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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Public school board trustees gearing up to choose the next Director of Education

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 16th, 2021



Sometime between now and the end of August the Halton District School Board trustees are expected to decide on who the next Director of Education will be.

Stuart Miller H&S

Stuart Miller, current Director of Education, to retire in August.

Stuart Miller has served as the Director for the past five years. He submitted his resignation to the Board late last year.

Every member of the Board of Trustees will serve on the Selection Committee where the objective is to reach a consensus.

There are at least two of the current roster of Superintendents, (both female) that are certainly qualified.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

Grebenc, (left) and Miller have worked well together

Consultants are being brought in to guide and direct the trustees through the process.

Board Chair Andrea Grebenc will Chair the Selection Committee, the vice chair of the Board Tracey, Ehl Harrison, will serve as vice chair.

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Budget time for the Public School Board

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 16th, 2021



The schools may not have been as open as parents would have liked but the bills still have to be paid – which means putting together a budget.

Getting that job done is going to be a challenge for both the Staff and the trustees. Doing things virtual is not fun – ask any classroom teacher.

Have your say logo HDSBHalton District School Board values input from parents/guardians, members of the community, staff and students concerning the development of the 2021-2022 budget.

Individuals are encouraged to provide input on budget priorities for the upcoming school year online – a questionnaire can be found on the Halton District School Board’s website at Input must be received by March 5, 2021.

Before providing input, individuals are encouraged to review the Board’s Multi-Year Plan 2020-2024,

Special Education Plan and Operational Plan. A key objective of the annual budget process is to align the Halton District School Board’s financial resources with these important documents.

Community members are also able to delegate to the Board of Trustees. Please follow the Delegation
By-law posted on the Halton District School Board website (found under the ‘Our Board’ tab).

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Spring Break moved to April 12 to 16

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 11th, 2021



The province has not cancelled the March Break – they did push t back to April 12 to 16.

Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Education, issued the following statement regarding March break:

Stephen Lecce

Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Education,

“In support of our collective efforts to keep schools safe, we are postponing March break until April 12-16, 2021.
This decision was made with the best advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health officials, including consultations with many local Medical Officers of Health.

“Many students have been learning remotely since the start of 2021. It is critical we follow public health advice to protect schools and avoid a repeat of the concerning spike in youth-related cases over the winter break, when students and staff were out of schools for a prolonged period of time. We are taking this precaution based on advice from health experts, including the province’s Science Table and the Chief Medical Officer of Health, to help protect against the emerging COVID-19 variants of concern.

“We appreciate the hard work of students and staff in the education sector and I want to be clear: March break is being postponed, not cancelled. To keep schools open, we must keep them free of COVID-19. The actions announced today serve to limit opportunities for congregation – while reaffirming the evidence that schools are safe for students. By continuing to follow public health advice, and by introducing additional safety measures and more testing, we are supporting our collective efforts to keep COVID-19 from entering our schools.

“With respect to travel, our government’s position on this is unchanged. Ontarians should refrain from travelling, particularly given the increase in new variants that pose a direct risk to our country. Please stay at home as much as possible and continue following the direction of public health officials so that we can keep schools open and protect our seniors, frontline health workers and all families.

“These decisions – based on the advice of medical experts – are never easy, but they are necessary to keep Ontario families safe.”

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Several of Canada’s finest instrumental jazz musicians, will be on-line February 10th - 7 pm via Zoom - not to be missed

eventsred 100x100By Staff

February 7th, 2021


Several of Canada’s finest instrumental jazz musicians, will be on-line February 10th  – 7pm via Zoom  – not to be missed.

Thanks to a generous grant from the City of Burlington’s Community Support Fund, a special program created to support Burlington artists during the pandemic, One Burlington has commissioned Joe Sealy and his colleague Paul Novotny to create a special 25-minute video version of Africville Stories to be launched in Burlington at 7 pm on Wednesday February 10th , 2021.

Joe Sealy and Paul Novotny will be available for a Q&A immediately after the showing. The video will subsequently be provided to both Burlington school boards for telecasts during the week of February 15th.


Africville was seen as a slum – but it was home to a small but very robust black community that was forgotten until the city of Halifax wanted to develop the land.

