Canada Learning Bond can put up to $2000 into an RESP - announced yesterday at The Centre.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 21st, 2018



Gould - very pregnant

Burlington MP Karina Gould – baby due early in March

Burlington’s Member of Parliament and federal Cabinet Minister Karina Gould stood in for the Minister of Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patti Hadju yesterday and announced the Canada Learning Bond program that funnels funds into Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP)

The total amount the Government deposits can be up to $2,000. Applying for and receiving the Canada Learning Bond will not affect any other benefits that an eligible child receives.

Through the Canada Learning Bond, the Government will add money to the RESP for an eligible child every year, even if you do not add any money.

An RESP is an education savings account set up with a financial institution like a bank or a credit union, or group plan dealer. The money in the RESP will grow tax free until it can be used for expenses related to their studies in:

Centre - skills directoryApprenticeship programs
Trade schools; or

The announcement was made at The Centre for Skills Development and Training.

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Kickass Canadian is featured speaker at a Conservation Authority Workshop on March

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

February 16, 2018



Sharing Experiences is a biennial one day capacity-building workshop for individuals and community groups interested in creating positive environmental change.

This year’s workshop will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Puslinch Community Centre at 23 Brock Road South, Puslinch ON N0B 2J0.

The goal of the workshop is to link like-minded people and groups to facilitate the sharing of ideas and experiences so that participants can build skills, network and share ideas about environmental projects in their respective communities. The workshop includes presentations, panel discussions and small breakout sessions delivered and facilitated by knowledgeable and experienced members of the environmental community.

Raffin - C3 ice breaker

Canada C3’s epic journey sailed from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage to inspire a deeper understanding of our land, our peoples and our country. Learn about the people we met, the places we visited and the conversations that took place across reconciliation, the environment, youth engagement, and diversity and inclusion at

This year’s workshop features Keynote Speaker James Raffan, his talk is titled Our Home on Native Land. In 2017, James Raffan was involved in four epic sesquicentennial journeys that included paddling the Rideau Canal from Kingston to Ottawa, a circumnavigation of Canada from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage, a ship-based youth expedition from Resolute Nunavut to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland and a quick trip to the North Pole from Murmansk, Russia aboard the world’s most powerful nuclear icebreaker.

Raffan - students on ice

Raffan is involved in a student scholarship program that makes it possible for emerging environmentalists to tour the far North.

With wonderful people in faraway places, he pondered climate change, canoes, youth engagement, the national anthem, diversity and inclusion, tolerance, reconciliation and home. Join one of Canada’s great storytellers for thought-provoking reflection on Canada 150 and beyond.

There is a fee of $15 for the workshop which includes lunch and breakfast. You can find the link to register on the Sharing Experiences workshop page –

The organizing team is comprised of Conservation Halton, Credit Valley Conservation, Friends of Mill Creek, Grand River Conservation Authority, Green Venture, Halton Environmental Network, Hamilton Conservation Authority, and the Iroquoia Bruce Trail Club.

This event is sponsored by Conservation Halton Foundation and Little Mushroom Catering.

Version 2

Dr. James Raffan – a Kickass Canadian with a passion for the North.

Dr. James Raffan is a writer, geographer and Kickass Canadian ( with a passion for the North. He is a Fellow of the Explorers Club, Past Chair of the Arctic Institute of North America as well as a Fellow and Past Governor of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, earning the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals, the RCGS Camsell Medal, and, most recently, Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal from Governor General Julie Payette


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Civil, civic conversations. If you can’t do that – don’t waste your time writing.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 13th, 2018



It was the call for a Task Force on Bullying and Harassment that got us started on this. Then the note from    James Schofield that led to our asking: “Are we part of the problem – we thought we were part of the solution.”

The Gazette opened up a comments section on the newspaper and the response was robust.  But we began to notice that people were disrespecting one another and we began to tighten up the rules on what was acceptable.

