‘Should We Unplug Our Kids?' - Statements on Screen Time for Children

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

April 6th, 2018



How much time should your children spend before a screen?

And how do you get them away from that screen when they have been in front of one for far too long?


The problem –

The Community & Parent Partners for Kids (C.A.P.P. for KIDS) is presenting the event that begns at 7:00 pm and runs to 8:30 p.m. at the New Street Education Centre (3250 New St., Burlington). There will be community displays from 6:45-7 p.m.

Parents are invited to attend the free evening presentation on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 aimed at addressing the appropriate amount of screen time for young people in a society increasingly dominated by technology.

Called ‘Should We Unplug Our Kids? Reflections on the revised Canadian Paediatric Society Position Statement on Screen Time for Children’, the presentation will highlight the current trends, research and recommendations related to screen time.

screen time asleep

How much screen time is appropriate – and how does a parent come up with rules that work?

Child experts Maria Ramos and Linda Bell will lead the presentation. Both are experienced Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologists with advanced skills in facilitating the development of language and emergent literacy in preschool children. Their role includes coaching parents and service providers as well as offering community presentations on a variety of related topics.

C.A.P.P. for KIDS is a partnership between Halton Region, Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK), Our Kids Network, Halton Regional Police Service, Ontario Early Years, Burlington Public Library, City of Burlington, and the Halton Multicultural Council.

For more information about this event, email mailto:capp4kids@gmail.com.

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Two Males Arrested for Distraction Thefts Throughout the Halton Region

Crime 100By Staff

April 5, 2018



On Tuesday April 3rd 2018, two males were in Food Basics stores in the towns of Georgetown, Milton and the city of Burlington.

At each location the two males, acting as a team, used distraction techniques to steal a purse from unsuspecting elderly females. One male engaged the elderly females in conversation asking for assistance. During this distraction, the other male stole the purses. Cash and credit cards were taken from the stolen purses and the purses were discarded.

The two males used the stolen credit cards at multiple stores close to the location of each theft. The cards were used immediately after the theft of each purse.

At 1:35pm on Wednesday April 4th 2018, the same males again attended the Food Basics in Georgetown. Alert employees recognized the suspects and quickly contacted police. The suspects left the scene in a motor vehicle. Witnesses obtained the licence plate information and police connected the vehicle to a Brampton address.

Detectives from the one district criminal investigations bureau were able to stop the motor vehicle and at 4:10pm arrested the occupants as they attempted to return to their residence.

One adult and one young offender, who cannot be named under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, are facing three counts of theft under.

Bogdan DYMITER, 20 years of Brampton and a 17 year old young offender were held pending a bail hearing.

The investigation is continuing into these offences and further charges are expected.

What you can do to protect your self: Click here

Halton Police wish to thank the alert Food Basics employees who quickly contacted police and obtained vital information necessary to bring this investigation to a successful conclusion.

Police would also like to remind members of the public to be cognizant of the techniques used in these types of thefts and be on guard keeping personal possessions safe, secure and away from view in public places.

Anyone who may have additional information concerning this investigation can contact Detective Derek Moyes of the One District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext: 2114.

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222- 477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

Persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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A summary of the Impaired Driving Offences within Halton Region

Crime 100By Staff

April 5th, 2018


Police are still laying far too many charges for Impaired driving.

How man of these charges result in convictions?

What does a conviction mean to insurance rates?

What does the Court do in terms of punishment?  Fines?  How much?

A summary of the offences:

On March 30, 2018 shortly before 1:30 am, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of Maple Avenue and Brush Road in Milton. As a result of an investigation, Obaid Mujtaba (24), of Milton was charged with driving while ability impaired and driving over 80mgs.

On March 30, 2018 shortly before 8:30 am, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of Main Street South and Park Avenue in Halton Hills. As a result of an investigation, Richard Fox (34), of Stoney Creek was charged with driving while ability impaired and driving over 80mgs.

On March 30, 2018 shortly before 10:30 am, Halton Police officers responded to the area of Robarts Drive and Dills Crescent in Milton, in response to a citizen-initiated traffic complaint. As a result of an investigation, Jeremy Dixon (22), of Milton was charged with driving while ability impaired and driving over 80 mgs.

On March 31, 2018 shortly after 11:30 am, Halton Police officers initiated a traffic stop near the intersection of Princeton Crescent and Sunnydale Drive in Burlington. As a result of an investigation, Lance Atchison (50), of Burlington was charged with driving while ability impaired and driving over 80 mgs.

On March 31, 2018 shortly before 8:00 pm, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of Fairview Street and Maple Avenue in Burlington. As a result of an investigation, Ali Mohammed (33), of Burlington was charged with driving while ability impaired and driving over 80mgs.

On March 31, 2018 shortly after 9:00 pm, Halton Police officers responded to the area of Maple Avenue and Norrington Place in Milton, in response to a citizen-initiated traffic complaint. As a result of an investigation, Clark Stewart (45), of Milton was charged with driving while ability impaired and driving over 80 mgs.

On April 1, 2018 shortly before 11:00 am, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of Speers Road and Bronte Road in Oakville. As a result of an investigation, Ryan Whey (22), of Mississauga was charged with driving while ability impaired and driving over 80mgs.

On April 1, 2018 shortly before 9:00 pm, Halton Police officers initiated a traffic stop near the intersection of Main Street and James Street in Milton. As a result of an investigation, Rui Pinto Verdugo (45), of Milton was charged with driving over 80 mgs.

On April 1, 2018 shortly after 10:30 pm, Halton Police officers were conducting a mobile R.I.D.E. initiative in the area of Cornwall Road and Chartwell Road in Oakville. A traffic stop was conducted and as a result of an investigation, Jennifer Lawrence (44), of Oakville was charged with driving over 80mgs.

On April 3, 2018 shortly before 10:00 pm, Halton Police officers responded to the area of Derry Road and Sixth Line in Milton, in response to a citizen-initiated traffic complaint. As a result of an investigation, Janusz Uramowski (66), of Mississauga was charged with care or control while impaired and care or control over 80 mgs.


Survey closes on Friday – April 6th – Takes two minutes to complete.

The Halton Regional Police Service remains committed to road safety through prevention, education and enforcement initiatives.  Members of the public are reminded that driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a crime in progress and to call 9-1-1 immediately to report a suspected impaired driver.

The Service’s Twitter and Facebook accounts should not be used for this purpose as they are not monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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National Newsmedia Council statement

The Burlington Gazette is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.
When the Gazette was covering a meeting of the Halton District School Board we made an error and attributed a statement to one of the trustees from Milton when it was made by one of the trustees from Oakville. The two sit side by side during school board meetings. We corrected the error but not to the complete satisfaction of the trustee. The NNC requires the Gazette to publish their report on how they respond to a complaint. That report is set out below.

April 3 2018
The National NewsMedia Council has upheld a complaint about accuracy and errors correction in the Burlington Gazette.

The March 22 2018 article reported on a Halton District School Board meeting, where part of the discussion was about a new administration building.