Joe Sealy is one of Canada’s premier jazz pianists and composers. His Africville Suite won a Juno Award as Best Jazz Recording of 1996. Joe Sealy subsequently created an attraction called Africville Stories, which relates the stories behind the various musical selections in the Suite. He wrote several additional songs for the great Canadian jazz/gospel/blues singer Jackie Richardson, who serves as Narrator for the 75-minute work. Africville Stories also features several of Canada’s finest instrumental jazz musicians, including saxophonist Alison Young, bassist Paul Novotny and percussionist Daniel Barnes.

Africville is a community on the outskirts of Halifax that had little, if anything, in the way of municipal services. The residents of that community were treated terribly.

One Burlington, Burlington’s organization dedicated to the celebration of faith and culture in the City of Burlington, is planning an event in commemoration of Black History Month.

Africville Stories is Joe Sealy’s musical tribute to the Halifax community of Africville, a neighbourhood built by generations of Black immigrants to Nova Scotia subsequent to their arrival from post-Revolutionary America. The community was razed to the ground in 1960 as part of a Halifax urban renewal project. Joe Sealy’s mother was born and raised there.


Paul Novotny

Paul Novotny

Africville Stories fit well into One Burlington’s mandate to celebrate the cultural diversity of its citizenry, and especially those communities that are under-served, and to provide insights into the often difficult histories of these multicultural communities. We stand proud in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Joe Sealy’s Africville Stories, featuring Jackie Richardson and Paul Novotny.
Wednesday February 10th, 2021 at 7 pm








Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 885 0780 6860
Passcode: 231098

If that link doesn’t work, please go to and enter the Meeting ID and Passcode to get in that way!

For more information contact Robert Missen at 905-632-6047 or

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If the current trend Continues, Officers will attend more than 4,000 Intimate Partner Violence Incidents by the end of this Year.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 3rd, 2021



Intimate Partner Violence is the dark under belly part of our society.

We don’t want to hear about it, however it is going on all around us.

sexual violence image

9-1-1 call from an individual reporting that a male was assaulting a female in a residence, and that help was urgently needed.

The Halton Regional Police Service report that if the current trend continues, officers will attend more than 4,000 intimate partner violence incidents by the end of this year.

Last month, the HRPS received an early morning 911 call.

Officers were dispatched and arrived at the residence. Nothing could be seen or heard from the house which was in total darkness. Officers gained entry to the house and soon located a male, as well as his common-law partner who had multiple red marks and bruising on her upper body.

Officers learned that the male party had been drinking for several hours during the evening. Two children in the home reported hearing slapping, yelling and loud noises throughout the remainder of the night until police intervened.

The male was arrested soon after and subsequently transported to Central Lock Up. Thereafter, the HRPS Intimate Partner Violence Unit took carriage of the investigation. The accused was charged with Assault, Assault Causing Bodily Harm (Choking), and Forcible Confinement.

The female party was admitted to hospital for her injuries and was referred to the Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit.

The Victim Services Unit connects victims to appropriate support services in the community, assists with victim care, and, through the Victim Quick Response Program (VQRP+), can provide immediate short-term financial support toward essential expenses for victims of violent crime.

Last month, our officers fielded 343 calls regarding intimate partner violence (IPV), compared with 279 calls in January 2020. In the same time period, we made 83 IPV arrests, compared with 51 IPV arrests in January 2020. A total of 206 IPV-related charges were laid in January 2021, compared with 85 IPV-related charges in January 2020 (an increase of 142 per cent).

Tragically, January is not an anomaly. Our analyses indicate that this is a continuation of a trend of an increasing frequency and severity of intimate partner violence incidents in the community over the course of the pandemic. What is particularly concerning is that we recognize that all forms of family violence are under-reported.

domestic violence

An increase of 142 per cent year over year for the month of January.

If you see something, say something. Someone’s life may depend on it.

Every person has the right to feel safe in our community.

Victims of intimate partner violence or sexual assault and witnesses are encouraged to contact the Halton Regional Police Service.

The following is a list of support services and resources in Halton Region for victims of intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence:

• Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit 905-825-4777
• Halton Women’s Place 905-878-8555 (north) or 905-332-7892 (24-hour crisis line)
• Halton Children’s Aid Society 905-333-4441 or 1-866-607-5437
• Nina’s Place Sexual Assault and Domestic Assault Care Centre 905-336-4116 or 905-681-4880
• Thrive Counselling 905-637-5256 or 905-845-3811
• Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS) 905-875-1555 (24-hour crisis line)

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Halton students heard one of the best speakers in the country talk to them about the Rights of Children

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 25th, 2021



There are times when having to do something ‘virtually’ turns out to be a plus.

