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First Peoples Festival

Gold medals and Say Hi Buttons

ITS Tough Mudders

The Tree of Life, a public art project by Ernest Daetwyler, was dedicated at the Sunnyside campus on September 6, 2012. This permanent public art project is one of 11 installed at Region of Waterloo facilities through the public art program. Pictured here, the artist’s daughter plays in the sculpture.


Sunnyside Golf Tournament The 2012 Sunnyside Foundation Golf Tournament was held on September 10, 2012. The event was sold out and raised well over $19,000 for Sunnyside Seniors’ Services. Thanks to everyone who helped and participated. Pizza in the park On June 5, the Region of Waterloo’s Home Child Care program held a “Pizza in the Park” event for caregivers and families who use Home Child Care. See page 7 for details.

Mark Your Calendars

Sunnyside Health and Wellness Fair Saturday, October 20, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Heritage Hall, Sunnyside Seniors’ Services Campus.

Sunnyside Community Alzheimer Program Open House Tuesday, October 23, 2 - 4 p.m., 150 Main Street, Cambridge.

Sunnyside Foundation Bazaar Saturday, November 3, 2012, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Sunnyside Seniors’ Services Campus.

Calling all holiday-loving, party-planning volunteers! Are you a natural party planner? Love the holiday season? Have a knack for organizing events? The Region is looking for volunteers to sit on a planning committee for the 2012 Family Skating Party. Committee volunteers must be able to attend three meetings on October 12, November 9 and 30 from 2-3 p.m. Those interested can contact Jessica Voin at or ext. 3537 by October 10. Please confirm your interest with your supervisor/manager. Mark your calendars for this year’s Family Skating Party on Saturday, December 2.


Waterloo Region Museum TALKS Series Waterloo Region Museum announces the new TALKS Series that starts this fall. This engaging speaker series offers the opportunity to learn about diverse topics including various aspects of the past, present and future of Waterloo Region. This series takes place in the Christie Theatre in the Waterloo Region Museum. Single ticket price is $8 plus HST. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling 519-748-1914. A full series pass is $40 plus HST. Monday, Oct. 15, 1:30 p.m. Joanna Rickert-Hall, Tales of Humanity and Hardship: An examination of Early Black Migration in Waterloo-Wellington Counties Monday, Oct. 22, 1:30 p.m. Jane Britton, Becoming a Canadian: The Breithaupt Family Journey Monday, Oct. 29, 1:30 p.m. Sandra Joyce, The Street Arab – The Story of a British Home Child Monday, Nov. 5, 1:30 p.m. Jonathan Seiling, Mennonites and other Pioneers of Peace in the War of 1812 Monday, Nov. 12, 1:30 p.m. Cynthia Comacchio, Dancing to Perdition: Inventing the Teenager, 1920s - 1950s Monday, Nov. 19, 1:30 p.m. Mike Fich, Observing the Cold Universe Monday, Nov. 26, 1:30 p.m. Rych Mills, Ten Myths about Kitchener’s History Monday, Dec.3, 1:30 p.m. Ken MacLaughlin, Celebrating Berlin’s 1912 Achievement of Cityhood

For more information, visit or call 519-748-1914.

Staff Spotlight

Sheri Markle

Sheri joined the Region in July

as the Administrator of the Service First Call Centre.

Along with her husband,

son and daughter,

Sheri has a busy family life that includes hockey,

ringette and lacrosse.

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

Being a new Region employee, learning all the programs the Region offers has been quite a learning experience. Once I gain the knowledge and understand all the roles the Region plays, my role is to ensure that Service First Call Centre (SFCC) supports these departments the best we can. Most importantly we will be keeping a focus on providing an enhanced level of customer service to citizens. The rewarding part will be working with the team who represents the voice of the Region on our phone lines and maintaining a team-based approach between the SFCC and Regional departments.

What personal skills are essential to the work you do?

