Regional Public Health Unit releases video - some are quite lengthy

News 100 redBy Staff

April 23, 2021



The Halton Region Public Health Unit released the follow:

Getting our community vaccinated and protecting our most vulnerable residents from COVID-19 continues to be Halton Region’s top priority. As of Thursday, April 22, 2021, 158,938 doses have been administered in Halton to priority populations identified by the Province. This represents about 30 per cent of Halton’s population who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Our vaccination status dashboard is updated Monday to Friday between 12 and 2 p.m. Please click here to view the full dashboard.

Our team would also like to share the following videos:
• April 21 COVID-19 Vaccine Safety from Dr. Hamidah Meghani      4:06 minutes
• April 21 COVID-19 Council update from Halton Region Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deepika Lobo   9:34 minutes
• April 21 COVID-19 Vaccine Council update from Halton Region Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Joana Oda and CAO Jane MacCaskill    25:53 minutes

Editor’s note: Keeping a public informed is vital; using video is often better than something written – putting out a video that is close to half an hour long is vert poor communications practice.

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Public school board hosting Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 21st, 2021



anxious person

Halton District School Board – Supporting positive mental health and well-being.

The Halton District School Board is hosting more than 15 Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions for parents/guardians, with the first session held on April 27 and others scheduled throughout the month of May. These sessions will cover specific topics based on feedback from parents/guardians through a survey sent earlier this year. Each will be led by a mental health expert in that area who will share their knowledge and provide helpful information and resources.

Session presenters will include HDSB staff and mental health experts from local community organizations including Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK), ADAPT, Danielle’s Place, National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC), Eat2Grow, CHM Therapy Services, Halton Support Services, Developmental Services of Ontario, Mental Health and Addiction Nurses, Roots Community Services, and Bayridge Counselling Centres.

To Register CLICK HERE

Session topics include:
Healthy eating, body image, eating disorders
• Self-regulation and emotional well-being
• Substance use, vaping, online/video gaming
• Supporting children with learning disabilities
• Social isolation and connectedness for 2SLGBTQ+ youth
• Impact of COVID-19 and racism for Black identifying families
• Staying engaged during online learning
• Anxiety
• Psychiatric medications

Registration is required for these sessions as limited spots are available. Parents/guardians can register by completing the Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions Registration Form. Sessions will be held on Google Meet or Zoom (depending on the session) and registrants will be emailed a link to access the session. Sessions will not be recorded.

Parents/guardians will have the opportunity to submit questions when completing the registration form or during the session.

The Board’s new Mental Health & Well-Being webpage has information for parents/guardians and students on mental health, ways to support positive mental health and well-being and how to get additional support at school and in the community.

Mental health postcard


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Leading American newspaper takes a look at how Canada has handled the pandemic

background graphic redBy Sarah Miller Liana

April 21st, 2021


Reprinted from the Christian Science Monitor

The headline read:

‘Humbling’: Canada’s self-image slides in pandemic as US rebounds

Last year, as the first wave of the pandemic waned, Canadians were grieving from the toll of it all. Yet they were also relatively grateful – especially as they looked at their neighbor to the south.

Christian Science MonitorThe pandemic amplified all the things Canada lauds itself for when it compares itself with the United States – as a nation that is a fraction of the size of the powerhouse next door often does. Its universal health care, a functional government, a communal spirit, and a rule-abiding culture were held up as reasons that case numbers stayed reasonably low. The U.S., meanwhile, bickered about masks and whether the virus was a hoax as cases surpassed anywhere else in the world.

Now Canada finds itself amid a daunting third wave. And as the U.S. has flexed its muscle in an ambitious inoculation campaign, a counter-narrative is emerging among some Canadians that finds them unsettled but also humbled. It underscores a national inclination toward comparative assessment that can often blind the country to its own shortcomings on everything from gun violence to racism to health care – and make it too hard on both the U.S. and itself.

For months, Canada looked at the U.S. pandemic response and felt a sense of superiority. But now the narrative has flipped, and it’s pointing to the danger of building a sense of self-worth on comparisons.

“A year ago it was all about how America breaks the rules … while we are a ‘play by rules crowd,’” says Michael Adams, the president of the Environics Institute, which measures Canadian attitudes. Now the narrative centers around just how much of a global leader in science, manufacturing, and distribution the U.S. is while Canada waits.

“You need a balanced view,” he says. “We – the world and Canada at the head of the list – are benefiting from American innovation and an American can-do philosophy. You can’t just look at America through all the problems they have.”

For the first time, as the world enters year two of the pandemic, Canada has surpassed the U.S. on a per capita basis for the number of new COVID-19 cases, shaking its sense that its compliant culture or commitment to public health would protect it from the worst playing out south of the border.

Today, while many Americans start traveling and tasting a return to normalcy, many parts of Canada have entered their darkest moment. British Columbia has issued a “circuit breaker” shutdown. Quebec extended a months long curfew, ordering residents home by 8 p.m. in some cities like Montreal, leading to protests there.

Ontario, where 40% of Canadians live, has been hardest hit. This week it announced it was shuttering schools indefinitely. Hospitals have canceled all but emergency surgeries for the first time since March 2020 and are preparing field hospitals as record cases wallop the province.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has been far faster at providing shots to those who want them, with 38% of Americans receiving one dose versus 22% of Canadians. Canada is dependent on global supply chains for its doses, and is hoping to get more surplus from the U.S. All this feeds directly into Canadian perceptions of how they stand next to the U.S.

Aisles of non-essential goods are cordoned off at a Walmart store, as new measures are imposed on big-box stores due to the pandemic, in Toronto, April 8, 2021.

Randy B

Randy Boyagoda: professor of English at the University of Toronto

“Canadians define themselves against the United States, and did so perhaps with greater satisfaction and justification over the past four years, and in particular during the dramatic playing out of the pandemic over the past year,” says Randy Boyagoda, a Canadian novelist and professor of English at the University of Toronto. “Now Canadians are forced to reconsider one of the fundamental features of their self-understanding.”