The complainant, Kim Graves, stated that two statements in the article were untrue.

The first cited inaccuracy was that “The Oakville and Milton trustees didn’t like the distance they would have to drive to get to Board meetings if they continued to be held in Burlington”. No trustees were named in the article but Graves, a trustee from Milton, objected that she did not make that statement.
Graves said the second untrue statement is that trustees “are queasy” about discussing the new administration centre. She said the statement implied all trustees are queasy, and is untrue because she is not queasy about having the discussion.

In its response, The Burlington Gazette said it did not refuse to make a correction, but that it would review the three-hour video of the meeting web cast.

Subsequently, the news outlet published a correction stating that in an “earlier version of this news story we said that Milton trustee Kim Graves had complained about the distance she had to drive to get to school board meetings” and that it was the trustee beside her who made the comment.

That correction also stated “we said ‘… they were a little queasy about having this matter on the table…’. It would have been more correct to say that some were queasy.”

The complainant objected to the first part of the correction as inaccurate. She noted the original article did not name her as making a statement, but did incorrectly imply she made a statement.

Based on the above, Council upheld the complaint about an inaccurate statement. It also upheld the complaint about the correction, because it incorrectly conveyed the original statement and drew unwarranted attention to the complainant. It is worth noting that the original statement implied six trustees were of the same view, but the correction admitted to misattributing a comment to just one.

The complainant also raised questions about the news media’s approach to making a correction. While it is reasonable for the journalist to double check the audio video recording, and to ask for a quote on that or another issue, it is also the prerogative of the trustee or any other interviewee to decline to comment. A correction should not be contingent on providing a further quote.

The news outlet defended its request for further quotes, and stated it “wanted to see a statement that was clearer” than the complainant’s earlier comments.

As a general comment, Council noted that tension between the media and institutions is normal and part of the accountability dynamic of a healthy democracy. However, journalistic standards of accuracy, opportunity to respond, attribution, citing reliable sources, and willingness to make prompt and meaningful corrections are essential in a reputable media. Similarly, government and institutions have a role in allowing media access to information, and those in public office must expect a higher degree of scrutiny and less privacy than those individuals in private life.

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Google could have everything you ever said on a cell phone, could have everything you ever wrote and where you travelled. It is not easy to keep their nose out of your business.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 31st, 2018



The headline read: Want to know everything Google knows about you?

It was part of a Saturday morning CBC radio program Day 6. Incredible, frightful and not really a damn thing you can do about it.

They know it all – and they will sell it to anyone who will pay the price. That includes political organizations; national brand advertisers and literally every police or security authority out there.

We have set out a transcription of the conversation that is to be broadcast.

Day 6 GoogleIt is between Ireland-based data consultant and web developer Dylan Curran  and Day 6 host Brent Bambury, who is interviewing Curran, who explains,  step by step, how anyone can check what information Google has on them — from where they’ve travelled to their political views and even which stickers they’ve used online.

The broadcast of course doesn’t have any visuals.  Those can be seen at this link:

You can follow Curran on Twitter at: @iamdylancurran

It’s no secret that Facebook and Google collect data from people who use their services. But Curran was shocked by just how much he found about himself on Google.

He talks with Day 6 host Brent Bambury about why companies like Google store so much personal data, and what it could mean for the future.

CBC Day 6 with BrentBrent Bambury: What prompted you to look into how much data Google has collected about you?

Dylan Curran:I was on Twitter one Saturday, a little bit hungover — I have a life — and this person had essentially posted a thread, which was very similar to mine, but all they were going through was the Facebook data rather than the Google data as well. They showed that Facebook was storing your phone text messages or phone call records, and these collections are external to Facebook so they were storing things that they didn’t need to store. And then after seeing that, and seeing the shock that so many people were experiencing, I decided to go in and do a little bit of investigation myself and compile it into something that people could easily read.

Brent Bambury So what other types of information were you able to find out had been collected about you online?

Dylan Curran:  Oh God, so much. Number one was that they were storing Google incognito history. So if you were using private browsing, where they don’t track your data, they did actually store it. So, say your wife wouldn’t be able to see what you are doing in Google incognito, but Google will. And number two, they were mapping out your location every time you turned on your phone. So if your location setting is turned on, Google will log your location every time you turn on your phone. They store that and then they’ll basically put it into a big database and you can go onto maps.google.com/timeline and see where you’ve been for the last four or five years.

Brent Bambury At the end of six hours how many gigs of information did you have that Google had on you?

Dylan Curran

Dylan Curran: We don’t have the lady’s name.

Dylan Curran: Facebook has 600 megabytes and Google had 5.5 gigabytes — which, for context, is about three million more documents.

Brent Bambury Now, if Google is storing that amount of data for every person who uses a Google product or a Google app, that’s a lot of raw data. How is it all stored?

Dylan Curran:  I did an estimation where around 2.2 billion people — 70 per cent of the internet— use Google, and this is conjecture, but I would say [they are storing] on average maybe one gigabyte per person. So if they have 2.2 billion gigabytes, that’s 2.2 exabytes. That’s three per cent of the world’s online storage.

Just try and keep in mind that everything you do online does leave a footprint and it will be kept forever.

Brent Bambury  How much does it cost to store three per cent of the world’s online information?

Dylan Curran: Because of economies of scale, it’s quite easy for them to store. Google makes on average $12 per person for their information, and the cost of storing it, I would say, is less than a fraction of a cent.

Brent Bambury  You said that Google’s making $12 per person through our data. How did they monetize it into a profit?

Dylan Curran:  What they essentially do is they take your information and then they build an advertising profile based on you. Advertisers pay to use that advertising profile to target you with the products and services that they want to sell you.

Brent Bambury People were shocked by the amount of information that you uncovered that Google had on you. What are the implications of all of this, of these private companies having so much data about so many people?

Dylan Curran: My problem really is that we don’t know the implications. So I have no doubt that Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter, etc., aren’t doing anything too nefarious with the data. I don’t think that’s what’s happening. It’s just that they are cataloguing all of this information. So if Google has information on a third of the population on the planet, down to everything they’ve done for the last 10 years, that does have a lot of negative connotations for the future. Especially in an ever-changing world. I do strongly believe that it’s safer just to not have that kind of potential bomb available. I think it can be a little less extensive.

Brent Bambury:  But there doesn’t seem to be a clear way of opting out. I mean, even if people change their privacy settings, is there any way of escaping having your data collected by Facebook or Google?

Dylan Curran: No, that’s the thing. These are free services, and I don’t have any problem morally or ethically with them collecting information in return for using the service. They’re companies and they’re trying to make money. What the issue is, really, is that they’re just collecting too much. They’re going too far.

What people can do is just be a little bit careful online. I’m not suggesting to delete Facebook or delete Google or anything like that. Just try and keep in mind that everything you do online does leave a footprint and it will be kept forever.

CBC radioThe transcript has a note saying: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The full Day 6 broadcast can be heard on CBC Saturday morning at 10 am and then found on the CBC archives.



