnerable residents. As I look back on the past year, I am inspired by the passion and dedication demonstrated by my fellow municipal leaders. Their unwavering support has been instrumental in our shared success. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to administration and staff from the County and local municipalities for their tireless efforts to provide services that enhance the lives of our residents. I am proud to lead a County with such passionate individuals.
I would like to congratulate incoming Warden Aina DeViet as she begins her term as your 2024 Warden and I look forward to serving you as your Deputy Warden. I eagerly anticipate the continued success and growth of Middlesex County under the capable leadership of our new Warden.
I have been humbled by your confidence in me and I have every optimism that the future is bright for our community. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve it as I have.”
- Cathy Burghardt-Jesson
Warden's 2023 Honour Roll
Congratulations to the 2023 Warden’s Honour Roll Honourees: Tom McLaughlin, and The Nicholas Smith Foundation: Denise, Dave, and Eric Smith. Tom McLaughlin has made tremendous contributions to our community. He was elected Mayor of Lucan Biddulph in 2003 until 2010 and served as Warden in 2005. Tom continues to find ways to volunteer in the Lucan Biddulph community, with many local residents and organizations relying on his knowledge of local history. He was also a key member of the Building Campaign Committee for the renovation and revitalization of the Lucan Biddulph Memorial Community Centre. Denise, Dave, and Eric Smith are the driving force behind The Nicholas Smith Foundation to honour the life of Nick Smith, who passed away after a valiant struggle with mental health in 2019. Nick’s family turned the tragedy into a mission to support others who suffer from mental illness and to bring awareness to small communities, especially the youth, on the importance of looking after one’s mental health.
Honouring Community Emergency Response Volunteers (CERV)
On May 9, 2023, Middlesex County distributed certificates of appreciation to more than twenty (20) CERV members to honour and celebrate the long-term service of these exceptional volunteers who have devoted their time and energy to making Middlesex County a safer place for all. Since its inception in 2007, CERV Middlesex has made a significant impact on the safety and security of our communities in the County. Most recently, their service was invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing support and a welcoming presence at vaccination clinics throughout the County. With comprehensive training in emergency and disaster response, first aid, and reception centre operations, these volunteers are well-prepared to assist their fellow citizens when disaster strikes.
Warden's Charity Golf Tournament Raises $23,000
This year, the annual Warden’s Charity Golf Tournament was held at The Fox Golf Club in Lucan Biddulph. The tournament raised a total of $23,000 in support of four organizations: Lucan Minor Hockey, Lucan Ilderton Athletics, Lucan Skating Club, and Lucan Soccer Club. Each of these organizations received $5,720 and these funds will go towards nurturing the growth and development of the local community’s sports and athletic programs. These organizations play an invaluable role in our community, instilling life lessons of teamwork, sportsmanship, and dedication in our young citizens.
Middlesex County Leaders Contribute to Global Women Empowerment
On June 6, 2023, a delegation of Middlesex County leaders returned from Cambodia after participating in the Gender Responsive and Inclusive Participatory Consultation Workshop as part of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' (FCM) Partnerships for Municipal Innovation - Women in Local Leadership (PMI-WILL) project. Cathy Bughardt-Jesson along with General Manager of Finance and Community Services, Cindy Howard, and Director of Human Resources, Jessica Ngai, contributed their insights and exchanged experiences, strategies, and best practices with other global participants. The workshop aimed to empower women in local governance and improve the delivery of inclusive municipal services. By actively engaging in this transformative project, Middlesex County continues to strengthen its dedication to promoting gender equality and inclusive governance practices. The PMI-WILL project is fully funded by the Canadian federal government through Global Affairs Canada. Middlesex County is grateful for this support and remains committed to upholding the project's objectives in collaboration with its global partners.
