Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario, Oxford County is home to approximately 121,000 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.
Releasing the 2019 Annual Report during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic gives perspective as we reflect on the past year. The strength of our relationships and the resiliency of our community, however, continues to see us through.
A key area of focus in 2019 for Oxford County was the provincial Regional Government Review. Oxford County was one of eight regional governments, along with Simcoe County, that were a part of this process. Although the Province ultimately decided not to reconfigure regional governments, Oxford’s municipalities demonstrated again how the uniqueness of our government structure works for us. Warden, Mayors and CAOs worked together to initiate Oxford’s own service delivery review, with a focus on finding opportunities to work together more efficiently. This work continues into 2020.
Oxford County’s strongest accomplishment in 2019 were shared successes with our partners. These included hosting a forum for Ontario’s municipalities to find solutions to the housing crisis; opening Blossom Park, Oxford’s first multi-residential housing development built to Passive House energy standards; and the launch of the Family Transition Program, the first program of its kind in Canada, that helps adults and their families prepare for living in long-term care.
Looking to the year ahead, there is no doubt that the current pandemic will figure prominently in our plans, from helping the local economy recover to adapting our operations to a "new normal" and working to mitigate the financial impacts through our budget planning process. For this, we will depend on the everyday efforts of our employees, who we are acknowledging through the 2019 Annual Report photographic theme.
To all, thank you for supporting our journey. Stay healthy and safe.
Warden, Oxford County
Peter Crockett, P. Eng.
Chief Administrative Officer
Interim Chief Administrative Officer
Oxford County’s 2019 total budget of $220.9 million delivered a range of services to support the County’s commitment to service excellence and improved quality of life and wellbeing for current and future generations.
The 2019 year ended with an operating budget surplus of $2.9 million. This surplus was the result of a number of factors including investment income, property assessment growth, increased long term care resident rates, and salaries and benefits related to vacancies and deferred hires due to the unanticipated Provincial regional and Oxford’s joint municipal services delivery reviews.
In January 2019, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced that the Province was undertaking a review of regional government, including Oxford County, to ensure that the upper and lower tier municipalities within the regions were efficient and accountable for their residents and businesses. In the fall of 2019, the two appointed expert advisors delivered their mandate to the Minister. Throughout the extensive review, the government heard that local communities should decide what is best for them in terms of governance, decision-making and service delivery. After careful consideration of the feedback received through the course of the review, the government released a statement indicating that it stands firm in its commitment to partnering with municipalities without pursuing a top-down approach and will provide municipalities with the resources to support local decision-making.
To assist municipalities in lowering their costs and improving services for local residents over the long term, the province committed $143 million for all municipalities. The population based formula resulted in Oxford County receiving $725,000. As a first step in determining how best to invest these funds in keeping with the Province’s intent, the County participated with all eight of its area municipalities in conducting an in-depth service delivery review that was received by Councils in mid-2020. The results of that review and ongoing collaboration will assist in determining the use of those funds in 2020-2021.
Overall, the County’s Audited Financial Statements, supported by positive measures and indicators as set out in its Long Term Financial Sustainability Plan (Council Report CS 2020-27), 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 and position the County well for the effects of the unanticipated coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization prompting the Government of Ontario to declare a state of emergency on March 17, 2020. As we continue to assess the effects that this unprecedented event is imposing on municipal services and the Provincial Government’s supports that municipalities have relied on in the past, we will be concentrating our collective efforts on addressing identified needs of the community in a methodical prioritized recovery plan designed to responsibly lead Oxford’s economy to a renewed vibrant and resilient future – growing stronger together with our area municipal partners and community agencies.
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 725 children
subsidized public housing units
not-for-profit housing units
affordable housing units
paramedic call responses
long-term care beds
Oxford residents and families aided through financial assistance and employment supports
attendees of 3,744 programs
matters scheduled for Provincial Offences Court
bridges and culverts
of properties, land and facilities managed
Municipal water systems
serving 33,500 customers in 21 Oxford communities
Municipal Wastewater systems
serving 70,000 residents and businesses 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.