The founding idea of Canada lies in “peace, order, and good government.” Dr. Boyagoda saw proof of that reiterated in the orderly, yet slower, vaccine rollout where he is in Ontario. But is orderly always the best way forward if it gets in the way of dynamism and speed? “Eight months ago, we were taking great satisfaction in not having the same public health situation as in the United States. I think right now we take less satisfaction.”

The current situation is just a snapshot in time; Canada’s per capita death toll is still only a third of that of its neighbor. But the reversal comes as a punch, particularly because it involves health, one area where Canadians overwhelmingly agree their model is superior to the market approach taken in the U.S.

Kate Snider, a high school student in Toronto, is a Canadian American contemplating where to go to university next year: “Last year I was apprehensive about applying to any U.S. schools.” Right now “it seems to be a lot safer in the U.S.”

What Canadians fault most is what they see as a political response in many provinces that they find incoherent. The country’s current plight has spurred important debate, on topics ranging from the demise of Canadian manufacturing capability to provinces not offering workers paid sick leave. But there is also some sense of “humbling,” says Richard Nimijean, who teaches Canadian studies at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Rethinking the comparison

Comparing Canada with the U.S. often has a distorting effect on issues, whether it’s pandemic response, racism, police and gun violence, or poverty. Faring better than the U.S. on most measures can promote a complacency that makes it difficult to tackle internal problems.

Richard Nimijean

Richard Nimijean: teaches Canadian studies at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Dr. Nimijean, for example, often talks about Canadian health care in his classes and asks if students would feel superior about their system if they compared it not with the U.S., but with Scandinavia. An answer, he says, “is not even in their mindset, because the U.S. dominates so much.”

“But in international comparisons of wealthy countries, Canada doesn’t perform that well. It performs better than the United States,” he says. “So we need to be careful about how we assert these ideas.”

Canadian activists trying to address discrimination in policing or racism generally also complain that their fight is discounted because problems here are overshadowed by incidents in the U.S. On the flip side, Niel Avendano, a Canadian in Toronto who lived in Texas for 20 years, says Canadians often assume that the U.S. is just the worst of what is seen on the nightly news, without any nuance.

Living next to the neighbor with the “10,000-square-foot house” compared with your “1,500-square-foot house” can also lend itself to outsize expectations, Mr. Avendano says. He is not surprised that a country a tenth of the size of the U.S. isn’t a leader on the world stage, and Canadians can have a “complex” for not being an economic, military, or diplomatic force. “Israel is not a world leader. Australia is not a world leader. Why is it we expect Canada can be?”

And despite a harsh third wave, Canadians remain firm in acknowledging that that shouldn’t take away all that Canada has done right, while the U.S. fights culture wars around the pandemic. Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, says the pandemic has not been politicized like it has in the U.S. “I think Canadians can be too smug about themselves,” he argues, “but on the other hand, it is objectively the case that our society is, at the present time, more sane, more coherent, and just more together.”


Canadian flag at Quebec referendum

“… our society is, at the present time, more sane, more coherent, and just more together.”


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Public school as we know it could disappear

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 16th, 2021



A number of years ago, when the Halton District School Board found itself having to closes some of the high schools we had citizens who were prepared to march on city hall to vent their frustration.


The plan to close high schools in 2014 didn’t go quite the way originally planned – parent protests resulted in a much different decision.

The center of the anger was Central High School, one of the schools on the first list of recommended schools to close.

The people at Central did not let than happen – and the school is still open and in the months ahead they just might get air conditioning that would make life a lot easier for both students and teachers.

The next battle for parents will not be with the school board – the province has taken steps that threaten education as we have known it in Ontario to go through a radical change.

Set out below are a number of slides from a deck that was presented to a group of people at the Ministry of Education.  We do not have a list of just who attended – but we are able to see just what it was they were considering.

Parents need to pay very close attention to this initiative.

We note with regret that there hasn’t been a word from the MPP for Burlington, Jane McKenna,

Ed first slide

Note the name of the committee – and the date on which they met.

Note the date -mere weeks ago.

Here is what they are setting out to do.

Ed - prov time lines

That is a pretty aggressive time line – what’s the rush?

Note even a mention as to when parents might be asked for their views. The province will just make an announcement, pobably on the Friday of a long weekend – which is when the really hard news gets released.

The province sets out what they will have to do legislatively to make this possible.

Ed legislation

This puts the school boards out of business – the province would centralize the content and have third parties deliver it via the internet.

What can parents do? Do what they did when the school board wanted to close Central high school. Protest, let the MPP and the Ministry of Education know that you are not on for this.

If you are on for this – just sit back, watch what the government decides to do – and kiss one of the best educational systems in the world goodbye.

Links to related news items.

The full presentation presented to Ministry of  Education

What parent groups and academics think of the idea – and the consequences i this goes forward.

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Ontario government is discussing making full-time online schooling permanent in public education.

opiniongreen 100x100By Lana Parker

April 16, 2021



Despite the lack of data documenting benefits to children, and emerging evidence of several drawbacks and harms, the Ontario government is discussing making full-time online schooling a permanent “choice” in public education.

This idea is being introduced without adequate research, and stands to become the latest measure that raises inequality and threatens the viability of education as a public good.

The Globe and Mail obtained an Ontario Ministry of Education presentation dated March 22, 2021, detailing the prospect of continued virtual learning after the COVID-19 pandemic. The province aims to partner with TVO to offer “fully independent online learning” for “Ontario and out-of-province secondary students” and also mentions continuing “synchronous remote learning” for elementary students.

The proposal coincides with apparent plans to continue to help fund Ontario education by selling curriculum abroad. In 2015, Ontario reported it had agreements with 19 international private schools that pay the province to deliver the Ontario curriculum.

Unpacking the known harms

empty classroomWhile the COVID-19 environment has produced unique challenges, many of the greatest difficulties for young people have been associated with the forced shift out of schools and into online learning. Online learning does not replace the complex, relationship-oriented learning and social environment in schools.