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Gazette has been around for seven years - started out as Our Burlington - When do people read the Gazette?

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

March 29th, 2018



The Gazette is now in its seventh year of publication.

We first hit the streets, via the Internet, in October of 2010 – that was an election year.

For a short period of time we were known as Our Burlington – I didn’t choose the name.

The paper came out of a friendship with the late John Boich who was working with a number of people on creating a better way to deliver local news. In the early stages the people behind that initiative were thinking in terms of getting low frequency radio license – that wasn’t something I was interested in.

The Shape Burlington report had just been published – Boich and former Mayor Walter Mulkewich were the authors of hat report which, in part said:

Engagement: Transform the City Hall culture to promote active citizenship and civic engagement

Promoting active citizen engagement and meaningful public dialogue requires a culture shift at City Hall. A crucial first step is the development an Engagement Charter – a plain language policy document developed with public involvement that incorporates benchmarks and accountabilities, and describes the value, purpose and opportunities for citizens to influence city policies.

The charter would explain how to navigate City Hall and its services. It should stipulate best practices for various kinds of public consultation and affirm the city’s commitment to inform citizens and respond to their ideas and contributions. t would address the question of reaching out to a diverse population.

The charter would incorporate an early notification system to provide citizens and groups information about meetings, events and issues, and to allow reasonable amounts of time to understand, discuss and develop positions before decisions are made.

I managed to convince Boich that a newspaper on line was the route to go – the Executive Director of the non-profit he had set up wasn’t a newspaper person. Boich asked me if I would put together a business plan –

I did – and he said – great – make it happen.

And that was how Our Burlington came to be.

I soon realized that “Our Burlington” was not a fit name for a newspaper and chose the name Gazette for two reasons: Burlington once had a print newspaper called the Gazette and the first photograph I had published as a boy 12 was on the front page of the Montreal Gazette – I also delivered that newspaper as a boy.

When I started the Burlington Gazette I was pretty sure the editorial model I had in mind would work – but it needed to be tried to be certain. The model works.

We have had our ups and downs but the readership growth has been consistent; not massive but consistently incremental.

So who reads the Gazette?

As many readers know we are in the midst of running a readership survey. The practice going forward will be to do a new survey every month – shorter next time; three maybe four questions.

Here is what we can tell you about when the Gazette is read:

Gazette readers story

Just over 40% of our readers are daily readers. We notice that during the winter a decent number of “snowbirders” read us from the United States – we don’t know which state they are reading from – just US of A.

There is more in the way of readership from Hamilton and Toronto than we expected.

survey04The data show in the graph above is “raw” in that we don’t tell you which ward those readers live in.  we will include that data in the full report which we will publish when the survey is  closed.  We wanted the survey open for at least 15 days.  The Sunday readership is always quite high and we want to keep it open beyond the Easter holiday.


Related news stories:

The Shape Report

The city’s Community Engagement Charter

Why the Gazette?

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Former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change will address Burlingtonians at Mayor Goldring's next Inspire event.

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

March 28th, 2018



Mayor Goldring is holding another of his Inspire Burlington series late in April.

Goldring has invited Glen Murray, Executive Director of the Pembina Institute, and former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change for Ontario to speak on transit-supportive development that works to create multi-modal, and sustainable cities.

Mayor Inspire - Murray speakingThe talk will take place at the Royal Botanical Gardens April 25th at 7:30 p.m in the main auditorium; admission is FREE and all are welcome.

The talk takes place a couple of days after the Bfast 4th annual Forum of transit – might be some interesting questions that can come out of the Form for Mr. Murray

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More than 900 students from across the Region take part in a two day Band Extravaganza.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

March 28th, 2018



Two solid days of students and their instruments learning a new piece of music and then coming together as a massed band to perform what they have learned.

The event is part of what the Halton District School Board calls a Band Extravaganza taking place in Burlington Tuesday and Wednesday.

Girl with trombone

The students paid close attention tot he instructions they were being given.

Listening to the students as they warm up with their instruments and get instructions on instrument specific clinics from instructors that were donated by Long and McQuade.

Girl with base sax

There was this beautiful deep sound that just enveloped the room. Then the other instruments joined in.

Being in a room with 15 to 40 students who are being directed by an experienced musician learning to get the best sound possible from the instrument is quite an experience. The rooms were on the small side where the sound bounced off the walls.

Boys with clarinets

Boys being boys – talking up what they were being taught?

Students start each day with a concert by the Halton Junior Jazz Band. Afterwards, students go to breakout clinics specific to their instrument. Later they convene for a massed band rehearsal, with guest conductors on both days.

Getting the instrument ready

Concentration and getting it just right.

The board has commissioned two original concert band compositions for the event: The Call to Adventure by composer David Marlatt, and The Conquest by Ryan Meeboer, a teacher at Alexander’s Public School in Burlington.

The pieces will be directed by the composers and played for the first time by Halton students.

Rebecca MacRae, the board’s instructional program leader (the arts, K-12) is overseeing the event.

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Pearson high prepares for the formal closing early in June.

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 25th, 2017



The closing of a high school is never a pleasant experience particularly when many in the community were opposed to the closing.

At the Lester B. Pearson High School they are calling the occasion a Celebration that will take place over two days: June 1 and 2, 2018


The Pearson high school students were always an active bunch: during a teacher strike they protested the bill before the provincial legislature.

The people organizing the event want to know who is interested – past and present students, alumni, and former staff are being asked to an interest survey by April 7

A full slate of engaging activities are being organized to celebrate Lester B. Pearson High School (1976-2018) on Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2, 2018. Events are planned for students, alumni and staff, both past and present, to celebrate the school’s 42-year history. Lester B. Pearson High School will close at the end of June 2018, with students moving to nearby M.M. Robinson High School.

All events will be held at Lester B. Pearson High School (1433 Headon Rd, Burlington). The two-day celebration will include a number of activities to recognize and honour accomplishments over the decades of students, staff and the wider Pearson community.

Friday, June 1, 2018 – Patriot Generation Sports Tournaments and Pep Rally with world renowned Burlington Teen Tour Band, food trucks and entertainment, play and watch ball hockey, basketball, touch football, soccer, volleyball, and enjoy socializing with longtime friends.

Saturday, June 2, 2018 – Open House with Decades Showcase, Tours and Closing Ceremony with Lester B. Pearson’s granddaughter, Patricia Pearson, and founding principal, David Katz, along with music, videos and representatives speaking about the decades. Reception to follow.

To assist with planning, everyone attending the celebrations is encouraged to complete the Lester B. Pearson Celebration: Save The Date Survey and learn more about the planned events. The survey will remain open until Saturday, April 7, 2018 and will help event organizers confirm what activities are of interest to attendees and how many people to expect.

So far, approximately 300 surveys have been completed, with more than 650 attendees expected to attend, including students and staff from the 1970s through to current day.

survey04To learn more about the celebration activities, like and share the Celebrate Lester B. Pearson High School Facebook page, follow @CelebrateLBP on Twitter, visit www.CelebrateLBP.com or email celebrateLBP@hdsb.ca.