Successful Advocacy Efforts in Securing Homeless Prevention Program Funding
On June 22, 2023, Middlesex County received $873,903 in Homelessness Prevention Program funding from the Province of Ontario, through the City of London as the Service System Manager, after extensive advocacy efforts from County delegates. The funding was administered through the Middlesex County Social Services Department. The funds covered various programs, including the Middlesex Accommodation Program, Middlesex Paramedic Outreach Program, food security programs, and additional emergency hotel/motel stays. The Middlesex Accommodation Program was launched in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services (CMHA TVAMHS), the Countryside Motel, and the Middlesex-London Paramedic Services. This innovative program provides emergency/transitional accommodations with wraparound supports to individuals and families experiencing or nearing homelessness in the County.
The program has served over two hundred (200) vulnerable adults and children by providing them immediate shelter, food, and community support since its inception last year. The program has also reduced the strain on local hospitals by providing access to community paramedics who can treat program participants in the community. Middlesex County is committed to continuing advocacy efforts to address the needs of diverse housing options to foster healthy and inclusive communities.
New and Improved Routes for Middlesex County Connect Buses
On May 29, 2023, Middlesex County Connect replaced its existing routes with two new fixed routes. Route 1 provides transit connections between Lucan, Ilderton, Arva, and London, while Route 2 connects Woodstock, Ingersoll, Putnam, Dorchester, and London. All trips cost $5 one-way on all routes. Alongside the new routes several initiatives were introduced to promote accessibility, sustainability, and eco-friendly transportation options in Middlesex County. A user-friendly app was launched enabling riders to conveniently book trips, pre-pay fares, track their bus in real-time, and receive service notifications on their mobile devices. A discounted student monthly pass was also introduced offering unlimited rides on all routes for thirty (30) days. Furthermore, a Library Bus Pass Loan Program was initiated allowing residents to borrow an individual or family library bus pass at no cost from the Dorchester, Lucan, and Ilderton libraries. A 170% increase in annual ridership across the service is expected in 2023 compared to 2022. The Middlesex County Connect inter-community transit service is funded by the Government of Ontario's Community Transportation Grant Program. For details on routes, schedules, and promotions, visit middlesex.ca/ct.
Building Relationships with Indigenous Communities
Middlesex County has taken steps to acknowledge its relationship with Indigenous Communities. On September 26, 2023 the County hosted Brian Hill, President of the N’Amerind Centre in London, who shared personal stories and professional knowledge related to Indigenous Initiatives, Anti-Racism, Accessibility, and Equity. The Planning Department has taken steps to build a duty to consult framework with First Nations to ensure that both the needs of the County as well as those of First Nations’ communities are considered. The County recognizes the profound importance of working alongside Indigenous Communities in the journey towards a future built on mutual respect, understanding, and justice.
The County’s Commitment to Inclusive Spaces
Following the December 12, 2023 Council Meeting, Middlesex County officially became Rainbow Registered from the Rainbow Registered Program—an initiative by Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC). This program certifies organizations, businesses, and local governments as 2SLGBTQI+ friendly, promoting inclusive workplaces and communities. For Middlesex County, this registration is a commitment to creating an inclusive workplace and community partner. Middlesex County’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism also extends this invitation to become registered to other community organizations, businesses and tourism operators to promote safe and welcoming destinations in the County.
Aina DeViet Elected 2024 County Warden
On November 28, 2023, Councillor Aina DeViet was elected as the Warden of Middlesex County for the 2023/2024 term. Warden DeViet is currently serving her second term as Mayor of Middlesex Centre. This will be her first term as Warden. Councillor Cathy Burghardt-Jesson assumed the role of Deputy Warden.
“Change…provides us with opportunities! Opportunities to learn, re-think, adapt, leverage technologies, and move on to new ways of working. We need to take on new projects, such as renewing and redefining our County Strategic Plan, continuing conversations about diversifying our tax base and maintaining a culture of continuous improvement and modernization on processes and services with a focus on measurable outcomes. I’m humbled by the confidence and the trust my fellow Councillors have exhibited in granting me the role of Warden for the coming term, let’s work together, let’s roll up our sleeves - and get started!” said Warden Aina DeViet.
Middlesex County Website: middlesex.ca