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Celebrating longservice employees


The Service First Call Centre team

Accessibility policy

Corrinne Bernard (IT), Santa and John Prno (EMS). Reid and Sydney, son and daughter of Wayne Brabazon (Water Services). Tanya Mundy (Public Health) and family. Brooke and Samantha, daughters of Ian Taylor (Water Services).


The annual Family Christmas Skating Party was held at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on December 1, 2012.

More Skating Party photos Top photo: Scott King (Facilities) with son, Nathan and daughter, Hayley. Left: Damian, grandson of Muriel Vandepol (Public Health).

Watch for Region News coming to your mailbox in mid-February 2013.

United Way campaign As of December 5, the Region’s annual United Way campaign raised an impressive $210,724 in donations and $4,195.79 in special events. Some of this year’s events included pizza lunches at several locations, the annual pumpkin carving contest at AHQ, dressing up Commissioners for dollars at AHQ, pyjama day at AHQ, ‘Lee in Jail’ at 150 Main St., David vs. David at 99 Regina Street, and a viewing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” in Council Chambers. The members of the Region of Waterloo United Way Cabinet, on behalf of all the children, youth, families and seniors who will benefit, thank you for your generous support!


Sign up for the new monthly Waterloo Region Museum eNewsletter Waterloo Region Museum information, events and photos direct to your inbox! Simply visit our website at and click on the eNews icon located in the website footer at the bottom and follow instructions.

Staff Spotlight

Matt Pearson

Matt joined the Region in June of this year and is one of two Supervisors for the Service First Call Centre. Prior to joining the Region, Matt spent several years at RIM, first with the Quality Assurance team in Customer support, then later with IT managing tools related to call recording, evaluation and reporting. Beyond work, he loves spending time with his wife, Alison, and their three-year-old son, Dashiel.

What do you consider the biggest challenge in your job? What is the most rewarding?

These are actually the same. It’s a big challenge for our team to create all of the new processes and tools that are needed to launch a call centre for the Region, but it is also very rewarding to see that we’re creating something new that will help residents of the Region. I would also say the opportunity to work with such great people is extremely rewarding; in addition to focusing on the Service First Call Centre, I also support the Citizen Service Associates at each of our main Region offices. Lisa, Veronica and Lorie are an incredible help for someone like me who is new to working at the Region since they have been able to point me to all the right people and groups I need. What personal skills are essential to the work you do?

I believe that it’s key for anyone working in a service position to have a real interest in helping others. I always love to learn about what people in the Region are looking for and how we as an organization have an impact on so many people’s day to day lives. It’s important to be flexible and open to different ideas and perspectives as well.

Congratulations all around! Region of Waterloo employees (L to R) Alyssa Bridge and Anne Fitzpatrick are the latest regional staff members to earn their full Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) and Registered Professional Planners distinction, enabling them to advance their professional development in their role as Planners.

What do you do to relax after a long day?

I really like to go home and spend time with my family. I’m a big reader so I like it when we visit the library a lot. I enjoy cooking and puttering around the house on projects, or relaxing with a good movie. What is your favourite meal?

This is tricky. If I’m cooking, I like anything that lets me get creative and possibly try different options. At this time of year a good roast or something savoury in the slow cooker is always good. If we’re out to eat, I like to have some variety. The Tuesday Tapas night at Uptown 21 is great because it’s always a surprise. What is your favourite holiday and why?

I love Christmas. It’s always great to get a break where you can focus on family and enjoying each other’s company.

If you could travel to one place, where would you go?

I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot and see a lot of different places around the world. If I was leaving today, I would probably go someplace alpine in Europe like Austria, Germany, or Switzerland. Scandinavia would be great to see as well some day.

Congratulations to Children’s Services and Waste Management. Children’s Services has received a grant totalling $50,000 to support the work of the Children’s Planning Table and development of an Early Years System Plan over the next two years. Waste Management is the recipient of the Recycling Council of Ontario’s 2012 Ontario Waste Minimization Municipal Communication GOLD Award. The award is in recognition of excellence and commitment to a sustainable environment.


Rick Torek Fundraiser

On August 15, friends of Rick Torek organized a fundraiser at the Grand Valley Golf Course. For those who don’t know, Rick was a Lead Hand for the roads department for 30 years. In November 2010, Rick finally decided to retire to relax and enjoy life with his wife, kids and grandkids. Life was not fair to our friend, however, as he suffered a crippling stroke which left him in a wheelchair and in need of ongoing and expensive rehabilitation. This event forever changed many peoples’ attitudes towards the importance of a work/family-life balance. On August 15, 174 people turned out for Rick’s fundraiser, which included 18 holes of golf, dinner and an overwhelming number of donations for the raffle table. It was also a fantastic surprise when Rick’s son and daughter arranged for special transport so Rick could attend and participate. Thanks to all of the generous donations, we were able to raise over $9,000 for Rick and his family! Finally, a special thank you to the Grand Valley Golf Course for their support and generosity, without their support, this would not have happened.

