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Local Government Week 2015

Waterloo Region - Local Government Week, taking place October 18-24, is a one-week school focussed campaign intended to celebrate the key role that Ontario municipal governments play in helping to define the character, priorities, amenities and physical make-up of Ontario’s diverse communities.

Now in its eighth year, Local Government Week is a partnership between the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO), and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO).

The objective of Local Government Week is to help students and other citizens gain an understanding of the municipal level of government and its impact on their everyday lives. It is also intended to foster responsible citizenship and stewardship of our local communities.

The Region of Waterloo offers a unique educational tool – the Municipal Education Outreach Program (MEOP) - to local grade 5 and 10 students with in-class presentations and welcomes class tours of the Regional Council Chamber. During the last four academic years, more than 1800 students from both local school boards have participated in the MEOP. Several have had the opportunity to meet their Regional Councillors, who were eager to share their experiences as elected officials.

Students who participated in the MEOP learned that local governments are the closest level of government to our communities, providing functions that are of immediate concern to citizens, including:

• public health services

• community and social services

• parks and recreation

• water, sewer and waste management

• essential services such as police, emergency medical services and fire protection

• road maintenance and traffic management

• land use planning and environmental protection

Similar presentations have been made to English as a Second Language (ESL) groups during the past year. More than 200 residents have participated in local sessions where they have had an opportunity to learn more about local government services available and to ask questions of local municipal staff.

In addition, trivia questions will be posted on the Region’s website, the employee Portal, Facebook and Twitter – testing local knowledge about Regional government and providing residents an opportunity to visit the website to learn more about what the Region can do for them.

Local residents are encouraged to become more engaged with the activities of the Regional government by attending Committee and Council meetings – all meetings are also webcast and available online.

Participation with the annual Advisory Committee Recruitment program is another exciting way to learn more about Regional government. Advertisements about committee vacancies are placed in local newspapers each fall.

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