For additional information, contact: Loraine Fedurco, Principal, Lester B. Pearson High School: 905-335-0961

It will be an occasion filled with mixed emotions.

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Afternoon tea at the AGB this afternoon

eventspink 100x100By Staff

March 25th, 2018


Little did we know.

Our original headline on this story read: High tea at the AGB this afternoon.

We got our ears boxed when the CFUW advised us that – Please note that the phrase “high tea” refers to the evening meal of the working classes in Britton, sometimes even just referred to as “tea”. What University Women are holding is “afternoon tea”.  The correct spelling for Britain is <

The Canadian Federation of University Women is holding a 40th anniversary March Hare fund raiser this afternoon at the Art Gallery from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

The CFUW is an organization that is dedicated to fellowship, advocacy and education. They have in the past sponsored debates during election campaigns and have a scholarship program.

March Hare

2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Art Gallery of Ontario 1333 Lakeshore Rd. Burlington ON

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Trustees are not opposed to having a new HDSB administration centre built - but they don't agree on where it should be located.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 22, 2018


In an earlier version of this news story we said that Milton trustee Kim Graves had complained about the distance she had to drive to get to school board meetings.  It was trustee Anne Harvey Hope who made the comment – the two women sit beside each other at board meetings.  In the same article we said “… they were a little queasy about having this matter on the table…”.  It would have been more correct to say that some were queasy.  The Gazette regrets these errors.

Most of the trustees said last night that the Halton District School Board needed a new Administrative Building – but they didn’t want to see it located in Burlington.

There are 11 school board trustees – four represent Burlington; four represent Oakville and two represent Milton. One represents Halton Hills.

Kelly Amos

Need the building said Kelly Amos – but it shouldn’t be in Burlington.

Anne Harvey Hope

Driving to Burlington for 6 pm meetings is terrible – but we do need a new administration centre – Trustee Harvey-Hope

Oakville trustee Ann Harvey Hope said it was a “nightmare” to get to Board meetings from the east side of Oakville. Two of the 11 trustees were not in physical attendance – they took part on-line.

None of the trustees were opposed to the idea of putting up a new structure – some were a little queasy about having this matter on the table less than a year after closing two of the city’s seven high schools.

Director of Education Stuart Miller was adamant in saying that there was no link between the closing of the two high schools and the need to build a new building for administrators.

And he said, for the umpteenth time, that funds gained from the sale of a school property could not be used to build an administrative centre.

Trustees - Sams - Reynolds - Collard

Trustee Leah Reynolds, centre wanted the dust on school closings to settle before a new administrative Centre decision was made. Trustee Collard, on the right wanted any decision deferred. Trustee Grey, on the left represents Halton Hills – she made her comments by a telecommunications link.

Ward 1 and 2 Burlington trustee Leah Reynolds said making a decision now would be “ill timed” and that the Board should “wait for the dust to settle”.

Amy Collard, Burlington ward 5 trustee wanted to see a decision on a new building deferred but couldn’t find a seconder for her motion.

Why now was the question Reynolds had. Miller explained that this is an issue that has been in the talking stage for years – the building was defined as inadequate in 2005.

Stuart Miller

Stuart Miller

He added that the Board offices have to be AODA compliant by 2025 and that it would cost millions to bring the Singleton centre up to AODA standards.

He estimated that there would be a savings of $8 to $12 million if the Board approved the decision to proceed with the construction of a new build on land that they already owned.

The trustees agreed that a new building was needed – they just didn’t want it to be in Burlington. The problem was that land was very expensive and there really wasn’t much that was available.

The Board did have talks with the Region about using some of the land on Bronte Road north of the QEW – those talks went nowhere.

Miller is thinking in terms of the location having  a cafeteria, maybe a day care and he is open to the idea of renting space to organizations that are aligned to the values of public education.

Pickets during the first admin bldg

Protesting the $1 million expansion of the Halton Board of Education administration centre more than 20 years ago – four parents picket the centre; in Burlington; yesterday. They are Bill Johnson of Milton; defeated New Democratic Party candidate in Halton-Burlington; Betty Fisher and Christine Louth of Halton Hills; and Lillian Kilpatrick of Oakville.

The real estate consultant they hired advised that the amount of land they needed was scarce.

Miller sees the Board facing a very difficult and expensive problem. He needs a building that is AODA compliant. The building he has does not have the space he needs. He has property yards away from where the existing building is located.

His trustees are not going to help him out of this one.

The matter comes back to the Board April 4th.

Related new storey.

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Milton public school named after Viola Desmond, first black woman to appear on Canadian currency.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 22, 2018



We were a different people then.

Harder, harsher less tolerant of others and the differences between the races.

A world war had ended and people were adjusting to a different world but still suffering from the hardships brought on by that war.

Desmond $10 billIn New Glasgow, Nova Scotia Viola Irene Desmond went to a movie theatre and sat in a part that was reserved for white people. She was ejected from the theatre by security people, arrested and placed in a jail cell and charged with a minor tax violation for the one-cent tax difference between the seat she had paid for and the seat she used which was more expensive.

Desmond’s case is one of the most publicized incidents of racial discrimination in Canadian history and helped start the modern civil rights movement in Canada.

That was in 1946. In 2010, Desmond was granted a posthumous pardon, the first to be granted in Canada. The government of Nova Scotia also apologized for prosecuting her for tax evasion and acknowledged she was rightfully resisting racial discrimination.

In 2016, the Bank of Canada announced that Desmond would be the first Canadian woman to be featured on the front of a banknote; that honour went to Agnes Macphail, who appeared along with three men on a 2017 commemorative note marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Agnes Macphail was the first woman to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1921.

In late 2018 Desmond will be the first Canadian-born woman to appear alone on a $10 bill which was unveiled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz during a ceremony at the Halifax Central Library.

The Halton District school Board decided last night to name a public school in Milton after Viola Desmond.

Gavin Milton #10

Principal of what was, until last night, Milton PS # 10. The Board of Education named the school Viola Desmond Public School. It will open in September of 2018

The Board believes  it is the first school board to name a school after the woman who started the fight for racial equality in Canada. Milton PS # 10 will now be known as the Viola Desmond Public School.

A significant event in the long hard fight in Canada for racial equality, that isn’t over yet, took place in Nova Scotia in 1946.

School principal was on hand at the school board meeting to watch the vote take place.

The school will open in September of 2018 and offer Junior Kindergarten ‐ Grade 7 with Grade 8 English Program to be added in September 2019.

French Immersion Program offered in 2018-2019:   Grade 2 with each grade added in subsequent years.


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Public school board trustees will be deciding on a recommendation to build a new administration building - $23 million +

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 20th, 2018



The easiest way to get this story out is to report that after deciding to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools the trustees will decide on Wednesday if they want to go forward with the building of a new administrative building at a cost of $23 million plus some ongoing financing that will have to be taken on.

