Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario, Oxford County is home to approximately 119,000 people across eight municipalities "growing stronger together" through a two-tiered, partnership-oriented government, the County of Oxford. Visit www.oxfordcounty.ca or follow us on Twitter and Facebook
Oxford County's vision is one of vibrant communities working well and growing stronger together.
County Council continued its work in 2018 to advance the vision laid out in its Strategic Plan: “Vibrant communities, working well and growing stronger… together!”
Last year this included municipal collaboration on the County’s updated Master Transportation Plan, regional transportation advocacy, and increasing the affordable housing supply.
Council also furthered its commitments that directly support the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan: 100% renewable energy, zero waste, and zero poverty. Key achievements in 2018 included the release of a formal Zero Poverty Plan; the opening of the new, net-zero Waste Management & Education Centre; sharing a vision for using new technologies to achieve zero waste in our community; and construction on the County’s first multi-residential affordable housing development built to achieve Passive House standard, considered to be the most rigorous energy-based standard in use today.
A somewhat bittersweet milestone was marked in May 2018 with the formal separation of Oxford County Public Health to form the new Southwestern Public Health with Elgin St. Thomas Public Health. While further restructuring changes to public health in Ontario were announced in 2019 by the provincial government-- ones that will dissolve Council’s formal role on the board of Southwestern Public Health-- we will continue to seek a role for local public health representatives in building the overall health and wellbeing of our community.
The last month of 2018 saw the swearing in of the new 2019-2022 County Council. Six months into the term of the new Council, we are already taking on key challenges for the years ahead, including our response to the proposal to build a new, large-scale private landfill in our community; budget pressures from higher cost shares for provincial-municipal partnered programs; and a regional government review of Oxford County and its eight area municipalities that as of this time presents many unknowns.
Through these challenges we will focus on our vision of working together to become a stronger community. The visual theme for the 2018 Annual Report is Oxford’s waters, which pays tribute to this aspect of our natural heritage and reflects constant motion and ebb and flow. We look forward to meeting the challenges that have presented themselves so far so that we can build a better community for our people.
Warden, Oxford County
Peter Crockett, P. Eng.
Chief Administrative Officer
Through a total budget of $ 230.8 million in 2018, Oxford County delivered a range of services that support the County’s commitment to service excellence and improved quality of life for current and future generations.
Oxford County ended 2018 with an operating budget surplus of $1.8 million. This surplus was the result of a number of factors including investment income, property assessment adjustments, and savings from unfilled staff vacancies and absences.
Noteworthy for 2018 was the merger of Oxford County Public Health and Elgin St Thomas Public Health to form the new Southwestern Public Health effective May 1. As a result, public health operations are reflected in the financial statements as they have been traditionally from January 1 to April 30, 2018, and then shown as a proportionate share of Southwestern Public Health operations from May 1 to December 31, 2018. In addition to contributing its proportionate share of the new Board’s budget, the County contributed $531,523 to the new health unit reserves in 2018, its proportionate share as determined by Board policy.
Overall, the County’s Audited Financial Statements, along with the measures and indicators under its Long Term Financial Sustainability Plan (Council Report CS 2019-22), reaffirm the County’s ability to continue to maintain its strong liquidity position with a moderate debt burden. These are key strengths necessary for financial sustainability.
Lynn Buchner, CPA, CGA
Director of Corporate Services
Peter M. Crockett, Chief Administrative Officer
(CAO/Clerk's Office, Tourism, Strategic Communication & Engagement, Land Ambulance, 9-1-1, Emergency Planning & Management)
Paul Beaton, Director, Human Services
(Social Assistance, Shelter, Children's Services)
Lynn Buchner, Director, Corporate Services
(Finance, Information Systems, County Library, County Archives, Provincial Offences Administration, Customer Service, Legislative Services)
Corrie Fransen, Director, Woodingford Lodge
(Woodstock, Ingersoll & Tillsonburg)
Gordon Hough, Director, Community Planning
(Development Planning, Land Use Policy Development)
David Simpson, Director, Public Works
(Engineering, Facilities, Fleet, Roads, Waste Management, Wastewater, Water and Woodlands Conservation)
Amy Smith, Director, Human Resources
(Labour Relations, Staff Development, Staffing, Total Compensation, Wellness and Health & Safety)
Oxford County Council is made up of the mayors of each of the eight local area municipalities plus two additional councillors from the City of Woodstock, the largest population centre in the County. To learn more visit www.oxfordcounty.ca/yourcouncil
families receiving child care fee subsidy, with 746 children
available licensed day care spaces for children
subsidized public housing units
not-for-profit housing units
affordable housing units
Oxford residents and families aided through financial assistance and employment supports
paramedic call responses
long-term care beds
attendees of 2,844 programs
matters scheduled for Provincial Offences Court
bridges and culverts
Municipal water systems
serving 94,000 people in 21 Oxford communities
Municipal Wastewater systems
serving 90,000 people in 11 Oxford communities
Oxford County works to meet the needs and collective interests of our communities, residents and businesses through customer-focused services that improve quality of life.