Sharing helps us learn. The Region is implementing a safety management system designed to help people identify safety risks and look out for each other. But one of the best ways to create a safe work environment is to talk about it. Everyone is expected to contribute to continuous safety improvements; whether it’s raising a safety concern to your supervisor, creating a safety solution, joining a Risk Management Team or sharing information about your job, it could prevent an accident or injury. Start talking about safety today. Discuss the safety risks in your area and what you will be doing to help employees, contractors, visitors and students be safe. The following promising practice


Safety Talks

safety management system • plan • do • check • act •

is an excellent way to promote a positive safety culture at the Region. At the beginning of each meeting, our team takes a few minutes to talk about safety. Anyone can comment on any topic – at work or outside work. The safety topics are drawn from experiences, recent events, relevant articles or questions raised by team members. So far we’ve discussed how to handle a situation when

someone’s asking to be let in to a secured building entrance, what to do about items left unattended in public areas, scraping our windows when frost hits so we have good visibility and even checking our small kitchen fire extinguishers. Our safety talks don’t take long but have raised awareness of safety improvements we might not have thought of. We plan to make a few changes that will make us all a little safer and will continue to take a moment at the beginning of each meeting to talk safety. Start talking about safety with your coworkers. Christa Webster – 99 Regina

Service First Call Centre building

The initial call centre team is in the building. The first five members of the Service First Call Centre (SFCC) staff are now located at the Goodrich Drive building in Kitchener and are busy preparing for the first steps of operation. This is an opportunity to find out how the call centre will work, what it will look like and how it affects everyone else.

Who is the SFCC team? Over the past several months we have been building an SFCC team with internal and external staff. Sheri Markle will lead the SFCC team and operations. Matt Pearson and Zaman Alkhafagi will have multiple responsibilities from coaching and daily supervision to ensuring content is up to date by liaising with program area representatives. Greg Clarke and Chris Hobden will be working with the team to support the development of

content and will spend much of their time configuring call information into our CRM software; training staff and running reports to track the activities of the SFCC.

How will it work? Program areas are providing the information required to answer all general inquiry calls on their behalf. The steps required to answer a specific type of call are documented in a process map. The specific questions and answers are documented in scripts. For example, waste management has a common process to respond to general inquiry calls; however, there are hundreds of topics that require a script. Process maps and scripts have been created for all major call volume areas. This includes 140 process maps and over 1,400 scripts thus far. The software can provide directions to staff that lets them know how to respond and can direct them to the exact information needed at each step. Information will be pulled from existing websites, DOCS documents and other resources.

What’s my role? If call centre staff are relying on existing information to answer questions, it will be critical that

service information be kept up-todate. Over the next year you will be asked to identify all subject matter experts in your area. These experts will be asked to assign a back up so we can make sure the call is answered. Always change your voicemail so we know when you aren’t there. Lastly, tell us how we’re doing – if you’re getting misdirected calls we need to know so we can fix it.

Benefits to the public and the organization • One clear point of access by phone – 24/7. • Response to issues at a first point of contact the majority of the time (80 per cent) and redirection to the correct individual for all expert level responses the rest of the time (20 per cent). • Fewer abandoned calls, call backs, misdirects and complaints as well as increased ability to track, report on and respond to calls across the organization.


Accessibility Matters: Dialogue on Diversity On October 18, 2012, the Region of Waterloo organized its fourth Dialogue on Diversity in collaboration with various community partners. The Dialogues on Diversity are part of the Region’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, a three year plan with short and long term activities to increase the inclusiveness of our programs and services. The Dialogue in October, entitled Accessibility Matters, focused on topics that are important in the lives of people with disabilities, caregivers and service providers. The purpose of the session was to facilitate a conversation about how we all can make our community more inclusive and supportive. Some of the key messages that came out of the Dialogue on Diversity include:

Identifying, removing and preventing barriers – The Region of Waterloo’s Accessibility Policy 10.3

• It is important to put the person first, not their label. See what is possible: the skills, abilities, resilience and strength. • We need to increase awareness and address our attitudes if we want a truly accessible society. • The responsibility for ensuring accessible services lies with the service provider, not the person accessing the service. • Creating an accessible and inclusive event or meeting can mean bringing in specialized equipment and resources to ensure everyone can participate. The next Dialogue on Diversity will focus on topics related to seniors. Stay tuned to the employee portal for more details.

The Region of Waterloo’s Accessibility Policy is now available on the portal under the Procedures and Policy tab. The policy meets the needs of all current AODA standards by integrating the requirements of the Integrated Accessibility Standard with the existing Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Policy. The Accessibility policy is available in alternate formats upon request. For more information, please contact Gina Hickman, Service Planning Associate at or x3861.

Celebrating long-service employees at the 2012 Employee Recognition Dinner

This November, about 400 Regional staff gathered at the Waterloo Inn to honour our long-service employees and recent retirees at the annual recognition dinner. Congratulations to all of the employees who have been with us for 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and even 40 years as well as all of our retirees. Your dedication and hard work have helped to make this community what it is today. Thank you for all you have done for the Region of Waterloo.