We then began to look at the comments section of the Gazette and decided that we needed to tighten up on what we were permitting.


Removing content that is disrespectful is not censorship.

We learned that this isn’t going to be a simple process.

We edited a comment from a reader taking out disrespectful language – here is what came back

“I’m out” said Michael Drake. He added: “I appreciate the Gazette trying to cover these issues but can’t abide censorship of any kind. Time to go yell at some clouds.

“Good luck everyone (that includes you too James).”

The comment that we edited removed the name calling. We wanted the comments section to be a place where civil, civic conversations could take place. So Michael will no longer be with us because he feels respect for those we share this planet with is akin to censorship.

James Schofield put it very well when he said in the article that “I think the recognition that commenting on your site is a privilege, not a right, and certainly not a “free speech” right, is also important.”

Civil, civic conversations. If you can’t do that – don’t waste your time writing.

Related content:

Lancaster calls for a Task Force

Whose interests are being served

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The last farm house in what was once Appleby Village was rich in history and the city's farming past.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 12th, 2018



When we published the story on the Taylor farm and the house on the property at Appleby Line at Mainway we didn’t have access to much in the way of pictures.

A Gazette reader with a keen interest in heritage had taken some snapshots and made them available to us.

Site with address and backhoe

Backhoe sitting on the plot of land where what became known as the Taylor house existed. Not only was the structure the last farmhouse in what was once called Appleby Village it was demolished without a permit.

Historical picture

Burlington once had many houses like this – they were the homes of farmers who worked the land that is now covered by six lane expressways and factories. Prize Short Horn cattle and proud Clydesdale horses were in the field and milk sold for 10 cents a gallon and one cow earned the farmer $5.34

“We all understand that we need to progress and modernize” said our reader, “ As long as it is done with collaborative stewardship.” Nothing collaborative about the sound of a backhoe tearing away at the walls of a house that is the last piece of what was once a small village.

This is one of the last remnants of the Village of Appleby, which was almost entirely demolished in the 1950s to make way for service roads for the expanded QEW. The house is set back from the road, with a well kept lawn and rows of trees on either side of the house. The landscaping is traditional.

It was built in 1896 for Charles Fothergill; there is a date stone and name found engraved in the chimney.
In 1877 the property was owned by John Fothergill.


Somewhere in that rubble there is a stone with the date the house was built and who it was built for – the people who arranged for the demolition chose not to collaborate with the city to salvage some of our history – no wonder we know so little about ourselves.

According to Memories of Pioneer Days, pp. 171-172, John Fothergill was the only son (of ten children) of Christopher and Frances Fothergill, who immigrated from Applbey, Westmoreland, England to settle on this new world Appleby Line in the early 1830s.

John married Charlotte Tuck and in 1878 purchased the Balsam Lodge farm from Arnanda Baxter.

In 1889 Charles, their eldest son, married Amelia Cole and took over this part of the Fothergill farm property on the east side of Appleby Line. His younger brother Christopher went to the Yukon and is mentioned in Laura Berton’s book, I Married the Klondike…

The third son, Thomas, married Lucy Matthewman of Appleby and farmed the Fothergill property on the west side of Appleby Line.

Burlington crest - with city reference

The city crest pays homage to a proud past.

According to an article by Alana Perkins in the 24 May 1997 issue of the Spectator, their house was the Lucas Farmhouse which was dismantled, moved, and rebuilt at the (former) Ontario Agricultural Museum at Milton.
According to Murray Fisher’s ‘Farewell to the Garden of Canada’ (1984), this farm was owned by H. Featherstone, Mixed farming, sold to J. Taylor, Mixed Farming.

Ruth and Jack Taylor were the last people to live in the house.

The property is identified as “employment land” and given its location that is likely what it will remain as.

One wonders if that stone with the date and name were recovered during the demolition.

There are rules against tearing down a building without a permit. The fine is reported to be $2000 an d it is the city that will have to take any action that is going to be taken.