Fully online learning has had consequences for mental health, with increased feelings of social isolation. There have also been challenges to physical health, as youth grappled with a lack of physical activity and deteriorating eyesight. Even among older youth learners, motivation and engagement prove difficult to sustain online, with a higher potential for dropping out and worse outcomes for disadvantaged students.

Despite the negative outcomes associated with full-time online study for youth and without sufficient data to support its rationale, the Ontario government is introducing an unasked for “choice” that would set a detrimental precedent for public education.

Prov plan education

More screen time?

Some might argue that getting students comfortable with online technologies prepares them for future study and the workforce. In my research on youth literacy and online engagement, however, I explore how student proficiency in navigating technology should not be mistaken for understanding complex information.

students at computer screensMy work is part of a wider body of emerging research that examines how students make sense of the online environment — and how being online affects their literacy skills, including their capacities to form critical questions and navigate misinformation and disinformation.

I have also determined that literacy learning can be strengthened when students and teachers explore the emotional implications of contentious issues in a classroom community. In other words, leaving students alone in front of screens for even more of their already online-immersed day does not improve their critical thinking or engagement.

learning on lineFor adolescents, learning online doesn’t replace in-person interactions with teachers, other students and community members. These interactions, far from superficial or inconsequential, are at the heart of how students learn well. In the pandemic, many teachers have voiced concerns about how an online environment hampers their ability to tailor learning and to support their students with the full range of strategies that are available in the classroom.

Yet another worrying aspect is the risk to student privacy. There is ongoing concern about how tech companies may be gaining unprecedented insight into children’s lives and how data may be used.

There are also issues of tech monopolies that muddy the line between public education and private enterprise.

Generating revenue

Students have opportunities to engage with online learning in Ontario’s current framework. There is no need to introduce compulsory online courses or the option of full-time online learning.

With all the issues implied by full-time online learning, why would Ontario consider making this a permanent feature of public education? Before the pandemic, in February 2020, the government .

In a confidential Ontario government document written sometime between March and August 2019 and obtained by the Toronto Star, the current Ford government detailed a plan to dovetail cuts to school board funding with the opportunity to “to develop (a) business model to make available and market Ontario’s online learning system to out-of-province and international students.” It is telling that the document did not foreground the benefits of full-time online learning for students.

The reasons for this shift can be attributed to the ongoing drive to privatize public education through the twin aims of reducing costs and generating new revenue. The 2019 document also mentioned examining “feasible options for selling licensing rights to courses/content to other jurisdictions.”

Curriculum sales

The current discussions should be seen in the context of Ontario’s drive to create revenue streams through international student tuition and sales of curriculum to international schools.

Ontario’s March 22 proposal for online schooling describes a plan to develop curriculum and offer an education with little teacher support.

This “business plan” follows Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announcing the appointment of a former CFL commisioner to the role of TVO’s CEO. TVO’s website has been recently retooled to include an emphasis on “digital learning.”

Potential future harms

For children, fully online learning creates the conditions for further educational inequality. It is a particular risk for children with special education needs.

It can also produce unintended consequences: a recent study based in Ecuador showed female students working online were more likely to spend time doing housework than their male counterparts. It is not unimaginable that some families could select online schooling for their children so they could help with household work, care for family members and potentially supplement family income by entering the labour market earlier. The move also risks limiting opportunities for extra-curricular socialization and learning, including experiences with the arts and sports.

Once poorly researched educational policy comes into practice, it is difficult to undo irrespective of data that details its harms. Such has been the case with the introduction of standardized testing in Ontario, which marginalizes newcomers and students with exceptionalities, and encourages a narrow curriculum.

Over time, a policy of “choice” for full-time online schooling weakens public education by diluting in-person opportunities for students and eroding funding. An impoverished public system drives families into private schools, which further erodes the public good. Defunding and marketization will leave public education in a race to the bottom.

Background links:

Expanding student access to on line and remote learning – the provincial government agenda

Toronto reveals secret provincial government report about on-line learning –


Laura Parker is an Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Windsor

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Damoff announces federal funding to cover air conditioning in Halton schools

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 15th, 2021



Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North Burlington brings some good news for the educators and their students:
$656.5 million dollars in funding to upgrade Ontario’s schools to make them safer for kids and teachers. Over $26 million dollars will be provided to schools in Halton Region to foster a safe and healthy environment for our valued educators, students, parents, and school staff.

Damoff ofice opening

MP Pam Damoff speaking with a constituent in her Oakville office

“The wellbeing of our community is of the utmost importance as we continue the fight against COVID-19.

“This investment is being made jointly with the provincial government through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream, with 80% of the funding from our government” explained Damoff who added that: ” The majority of the funding will support ventilation projects that improve air quality in classrooms.

Central High school

Students at Central High would be mighty pleased to see air conditioning installed.

Additional projects include installing water bottle refilling stations to improve access to safe drinking water, investing in network and broadband infrastructure to support remote learning, and space reconfigurations such as new walls and doors to enhance physical distancing.”

The students at Central high school will watch with some anticipation to learn if their school is going to see some air conditioning equipment. Climate change and the need to circulate air in schools built decades ago is no longer something nice to have.

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School Superintendent supports Harvard author - computers will never take over education

opinionred 100x100By Julie Hunt Gibbons

April 15th, 2021



Many of the challenges of this pandemic have been solved through the use of technology. The tools of technology have allowed the world of work to continue from a safe distance. Education in Canada has been no different.

Last year’s March – June shut down in elementary, secondary, and post secondary in Ontario was facilitated by the use of online learning, both synchronous and asynchronous, through a host of different learning management systems and educational platforms and applications. This year our provincial public health challenges have varied by population and demographic and we have used technology to respond accordingly.


Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education

Here in Halton, and the surrounding GTHA, students have experienced a variety of synchronous and asynchronous fully online and hybrid learning models in response to the need for student cohorting and swells in Covid-19 numbers. The recent pandemic response, coupled with decades of technological innovation and growing use, have led many people to cite technology as the panacea for educational change in this province and around the globe. They would do well to read Justin Reich’s latest book, Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education” (2020).