In the call centre business, high priorities are listening and resolving the request. They may sound simple, however, having your voice heard and then seeing action get taken on what was said is key to any positive

customer service interaction. I believe in a team environment and working together to get the job done has always made the road more enjoyable! What do you do to relax after a long day? You can find me at an arena somewhere. I’m an active coach, player and official with ringette and I make a pretty good hockey and lacrosse mom. Being with my family and friends is always top of the list. What is your favourite meal?

If it’s a BBQ and we can sit outside and enjoy the meal with a glass of red, I’m good! What is your favourite holiday and why? Christmas. I enjoy the time together with family and we usually get a couple sporting-event free days. If you could travel to one place, where would you go? Greece. I’m stuck with pictures of blue water and green hills with white houses.

Do you know someone who would like to be spotlighted? Do you have suggestions for new Spotlight questions? Email your ideas to

Region of Waterloo International Airport is getting busier

Statistics Canada ranked the Region of Waterloo International Airport as the 10th busiest airport in Canada for July 2012. The report tracks aircraft movements (a take off or a landing) and is used for measuring the workload of air traffic controllers, aircraft activity and runway utilization. The airport recorded 12,401 aircraft movements in July 2012, an average of 400 a day, the highest single month of activity in four years. In 2011, over

105,000 passengers travelled through the airport and in 2012 we are expecting passenger traffic to have increased by 25 per cent. The popularity of the airport is rising as word spreads about easy navigation, inexpensive parking and a variety of non-stop destinations. With new service to Chicago as well as flights to Calgary, Ottawa and Punta Cana, passengers are choosing to fly hassle-free from the Region of

Waterloo International Airport.

Some of the perks include complimentary baggage carts; free high-speed wireless internet, a licensed Aviator departure lounge café operated by Edelweiss, National, AVIS and Hertz car rentals on-site and parking for just $6 per day. No traffic jams or lost vehicles, just convenient, fast and friendly air service, close to home.


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

The biggest challenge of the job is prioritizing tasks as they arise and being able to multitask. The most rewarding part of my job is to see a campaign, or event come to fruition, and having the satisfaction of knowing you had a role to play in it.

Staff Spotlight

What personal skills are essential to the work you do?

Melissa Minshall

Melissa has been the Communications

Coordinator at the Region of Waterloo

International Airport since June 2012. She lives in Brantford.

The most important personal skill to have in my job is diplomacy. In conjunction with tact, it is imperative when engaging the public and working with the media. What do you do to relax after a long day? To relax after work I enjoy taking a spin class or Zumba at my gym.

First Peoples Festival

The inaugural First Peoples Festival is a showcase of First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures that takes place at the Waterloo Region Museum from September 30 to October 3. “There is a vibrant community of around 10,000 people of First Nations, Métis and Inuit heritage living in Waterloo Region and this new First Peoples Festival will create awareness and celebrate this wonderful culture”, said Dave Neufeld, Education Coordinator for the Waterloo Region Museum. The Festival begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday, September 30 with a smudging ceremony hosted by Elder, Jean Becker of Wilfrid Laurier University to help create a good attitude and positive frame of mind for this engaging festival. Traditional and not so traditional pow wow food favourites will be available for


What is your favourite meal?

Any meal that I didn’t have to cook myself!

What is your favourite holiday and why?

My favourite holiday is Thanksgiving. It’s a time with family, focusing on what we have rather than other holidays where we may be caught up in what we get.

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

If I could travel to one place it would be to Edmonton. My sister, brother-inlaw, four-year-old old nephew and one-year-old niece live there. I am rarely able to visit as much as I would like to.

purchase. An amazing schedule of performers and presenters will be featured at the festival. Tribal Visions Dance Group from Six Nations of the Grand, Métis fiddler, Rajan Anderson, Artists Naomi Smith, John Somosi, Kathryn Edgecombe, Rene Meshake and many others will have displays or present workshops on their art and craft work. Special funding has been generously provided by: The Friends of the Waterloo Region Museum, The Good Foundation, Archaeological Research Associates Ltd., and Archaeological Services Incorporated. For more information regarding the First Peoples Festival call 519-748-1914 or visit