Expect the city manager to be tough on this one.

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Ridge tells council there is going to be a workshop on the long awaited code of conduct for members of Council during a discussion on harassment and bullying in the city.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

February 8th, 2018


Ridge tells council there is going to be a workshop on the long awaited code of conduct for members of Council during a discussion on harassment and bullying in the city.

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster was chairing a Committee of the Whole meeting and handed the gavel to the vice chair so she could speak to a memo she had distributed to her colleagues.

Much of what Lancaster had to say was deeply disturbing. Lancaster told of a threatening email she had received with a photograph of a severed wrist attached to it. A number of staff members received the same email – city manager James Ridge told the committee that he sent a very stern email response to the person who sent the document.

Lancaster on bullying

Councillor Lancaster speaking to her colleagues about a Task Force on harassment and bullying in Burlington.

Lancaster talked of a very unhealthy situation and suggested that when Councillor Meed Ward spoke on a matter of personal privilege the “council chamber was not a safe place” which seemed a little extreme but the way Lancaster puts it there does appear to be a problem with the way people address each other.

In her comments on the memo she sent to her Council colleagues she said she felt the city had an obligation to stop this kind of intimidation and harassment. She added that was sure every member of council has had one of their community meetings hijacked.

Lancaster said people feel that if they don’t agree with you they have the right to attack you verbally. She added that there are few strategies to deal with external harassment.

The discussion involved members of staff and it became clear that the Deputy City Manager was going to be tasked with whatever came out of the discussion. City Manager James Ridge added to the discussion and quietly let it be known that there would be a Workshop on the long forgotten Code of Conduct for members of city Council.

This matter has been waiting for someone to breath some life into it ever since the Mayor passed it along to the city manager many,many, many moons ago.

Ridge-Tanner + on code of conduct

City manager James Ridge explaining to council that there will be a Workshop on a code of Conduct for members of council – this has been in the works for more then five years – it was the province pushing the municipalities – several council members did everything they could to prevent the Clerk from creating such a document.

Ridge told Council that the province was now bearing down on the municipalities and requiring them to have a Code of Conduct for Councillors in place.

The city has a code of conduct for its staff – as far back as the first term of this council there has been bickering and some back stabbing between members of city council on what was acceptable behaviour.

For the first time in this reporter’s experience we heard a member of Council use a Point of Privilege to address a concern about the behaviour of a member of council.

Lancaster was asking for a Staff Direction that would:

Direct the Deputy City Manager to create a Task Force to address issues related to bullying and harassment in the City of Burlington both internally and externally and report back in Q3 2018.

The task force will make recommendations for Council approval that will be tied to a City of Burlington “Governance Model” that will support an inclusive environment at all City facilities that is safe and welcoming for all who engage with the City of Burlington. The Governance model will apply to stakeholder interactions both internally and externally.

Lancaster said that the incidences of harassment and intimidation have occurred both internally and externally and appear to be linked with the insurgence of social media, media, increased communication and participation with the public.

council with term dates

This council couldn’t agree on what should be in a Code of Conduct dung its first term – 2010 – 2014. They are going to have to put such a policy in place before the end of this term.

The Staff direction included the comment that “It has been difficult to address these incidences without clear policies in place. The city has some policies and programs that address bullying and harassment in the workplace, such as: respect in the workplace and the employee code of conduct. There is no overarching policy that brings together standards for interactions between staff and the public, with the exception of Parks and Recreation Department who do have some guidelines as they pertain to their programs. The Charter Action Team (ChAT) also began the work to engage citizens respectfully, but it is clear that more needs to be done by setting standards for all modes of communication and interactions with stakeholders.

The intent of the staff direction is to create a task force of stakeholders who will consider this matter and recommend policies to help address. The task force will be directed to consider a governance model in order to commit COB to zero tolerance policies that will identify bullying and harassment by any means, including: verbal communications, emails, social media, gestures, physical touching, telecommunications, untrue statements, threats, racism, bigotry, to name a few.