Reich does not base his claims on recent pandemic events. In fact, he wrote this book prior to the onslaught of COVID-19 and points out that the supposedly transformative educational technology of the past decade has done little to revolutionize learning. He debunks claims such as:

Harvard Business School’s 2009 claim by Clay Christensen that predicted that half of all American secondary school courses would be online by 2019,

Sal Khan’s claim that Khan Academy videos would reinvent education,

Sebastian Thrun of Udacity’s claim that in 50 years we’d have only 10 institutions of higher education in the world as a result of the success of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Sugata Mitra’s claim that students no longer need schools or teachers as groups of children with access to the internet could teach themselves anything.

students at computer screens

Computers will be part of classrooms – but they will not replace classroom teachers.

Reich addresses MOOCs, autograders, computerized “intelligent tutors,” and widely adopted popular educational software in-depth and traces their hype, their potential,and their ultimate shortcomings. According to Reich, despite their economic success in making their creators wealthy, their benefit has been to primarily wealthy students and they have done little, if anything, to combat growing inequalities in education. Thus this has not been “true innovation” and has not radically changed the educational system in any way. Rather these tools have been adapted, tested, used or not used by educators within the system.

Technology does, and  will, continue to play a crucial role in the future of education but as nothing more than a tool for classroom experimentation and the expansion of educators’ pedagogical toolkits.

None of this should come as a surprise; the pandemic has evidenced extreme growth in the use of educational technology, but the key lesson of our online learning experiments in a pandemic have been that there is a want and need for human interaction. Educators have the uniquely human skills to engage (or not engage) students.  Education is at its essence a human skill and human pursuit.  Change and improvement to education must come from human iterations. There is no magic technological wand.

I join Reich in his confidence that when we take stock of the education our schools provided in our schools during the pandemic, we will see evidence of many new technological classroom and teaching strategies reflective of staff learning and the practicing of technological skills. These are valuable skills and our schools can and should build on them, continuing the process of learning how to teach, learn, and use our digital tools more effectively.   Educational improvement is a journey, not a destination and technology can shape and accelerate this journey but technology alone cannot transform education.

Huntley Gibbs looking left

HDSB Superintendent Julie Hunt Gibbons


Julie Hunt Gibbons Halton District School Board Superintendent of Secondary Program & Student Success, North West Oakville Family of Schools was a part of the team that created the iStem courses that began at the Aldershot High school. 

Julie was born in Ottawa, graduated  from TA Blakelock in Oakville then attended: University of Western Ontario |  B.A. Hon. |   Sociology and Political Science; University of Windsor | MA. | Sociology (Socio-legal Studies) and University of Toronto  |B.Ed. |Intermediate and Senior qualifications

Julie didn’t  intend to be a teacher. She did a Masters in Sociology (Socio-legal studies) thinking it would be a good stepping stone to Law School. It was while working as a Teaching Assistant that she fell in love with teaching.



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If you care about the way your children are to be educated - read on

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 15th, 2021



A number of weeks ago I heard a CBC interview about a book that talked about the concept of disruption and education.

FAILURE TO DISRUPTDisruption has bitten deeply into retail markets and has all but killed local newspapers.

Uber turned the taxi business upside down.

The Ontario government is now thinking about disrupting education and teaching both elementary and high school students on-line.

Halton District School Board Superintendent Julie Hunt Gibbons, who will be retiring in June after a long career as a teacher, did a review of Failure to Disrupt: Why technology alone cannot transform education

Her review led us to changes the provincial government is actively pursuing.

The Hunt Gibbons interview appears in the Gazette today – the scoop on what the provincial government appears to be planning will be in the paper on Friday.

Here is a glimpse of what the government is discussing internally at the Ministry of Education.

The full report will be published on Friday.


Prov plan education

A portion of the documents being used by Ministry of Education Consultation group.

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Back to remote learning when the Spring Break ends

News 100 redBy Staff

April 12th, 2021



The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has made the difficult decision to move elementary and secondary schools to remote learning following the April break. This move has been made in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants, and the massive spike in hospital admissions.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

intensive prep covid

Medical professionals are being pushed beyond the limits – with triage decisions possible in the weeks ahead.

“We are seeing a rapidly deteriorating situation with a record number of COVID cases and hospital admissions threatening to overwhelm our health care system,” said Premier Ford. “As I have always said we will do whatever it takes to ensure everyone stays safe. By keeping kids home longer after spring break we will limit community transmission, take pressure off our hospitals and allow more time to rollout our COVID-19 vaccine plan.”

With appropriate measures in place, schools have been safe places for learning throughout the pandemic, as confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health and have demonstrated low rates of in-school transmission. However, increasing rates of community spread pose a threat to the health and safety of school communities. As a result, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the April break on April 19, 2021.

empty classroom

Classrooms will remain empty – for how long? Depends on how well the public learns to listen.

Private schools operating in-person this week are to transition to remote learning by April 15, 2021. This action is being taken in support of the Government’s broader efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Data will be assessed on an ongoing basis and health officials will be consulted to determine when it will be safe to resume in-person learning.

Child care for non-school aged children will remain open, before and after school programs will be closed and free emergency child care for the school-aged children of eligible health care and frontline workers will be provided. To protect the most vulnerable, boards will make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs who require additional support that cannot be accommodated through remote learning.

“This was not a decision we made lightly, as we know how critical schools are to Ontario students. Our priority has always been to keep schools open, however sharply rising community transmission can put our schools and Ontario families at risk,” said Minister Lecce. “While Ontario’s plan has kept schools safe, as confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we are taking decisive and preventative action today to ensure students can safely return to learning in our schools.”

Case rates, hospitalizations, and ICU occupancy are increasing rapidly, threatening to overwhelm the health care system. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province have increased by 22.1 per cent between the period of April 4 and 10, 2021.
In addition, during this same period of time, Ontario has seen

the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care increase from 494 to 605.