The Halton District School Board held their second Symposium on the Rights of the Child.  It came very close to being cancelled after more than a year of work that looked like it was going to be laid to rest by COVID.

They had a fabulous speaker lined up and were looking forward to a good turn out.

That was in March of last year – and of course things changed for everyone.

The Halton Director of Education, Stuart Miller said that it looked as if the event would have to be cancelled but senior staff and the Director took a closer look at what they were up against and realized that if they web cast the event through their Facebook page they would draw much more than the 250 + they got in 2019.

They certainly got much more than the 250 +  –  there were 3400 people logged into the Facebook page. Stewart points out that many of those log-ins were from a classroom that would have had 15 to 20 students taking part.  There could have been 5000 students listening.

Stephen Lewis

One of the strongest speakers in Canada, Stephen Lewis addressed thousands of Halton students virtually on Friday about the Right of the Child.

They were fortunate to have one of the great Canadian orators and a very passionate advocate for social justice in this country.  Stephen Lewis, a Companion of the Order of Canada, the holder of 42 honorary Doctorates, is a living legend.

Hearing Lewis speak when he is really passionate about his subject is something one never forgets.

Lewis led students and community partners in a day long program focused on children’s rights.  “I spent a large chunk of my life” said Lewis, “dealing with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

“When I worked with UNICEF, I was responsible for travelling around the world to persuade governments to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and take all of its clauses seriously. The Convention provides a tremendous range of rights for children, all of which I hope to be addressing before you.”

Lewis was joined by Michel Chikwanine, now a motivational speaker, author and human rights activist based in Toronto and originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Chikwanine is more than a child advocate. When he was not much more than a young boy he was kidnapped from the soccer field outside his school in the Democratic Republic of Congo; he and his childhood friends were “recruited” to be rebel soldiers.

Michel Chikwanine

Michel Chikwanine: Kidnapped as a young boy and forced to serve as a child warrior

Chikwanine is a compelling speaker. People find themselves riveted to their seats when he speaks.

At the end of what was a very full day the Students were to create a Call to Action, a document that would set out what they wanted to do about improving the Rights of the Child.

Superintendent Rob Eatough will be responsible for overseeing the development of these Calls to Action.

Tomorrow the Gazette will publish interviews with some of the students who took part in the event.



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Halton District School Board gets ready to register kindergarten student for September.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 14th, 2021



School boards are looking at the bigger picture – the pandemic will end and a normal life will return.  We wish!

The province has treated the educational sector in a rather shabby way – schools are open, then they are closed, and then they are opened again.

Many parents are at their wit’s end.

The Halton District School Board said yesterday that they are now accepting registrations for Junior (Year 1) and Senior (Year 2) Kindergarten for September 2021.

September 2

Students at the kindergarten level – before the pandemic. Mask-less. Will the class of September 2021 look like this?

Families are advised to call their local elementary school to find out which dates have been established for Kindergarten registration in their area. Registration will be by appointment only (in-person and/or virtual). Parents/guardians are asked to register their child by Feb. 5, 2021.

Registration forms are available online at (search: Registering for Kindergarten).

To determine your home school, visit the HDSB website at (search: Find My Local School).

Families should contact the HDSB Welcome Centre to book an appointment if they hold a work permit and are registering their child with the HDSB for the first time, or if either the parent or child has a Study Permit/Visa, or the parent is a Permanent Resident applicant on visitor status.

Child getting off school bus

Hopefully the school boards will see students like this next September.

Please have the following original documents when registering:

• Proof of address (any two of the following current documents): lease or deed, car registration, utility bill, residential telephone bill, moving bill, property tax bill, bank statement, credit card statement, correspondence with a government agency

• Proof of age: birth certificate or passport or baptismal/faith record for your child

• Proof of citizenship: birth certificate or passport, Record of Landing (IMM 1000) or Permanent Resident card

• If you are not the child’s parent, or if you have sole custody, please bring proof of custody (court order).

To register to begin school in Fall 2021, Junior Kindergarten (Year 1) children must be four years old by Dec. 31, 2021, and Senior Kindergarten (Year 2) children must be five years old by Dec. 31, 2021.

To learn more about the Halton District School Board’s Kindergarten Program, visit the HDSB website at (search: Kindergarten).

At, future students can explore a Kindergarten classroom to see what their classroom will look like next September. There are videos to watch, pictures to view and fun activities for kids. Parents/guardians can learn about the Kindergarten program at the HDSB, play-based learning, community resources in Halton and before-and-after school care. Families can also sign-up to receive a welcome package from the HDSB including a free children’s book.