The recommendation the trustees are going to debate is:

Be it resolved that the Halton District School Board direct the Director of Education to initiate the construction of a new administrative building on the J.W. Singleton Education Centre property, pending Ministry approval.

Stuart Miller

Director of Education Stuart Miller has put forward a staff recommendation to construct a new Board administration building.

In a report to the trustees Director of Education Stuart Miller set out the conclusion that he and his Superintendents arrive at goes like this:

The Halton District School Board is the largest single employer in the entire Halton region. With more than 8000 full and part time employees serving 65,000 students and their families, it is clear the Halton District School Board is a very significant part of the Region of Halton. Moreover, dozens of Halton-based businesses employing a multitude of Halton residents do business with and provide services to the Board, its students and its staff. With a budget of more than $760 million, it is also apparent the Board and its employees contribute greatly to the local economy.

aerial of site

If the trustees follow the staff recommendation Burlington will see a new multi storey structure at the north west intersection of Upper Middle Road and Guelph Line.

The staff who currently work in the J.W. Singleton Education Centre, New Street Education Centre and the Milton Learning Centre are vital to the work of the schools. Halton students and graduates are served very well by their teachers, educational assistants, school administrators and all school- based support staff. Indeed, Halton District School Board students perform consistently at or near the top when compared to other boards across the province.

This cannot occur without the support of those who work in the various Board offices. Vital operations such as information technology, payroll, human resources, purchasing, facility services, library services, academic consulting, student services (special education), financial services, senior management and the functions of the Board of Trustees all occur centrally. Each of these services, and more, provide essential support for both the achievement and well-being of the Halton District School Board’s students. The role of all central support staff is crucial to the continued success of all Halton District School Board students.

Current offices

Photographs of current administrative offices at the Singleton Centre on Guelph Line.

The current facilities that accommodate these staff are inadequate. There is insufficient space and the condition of the current buildings are found wanting. To meet the current needs, including AODA compliance, would require a significant investment of millions of dollars. In addition, retrofitting or renovations would result in the displacement of hundreds of personnel and several school operations.

The need for an administrative centre that provides a modern, efficient building that is fully accessible and adaptable to future needs, will have a positive impact on professional relationships, operations and ultimately student learning and well-being.

In the fall of 2017 the Halton Regional Police Services moved into a new headquarters on North Service Road. The building itself cost $54 million and was built on Region-owned land. This new headquarters will serve the police services and ultimately the citizens of Halton well into the future.

A new Halton District School Board education centre will serve the same purpose for the tens of thousands of students we serve, well into the future.

New HQ

New Regional Police HQ – due to be opened in the very near future.

Like the Halton Regional Police Services headquarters, which was situated on regional land, the new HDSB administrative centre would be placed on Board property. This will result in a savings of approximately $5.6 to $8.8 million dollars, as land would not have to be purchased. It is also more efficient and would allow the project to be started and completed in a shorter time period.

It is for these reasons staff are recommending a new education centre be constructed on the site of the current administrative centre, subject to the required approvals.

How did the Board get to this point and have you heard anything about it from your school board trustee?

The Halton District School Board has grown to 65,000 students, an increase of 35% in student population during the past 10 years. This has resulted in a corresponding increase in staff across the system. There are currently 388 staff assigned to both the J.W. Singleton Centre and New Street Education Centre. This number has increased during the years and will continue to increase, as enrolment grows, in order to provide support and oversight to ensure schools operate effectively.

Because of this growth, staff have been engaged in a study of accommodation needs of central administrative Board staff.

Five level bldg

Architects schematic of what would go where in a new School Board administrative building.

A February 4, 2015 initiated a review to determine if the Board offices are adequate to carry out the current and future functions of the Board. This report identified Snyder and Associates Inc. as the consultant to lead this study. Two phases were outlined. Phase one was a comprehensive needs assessment followed by phase two which provided options for consideration to address the needs identified in phase one.

A report to the Board in June 24, 2015 outlined the results of phase one, confirming that the current administrative spaces are inadequate to accommodate the current and growing needs of central staff and the functions they perform.

The second phase was a February 17, 2017 report that highlighted ideal proximity of departments for optimal synergies and the importance of centralizing all administrative functions of the Board at one site, ideally geographically central in the Board. The report confirmed the current practice of accommodating staff through reorganization and/or minor modifications/ renovations of current space is not a long term solution. Spaces are cramped, lacking privacy, meeting space is inappropriate, building systems are outdated and accessibility remains an issue.

The report identified the need for a facility that:

• is flexible and adaptable to future needs
• encourages collaboration and innovation
• provides a safe and inclusive environment
• is fully accessible for staff and the public
• enhances employee well-being to improve employee performance
• enhances community and board wide engagement

The report also outlined general specifications including square footage, cost and the number of staff to be accommodated.

An October 16, 2016 to the reported staff had been in contact with municipalities and a joint facility was not a likely option. Staff had also investigated available vacant land geographically central to the Board and determined there is no readily available vacant land.

The facility would require approximately eight acres of land. The report also outlined possible concept plans for two currently owned administrative centre lands: Gary Allan High School/New Street Education Centre and M.M. Robinson/J.W. Singleton Centre.

E.C. Drury Campus
During the course of the past 14 months, staff have investigated the potential use of the E.C. Drury site. This site is geographically located centrally within the Board which has some obvious advantages. The E.C. Drury site, however, is owned and operated by Provincial Schools. This is a complicating factor and to date staff have not been able to engage in the necessary discussions with the Province (Infrastructure Ontario) that would result in this piece of property being considered a viable option. Any further discussions would likely be long and arduous making this option less than ideal.

Land Availability
The consultants have suggested for a new location, eight acres would be sufficient to accommodate a new administration building. This site size would allow for unknowns such as site configuration, setbacks, easements, and future expansion. The Planning Department, supported by consultants Cushman & Wakefield, has confirmed there is currently very little available land central to the Board, including north Oakville or Milton that would meet the size and configuration requirements of a Board administrative office.

Potential Costs
Building a new facility would cost approximately $32 million (tender portion). The Ministry does not fund new administrative centres nor the acquisition of land for a new administrative facility. The Board must finance the construction and, if desired, land acquisition. The acquisition of property for school sites in North Oakville and Milton range in the $1.4 to $2.0 million per acre range. More specific to the Board’s needs for office/employment land, values in north Oakville or Milton are between $700,000 and $1,100,000 per acre, making the cost to purchase the land alone to be approximately $5.6-$8.8 million.

All options presented to the Board will result in a requirement to finance the construction of the new facility. In recognition that funds required to construct a facility would take several years to compile, the following recommendations to allocate funds to the Future Administrative Facility have been approved:

Allocation from Year-end Surplus:

December 2013) $ 1,125,291
November 2015) $2,500,000 Transfers within Accumulated Surplus:
November 2016) $8,919,579
Total $12,544,870

November 2016) $11,100,000

Total Funds Available for Future Administrative Facility $ 23,644,870

The balance of funds required to construct the new administrative facility would be secured through long-term financing. The principal and interest payments would be budgeted through the Board administration and governance funding envelope.