Since April 8, the province has been under a provincewide Stay-at-Home order, requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise with your household in your home community, or for work that cannot be done remotely. As Ontario’s health care capacity is threatened, the Stay-at-Home order, and other new and existing public health and workplace safety measures, will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives.

Ford Apr 12 schools closed

One has to wonder how much longer Doug Ford can get up every day and continue to tell the people that he is doing everything he can and pleading with people to say home as he watches the numbers of infections rise.

With students moving to remote learning, vaccine prioritization of education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs across the province, and all education workers in select hot spot areas, starting with Peel and Toronto, will continue. Starting today, special education workers across the province and education workers in Peel and Toronto hot spots will be eligible to register for vaccination by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1 833 943 3900. More information is available at

It is critically important that as Ontarians receive the vaccine, everyone continues to wear a mask, maintain physical distancing when outside of their immediate household and frequently wash their hands. As well, continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested if symptoms are present.

“As we continue to see rapid growth in community transmission across the province, it is necessary to take extra precautions and measures to ensure the continued health and safety of students, teachers and their families,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “As the fight against this third wave of the pandemic continues, everyone must continue following all public health and workplace safety measures and stay at home to prevent further transmission of the virus, so we can once again resume in person learning in our schools.”

Lecce Miniter of Education

Minister of Education: Stephen Lecce

Steven Del Duca,  the Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party who has yet to earn a seat in the Legislature said in a prepared statement that:  “Just yesterday, Minister Lecce wrote to parents telling them that all publicly funded schools would remain open after the April Break. One day later, Doug Ford is closing them for weeks. The in-fighting between Doug Ford and his education minister is putting our children and education workers at risk, and Lecce should be fired for it.”

“It’s time for Doug Ford to adopt our Ontario Liberal plan, which includes capping class sizes at 15, investing in urgent repairs to ventilation in classrooms, and vaccinating all education workers over the April Break so that schools can be safe and stay open for good after this closure. It’s time to end Doug Ford’s chaos once and for all by making schools safe.”

And doesn’t Doug Ford wish that it was that easy.

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Cryptocurrencies have caught on with investors, they may very soon catch on with everyone else

News 100 redBy Justin Weinger

April 8th, 2021



For almost a decade now, people have been toying with the idea of paying with Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies, instead of cash or credit card. However, with Bitcoin’s rise to fame in the past 12 months, this may be more than just wishful thinking in the near future. That’s right, just like cryptocurrencies have caught on with investors, they may very soon catch on with everyone else.

Thus, the question remaining is not ‘if’, but rather ‘when’, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether; Litecoin, and the rest are going to become a popular and accepted payment method – and when the revolution is expected to reach the greater Toronto area. Well, we’ve got some good news and some bad news for you in that sense.

Bit coin examples

Bitcoin’s rise to fame in the past 12 months.

Reasons for optimism
Cryptocurrency has been around for a long time, but only in 2009, with the invention of Bitcoin, did it become more than just a game for geeks. Slowly but steadily, Bitcoin gained popularity, and subsequently its rate increased. The big boom came in 2020, when investors had been looking for venues not hit by COVID-19 and its financial consequences. The charts don’t lie – Bitcoin’s rate has reached more than 12 times what it had been just a year ago, and other cryptos haven’t done so terribly either during the same time period.

This has granted cryptocurrencies public awareness – a stepping stone to institutionalization. Today you can see crypto exchanges and even ATMs, so why not accept them at stores and restaurants as well? Ray Glover from the world-renowned investment firm CreditEUBank, which offers cryptocurrency trade in Canada, shared his thoughts on the matter with us.

Bit coin future in your hands

The future is literally in your hands.

“Cryptocurrency is catching on, and Bitcoin is a good example of that. Did you know that around the world, some branches of fast-food chains like Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, and even Subway, accept payments in Bitcoin? I believe that it’s only a matter of time till it becomes widespread – and I’m talking about less time than you probably think.”

But wait, there’s a catch
Just like with any other technology in history, change is going to take time. You know what they say – Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s probably going to start off in big metropolitan areas, and be used by wealthier populations first, just like back when credit cards and ATMs were a new thing. This may be good news for you if you reside in the greater Toronto area, or even in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor.

The matter also depends on initiative. Mega shops and restaurant chains accepting Bitcoin is a nice thing, but the real change must come from the small, local shops like your grocer, butcher and ice cream vendor. The key word here is perception: If cryptocurrency is seen as a legitimate payment method, its popularity will rise faster. The authorities in Canada have already legalized it as a payment method, and now it’s up to the simple man and woman to do the same.

In the meantime
There is an option to take advantage of the rising popularity of Bitcoin and its peers. Online brokers like CreditEUBank offer trading services on popular and promising cryptocurrencies, which means anyone can learn how this market works. The investments are done on a CFD (cost for difference) basis, bringing two great advantages for traders. Firstly, you do not need to own any crypto coin. You invest on its value, and you earn according to it.

bit coin driving the markets crazy

Driving the markets crazy.

Secondly, CFD trading also makes it possible to profit off of a cryptocurrency’s decrease in value. All you need to do is project the direction in which the asset is going. Since CreditEUBank has over 15 years of experience in the field of online trading, as well as other sectors such as private debt, VC and private equity, this is a broker which can be trusted with providing the necessary tools to trade wisely.

Bottom line
Winds of change are definitely being felt. Whether we like it or not, cryptocurrency (and especially Bitcoin) is going to become an acceptable and widely used financial transaction method in the near future. We’re talking about a whole lot of new possibilities here, and an advantageous situation for anyone who wants to embrace this new technology. Luckily, CreditEUBank and other brokers can assist in this process.

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HDSB hosting Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions for Parents

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

March 29th, 2021



The strain from the restrictions on what we can and cannot do while we weather ourselves through this pandemic are beginning to show.

The warm weather is going to attract all kinds of outside activity – and dinner at an outdoor patio – but only with people in your household – who are probably the last people you want to dine with – you’ve been cooped up with them for months.