Parents/guardians who require language assistance to register their child for school can contact the HDSB Welcome Centre:
• For schools in Oakville – 905-335-3665 ext. 3438
• For schools in Burlington – 905-335-3665 ext. 3452
• For schools in Milton, Georgetown, Acton – 905-335-3665 ext. 3438

Parents/guardians who require accessibility accommodations to register their child for school can contact the Principal/Vice-principal of the school.


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Burlington Man Proves Slots Can Be a Full-Time Job - Think YouTube

sportsgold 100x100By Mildred Austria

January 8th, 2021



‘Who says you can’t have fun and earn a living at the same time? Brian Christopher from Burlington, Ontario, proves that it is possible to take gambling to a level that is more enviable than having a lucky streak. From classic to progressive slots, gambling has been more than enjoyable for the 39-year-old gambling enthusiast.

PAID Burl man at progressiveChristopher is not making money directly from winning at slot machines, although he occasionally earns some from them. He is having slots as his “full-time job” by being a YouTube who plays slots. He is now one of the leading YouTubers who specialize in videos about wagering.

Christopher did not plan any of his YouTube fame and money-making. It was in April 2016 when he posted his first ever video on the video sharing platform. He thought only his family and friends would consider giving his video the views. However, in around a month after posting his first video, he noticed his followers were growing rapidly. This led to him getting an invite to be part of YouTube’s partner program, allowing him to monetize the content he posts.

He said he decided he would record some of the instances he was enjoying slots after seeing others doing the same. It would be fun, he thought, and he was not seriously considering giving it a lot of effort. It was just about him filming for fun.

After seeing the growth of his channel and making money out of the videos he used to post without any thought of monetization, Christopher decided to make it his full-time job. He eventually planned trips to casinos where he can create his unique content. He also thought of posting videos daily since nobody playing slots was doing it at that pace.

Christopher thinks that his channel grew further because of the frequency he was posting videos. He was not doing something that is in a very narrow niche. It’s not the same as the content produced by many of the top YouTubers around. However, he managed to attract regular viewers of his videos because he was doing it daily, so he had something new to offer to his subscribers every time they visit his channel.

In an interview with The Star, the successful YouTuber expressed elation over doing something he enjoys. He said being a gaming-focused YouTuber is so much fun. He unapologetic ally professed his fondness for gambling and his desire to entertain people, two things he is able to do and make money from by being a YouTube video blogger.

On average, YouTuber content creators earn in the range of $3 to $5 for every 1,000 views their videos get. A single video with a million views in a month can already generate a hefty amount to pay for living expenses.

Christopher’s channel averages 207,000 views per day. Many of his videos are already above the 1 million view mark. As of January 6, 2021, his channel has already accumulated more than 201 million views and 314,000 subscribers.

Mildred Austria tracks and analyzes the any ways social media is used by several sectors.

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Body Positive - a Different Way of Looking at What Woman Look Like

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 6th, 2021



At the beginning of a year people make resolutions.

Losing weight is one that is at the top of many resolution lists.

We care about the way we look.

Some people care much more than others and go to great lengths to change their natural appearance

Emily Lauren Dick, Burlington author, graduated from Wilfred Laurier University where her focus was on Women’s Studies. She began to learn about the intense focus on what women should look like.

The fashion world set the tone, the media picks it up and men were persuaded that THIS is what an attractive woman looks like.

Billions of dollars were poured into the marketing of what women had to look like – the pressure on young women – girls actually, is intense.

For many young people it was not a pretty picture.

Anorexia was prevalent as early as the middle years of school.

Body book cover Dyck

Interviews with 75 women about what they look like and what, if anything, they want to do about it.

Emily’s book, Body Positive,  is made up of a lot of pictures and interviews she did with more than 75 women who came in all shapes and sizes.

It’s not easy being a girl today. We live in a culture in which Average Girls feel bad about themselves for being unable to achieve society’s ideal standards of beauty. The media makes it nearly impossible for girls to develop a positive body image. Many of you may feel alone in your struggle with your body image. But you should know that your experience is . . . well, average.

Some of the quotes from the interviews actually hurt:

“The media pressures girls of all ages to be perfect and cool-looking, from having the newest Barbie when they’re young to having the perfect everything when they [are] elementary-school age and older. It’s ridiculous because people get teased . . . about their appearance— not even their personality, but their appearance—and it’s so hard not to get wrapped into it. People usually do. I know I do.”