Ontario Regulation 193/10 restricts the amount of funds that can be used for the purposes of constructing administrative facilities. Under this regulation, the Board can only use proceeds of disposition which have been generated through the sale of a former administrative facility. Therefore, the Board cannot use proceeds of disposition generated from the sale of school sites.

Existing Administrative Office Sites
The utilization of existing Board property, either the J.W. Singleton Centre or New St. Education Centre site, would substantially reduce the total cost of the new administrative centre. The Board already owns both potential properties.

Renovating either existing building has been deemed to be problematic for the following reasons:

a. cost of retrofitting and updating the existing building
b. ongoing maintenance and operating costs of existing building
c. accessibility issues within the existing building

The M.M. Robinson H.S. property is approximately 33.6 acres in size, which includes J.W. Singleton Centre (see attachment). Although it is not identified as a separate piece of land, it is estimated the J.W. Singleton Centre site is approximately 5.7 acres in size. The New Street Education Centre/Gary Allan property consists of approximately of 14.67 acres, although the property is fragmented given the previous acquisitions of portions of the site to the City of Burlington.

The consultants have prepared schematic facility fit drawings confirming a 95,000 square foot admin centre could be placed on either property. If the Board were to move forward with building on either the J.W. Singleton Centre site or the New Street Education Centre site, an Official Plan Amendment and rezoning would be required. The Board’s Planning Department has identified the undertaking of an Official Plan Amendment and zoning amendment for the New Street Education Centre/Gary Allan site would likely be problematic, given the residential nature of the surrounding neighbourhood and the concerns related to a use that may not be compatible with the area.

street view of the site

If approved the building would be built on the north west corner of the Upper Middle Road – Guelph Line intersection in Burlington.

The location of the new administration centre on the existing J.W. Singleton Centre site would likely be less cause for concern from area residents. Locating a building at the northwest corner of Guelph Line and Upper Middle Road, would be more compatible to the adjacent land uses (i.e., retail malls to the east and southeast) and M.M. Robinson H.S., located to the west. Also, the location of a new administration centre on the current site, would allow for enhanced building exposure and street presence to ensure the Halton District School Board remains visible in the community.

Trustees - fill board +

The Halton District School Board trustees will decide if they want the administration to proceed with the construction of a new administrative building

The current location also offers better transportation/transit access due to its proximity to a major transportation corridors (Guelph Line/Upper Middle Road) as well as the QEW/403 and Highway 407, as compared to the New Street Education Centre/Gary Allan location. Planning staff believes the potential development of a new administrative centre at this location could provide for other office/retail opportunities that potentially could assist in the reducing the operating costs for the new administration centre.

survey01Does that sound like there will be a Tim Hortons included in the design.

Lastly, the location of the new administration centre at the existing location would ensure the current J.W. Singleton Centre workforce would be minimally impacted.

Get ready for the Burlington reaction to this one.

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Seniors will get to hear students doing a Band Extravaganza

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 19th, 2018



Approximately 900 Halton District School Board Grade 7 and 8 music students representing 24 elementary schools, will be convening for two special days of music collaboration, called Band Extravaganza on Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday March 28, 2018.

Students playing instrumentsThe event will be held each day at the Burlington Music Centre (2311 New Street) and Burlington Seniors’ Centre (2285 New Street).

Students will start each day with a concert by the Halton Junior Jazz Band. Afterward, students will travel to breakout clinics specifically for their instrument and will later convene for a massed band rehearsal with guest conductors both days.

This should work out to be a great opportunity for the seniors.

This year, the Board has commissioned two original concert band compositions for this event: The Call to Adventure, by composer David Marlatt, and The Conquest by Ryan Meeboer, a teacher at Alexander’s Public School in Burlington.

These pieces will be directed by the composers and played for the first time by Halton students.

survey01“The students are looking forward to rehearsing and performing in this massed band as it is inspirational and grandiose,” said Rebecca MacRae, the Board’s Instructional Program Leader (The Arts, K-12). “Music performance is the major curriculum connection during Band Extravanagza, as the students learn and perform two brand new pieces in one day.”

Long and McQuade of Burlington is generously providing music equipment and clinicians. Halton Board music teachers will also be directing instrumental workshops with students.

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Teaching girls to become radiant during Spring Break; it worked!

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

March 17th, 2018



Planning for Spring Break – what are the options for parents?

Is it just part of the school year when parents have to find something else for the kids to do outside the classroom? Is it a time for a holiday break?

Time to go skiing or go south and frolic on a beach?

It can get expensive but households that have both parents working need to do something – the last thing a parent wants is to have kids wandering around aimlessly.

At some point someone or somebody is going to have to come up with programmes for parents of moderate means that keeps the kids out of trouble and harms way.

Gina Faubert is a “personal coach” who has a string of initials after her name that certifies her to work with people on their health and their life issues – and we all have those don’t we.

Donations and Nina

Some of the food donations in the background – the four girls raised $1500 in cash – the balance of the $5000 raised was in food and Cash Card donations.

Along with the career that includes a very robust coaching practice she has a sideline that is a special project for her; she calls it Radiant Girls where the focus is on working with girls on their leadership skills and their personal sense of self-worth.

After watching Faubert take four girls through the last day of a Spring Break session one comes away with the sense that this for her is a personal passion.  She lets the group set their own pace but is there to remind them of just what the objective is. The experience gained through the full time coaching practice is used to work with girls that are going to grow up in a world a lot different than their parents.

Preparing the LEGO path

Cashelmara in the background, Nina and Zoe prepare the LEGO for the traditional 23 foot walk that they stretched to 41 feet..

The March Break program this year started out with 11 students but got cut back to four with last minute decision changes. So, while the class was smaller – it was what it was supposed to be – an opportunity for a group of girls who didn’t know each other when the week started to set out with an objective and make it happen.

Sending the video to FAcebook

Nina, Dana Sperling and Gina Faubert setting up the cell phones to broadcast the LEGO walk live to a Facebook page.

Faubert describes the program as one where girls will develop self-love, self-expression and emotional intelligence skills. Girls will learn the importance of being brave and kind; discover the power of gratitude and the meaning of empathy. It is all this as well as a leadership camp designed to teach girls between 11-15 how to make a difference in their community which they do by designing and implementing a charity fundraiser for underprivileged youth in Burlington.

Walking the LEGO path

Nina and Hayley do the LEGO walk on the 41 foot pathway they laid out.

The program adds in a physical challenge – a 25 foot LEGO walk – yup – they set out 25 feet  (turned out to be 41 feet) of LEGO in a pathway which the walk over in the bare feet. It isn’t as painful as it sounds but these girls didn’t know that when they started.

The organization the fund raising was going to be done for was determined beforehand. What the girls had to do was design and then execute the program.

Funds were going to be raised for the community homes unit of the ROCK – the Reach Out Centre for Kids. The group getting whatever was raised was the EarlyON Program.

The girls first had to learn about who they were raising funds for and then figure out how they were going to do it.  These were girls who had no idea that there were people who weren’t as fortunate as they were. Food challenged households were just not a part of the world they lived in.

