The Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) Board of Directors approved KDSB’s 2023 Operating and Capital budgets of $84,000,747 during its regular Board meeting held on Thursday, February 16, 2023.
The 2023 Operating and Capital budgets form the foundation of the KDSB’s Strategic Plan and will support the strategic priorities of the Board. The budget will provide the structure upon which the Board will work to address the current needs of the most vulnerable in the District. The budget allocates resources to improve access to services in the more rural communities, to support poverty reduction strategies, increase the availability of more affordable and accessible housing options for seniors and families across the District.
As the District’s communities continue to advocate for more improved access to health care, the role of the KDSB’s paramedic services continue to evolve in response to meet the service and support needs. For 2023, the KDSB’s Northwest EMS will remain focused on providing the best care throughout the area. Additional resources are included in the budget to strengthen the KDSB’s recruitment efforts. Through the 2023 budget, the KDSB will continue to enhance the Community Paramedicine program to improve access to non-emergent services for patients who are waiting for placement in long-term care homes, soon to be eligible for long-term care, or with specific chronic conditions.
The changing global economy is having substantial impacts on the KDSB and its operations with the rising interest rates, increase in material costs, and labour shortages, and will continue to have an impact on the development of affordable housing.
However, it is widely recognized that housing with supports is a crucial component in assisting people living with complex physical and mental health challenges to achieve housing stability. Ontario’s current supportive housing system is a complex network of programs across three separate ministries. The KDSB, in partnership with Non-Profit Housing Providers, Indigenous Service Providers, Mental Health and Addiction Service Providers, and other key stakeholders, continue to explore collaborative options available to advocate for and address the complex housing and health needs in our communities.
Early Learning and Child Care in Ontario has undergone substantial changes in the last several years. Changing provincial plans for child care, including a new funding formula, in addition to federal commitments to develop a pan-Canadian child care strategy have created the opportunity to continue to reduce parent fees and create more child care spaces through the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
Collaborative, creative solutions are required to deliver high-quality, child and family-centered, welcoming, and inclusive programming. The KDSB will continue to work with its Child Care delivery partners to enhance and increase spaces within the District. In its role as a delivery agent, the KDSB is committed to ensuring affordable, accessible, and sustainable programming into the future. The District-wide operating model used allows resources to enhance programs and increase child care spaces in the community.
“The Board has approved a budget that appropriately balances service delivery across the District with cost increases passed on via the local share. The Board is confident that services will be maintained and enhanced for individuals and families in the District. On behalf of the Board, I feel confident that the 2023 Operating and Capital budget will enable the KDSB to achieve its strategic priorities and continue to deliver the high-quality services that people, communities and partners across the region have come to expect,” says Barry Baltessen, KDSB Board Chair. « I want to thank administration for their efforts to bring forward a well planned budget that responds to the needs of all stakeholders ».
“Over the past number of years, the KDSB has worked diligently to ensure minimal impact to the local share. The KDSB is committed to providing quality human services that are vital to the region’s individuals, families, and communities. There are several factors that impacted this year’s budget and the KDSB did not take the presentation of this budget lightly. I want to thank administration for creating a fair budget that was not an easy feat but ensures viable and high-quality services, all while making sure the KDSB has the support it needs to execute such a strategy for 2023,” says Henry Wall, Chief Administrative Officer of the KDSB.
Highlights of KDSB’s 2023 budget include:
- Early Learning and Care:
- Continue Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care fee reduction
- Stabilize current spaces to meet community need
- Expansion of at least 246 additional child care spaces across the District
- Emergency Medical Services:
- Implement and measure outcomes from the Community Paramedicine Program
- Investigate increasing partnerships with community fire services for emergency response support
- Increase recruitment efforts for paramedics across the District
- Housing and Homelessness:
- Maintain and improve current housing stock
- Enhance emergency shelter operations throughout the District
- Complete construction on:
- 40-unit Mixed Market Supported Seniors Housing Development in Dryden
- Nestor Falls EMS Base in partnership with the Township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls
- 20-unit studio affordable apartment complex in downtown Kenora
- 56-unit Mixed Market Supported Seniors Building in Kenora
- Creating Second Stage Housing in partnership with community organizations in the District
- $6.2 million investment towards improving existing housing stock
- Complete construction on:
- Truth and Reconciliation Projects:
- Continue to work in partnership with the communities of Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, Shoal Lake #40 and Grassy Narrows First Nations to improve paramedic services
- Support Urban Indigenous-Led Child Care Programs and EarlyON Centres
- Move work forward under MOU’s with Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Grand Council Treaty #3
- Continue to invest $130,000 to support local child poverty reduction programs;
- Enhancement of service levels while keeping the Net Local Share levy impact viable.
The overall budget reflects a 2.86% increase over the 2022 capital budget and a 5.54% increase in the Municipal cost share.
The KDSB publishes its annual budget report to help increase a local understanding of proposed initiatives for the outlined year and residents’ knowledge of where Municipal tax dollars are utilized. The KDSB’s detailed 2023 budget is available at Finance – Kenora District Services Board (kdsb.on.ca).