On February 7, Oxford County hosted an information session for municipalities and their community and business partners to explore solutions to the housing crisis. Housing: Let’s Get Into It was a full-day information session and workshop featuring speakers Jennifer Keesmaat, Graham Cubitt, Ryan Berlin and Lana Sim. With a focus on small urban and rural communities, participants explored how education and planning can help find the ideal range and mix of housing supply. Their ideas were captured in a toolkit published in March. Read more
In September 2019 Oxford County began its search for local partners for Circles, an intensive 18-24-month project designed to help lift County residents out of poverty. Aligned with the County’s Draft Zero Poverty Plan, it breaks down barriers and connects those needing assistance with middle-class support allies. Information about Circles is online at www.oxfordcountycircles.ca. Read more
A new laneway signage for farmers supports them in selling locally-grown produce directly to customers. Launched in March 2019 under the Oxford Fresh banner, the innovative program helps advertise businesses and makes them easier to locate, with the aim of further strengthening Oxford’s local economy. The initiative is a partnership between Tourism Oxford and the Oxford County Federation of Agriculture. Read more
In March 2019, to continue the goal of better Internet connectivity for underserved rural homes and businesses, County Council reinvested in SouthWestern Integrated Fibre Technology’s (SWIFT), setting the stage for the $8.2-million investment in Oxford announced March 2020. The County has been a key supporter of SWIFT over the past five years, investing $704,239 in that time with a return of nearly 12 to 1. Read more
After two years of extensive community consultation, Oxford County Council received the Master Transportation Plan for review and comment on April 24, 2019. Designed to guide the County’s strategy for safe, efficient and sustainable transportation infrastructure to 2038, the multi-modal plan focuses on all modes of transportation, including walking, cycling, public transportation, automobiles and motorcycles. The plan also supports provisions for freight/goods movement, agricultural mobility, corridor access management and low carbon transportation. Read more
May 11, 2019 marked the opening of the new Douglas Carr Trail in Ingersoll. Providing a safe cycling route between the CAMI Assembly Plant and other nearby employers to neighbouring residential areas, the project was supported by the Oxford County Cycling Advisory Committee and Ingersoll Safe Cycling Committee. It aligns with the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan and the County’s transportation strategy. Read more
The Phase 1 Comprehensive Review Study, adopted by County Council in April 2020, forecasts continued strong growth in population, households and employment in Oxford over the next 30 years. The study forecasts population growth from approximately 114,000 in 2016 to 161,000 by 2046, with most of the increase expected to occur in Woodstock, Tillsonburg, Ingersoll and the County’s serviced rural villages. Read more
In June 2019 County Council was updated on Oxford’s comprehensive 20-year Managed Forest Plan. The plan deals with three primary objectives: generating a sustainable supply of forest products and revenue from those products; managing forests to guard against flooding and erosion while protecting source water; and providing opportunities opportunities for recreation partnerships and wildlife habitat. Read more
Drawing on its demonstrated environmental leadership and action-- including commitments to zero waste, 100% renewable energy and low carbon transportation-- Oxford County submitted a response to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks environmental plan as a public report: Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan: Partnership Opportunities. In the January report, Oxford outlined opportunities for municipalities to pursue environmental projects in innovative ways that connect with Ontarians. Read the report
As part of Doors Open, Oxford County’s Indigenous Advisory Committee hosted its third annual free drop-in event in October to celebrate Indigenous culture in the region. With children’s activities, performances and exhibits, the function provided opportunities to learn about N’Amerind Friendship Centre, Native Women’s Centre and local Metis Councils. It offered perspectives and networking opportunities to explore Indigenous culture and traditions. Read more
In June, Oxford County Library announced its new mobile outreach unit, Ox on the Run, and mascot Ollie. Visiting fairs, festivals, parks, pools, seniors’ residences and more in the summer and early autumn, the unit offers Internet access, free online resources, workshops and demonstrations like robotics and e-learning and books. The pilot project tested the feasibility and interest in bringing Oxford County Library’s resources to those not always able to access the local library because of lack of transportation options or ability to visit during regular operating hours. Read more
In committing to "inform and engage" its citizens, Oxford County is committing to listening openly and with receptiveness to new or different ideas. Community consultation for the proposed draft water by-law from September to December 2019 drew the largest public response of the year, soliciting hundreds of comments, letters and survey submissions. The original consultation period was extended to allow for continued dialogue, with the County maintaining robust "questions and answers," providing background materials to help the public understand key changes, and publicly posting the concerns expressed. The comprehensive feedback collected for this initiative ultimately informed Council’s decision not to adapt the draft water by-law, demonstrating that the engagement process was underpinned by openness, transparency, and an effort to ensure Oxford’s citizens were heard. Read more
August 2019 marked the opening of Indwell’s Blossom Park, a 61-unit supportive housing complex in Woodstock that has been five years in the making. The development offers a mix of both low-support housing, for adults who live independently and can manage their daily living needs, and high-support housing for people who live independently but also require mental health and other supports. Oxford County supported the project through $1,026,475 in total funding in 2018 and 2019, with another $1,573,461 provided through federal and provincial funding. Construction of a 24-unit senior housing project on the Woodingford Lodge-Woodstock site also commenced in 2019, with an expected opening in 2021
In spring 2019, to help alleviate stress, depression and other behaviours related to moving into long-term care, a team at Oxford County’s Woodingford Lodge launched an innovative new transition program to support future residents and their families. The first of its kind in Canada, the Family Transition Program helps adults waiting for permanent placement into long-term care adjust to the experience before their first day of admission. Read more
In May 2019 Oxford County’s Woodingford Lodge became one of only 22 long-term care Ontario organizations to be designated a Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO) by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO). To achieve this, Woodingford Lodge implemented best practice guidelines in person and family-centred care; pain management; and preventing and addressing abuse and neglect of older adults. Read more
In October, Oxford County Paramedic Joseph Vandermeer received the Ontario Award for Paramedic Bravery. The prestigious honour recognizes paramedics displaying exceptional acts of courage either on-the-job or off-duty in the face of grave, personal danger. Joseph and his partner pulled a woman to safety along Highway 401 in Woodstock in June. Read more
October 30 was a night to remember for Tourism Oxford, with prestigious honours at the 2019 Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence for Culinary Tourism Event of the Year for Big Cheese Days and the Sustainable Tourism Award for a large organization. The first award recognizes Ontario-based festivals or events demonstrating commitment to showcasing local food and drink, while the second recognized Tourism Oxford’s efforts to educate consumers about green travel in the county and develop green tourism products like trail and outdoor maps, cycling routes and local food promotion. Read more
Oxford County’s centralized activities for national Take Our Kids to Work Day allow grade nine students to tour and observe many different County careers, encompassing paramedics, long-term care, waste management, water treatment, library and more. Human Resources moved to a centralized model for this popular day to provide meaningful workplace exposure for students and to inspire future generations of County employees. Read more
General Revenue $125,600,875
Other Sources $39,936,191
Property Taxes $63,390,493
*excludes households not connected to water and wastewater
**excludes Woodstock households