The Halton District School Board is hosting two Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions for Parents/Guardians on Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30 at 7 p.m. at

talk to hs student

Tuesday, March 30 session will be for families with high school students

Discussion will include parent, child and youth mental health and well-being, ways in which parents/guardians can support their children, and resources available for youth and families. Each session will feature four panelists (parents, mental health experts, HDSB school social workers and community partners) who will share their experiences of parenting during COVID-19 and provide helpful information and resources.

The information session on Monday, March 29 will include information for parents/guardians of elementary students (Kindergarten – Grade 8) and the session on Tuesday, March 30 will include information for parents/guardians of secondary students (Grade 9 – 12).

These sessions will help parents/guardians learn about:

• How the pandemic may be impacting their, child’s, mental health and well-being
• Coping and well-being strategies for them and their children to support better mental health and well-being
• Resources and support available through their child’s school and within the community

Elementary Session: Monday, March 29 from 7 – 8:15 p.m. at

• Noorie Soni, HDSB parent and PIC member
• Kim Menezes-Francispillai, School Social Worker, HDSB
• Shivani Patel, Lead, Access and System Navigation, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK)
• Nathan Pillai, Clinical Psychologist, Bayridge Counselling Centre

Secondary Session: Tuesday, March 30 from 7 – 8:15 p.m. at

• Darlene Wierski-Devoe, Parent and Program Supervisor, Halton Families for Families
• Melinda Dougan, School Social Worker, HDSB
• Shivani Patel, Lead, Access and System Navigation, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK)
• Nicole Callander RSSW, Therapist, Bayridge Counselling Centre

Parent tlk to young

Session will have information for parents/guardians of elementary students (Kindergarten – Grade 8) and the session on Monday March 29th.

The sessions will be livestreamed through the HDSB YouTube channel. Parents/guardians can visit at 7 p.m. on March 29 and/or March 30 to tune in. Registration is not required.

The HDSB is planning additional information sessions for parents/guardians on specific mental health & well-being topics to take place in the spring. The Board’s new Mental Health & Well-Being webpage has information for parents/guardians and students on mental health, ways to support positive mental health and well-being and how to get additional support at school and in the community.

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Almost everything you want to know about the vaccines that are being used.

graphic thinkpiece 5By Staff

March 24th, 2021



Millions of Canadians want to know — of the four COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada — which one is the best one? Numbers and statistics are flying around and it’s fair to have a lot of other questions.

Are the Moderna and Pfizer shots really the ‘Cadillac’ of vaccines? Is the AstraZeneca shot effective? Does it matter which vaccine you get? We explain what vaccine efficacy really means and why comparing them is like comparing “apples to oranges”, the real differences between the ‘jabs’ and why out of all the numbers, 100% is the big one to focus on.

CLICK HERE for an excellent report on just what all that medical means.  (When you get to the link, scroll down for the podcast.) It runs for 15 minutes but you will leave knowing a lot more and have fewer questions.

needle and vaccine

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Spring break and PA Day programs open for registration on March 26

eventspink 100x100By Staff

March 23rd, 2021



The City’s spring break programming, which includes Youth Camp and Student Theatre Camp, and PA Day programming will be open for registration at on March 26, 2021, at 11 a.m.

Programs are available for viewing now.

students distant standing

Students will be able to be outside but programs will be much different this Spring Break.

Youth Camp and PA Day programming will take place at Tansley Woods Community Centre, 1996 Itabashi Way.

Student Theatre Camp will take place at Burlington Student Theatre, 2131 Prospect St.

If residents have questions about programs or need help with registering, contact the City by email at, or if you need to speak to someone, call 905-335-7738, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekends.

Recreation Fee Assistance

Recreation is for all, regardless of financial situation. Recreation Fee Assistance is funding made available to resident individuals or families who need help to pay for City of Burlington recreation programs.

For more information or to apply, visit You can also leave a confidential voicemail message at 905-335-7738, ext. 8501 and staff will return your call to assist you.

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation, Community and Culture explains that while: “Programs may look different we have designed them to still offer the highest quality programming, staff and participant safety and a wide range of fun and exciting activities.

“Kids will love the programs and parents can feel confident their child is not only safe, but having fun, too.”

Links and Resources

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Public School Board hosting Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions for Parents/Guardians on March 29 and 3

graphic community 5By Staff

March 22nd, 2021



The strain from the restrictions on what we can and cannot do while we weather ourselves through this pandemic are beginning to show.

The warm weather is going to attract all kinds of outside activity – and dinner at an outdoor patio – but only with people in your household – who are probably the last people you want to dine with – you’ve been cooped up with them for months.

The Halton District School Board is hosting two Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions for Parents/Guardians on Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30 at 7 p.m. at

mental health HDSB

Discussion will include parent, child and youth mental health and well-being, ways in which parents/guardians can support their children, and resources available for youth and families. Each session will feature four panelists (parents, mental health experts, HDSB school social workers and community partners) who will share their experiences of parenting during COVID-19 and provide helpful information and resources.

The information session on Monday, March 29 will include information for parents/guardians of elementary students (Kindergarten – Grade 8) and the session on Tuesday, March 30 will include information for parents/guardians of secondary students (Grade 9 – 12).

These sessions will help parents/guardians learn about:
• How the pandemic may be impacting their, and their child’s, mental health and well-being
• Coping and well-being strategies for them and their children to support better mental health and well-being
• Resources and support available through their child’s school and within the community

Elementary Session: Monday, March 29 from 7 – 8:15 p.m. at

• Noorie Soni, HDSB parent and PIC member
• Kim Menezes-Francispillai, School Social Worker, HDSB
• Shivani Patel, Lead, Access and System Navigation, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK)
• Nathan Pillai, Clinical Psychologist, Bayridge Counselling Centre

Secondary Session: Tuesday, March 30 from 7 – 8:15 p.m. at
• Darlene Wierski-Devoe, Parent and Program Supervisor, Halton Families for Families
• Melinda Dougan, School Social Worker, HDSB
• Shivani Patel, Lead, Access and System Navigation, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK)
• Nicole Callander RSSW, Therapist, Bayridge Counselling Centre

Parents/guardians are encouraged to submit questions they would like the panelists to answer during the information sessions. Questions can be submitted through this form: Questions for Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions until Thursday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m.