The COB “Governance Model” will set standards and policies for behaviour while working and engaging with the COB as well as guidelines that will identify harassment and bullying behaviours and will set out the necessary actions and responses that COB should take in order to eliminate or stop the harassment or bullying in order to protect and provide a safe environment for all individuals involved.

During the discussion Councillor Meed Ward made the point that one has to be careful to not use policies and practices to stifle citizen comment.

Sharman - bullying meet Feb 5-2018

Councillor Paul Sharman .

Councillor Sharman kept using the phrase “mis-information” without being specific as the the information he was talking about.  Information one doesn’t agree with is not mis-information.- whose information

Once established, policies must be communicated with an implementation plan, both to, and through, management. This ensures that management is given the appropriate guidelines and information to be able to comply with governance. This includes delegation of authority and responsibility, stakeholder communication with management to discuss feedback. Vision, strategies and policies are communicated to managers who are expected to communicate and comply with them. Decisions that have been escalated to management or where governance is not clear.

The Task Force would include:

Deputy City Manager
Councillor Blair Lancaster
Clerks Department employee
Legal Department employee
Human Resources Department employee
Burlington Inclusivity Advisory Committee member (Task Force will gain feedback regularly from the Inclusivity Committee)
Residents (2)
Halton Regional Police
City of Burlington Employees (2) Charter Action Team member
Maximum 12 members

Councillor Craven expressed a concern over how the Chair of a council committee can handle situations where the behaviour of a delegation is unacceptable.

Brian BIAC chair

Brian Wrixon, chair of the Burlington Inclusivity Advisory Committee speaking at a council meeting

Councillor Sharman told the Chair of the Burlington Inclusivity Advisory Committee that he had been watching some television on the growth of Nazism and how misinformation and propaganda was used by the Germans and asked if Brian Wrixon cared to comment on this and what was happening in Burlington. Wrixon said he had no comment.

Several council members said they realized the behaviour of the American president had radically changed what civil discourse has become – Burlington city council want to try to stem that tide.

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Comments on the cycling survey - are the right questions being asked?

News 100 greenBy Staff

February 6th, 2018



Joe Gaetan is a Burlington resident who lives in a high rise on Maple Avenue.

He cycles about 1,250 km a year in Burlington and another 250 km while vacationing in Palm Springs CA

Gaetan finds Palm Springs a much better place to cycle than Burlington, mainly because of their wider streets.

The Cycling survey is online.

He completed the online Cycling Plan survey and has some comments:


Do sharrows give a false sense of security?

“In terms of increasing the amount of cycling, I don’t believe there is much Burlington can do that will cause me to cycle more. But here are few things than could be considered when reaching out to us in surveys. I am not a big fan of cycling sharrows as I believe they give one a false sense of security and I go out of my way to avoid using streets that have sharrows.”

Here are some things/comments ideas etc. that impact cycling and could possibly be added to the survey.

Will this MAyor on this bike ever get to ride on a separate and safe bike lane on the LAkshore Road? Not if they MAyor folds at city council this evening.

Mayor Goldring on his bike, Councillor Dennison on roller blades – a photo op.

Cycling Frequency ( how often and how far)
Daily, weekly, kms. cycled per year etc
In which months do you cycle using check boxes Jan to Dec

Why I don’t cycle to certain destinations?
Fear of having bike stolen
Location and type of bike stands

Things I fear the most as a cyclist:
Distracted drivers
City buses
Pick-up trucks with large side mirrors
Young children suddenly crossing my path
Pedestrians with head phones

Cycling driver dooring a cyclist

Driver education.

Why do I cycle?

Things I would like to see
Bike licensing ($5 per person vs bike we have 4 bikes)
Mandatory lights and bells
A cycling awareness program to cyclists, pedestrians, motor vehicle owners
Something on electric bicycles

The city is well into the construction of the Elgin Promenade – a bike/walking path that runs from Brant to Martha and will connect with the Centennial Path.