In October 2018, the Hodges Pond restoration partnership invited the community to see progress on the re-naturalization of 400 acres of
County-owned land in Norwich Township. A major milestone in the project saw
the original Cedar Creek water flow restored through a by-pass and the decommissioning
of a derelict, century-old milldam one year prior. The ongoing re-naturalization of Hodges
Pond will see improved water quality and new vegetation and habitat in the area.
Oxford County continued its work in 2018 on the concept of a “sustainability cluster” located in Courthouse Square in Woodstock.
The focus this year was on research to gauge community interest and readiness, explore design options, and compare different
scenarios for managing and operating the centre. The sustainability cluster is conceived as research and innovation hub for industry,
private enterprise, academic institutions and the non-profit sector.
Tourism Oxford launched its successful tourism “experiences” program in 2018 with four unique offerings: artisan cheese making,
micro brewing, a creative arts workshop, and truffle making. Experiential tourism brings together small groups of visitors for
an intimate, immersive and interactive experience. Oxford County was selected by Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation in 2018 to host “Unlocked and Inspired Experiential Tourism” training for its local artisans and creators
In June 2018, Oxford County released the fourth and final report in its regional transportation compendium:
Southwest Lynx: Integrated High-Performance Public Transportation for Southwestern Ontario.
The report lays out a practical, affordable plan to address challenges to public transportation
access and mobility, which in turn present economic, social and environmental challenges to the
region’s growth and development. The plan centres on a proposal for high-performance rail—as opposed
to high-speed rail—complemented by a fully integrated intercommunity busing system.
Oxford County’s regional transportation compendium — outlined in the initial “New Directions” report—laid the foundation for an integrated
approach to public transportation in southwestern Ontario. In “Steel Corridors of Opportunity,” the case is made to make better use of
freight railways as vital components of the region’s economic and environmental competitiveness. The report recommends a rail corridor
roundtable made up of government and industry stakeholders to “get this overdue process rolling.”
Phase 2 of Oxford County’s plan to become a fully accessible electric vehicle (EV) community was
shared in February 2018. The Oxford
County Feasibility Study, which builds on the Electric Vehicle Accessibility Plan (2016),
recommends numbers and locations of additional charging stations to meet estimated EV growth in Oxford County, which is
predicted to be as high as 25% (5,000 vehicles) in the coming years. The report’s research, maps and location
were made available to help guide area municipalities and private businesses in deciding where to best locate
electric vehicle chargers. In 2018, Oxford County installed EV charging stations in Tillsonburg and Thamesford
drawing on funds from the Electric Vehicle Charge Ontario program. Approximately 40 public and private EV charging ports have been installed at over 20 locations across Oxford County.
Oxford County’s updated 100% Renewable Energy Plan was released in June 2018, detailing the activities and
commitments the County is making to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The County’s strategy focuses on moving
away from fossil fuel dependency to renewable energy forms for building design, municipal vehicle fleet and
more. In 2015 Oxford County became the second municipality in Canada and the first in Ontario to commit
to “100% RE.”
In June 2018, after a year of study, Oxford County presented to the community its preferred technology to recover and
divert up to 90% of waste otherwise destined for landfill. “Enhanced Material Recovery and Biological Treatment” uses
proven technology to separate organics from garbage collection then process to produce biogas, biosolids or compost
materials. Recyclable or recoverable materials like metals, plastics, construction and demolition materials would also
separated out from waste collection and sold or distributed. The technology has the potential to extend the life of the
municipal landfill from 2043 to 2079 while presenting a more sustainable option for our environment. The community was
invited to give thoughts and input
on the proposed technology through an online comment form,
drop-in session, or the public meeting with webinar capability. The community-led Zero Waste Oxford committee has
been working with County staff to research and assess different waste technology options.
The third and final report out of the community wellbeing work undertaken by the County with the Canadian Index of
Wellbeing (at University of Waterloo) was released in April 2018.
A Profile of Wellbeing in Oxford County
compares wellbeing measures for Oxford County to those of western Ontario, Ontario as a whole, and Canada.
The 2016 Oxford County Community Wellbeing Survey report,
led by Community Oxford,
assessed Oxford’s wellbeing on a number of “domains,” including healthy populations, education, living standards and more.
Seven months after County Council’s declaration to eliminate poverty, Oxford’s community partners released the
Draft Zero Poverty Plan
in June 2018. Among its recommendations, the plan advocates for the integration of poverty reduction strategies
across sectors, for instance, addressing housing by addressing health, mental health and addictions in the community.
Eliminating poverty in Oxford County is a long-term vision that supports the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan.
"Delivering the Vision: Strategic Plan Progress Report, 2015-2018"
was released in fall 2018 to report back to the community on the accomplishments of the concluding four-year Council term.