The sessions will be livestreamed through the HDSB YouTube channel. Parents/guardians can visit at 7 p.m. on March 29 and/or March 30 to tune in. Registration is not required.

The HDSB is planning additional information sessions for parents/guardians on specific mental health & well-being topics to take place in the spring. The Board’s new Mental Health & Well-Being webpage has information for parents/guardians and students on mental health, ways to support positive mental health and well-being and how to get additional support at school and in the community.

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BellyUp and Tone up - 8 week class to take place while the city is in the Red Zone

News 100 redBy Staff

March 18th, 2021


Belly Up

Registration is open for BellyUp Bellydance’s 8 Week Spring Session.

Is this just a fun event or is this preparation for a public performance?

Register for in-person at the studio or live online.

In-Studio class sizes are reduced to 10 per class as per the Province of Ontario’s “Red Zone” restrictions which means their classes fill faster than ever. Join them for an inspiring session that’ll make you feel alive, build your self-esteem, strengthen and tone your body and so much more.

Click here for in-studio registration!
Click here for live online class registration!

Related news items:

Classic Belly Dancing

belly dancers

Feel alive, build your self-esteem, strengthen and tone your body.

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Grieving is not something you need to do alone - there is help

graphic community 4By Pepper Parr

March 15th, 2021



Grief is a part of life.

Grief 1We live in a world where for the most part there are family and friends to see you through the grief that has come into your life.

We survive and become better people, wiser people and more appreciative of what we have.

That has changed hasn’t it?

We normally attend funerals for people we knew well, admired, worked with, and will miss. We have not been able to do that, meaning one of the tools we use to come to terms with the grief we are experiencing is no longer there for us to use.

Frank and Doreen Kelly are leading a 13 week course on managing grief that will be held at Glad Tiding Pentecostal Church.

The next 13 week class starts May 5.  The meetings will run from 7:00p.m. -9:00p.m .

grief 2Registration is free – the program will take place on line.

The team has held three sessions and is ready to take registrations for the fourth session of 13 weeks that will start in May

You can register HERE.

When you get to the site you select Burlington as the location and then select Glad Tidings Church.

The course is free – there is a nominal cost for a Workbook.

The sessions at this point in time are done via Zoom.  The Kellys are part of the Glad Tidings Church in Burlington who are supporting this initiative.

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Public school board trustees looking for public comment on the selection of a new Director of Education.

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 13th, 2021



Several months ago, Stuart Miller, Director of Education for Halton District School Board, announced his retirement effective August 2021.

The Board of Trustees has begun the search process for a new Director of Education and have retained Joan M Green and Associates/Lough Barnes Consulting Group to guide them in the selection process.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

Board Chair Grebenc has worked well with the Director of Education

The trustees have decided to look to the community for comments and are inviting members of the community to participate in a voluntary survey to share their thoughts on the most important leadership attributes for a new Director of Education.

Please complete the Director’s Search Survey by 11:59 pm on Friday, March 19, 2021. It will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and is anonymous.

Andréa Grebenc, Chair for the Halton District School Board said: “The feedback received will assist us in developing a leadership profile and mandate for this critical role. The consultation process allows the Board to gather feedback on the characteristics, competencies and commitments necessary for effective leadership in the context of HDSB’s strengths, challenges and opportunities.”

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Public School Board releases Multi Year Plan - The world changed while the plan was being written

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

February 24th, 2021



The Halton District School Board released its Multi Year Plan for the period 2020-2024 earlier this week. One quarter of the time frame has already passed making the document, in our view, a little less relevant.

The Gazette asked HDSB trustee chair Andrea Grebenc why the delay. She explained that “traditionally the plan has been announced just as we begin the school year in which it was intended to start – so summer 2020 would have been the appropriate time.

Grebenc frown

Andrea Grebenc, Chair of the HDSB learned that listening was the biggest part of creating a Multi year Plan

“We ended up soft-launching by approving it in the fall. The MYP creation process is a 6-month plus process and was interrupted by the pandemic. The process involves dedicated time from senior level staff and trustees and when the pandemic hit mid-March, both trustees and staff were pulled into dealing with the crisis at hand.

“We run a very lean administrative compliment (meaning we spend less than our provincial allocation on senior staff and redirect into the schools) so the pandemic stretched us and briefly pushed the MYP development down the priority list.”

The pandemic did much more than stretch the public school system – they had to create a new, effective way of delivering an education to students with nothing in the way of a play book to follow.

It will be some time before classes return to anything even near normal. There are some solid lessons to come out of the pandemic – those will have to be thought through.

Next September the Board should have a new Director of Education in place; he or she (it could and should be a she this time) will have to rebuild much of the way Boards of Education prepare students for a much different future.

The purpose of the MYP, approved by Trustees in November 2020, sets direction and prioritizes the collective actions of all stakeholders to ensure efforts of the HDSB are aligned to support the Board’s more than 65,000 students, 9,000 staff and the broader community.

The MYP 2020-2024 consists of five key areas:

• Equity & Inclusion
• Mental Health and Well-Being
• Learning and Achievement
• Environmental Leadership
• Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness

MYP HDSB graphicsThe Board identifies its commitment within each area and outlines goals that define the key strategic work the Board will undertake during the next four years. While there are five distinct areas to the plan, no one area stands alone or above another as each is connected.

Adaptability, Relationships, Innovation, Communication, Accountability and Engagement are foundational elements of the MYP plan that describe the values of the HDSB and how staff and stakeholders will work together to achieve the goals outlined in the plan.

The Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness area of the MYP demonstrates the HDSB’s commitment to expanding knowledge and understanding of Indigenous perspectives and realities. To further the Board’s commitment to this area, Stephen Paquette has been hired into a permanent position as the Board’s Indigenous Knowledge Guide & Engagement Advisor, to provide expertise to staff, schools and departments.