Elgin promenade

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Disruption - understand it before it disrupts your company.

eventsorange 100x100By Staff

February 6th, 2018



Technology and disruption are among today’s hottest buzzwords.

But how are technological developments going to affect your business? What should you be doing about it?

How can you avoid the trap of doing nothing until it’s too late?

Alfredo Tan

Alfredo Tan

The people at the DeGroote School of Business are inviting people to join their GTHA executive network on February 15 for a thought-provoking conversation about the future of work.

Alfredo Tan, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, WestJet, formerly of Facebook Canada, will share why every company and every industry will be affected by technology, and what you can do to prepare.

The event is open to alumni, business community members, and students.

Online registration.


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City has begun to gather data that will be used to shape the Cycling Plan.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 4th, 2018



City Hall is inviting the public to share their thoughts and ideas about what would improve cycling in Burlington.

The feedback will be used to help shape the city’s new Cycling Plan which will guide the future of cycling infrastructure in the city.

Burlington is at a unique time in its history. In the past, growth has meant the development of new neighbourhoods but growth in the future looks very different for Burlington because our city has very little room left for traditional suburban-type development.

Cycling survey photo

Cycling as the city seems to want to portray it. Is it a realistic picture?

Instead of growing out, Burlington City Council has made the decision to grow up and intensify in key urban areas. This direction, approved through the city’s Strategic Plan in April 2016, will enable Burlington to curb sprawl, protect the rural area and make efficient use of land and infrastructure.

The 2016 Census data shows Burlington grew by 7,535 people between 2011 and 2016 – a 4.3% overall growth rate. The provincial Places to Grow policy mandates that Burlington plan for a population of 193,000 by 2031, however, the city will reach this population number within the next few years.

As the city plans for future population growth with documents like the proposed new Official Plan and Mobility Hubs, it must also plan for how people will move through the city.

Over the last 30 years, Burlington’s transportation network has accommodated growth by building more roadways. This strategy is no longer sustainable. The city does not have the space to build new roadways and the financial cost to maintain a larger network of roads is significant.

A 21st century city is built around a different transportation model, one designed to provide people of all ages and abilities with more travel choices for things like walking, transit and cycling.

Burlington’s Cycling Plan was last updated in 2009. Since that time, the following cycling investments have been made:

Implementation of over 200 kilometers of on-road and off-road cycling infrastructure

Trail - CentennialFour metre-wide multi-use paths paved along hydro corridors

The New Street Pilot Project was an experiment to reduce road capacity and add on-road buffered bike lanes.

That idea didn’t work out; after considerable public reaction the city decided to abandon that initiative. What city hall learned was that is was going to have to be much more transparent when new initiatives are being brought forward.

Among current initiatives are:

Consideration given to include cycling facilities as part of all new road reconstruction projects with a preference for implementing on-road bike lanes

The use of bright green pavement markings at major intersections to clearly mark cycling lanes.

The new Cycling Plan will build on these successes and recommend new programs and policies that seek to provide safe, comfortable, and convenient routes for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

How do people feel about the use of bicycles.  The graphic represents where public opinion was in 2009.  Has it moved very much?

Cyclists by type

The Cycling Plan is now on the public engagement phase – gathering feedback that will be used to help shape the Cycling Plan.

What is confusing is the disparity between what city hall tells the public and what people see on the street.   The city uses a photograph of a relatively young person on a bike in the winter. Cyclist - winterAt the same time city hall and all the members of council tell the public that Burlington is becoming a city of seniors and that the seniors population is where the population growth is taking palace.

This citizen isn't smiling. Was she one of the hundreds that were basically locked in theoir homes during the five days of heavy winter weather because streets were not cleared?