The four girls did a remarkable job of raising $5000 in cash, food donations and toys.  The manager of the Michael’s No Frills on Guelph south of Dundas made a donation and added to that the donation of a $100 Cash Card every month for the balance of the year.

They did this by cold calling on people and making phone calls asking for donations. This too was not the world they lived in day to day.


When everyone had done the 41 foot LEGO walk there is a celebration: Nina, Gina and Hayley share high fives.

All they had was the five days to get to know each other, make the accommodation and adjustments for the different personalities and learn to work together. There were significant differences in where each girl was on in their physical and emotional development with one girl bringing significant learning ability issues to the group.

While our time with the group was limited – it wasn’t hard to see how they worked through the challenges with Faubert reminding them of what they had been taught earlier in the week.

We live in a world where #metoo and #timesup are part of the language we use. Faubert wants to ensure that these girls have a strong sense of who they are and that they have real potential and will never experience #metoo.

The week long session ended with the girls gathered around an outdoor fire to review what they had learned and enjoy some S’mores, a delicacy I had never heard of  –  chocolate melted on Graham crackers with marshmallows.  These were Halal marshmallows. We do live in changing times.


Thank you notes

Hayley writes out personal thank you notes to everyone who helped raise the finds for the EarlyON provincial program run by the ROCK people.

Did it work? Hard to say but the four girls that started the session on the Monday were different girls on the Friday. Besides doing something that made a difference for someone else they came away with skills they didn’t have when they started.

I wondered what the hashtag they create might be.

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Another sneaky Identity theft scam using a well know financial brand name - PayPal

IDTHEFT 100X100By Staff

March 12th, 2018



This is a real sneaky one.

The message tells you that you sent an amount of money from your Pay Pal account to someone you’ve never heard of – what do you do?

paypal logoYou might be inclined to click on the link to tell PayPal that you didn’t send this person any money. Which is exactly what the sender of the message wants you to do. They are in the process of stealing your identity.

They have your email address and they now know you have a PayPal account.

Pay Pal scam,

An email message like this gets an immediate response if you have a PayPal account – you want to tell them that you didn’t do what the email message says you did. The moment you do that – they have started to steak your identity.

It did look like the message was from PayPal – their logo was on that incoming email.

When there is an email related to your money, pause and look at it very carefully. PayPal is a useful service (although I don’t understand why they need 3 to 5 business days to put money into your account – Interac does it instantly)

Careful – and make sure that you have subscribed to a service that will catch some of the maleware that get dropped into your computer.

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Making Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics the core of a new high school course offering begins.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2018



STEM is an acronym that refers to Science Technology Engineering and Math. The Halton District School Board (HDSB) is going to put an I in front of the acronym to get ISTEM and introduce a new program for grade nine students that will start at the Aldershot High School on 2019

These programs gives highly motivated Grade 9 students the opportunity to delve into 21st Century issues outside the confines of a traditional classroom.

Project Based Learning logoWith the guidance of qualified teachers, students will simultaneously explore related topics by examining real-world issues through interdisciplinary project-based learning; they will identify the issues and topics that matter to them, and then they will conceive, design, and build potential solutions to these challenges. Civics and Careers will be integrated into these inquiries, allowing students to achieve extra credits.

Which credits will be gained?

Grade 9 Science
Grade 9 Math
Grade 9 English
Grade 9 Technology
Grade 10 Civics (half credit)
Grade 10 Careers (half credit)

How is this accomplished?
Qualified teachers in these subject areas will work together to identify the principles, skills, and competencies, that are universal across their disciplines. These overlapping concepts will be taught concurrently, when possible, through project-based, discovery learning. As well, students will still have the opportunity to experience two elective credits along with their required compulsory credits.

What type of learner will be successful in this program?

Successful students will require the following skills:

Creative Thinking
Time Management
Problem Solving
Aptitude in Math and Reasoning
Inquiry and Inquisitiveness
Independent Self-study

How many students will the program be able to accommodate in September of 2019?
The space capacity at Aldershot is 1018 students: 588 secondary students and 460 elementary students.

The decision to turn part of the secondary program at Aldershot high school into an ISTEM program means the board staff have to begin the really hard work of creating the course content. The Superintendents know what they want it to be – now they have to design the content, hire and train the teachers and upgrade some of the classrooms.

Blackwell + Tuffen as a team

Superintendents Terri Blackwell and Gord Truffen during a presentation to the Halton District School Board trustees

The assignment that is now in the hands of Superintendent Terri Blackwell and her team. They have more questions than answers at this point. The biggest thing they do have is clear trustee approval, the budget they need and a very clear objective with highly motivated people.  This is a teaching assignment that many of the best teachers in the Halton board are going to want to be a part of.

Who will be working with you on the course content?
The people developing the content have to work within the parameters of the Ontario curriculum. The community was a large part of making this happen – now that it has been approved the Board staff will be returning to the community for additional input.

Where will the students come from?

The expectation is that some will come from Hamilton, some will come from the private school sector and some will transfer from the Catholic Boards.

Exactly where? That won’t be known until parents with elementary students moving into the secondary level have those “what do you want to study in high school” conversations.

The Board expects to do a lot of marketing and community outreach on this one.

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Province gives municipalities funding to cope with legal, educational and public safety problems that will result from the sale of cannabis

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 10th, 2018



On March 7, 2018 shortly before 11:00 pm, Halton Police officers responded to the area of Maple Avenue and Plains Road East in Burlington, in response to a citizen-initiated traffic complaint. As a result of an investigation, Joseph Vaccaro (37), of Oakville was charged with driving while ability impaired and driving over 80 mgs.

On March 8, 2018 shortly after 8:00 am, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of King Road and Plains Road East in Burlington. As a result of an investigation, Christopher McBride (30), of Burlington was charged with driving while ability impaired.

HRPS crestThe Regional police issue regular reports on people who are charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) as part of their program to keep the roads in the Region safe.

That task is going to get a lot more difficult when the federal cannabis legalization allows for the sale of cannabis in retail outlets across the province.

At this point in time the police just have to deal with alcohol related offences. When the federal government decides to permit the sale of cannabis related products it will be a much more complex.

Ontario is stepping up support for municipalities and law enforcement to help ensure communities and roads are safe in advance of the federal government’s legalization of cannabis.

The province will provide $40 million of its revenue from the federal excise duty on recreational cannabis over two years to help all municipalities with implementation costs related to the legalization of cannabis.  The amount of money each municipality gets will be determined by population size with no one municipality getting less than $10,000

In addition, Ontario is taking further steps to ensure a safe and sensible transition for communities and people by:

Cannabis logo

Coming to a neighbourhood somewhere in Burlington.