“The media is the biggest reason for my being anorexic.”

“Perfect skin, long eyelashes, big eyes, pink lips . . . I don’t know, I just think it’s pretty. That’s always shown in films and in magazines and stuff. I just love the look I can’t do. I’m just ugly, and I can’t be [bothered] to do makeup—don’t have much money for makeup anyway.”

The book tends to focus on younger women – because Emily feels that is where the most help is needed. “This is the age most impacted by anorexia”, she said.

The objective is to teach people to be who they are and that who they really are is perfectly alright.

This is a book you work with – the pictures themselves say a lot about different sizes and shapes – it is the comments and the questions that are out to readers that makes it worth the time and effort for those who question what they look like and go to some length to change that look.

You can order online anywhere that sells books – specifically Amazon Canada, Chapters Indigo, Amazon US, Bookshop, Indiebound, Books-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, Workman!

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CondoGuide Available from Province - Best Information Source for Condo Buyers

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 6, 2021



Buying a house is something most people know a little bit about.

The Baxter was a very successful condo development; seen as a prime location and an attractive building to boot. The proposed structure for Brock and Elgin is anything but attractive if the drawings are any indication of what they want to build.

The Baxter was a very successful condo development; seen as a prime location and an attractive building. 

Not the same with a condominium. The rules are a little different for the condo world.

The province has released a CondoGuide that sets out just what the buying process is and what you need to know. The Guide was developed by the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) and approved by the Minister as a helpful resource for the buyers of residential pre-construction/new condo units.

Realtors are required to give you a copy of that guide and to allow a ten day cooling off period once the paper work is completed.
The Condo Guide equips prospective buyers of residential pre-construction/new or resale condo units with information on condo ownership and the condo purchase process.

It also contains various topics including moving into a residential pre-construction/new condo unit, condo living, and how condo owners can resolve issues.

Although the Condo Guide is primarily written for condo buyers, if you have recently purchased a unit, or even if you are a long-time condo owner, the Condo Guide may also be of interest to you as it covers many topics relevant to condo ownership.

You can access a copy of the CondoGuide HERE

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Province dropping $200 into the households of parents with high school students

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 23rd, 2020



News about the schools  is pouring from every source, making it difficult for parents to keep up.

One piece of news that will help make their day – the province wants to give parents $200.

MMR students 1

Each of those students will attract $200 to the family budget.  Notice how this group is respecting the social distancing rules.

Parents of high school students in Ontario are eligible for a one-time payment of $200 per student to offset the cost of mandatory home learning this January.

Following the winter break, high school students will learn from home until Jan. 11 at the earliest, as part of the latest province-wide COVID-19 shutdown.

Premier Doug Ford announced on Dec. 21 that all schools in Ontario will remain closed after the winter break as part of the province wide COVID-19 shutdown, with secondary school students returning to the classroom on Jan. 11 in Northern Ontario and Jan. 25 in Southern Ontario.

Elementary school students across the province will also return to school on Jan. 11.

The province has made lump sum payments of $200 and $250 available twice this year for parents of children up to 12 years old or children and youth up to 21 years old with special needs, but this is the first time payments have been offered to parents and guardians of all students from 13 years old to those in Grade 12.

“While Ontario schools remain safe, we won’t take any chances following the holidays — we will pivot to teacher-led online learning to help protect against the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

“We are providing direct financial support to parents of elementary, and now high school children. to help them get through this pandemic.”

The provincial government will post application instructions to the Support for Learners web page in January.

Applications for secondary school students will be open from Jan. 11 to Feb. 8. The application deadline for payments for children up to 12 years old or children and youth 21 years old and younger with special needs — which was announced in November — has also been extended to Feb. 8.

The Gazette will let you know when the application forms are ready.

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The Rise of Canadian E-Commerce and How Web Design Comes into Play

background graphic redBy Claire Ward

December 20th, 2020



The marketplace is changing, and nowhere is this more apparent than with the Canadian e-commerce boom.

While this increase in e-commerce sales has been growing for quite a while, only recently has the true weight of this trend become fully apparent.

How E-Commerce Took Canada By Storm
First, the facts: in total, there was around a 99.3% increase in retail e-commerce sales in Canada in May 2020 compared to February of the same year. This totaled about $3.9 billion in sales.

