Growing Better Together: Council Strategic Priorities 2023-2026

Project status

86 per cent of identified projects supporting the four strategic priorities are in progress

The Council Strategic Priorities create a link between Niagara's population growth and the financial, social, economic and environmental requirements for building a sustainable future.

The priorities outline our vision, mission and guiding principles, and identify the strategic priorities, objectives and key actions staff will focus on to support our community needs, today and into the future.

  • Vision: Modern communities growing better together.
  • Mission: Niagara Region delivers service excellence through collaborative and innovative leadership.

By using the Council Strategic Priorities as our map and the strategic priorities operational teams as our guides, we can deliver service excellence through collaborative and innovative leadership.

In short, we can grow better together.

Strategic lenses

Every action under the plan is guided by four strategic lenses:

  • Diversity, equity, inclusion and Indigenous reconciliation
  • Innovation
  • Fiscal responsibility
  • Sustainability and climate change

We use these lenses when making decisions on projects, programs and services such as:

  • Purchasing supplies
  • Hiring staff / vendors / contractors
  • Interacting with the public
  • Planning projects
  • Executing services

Priority: Effective Region

To boost efficiency in Regional services.

  • Objectives and actions


    • 1.1 Implement continuous improvement and modernized processes to ensure value-for-money in Regional services and programs
    • 1.2 Explore and implement opportunities to improve service delivery outcomes through shared services
    • 1.3 Deliver fiscally responsible and sustainable core services
    • 1.4 Invest and support a skilled and aligned workforce at Niagara Region


  • Q1 2024 updates

    Shared Services Strategy

    The work on shared services addresses four underlying principles established by the area CAOs:

    • Serving the public good
    • Increasing efficiency and effectiveness
    • Improving customer service
    • Coordinating the use of resourcing and staffing

    In October 2023, PDS 30-2023 [add link] provided an update on the first phase of activities for shared services, including a building services review, identified opportunities for procurement process, policy governance review and expanding on joint procurement.

    In partnership with area CAOs, work has started on the building services review and joint procurement initiatives by outlining workplans, developed in collaboration with subject matter experts. An update on these projects, as well as other shared services work will be provided to the Planning and Economic Development Committee in April 2024.

    Human resource plan

    The launch of the People Plan aims to support employee's health and well-being while also providing opportunities and resources needed for growth.

    Activities focused on cultivating top talent and reducing employee turnover have started. These include, recognizing staff who advance diversity, equity and inclusion principles within their work. In 2023, eight staff were given an award in this category.

    A corporate learning calendar was promoted and made available to staff, to encourage employees and leaders to advance their skills, along with implementing leadership exploration pathways for non-leaders to understand potential career options. In Q3 / Q4 2024, an engagement survey will gather feedback from all Niagara Region staff and the benefits compensation review will be completed.

Priority: Green and Resilient Region

To protect and nurture an environment-friendly Niagara.

  • Objectives and actions


    • 2.1 Deliver operations and services in alignment with the Region's greenhouse gas emission target and climate change goals
    • 2.2 Partner with the local area municipalities and community organizations to advance climate change and resilience in Niagara
    • 2.3 Build resiliency into our infrastructure to support growth and prepare for the impacts of climate change


  • Q1 2024 updates

    Corporate Climate Change Action Plan

    The development of the Corporate Climate Change Action Plan is underway due to the successful selection of an external consultant and the creation of the internal cross-division corporate action plan sub-committee.

    The plan will provide the Region with short- and long-term strategies to align with meeting the corporate greenhouse gas emission reduction target of net-zero emissions by 2050. This includes actions for:

    • Energy reduction at corporate facilities
    • Wastewater treatment plants
    • Fleet vehicles
    • Street lighting
    • Policies and initiatives throughout our operations and service delivery

    A draft plan is aimed to be completed in Q2 2024, following that will be a presentation to Council in Q3 2024.

    Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan

    The 2019 to 2023 Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan has been completed and work is underway to create a new plan for 2024-2028.

    Achievements for the 2019-2023 plan include:

    • Establishing the Niagara Region Energy Working Group
    • Quarterly meetings with client groups to find energy reduction opportunities
    • Embedding energy reduction goals and guidelines into service level agreements with Regional departments
    • Establishing a LEED Silver minimum standard for new facility construction.

    These efforts helped to reduce energy use in corporate and long-term care buildings by 8 per cent combined electricity and natural gas reduction on a per square foot basis since 2018.

    The new plan will be developed in parallel with the Corporate Climate Change Action Plan and will help to define the goals for corporate energy and greenhouse gas reduction over the next five years.