Run away and join the circus!


New exhibit opens at Waterloo Region Museum on Saturday, Feb. 9 through Sunday, May 5. Circus! Science under the Big Top immerses visitors in the illusion, reality, magic and science of the circus. Visitors will get a behind-the-Big-Top view of the acts that have perplexed, mystified and entertained generations of circus-goers. More than 20 interactive activities show how science is at the heart of the circus, Including: • Cross a high wire cable strung three metres above the ground safely strapped into a harness. • Shoot projectiles from a cannon using a hand pump to hit a target. • Take to center-ring and learn to juggle, spin plates, and dress up as a favourite circus performer or animal.

While salt helps make winter safer, it’s only part of the answer. Do your part to stay safe while helping reduce salt’s impact on our environment. Give winter the boot. Protect yourself from slips and falls by wearing sturdy footwear designed for snow and ice. Look for winter boots with low, wide heels and solid treads that grip without clogging with snow. Check out additional winter tips and our handy checklist of what to look for when purchasing winter boots by going to And come join the conversation on Facebook at

• Tickle the imagination with facts on the science of giggling and laughter in Clown Alley. • Younger children, along with family and friends, can role-play, dress up, and play make-believe in the Creative Costume and Play Area. For more information, visit or call 519-748-1914.

Employee Survey Success

Thanks to everyone who helped make the Region an even better place to work. With a 65 per cent response rate on the 2012 employee survey, the Region will be able to determine what is working well within our organization and what needs improvement. We’re committed to creating a positive work environment for employees. The information from the survey will be used to enhance employee engagement and help employees provide excellent services. Employees are critical to everything we do, which is why we needed to find out what’s important to you at work and what has changed since the last survey so new improvements can be made. Reaching 3,000 employees is no easy

task. The worksite action teams are to be commended for their creativity and dedication to promoting this year’s survey. Some team members also sit on the employee survey committee – a group of employees who provide input into the survey questions, activities and promotions as representatives of their area. A big thank you to all of these individuals for their contribution. Lastly, we’d like to thank everyone who played a part in promoting, implementing or simply doing the survey. Know that your voice counted and will help shape decision-making at the Region. Corporate results will be released and communicated in late winter/early spring. Stay tuned.

The following employees were prize winners for completing the survey. The final list of prize winners will be posted on the portal and worksite bulletin boards. Rana Alsafi Patrick Barker Tammy Cash Sharon Charbonneau Mary Denomme Steve Huebner Sadia Khan Stephen Mann Kevan Marshall Patricia Maxwell Barbara May Matt Smith Richard Soutcote Kathy Taylor Cheryl White


It has been a busy year here at the Region of Waterloo! We’ve made tremendous progress on many significant initiatives, while dealing with challenging economic circumstances, and rapid change globally, nationally and provincially. One of our biggest challenges this year has been developing the Region’s 2013 budget. The lingering effects of the recession resulted in decreased revenues in some Regional programs, and increased costs in other areas. The Province has also reduced funding for a number of social service programs, resulting in pressures for

the Region to increase funding for these programs. Staff have done an excellent job of finding savings and efficiencies to help offset some of these budget increases. We have also identified a number of options for Regional Council to consider as they finalize the budget in mid-January. These options include additional funding for some programs, and minor reductions in other areas. The overall goal will be to continue to meet the community’s growing needs, with affordable property tax increases. Given all of these changes and challenges, we need to ensure that we continue to provide excellent service, and that our citizens continue to receive great value for their tax dollars.

thank all of you for your continued hard word, your dedication to providing excellent service, and for the difference you continue to make in the community. The year ahead promises to be a busy and exciting one, kicking off with the release of the mid-term 2011-2014 Strategic Plan Progress Report in January; the internal launch of the Service First Call Centre in February; the results of the Employee Survey in March/April, and continued progress on our Rapid Transit project. Happy New Year and see you in 2013!

Do you have a question for Mike? Send it to

See our progress for yourself!

In January 2013, the Region will officially launch its mid-term Strategic Plan progress report to the community.

Over the last two years, significant progress has been made on the strategic objectives and actions set out in the 2011-2014 Strategic Plan. This progress has been made despite continued challenging economic times that are reducing the Region’s revenue sources and driving up need for many Regional services. Together, the Region is delivering on the five key focus areas outlined in the Plan, including:

As we embark on a new year, I want to

• Environmental Sustainability • Growth Management and Prosperity • Sustainable Transportation • Healthy and Inclusive Communities • Service Excellence

Every employee has an important role to play in achieving the strategic plan goals. The progress we are making today helps to build public trust and demonstrates the value of the services we provide to the community. See our progress for yourself! Visit to learn about specific actions the Region is taking to make

Waterloo Region an inclusive, thriving and sustainable community.

Connections Dec. 2012  

Connections is an newsletter for Region of Waterloo employees.

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