As part of the Equity & Inclusion area of the Plan, the HDSB created the Discriminatory and Harmful Language Protocol to provide clear expectations for how staff respond when harm is caused. This protocol will be followed by students and staff to promote a school environment free from discriminatory language.

In September 2019, the Board initiated a process to develop a new MYP. A steering committee was created to help guide the development of the MYP. An external consultant, Maximum City, was hired to initiate an extensive stakeholder consultation process to review the contents of the previous MYP and seek input about what the HDSB community values and would like to see represented in the next MYP.

Input on the MYP was received from more than 4,000 HDSB respondents including parents/guardians, students, staff and community members on a broad range of issues.

Chair Andréa Grebenc said “The resulting plan clearly outlines the focus of the next few years and recognizes the key priority areas we heard from students, our staff and the broader Halton community.”

The pandemic will have bumped some of those priorities down the list – there is a whole new world ahead of the education system – the challenge will be to identify the positive opportunities and at the same time take a pass on some of the past practices.

Link to the MYP

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One student in one Burlington public school was found to be infected yesterday - numerous infections found throughout the Region

News 100 redBy Staff

February 17th, 2021



It should come as no huge surprise – COVID19 infections are being reported at several schools in the Region.

Mohawk GArdens Public school

A single student was infected and the class was closed – the school remained open.

Just the one infection reported in Burlington at the Mohawk Public school where the classroom has been closed.
Classes resumed at schools this week.

How many infections are there likely to be? No one has any idea. At this stage everyone is keeping a very close eye and readying for whatever they think could happen and be ready to respond.

It is going to be stressful week – we know why the infection took place – someone without the infection came in contact with someone who was infected.

The virus is in the community. How deep is infection rate likely to be ? We don’t know yet.

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An all Canadian Silver Lining - Done Right Without Government Support

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

February 17th, 2021



In even the darkest days of our lives, and 2020 has been the darkest I can remember, there are some silver linings. For example, on-line sales have never been better. Naturally, Amazon is the first thing we think of but other companies have also done well in this area.

While searching out a source of respirators on-line, I located a company selling Canadian made n95 surgical masks for less than $5 each. Mikhail Moore, a Vancouver engineer got together with some like-minded entrepreneurs and health specialists from McMaster University to design and manufacture respirators last summer. And in a matter of months he had ramped up a manufacturing facility and was turning out a million Vitacore face masks a month, including the highly effective n95 which had been in short supply only a few months earlier.

Vitacore masks

Purely Canadian

One problem Mr. Moore encountered was that Canada doesn’t even have standards for respirators. We simply adopt the US NIOSH standard, but for a Canadian that means one can only get certification if the product is manufactured in the USA. So Vitacore had to work with the National Research Council and Health Canada in order to obtain an interim certification order to meet the US standard.

Canada is apparently nearly self-sufficient in PPE now, according to the PM. But that doesn’t answer the question about why we were so unprepared at the beginning of the pandemic. Following the SARS outbreak two decades ago, Dr. Teresa Tam, currently Canada’s chief public health officer, authored the Canadian manual on pandemics. That included a call for a 16 week stockpile of personal protection equipment (PPE) in order to cover potentially two waves of a pandemic in this country.

But over the years, and over the last two governments, the stockpile had diminished. Then, in early February last year, the health minister shipped the last 16 tonnes of PPE to China to help them with their COVID fight. The government obviously believed the risk of an outbreak here was minimal. And for that reason neither did they initially close the border to prevent travellers from China and elsewhere bringing the virus with them.

And then a month or so later our hospitals were becoming overwhelmed and long term care was in such a mess that the army had to be called in. And, of course, the PPE we all needed was in critically short supply. Our traditional supply from the US had been blocked by Donald Trump. The hapless bureaucracy at Health Canada ignored offers by companies like Honeywell to send us masks from their factory in Mexico. And shipments from China had to be discarded as unsafe.

So health care workers re-used their disposable masks, and made their own cloth ones, or got sick, and possibly infected even more people in the community. And Dr. Tam shamelessly delivered a barrage of mixed messages about masks, including her initial comments that people were safer without one, as health officials everywhere debated what should have been obvious.

PPE graphic

The Atlanta based Centre for Disease Control provides information and specifications for PPE.

And unfortunately it wasn’t just about PPE. Canada’s entire record on this epidemic is abysmal. Whether it’s the federal government failing to secure our borders from day one or the provincial premiers lessening restrictions too soon. And now the question is whether these jurisdictions can get us vaccinated before another variant shows up and possibly renders the vaccine irrelevant.

Australia has announced that they will be manufacturing their own AstraZeneca vaccine and therefore have more control over its supply than we do. Of course, the Aussies, with near zero COVID transmission, don’t have to be in a hurry. Still, at least we Canadians now have affordable Canadian-made face masks. And if we used them we should be able to protect ourselves and our children, at least until the vaccines do arrive and get jabbed into our arms.

Vitacore mask prod line

Face masks coming off the Vitacore production line.

Vitacore has already moved forward to develop an even more efficient n99 mask and is anticipating the potential export of their products. The company is also embarking on a timely recycling program for used/soiled PPE in cooperation with McMaster University. They are setting up drop-off stations in Vancouver and will be sanitizing and palletizing the material for reuse in road building.

And another silver lining when we consider all the money the governments have been spilling, is that Vitacore has not needed federal or provincial subsidies to make their business model work. I wonder whether Vitacore president Mikhail Moore has ever thought about running for public office. We certainly could use some of those leadership skills.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers, born in Ontario earned an economics degree at the University of Western Ontario and a Master’s degree in economics at the University of Ottawa.  His 25 year stint with the federal government included time with Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and the Post office.  Rivers is active in his community; has run for municipal and provincial office.


Background links:

Vitacore –     PPE for China –    Canada’s PPE

Turning Down Masks –    Government Mess –    Standards

Nearly Self-Sufficient –    Canada’s Plan


CAN95 Respirator – Health Canada Authorized – 30 Units/Box

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