Call Centre update

The new Service First Call Centre location was formerly announced in June and plans are underway for the design and furnishings of our new shared home at the Kitchener Operations Facility at 131 Goodrich Drive, Kitchener. Occupation of the new space will take place between this November and the New Year. Business Process Redesign One of the key success factors for customer service representatives (CSRs) working in the new call centre is the ability to respond to all inquiries. Operating departments also need to be prepared to respond to any specialist level calls transferred from the SFCC. Since April, all program areas with large call volumes have been identifying key responses to calls and documenting scripts that CSRs will use. Throughout the fall, the remaining program areas will document how their calls will be handled. Thanks to all staff for their involvement in this very essential process! Call Centre Operations To ensure excellent service, this group is developing new operating policies and procedures. Service agreements are being drafted to manage expectations between the SFCC and operating departments, and lastly, a business continuity plan is being drafted that will deliver the best

degree of service possible in case of emergencies such as power failures, system failures or external emergencies. Human Resources HR and the Union have continued to connect with staff impacted by the SFCC. Over the past few months, HR has provided job transition support to staff impacted by SFCC changes. The Administrator, two Supervisors and the Analyst for the SFCC were successfully recruited. Staff that will be transferred to work at the SFCC were brought together to meet their future coworkers and management. Other events such as site visits, training and pre-launch activities will be scheduled for staff transferring to the centre. Technology Installation of the new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software at the Region has begun. Training for SFCC and ITS staff on the CRM is expected to start in September 2012, training for CSRs and

department staff will occur in a phased rollout late this year and throughout 2013. Accessibility Matters: It is all about us! A dialogue about achieving inclusion for everyone The Region of Waterloo is an organization committed to improving access to Regional programs and services for citizens from diverse backgrounds. In order to understand the issues from specific community groups and develop solutions, the Region is partnering with community organizations to host a series of sessions called “Dialogues on Diversity�. The next in our series of Dialogues will focus on people with disabilities. Stay tuned for a focus on seniors, people living in poverty and inclusive data collection in 2013. Thursday, October 18 from noon - 4:30 p.m. To RSVP contact Lorie Fioze at 519-575-4758 or Vanessa Lopak at 575-4757 ext 3861.


Gold medals and Say Hi buttons . . . everyone wanted one at the 2012 Olympic games! The Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council’s “Say Hi” campaign connected people from all over the world to Waterloo Region at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. Local volunteer Kevin Doerr of Kitchener attended the Olympic games as a cameraman with the Olympic Host Broadcaster CTV. In his spare time he was our “Olympic Say Hi Guy” – a Say Hi ambassador who randomly greeted athletes, families, volunteers, locals and tourists by saying hi and giving them a Say Hi button. The Olympic spirit of goodwill, fellowship and respect exemplifies our local Say Hi campaign. More photos at

September 2012 Ontario Works Online Application Evaluation

In May 2011, Ontario’s Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) launched its Ontario Works online application system as part of an initiative to modernize delivery of the social assistance system. This provided Region of Waterloo residents who require financial assistance with an alternative method to apply for income support. One year after its launch, the Employment and Income Support division asked clients and staff about their experiences with online application services. Currently,


about six per cent of Ontario Works applications come through the online application service.

Citizens appreciated the convenience, staff response time and ease of use of the Ontario Works online application system. Their recurrent suggestion for improvement was easier access to the application page on the ministry website. This suggestion has been forwarded to staff at the MCSS. Staff noted that they understood their roles, had sufficient support resources and were confident in their ability to

provide proficient service to users of the online application system. Improved processes for clients requiring return phone calls were recommended by staff as a way to further improve this system. Recommendations from this evaluation will be implemented this fall. If you have questions or would like a copy of the evaluation report, please contact Curt Shoemaker at 519-883-2149 or

Dave Hordyk, Fazil Rasheed, Mark Theurer, Arlene and Ted McDonald, Matthew Coleman and Sherry Wagner (ITS) participated with over 15,000 people in The Tough Mudder adventure challenge at Mt. St. Louis in August.