Those are huge numbers, but they are indicative of a much larger trend that has continued even over previous years. For example, e-commerce sales have recently doubled with a 110.8% increase compared to May 2019.

That’s a big jump in only a little more than a year. Digital industries, more than any others, are set to rise in the coming decade.

While it’s clear that COVID-19 and personal shopping restrictions definitely played a role in this astronomical growth, it’s also clear that e-commerce has been on the cusp of exploding for quite a long time. All the tinder needed was a match to light the first spark.

E commerce design graphic

Covid has taught how to use online retailers – now to find an organization that can do the job.

Now, this development has the potential to restructure the entire Canadian retail industry from the ground up. For example, retail sales plummeted by 29.1% from February to April 2020 (which, admittedly, is in lockstep with the coronavirus restrictions that were rolled out across the country).

Still, it’s hard to deny the advantages that e-commerce inherently has over retail locations:

It’s easier than ever for people to find more products that physical stores may not have.

Ordering online often feels more convenient than visiting a physical store – even when grocery shopping!

Most e-commerce stores now offer free shipping, putting their prices equal to or more affordable than prices for equivalent products in retail stores

All in all, the future is abundantly clear: e-commerce is the way of the future for retail in Canada and beyond.

Winners and Losers – How Web Design Impacts Successful E-Commerce Stores
This being said, not every Canadian retail outlet will automatically benefit from huge profits over the coming months and years. Factors such as web design, which affects the look, navigation, and loading time of an e-commerce storefront or website, will determine which retail outlets will be successful compared to those that fail.

The reasons for this are relatively obvious:

People would much rather spend their time on a site that feels easy to navigate and fun to use rather than have to navigate a site that’s clunky and unintuitive

Furthermore, people are more likely to recommend an e-commerce site (and bring in more business for the retailer) if they appreciate their experience while they are there

Perhaps even more importantly, good e-commerce web design can provide credibility to a retailer. It shows that they know what they’re doing

Does Great Web Design Really Matter?
Absolutely! Knowing the benefits that well-designed eCommerce sites can bring to any retailer, it’s more important than ever before that companies build their digital storefronts with excellent web design agencies.

It may particularly be a good idea to hire a domestic agency if you’re looking for great web design in Canada, as these agencies will be able to craft an online space that’s perfectly tailored to your industry and unique needs.

But regardless, any retailer looking to take advantage of the rise of e-commerce in the Canadian market should look for an agency that:

can successfully identify customer pain points
can build a website that addresses those pain points
can provide a fast loading and intuitive web experience for all users

Time will tell which retailers rise to the challenge and craft new e-commerce stores with the capacity to grow and capture new markets.

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A burning issue -

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2020



Back in January when the world was normal I was invited to serve as a judge of different online media for the Canadian Online Newspaper Awards organization.

The awards have been given for the past 12 years.

COPA logoI was assigned to student newspapers, a market segment close to my heart – having worked as the features editor for the Queen’s Journal when I was a student.

I had stories from three student on-line newspapers: The Signal from Kings College, Dalhousie University;The Thunderbird, University of British Columbia and the York University, Student Magazine.

The students at The Signal covered a murder trial, with a different student reporting each week.

When it came to actually doing the judging we were smack dab in the middle of a pandemic that had shut down large parts of North America – the day to day focus was on keeping a flow of needed Covid news and information to the Burlington community. Finding time to look at the entries from three university newspapers was a challenge.

I managed to get the judging done just in time for the finals to be determined.

My choice for the best article made it to the finals.

COPA story pic

It was the best piece I judged; about a subject few want to know much about. The headline was brilliant.

I was impressed with the talent and the quality of the entries. However there was one that really stood out – both because of the headline and the content – especially the subject. It wasn’t the kind of thing that I expected to read in a student newspaper.

I wrote the journalism course leader at UBC and asked for permission to re-print the piece, which is set out below.

The author, Akshay Kulkarni was born in Mysore, India, but has lived most of his life in Bengaluru. He has a BA (Hons) in Multimedia Journalism from Bournemouth University, and plans to work as a multimedia journalist when he graduates from the Master of Journalism program at UBC.

He got the idea for the piece after reading a long feature about end-of-life and how to make it sustainable. He then wondered whether aquamation, the eco-friendly body disposal method outlined in the article, was legal in British Columbia and the article arose from there.

COPA winner logoHere is a link to the story that made it to the finals. I’ll let you know how how it placed when the awards are announced in January.

CLICK HERE to read: A burning issue


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