• Increasing the capacity of local law enforcement, including the Ontario Provincial Police, by funding sobriety field test training for police officers to help detect impaired drivers

• Creating a specialized legal team to support drug-impaired driving prosecutions

• Increasing capacity at the province’s Centre of Forensic Sciences to support toxicological testing and expert testimony

• Developing a program to divert youth involved in minor cannabis-related offences away from the criminal justice system

• Creating a Cannabis Intelligence Coordination Centre to shut down illegal storefronts and help fight the unsafe and illegal supply of cannabis products

• Providing public health units with support and resources to help address local needs related to cannabis legalization

• Raising awareness of the new provincial rules that will take effect when cannabis is legalized federally.

Might be time for families to have one of those around the kitchen table talks on what the legislation is going to mean to high school students who get to drive the family car.


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Innovation high school program to be introduced in Aldershot for the September 2019 school year.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 8th, 2018



It’s a go!

Superintendent of Education Terri Blackwell and her team got the vote she needed to begin the really hard work to create a new program with a decidedly different and very innovative approach to the way we teach high school students.

Blackwell + Tuffen as a team

Superintendent of Education Terri Blackwell with Superintendent Gord Truffen during their presentation to school board trustees

When the Halton District School Board (HDSB) was going through the very painful Program Accommodation Review (PAR) exercise that resulted in the closing of two of the city’s seven high schools they also agreed to look at some different pedagogical approaches.

The original driving force was to do something to increase enrollment at the Aldershot high school – it was low enough to think about possibly closing the school.

The idea for something different at Aldershot came from the community with PAR Committee member Steve Cussons leading the drive.

Steve Cussons Aldershot

Steve Cussons

The community came up with a number of themes that could be used for a new program. The parents chose Innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – ISTEM

The Board voted to implement a program incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education at Aldershot High School that will begin in September 2019, with the students who are entering Grade 9 at their March 7, meeting.

The decision involves the spending of $1.7 million to upgrade some of the classrooms and cover the cost of teacher training.

In a media release the Board described I-STEM as a program that will equip students with global competencies, also known as transferable skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, collaboration and citizenship. Community and post-secondary partnerships will be essential elements of the program to enhance learning opportunities for students.

The program will be available to anyone in the Region – the only barrier is capacity – the number of classroom seats available.

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School board trustees get an opportunity to make a far reaching decision on the kind of education that will be delivered.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

March 6th, 2018



There is something good that will come out of the Program Administrative Review (PAR) that resulted in the closing of two of the city’s seven high schools – the Aldershot high school will get a complete makeover that could turn it into a place that has all the buzz and excitement that Hayden high school has today. That is not to suggest that the other high schools don’t have anything going for them.

During the PAR debates the Board administration put out the idea of re-making Aldershot into a school that would attract people from other schools as well as other jurisdictions – a covetous eye was cast toward Hamilton. The original impetus was to increase the enrollment.

The program that is being put forward will increase the enrollment and significantly improve the profile of the school.

Steve Cussons Aldershot

Steve Cussens, Aldershot resident and PAR committee member.

Steve Cussens, one of the PAR members has been cultivating this idea since its inception. He was one of the PAR members pushing the idea of more in the way of educational innovation. His efforts have borne fruit.

There wasn’t a clear idea – other than to describe what might be done as a magnet school, a themed school, an alternative school, and/or an incubator school, when the plans were first talked up.


Terri Blackwell, Superintendent of PAR implementation

Stuart Miller, Director of Education assigned Terri Blackwell to the task. She took a very proactive approach and cast the net for participants on the discussion widely.

She went to the community – and they responded very positively.  Her report to the trustees last week was one of those meetings where every question asked was answered and then some. It is an exciting opportunity that is now in the hands of the trustees.

If the trustees buy into what they heard Aldershot will see students enrolling in the grade 9 class of what will be an ISTEM in the fall of 2019.

Some of the ideas that came from the public.  All of the themes suggested are set out in a link below.

Social justiceEnvironment - EcoEntreprreunership-businessArts



The Board was shown a short video on the way education has not changed – it set out just what the ISTEM initiative is setting out to achieve.  It certainly tells what advancing innovative practices is all about?

The objective is to create learning opportunities and support the development of transferable skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving; Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship; Self- Directed Learning; Collaboration, Communication, and Citizenship.

That is a tall order – but it is what education is all about.  Can the Board of Education administration pull this one off?

concept symbol

Graphic that sets out all the parts that come together to result in a new student program offering.

If what the trustees were told in February has merit this is a project that is being done the way a project should be done. Blackwell is doing a great job working with a team that is as broad based and inclusive.

They are already thinking through how they want to market this opportunity.

They have thought through how students from across the Region can use public transit to get to Aldershot.

Blackwell + Tuffen as a team

Superintendents Terri Blackwell and Gord Truffen during the presentation of the ISTEM proposal.

Gord Truffen, Superintendent of Education explained that the ISTEM program is a high school offering and will not impact the grade 7 and 8’s that are at Aldershot.

Aldershot parents are said to be halfway to reaching the $125,000 needed to upgrade the auditorium. They might want to reach a little further and allow for some state of the art communications for the space. If they are going to prepare students for the world they will work in – including the high end visual communication should be part of the experience.

Trustee Leah Reynolds mentioned that the Aldershot high school rent out their facilities more than any other school in Burlington –

They are looking at a budget of about $1.4 million to “repurpose” some of the rooms. The labs which are in good shape may need some upgrading.

If the questions from the trustees are any indication expect Oakville and Milton to want an ISTEM program offering in their community.

Current educational research acknowledges the need to recognize societal changes and how education addresses this landscape. The emergence of new technologies is disrupting how businesses operate and interact with their customers, how people work and the careers they pursue, and even how citizens relate to their governments. More and more, personal and national success depends on effective science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. The Halton Board has recognized this and taken a low enrollment problem and turned it into a growth opportunity.

design workshop

The process used to create new student course offerings.

process graphic

The driving forces that bring new ideas and programs to the public.

The ISTEM concept was refined through a consultation process which includes generating ideas, drawing on pedagogy (research and practice of teaching and learning) and looking at themes. Many of the generated ideas are reflected in the ISTEM Program Framework which draws attention to the process elements of the program.

Students will be engaged in a variety of learning processes – Project-Based Learning, Design Thinking, Entrepreneurship and Partnerships. The outer ring of the framework reflects HDSB’s current working definition of innovation as “the capacity to enhance concepts, ideas, or products to contribute new-to-the-world solutions to complex economic, social, and environmental problems”. The contentedness of the framework includes explicit connections to critical thinking and creativity in that “critical thinking and creative thinking work together to create innovation in the Design Thinking process. These thinking processes all work together to bring forth creative innovation and problem solving.”

The ISTEM program will open to all interested Grade 9 students in September, 2019. Subsequent years will see the program extend to Grades 10, 11 and 12.

The ISTEM program provides the Halton District School Board with an opportunity to explore and implement a thematic approach to a secondary school. It further allows for an evaluation of ISTEM’s efficacy and its possible expansion to other regions of the Board. Teaching and learning is an ever- evolving process. This endeavour in part reflects the nature of this evolution.

Related news story:

Themes submitted by the Aldershot community for a new course offering.

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