ITS staff are Tough Mudders

Pizza in the Park

On June 5, the Region of Waterloo’s Home Child Care program held an event for caregivers and families who use Home Child Care. ‘Pizza in the Park’ was held at the new Kingsdale Community Centre and was attended by almost 400 children and adults. Families were invited to drop in after work and were treated to pizza and watermelon served by Home Child Care staff. Children played in the new splash pad and playground and used some innovative outdoor

The race consisted of 10 miles and 19 obstacles including crawling over Berlin walls, Everest (a ¼ pipe you had to run up), Kiss of mud (crawling under 12-inch barbed wire), monkey bars, cliff hanger (trying to get up a hill that is all mud), arctic enema (a container filled with ice cubes that you had to jump in), login (going over and under logs), walk the plank (jumping off a 15 foot plank into water) and running and crawling through electrical shock were a few of the obstacles. The course took us over four hours to complete and with some teamwork and encouragement we finished the obstacles with just a few cuts and bruises. Way to go team!

equipment recently purchased by Home Child Care. Students from Conestoga College’s Recreation Program volunteered to be on hand and organized children to play some co-operative circle games, parachute games and races. Home child care staff members used their creative talents and offered face painting to big and little children. The evening ended with a concert by Eric Traplin, who entertained everyone with his music and bubble machine.


This is a challenging time to be working in the public sector, and a challenging time for the Region of Waterloo. The federal and provincial governments are dealing with their debts and deficits by reducing programs and reducing their financial support for municipalities – including the Region of Waterloo. At the same time, the lingering effects of the recession are reducing the Region’s revenue sources and driving up the need for many of our services. So, like many governments, we are challenged to meet increased expectations and growing demands for service, with few, if any increases in resources. We recognize that all of you, our Regional employees, are the key to meeting these challenges. Now, more than ever, we need to continue to provide high quality, responsive services to the community. We also need to continue to build public trust and confidence by demonstrating the value of the work we do and the services we provide. To deal with the many challenges facing us and continue to strive for service excellence, we need to focus on the three elements that make up the “public service value chain”, namely: engaged and supported employees (people), citizen/customer satisfaction (service), and trust and confidence in government (trust). The more engaged and supported our staff feel, the better PEOPLE (Engaged Employees)

service they provide and the more satisfied citizens are with our services. This in turn improves the level of trust and confidence the public has in the Region. There are many initiatives underway in each of these three areas. A few of them are highlighted below. The Region’s Service Strategy has identified that there are a few key factors that most influence citizen/customer satisfaction with our services – timeliness, staff performance, ease of access, clear processes, and satisfactory outcomes. This strategy will provide tips and techniques that we can all use to improve service. The development of the Service First Call Centre is another way we’re working to improve service. We receive approximately 800,000 telephone calls a year and as we continue to grow, the call centre will allow us to provide more consistent, timely and responsive telephone service. Our second employee survey will take place in November. It will help us understand what is important to you in the workplace, what’s working well within this organization, and what areas we can improve on. The survey is part of our ongoing effort to improve employee engagement and employee satisfaction. Ultimately, this helps us provide better service to the public. As public servants, we are all here to provide good service to the public. No matter what kind of job you have here at the Region, you play an important role in providing service to our citizens

SERVICE (Citizen Satisfaction)

TRUST (Trust and confidence in Government)

and in building public trust and confidence. Please take the time to complete an employee survey in November and take a moment to think about what you can do to provide great service and build public trust in the Region.

The employee survey is coming! From November 13 to the 30, the Region will conduct its second employee survey. The survey will offer you a chance to provide your feedback on what is really important to you at work. Please complete the survey and help make this an even better place to work. For those with email access, you will receive an email on November 13 instructing you on how to complete the survey. For those without email access, you will receive a paper copy to fill out. Watch the portal and your work areas for more details. If you have questions about the employee survey, please contact Bev Aikenhead at or 519-575-4437.

Do you have a question for Mike? Send it to

Connections Oct. 2012  
Connections Oct. 2012  

Region of Waterloo employee newsletter