The publication highlighted programs and initiatives ranging from Oxford Fresh and long-term care best practices to the
County’s ongoing commitments and actions to support the
Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan.
In November 2018, the Oxford County Archives published its commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI,
"Honouring Oxford: The Cenotaphs and Memorials of the Great War."
The project included an online exhibit and interactive map that helps readers navigate the stories behind the memorials and find their locations in the County.
In October 2018, Oxford County’s Indigenous Advisory Committee hosted its second annual Fall Social Gathering to
celebrate unique indigenous culture in Oxford County. The event featured family activities, information, and
representation from local Indigenous groups, including N’Amerind Friendship Centre, Six Nations Health Services,
and Metis Nation of Ontario.
Oxford County partnered with Future Oxford in May 2018 to host an information session on Passive House standard for
local developers, builders, architects and residents with interest in energy-efficient housing. Passive House homes
and buildings use up to 90% less energy than traditional ones by heating houses “passively” through solar energy,
internal heat sources and heat recovery. Oxford County requires bids for new affordable housing developments to
incorporate Passive House principles.
In June 2018, Oxford County Library launched
a community-wide reading initiative designed to encourage reading and discussion through a
featured work of Canadian literature. In its inaugural year, Oxford Reads highlighted The Purchase,
by Linda Spalding, with all 14 library branches offering special programming to explore the book’s
diverse themes. Oxford County Library capped off the 2018 edition of Oxford Reads with a gala event
in the fall featuring the author.
Woodingford Lodge residents partnered with family, friends, volunteers, and staff in June 2018 to take a
lap around the Woodstock site in support of Woodstock Hospital’s Dairy Capital Run. Approximately 45
costumed participants took part in the inaugural Roll & Stroll event, which raised more than $2,000 for
the hospital’s annual campaign.
Officially opened in June 2018, the new Waste Management & Education Centre embodies the County’s 100% RE commitment
and zero waste goal. The centre is a cutting edge, net-zero energy facility that includes a solar photovoltaic system that is designed to
generate as much electricity as the building consumes on a yearly basis. The building includes an education centre that offers interactive displays about environmental sustainability, renewable energy and zero waste.
Improvements to the Ingersoll Wastewater Treatment Plant completed in 2018 expanded wastewater treatment
capacity and added new effluent outfall while making accommodations for future growth in the community.
The project required a complex phasing strategy to ensure older infrastructure remained operational while
the new plant components were brought online. The project received the 2018 Project of the Year – Historic restoration / Preservation award by the Ontario Public Works Association.
In spring 2018, developers for Oxford County began demolition at
373 Blossom Park Road
in Woodstock to make
room for a new affordable housing complex owned and operated by Indwell Community Homes. The new development
includes 34 affordable rental units designed for individuals who need support services to remain in stable
housing. Blossom Park is the first multi-residential development in Oxford County built to achieve Passive
House standard, offering significant energy savings for tenants and reduced emissions.
Starting in January 2018, Oxford County Library eliminated overdue fines on regular library items for a one-year trial period.
The move was an effort to remove a potential barrier for individuals and families who struggle with the impact of fines, thereby
supporting the County’s commitment to reducing poverty through removing barriers. Due to the trial’s success the Library has
since eliminated overdue fines permanently.
A team at Woodingford Lodge worked to develop an innovative new program that supports future residents and their
families as they prepare for, and transition to, long-term care. Through the program-- the first of its kind in
Canada-- the Woodingford Lodge team works with families before a new resident’s move-in day to help ease common
stressors, depression and behaviours.
Oxford County’s new woodlands conservation by-law was approved in June 2018
after nearly two years of consultation, study and refinement. The by-law was
updated to ensure the County is able to sustain its natural heritage resources;
use good forestry practices; enhance biodiversity and forest resilience;
and enhance the social, economic and environmental value of its woodlands.
In November 2018, County Council adopted a new framework to manage psychological health and safety in the workplace.
The framework, which includes a new policy and handbook, guides the programs and resources offered by Oxford County
that contribute to positive workplace mental health. The new psychological health and safety framework is a key deliverable
from the "2018-2020 Our People, Our Strength"
plan and enhances the County’s overarching occupational health and safety program.
Woodingford Lodge partnered with the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario in 2018 to create a training
on reporting elder abuse and neglect and whistleblower protection legislation. The video supplements other RNAO training resources for health professionals on preventing and addressing the abuse and neglect of older adults, and of the moral, ethical and legal imperatives for doing so.
In 2018, a cross-functional team at Oxford County began work on updating the County’s patchwork of workforce management systems. The new myCloud system is a mobile-friendly, self-service, real-time tool that will, on full implementation, offer access to work schedules, facilitate payroll processing, and perform other functions for the County’s more than 800 employees.
General Revenue $129,643,279
Other Sources $27,533,933
Property Taxes $62,023,262
*excludes households not connected to water and wastewater
**excludes Woodstock households