    Development of a new Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan includes a comprehensive review of the progress made over the last five years (2019-2023). The goal is to have an updated plan, with an evaluation of past achievements and establishment of future targets, submitted to Committee in Q2 of 2024.

    From Q2-Q3 2024, staff will be working with consultants to develop a Pathway to Net Zero for eight to 12 corporate buildings, as well as, an in-depth feasibility study for deep carbon cutting measures at the Regional Headquarters. This includes a soil thermal conductivity test to confirm the feasibility of geothermal heating / cooling.

Priority: Equitable Region

To promote affordability with a diversity, equity and inclusion lens.

  • Objectives and actions


    • 3.1: Ensure the region is inclusive, welcoming and free of discrimination
    • 3.2: Support growth and development following Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022
    • 3.3: Improve access to affordable and attainable housing


  • Q1 2024 updates

    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan

    The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan reaches all Niagara Region staff and community members. It aims to build welcoming and inclusive communities and workplaces, while eliminating barriers.

    A new employee recognition category celebrated twenty staff who advanced diversity, equity and inclusion work in the organization or community. A community of practice was established in Niagara with over 100 members. The team also developed a learning curriculum for staff, councillors and volunteers.

    The development of a handbook is underway. This resource will help staff incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion into their daily work. It will provide advice in areas such as communication, leadership, and community engagement.

    Community Safety and Well-Being Plan

    The Community Safety and Well-Being Plan is working to improve responses to 911 calls involving mental health / addictions.

    In 2023, staff collected and analyzed data, reviewed identified pain points, and engaged in jurisdictional scans and a literature review to develop recommendations to improve 911 responses. On March 5, 2024, the COM 9-2024 CSWB 911 Action Table: Findings and Recommendations [add link] was put forward for consideration and approved at Committee.

    In collaboration with community agencies, the team devised a regionwide plan to expand the situation table model across all of Niagara. Table meetings meet regularly to identify community members who are at risk for crime or victimization and provide support before a crisis event occurs. The planning and implementation of the expansion plan includes 40 participating agencies across 12 sectors in a collective effort to use community resources more effectively.

    In October 2023, the first two tables were launched, including Table 1: Port Colborne, Wainfleet, Welland, Pelham, and Table 2: St. Catharines and Thorold.

    In January 2024, Table 3: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls and Fort Erie and Table 4: Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln launched. The Gun and Gang Prevention Strategy was drafted through the Building Safer Communities Fund.

    In September 2023, a call for grant applications was launched to mobilize the strategy and action the areas identified by the community. This resulted in nine agencies being supported in providing youth crime prevention and intervention programming throughout Niagara.

Priority: Prosperous Region

To promote economic welfare and a healthy business environment in Niagara.

  • Objectives and actions


    • 4.1 Attract and retain businesses, create jobs and support a skilled workforce in Niagara
    • 4.2 Build "Niagara" as a global brand and invest in the growth of its emerging sectors
    • 4.3 Invest and enhance access to transit, active transportation and other transportation systems in Niagara
    • 4.4 Be an effective and unified voice to advocate with senior governments on behalf of Niagara


  • Q1 2004 updates

    Economic Development Strategy

    The Economic Development Strategy outlines the goals and actions that will guide the Niagara Economic Development team to build a strong and sustainable economy for Niagara residents.

    A customer relationship management system has been procured and implemented for Niagara Economic Development. By leveraging the Microsoft Dynamics platform, staff can document customer interactions, track progress on open files, respond efficiently, prioritize opportunities and ensure succession.

    Niagara Economic Development, in partnership with the Workforce Collective, post-secondary institutions, Niagara Industrial Association and local employment agencies created the 'Workforce Coalition.' This coalition has developed a pilot project to identify and recruit the necessary skills and attract the required labour force in core and emerging sectors.

    Government Relations Strategy

    Throughout 2023, considerable efforts were made to be proactive in Niagara's government relations approach to ensure Regional priorities were showcased to upper levels of government.

    In addition to participating in annual advocacy initiatives, the Region continued to establish positive relationships with local partners and other levels of government, launched unique 'Growing Better Together' branding for the Region's core priorities and was proactive in hosting Niagara-specific advocacy events. These efforts helped bolster the Region's reputation as a municipal leader while demonstrating how Niagara is working to advance areas of mutual interest with the provincial and federal governments.

    To build off 2023 successes, pre-budget submissions were completed during provincial and federal consultations to reaffirm advocacy priorities in Q1.

    Preparations for Niagara Week taking place in Q2 are underway and efforts to streamline external grant opportunities across the organization is targeted for late Q3 early Q4.

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