This citizen isn’t smiling. Was she one of the hundreds that were basically locked in their homes during the five days of heavy winter weather because streets were not cleared?

Those seniors are for the most part not going to be riding bicycles.  Pushing walkers is what we will see on the streets,

Opportunities to participate are available through an online survey open until Feb. 23, 2018.

There will be a series of Drop-In events throughout the community.

Staff will be showing up all over the city seeking input and reaction.

Monday, Feb. 5, 6:30 – 9 a.m. – Nelson Recreation Centre,
Friday, Feb. 9 6 – 8 a.m. Appleby GO Station,
Friday, Feb. 9 – 4 – 7 p.m. Mountainside Community Centre,
Tuesday, Feb. 13 – 7 – 9:30 a.m. – Tansley Woods Community Centre,
Wednesday, Feb. 14 – 6 – 8 a.m. – Aldershot GO Station,
Wednesday, Feb. 14 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Brant Hills Community Centre,
Saturday, Feb. 17 – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Mainway Recreation Centre

The number of Drop In events is impressive. These began at the end of January – six have taken place so far.

What the city has to learn is just how the public views the use of bicycles – are they a form of family exercise and part of the recreational plan or are they a form of transportation that will replace the car and at times be used instead of public transit.

The city has budgeted funds for where a cycling bridge over the QEW could best be located.

The Gazette is aware of one business person who keeps her bicycle in her office and uses it for short trips in the downtown core.  You are not going to see this lady biking to Hamilton.

Cycling Bus Bike Rack use

How heavily are the bike tacks on buses being used?

The extent of bicycle use the public is prepared to live with is the issue – hopefully city hall will not come up with any surprises.  The information gathering has to follow the education part – a major shift is going to take place in the way people get around their communities – the car has been the mode of choice for the past three or four decades – that is going to change and the public will have to understand why.

Failure to do that will see another uproar that will equal the reaction to the 23 storey high rise opposite city hall and the plan to turn New Street into a road that would have few lanes for cars and lanes on either side of the road for bicycles.

City Cycling Plan – 2009

The New street Road Diet kerfuffle.

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Province sends the Board of Education a big cheque for upgrades to MM Robinson and Nelson high schools - Pearson and Bateman prepare for the end of their existence.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 2, 2018



The provincial government will provide the Halton Board of Education with approximately $10.9 million to renovate and provide additions to Nelson High School and approximately $4.5 million to renovate and provide additions to M.M. Robinson High School in Burlington.

This work will equip the schools with additional program spaces to improve the learning experience for students. These enhancements will accommodate the new school communities that will be coming together as a result of the Burlington Secondary School Program and Accommodation Review (PAR).

MMR photoStuart Miller, Director of Education for the Board said: “Specifically, this funding will ensure an improved learning environment for students transitioning into new spaces. Our integration committees have been key to coordinating this important transition for Burlington students. This process is being led by our experienced staff, with input and support from dedicated parents.”

Design plans for the renovations and additions to M.M. Robinson High School and Nelson High School will be shared for community input in Spring 2018.

The Board has a commitment to implement the decisions made as a result of the Burlington Secondary School Program and Accommodation Review (PAR). Updates and current developments in the implementation process of the PAR can be viewed on the Board website ( by searching “PAR Implementation”.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

Andréa Grebenc, Chair of the Halton District School Board conferring with Director of Education Stewart Miller

In addition, the Ministry of Education will provide the Board with a total of approximately $32 million to build a new elementary school in southwest Milton (Milton SW #11) and a new elementary school in northeast Oakville (Oakville NE #2). A total of approximately $4.5 million will be provided to build a new five-room child care centre for the new elementary school in northeast Oakville and the new elementary school in southwest Milton.

Andréa Grebenc, Chair of the Halton District School Board said: “We are grateful to the Ministry of Education for their ongoing support to improve the learning environments for our students. This investment in our schools will help us support student achievement and well-being.”

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Board of education asks for input on the Multi-Year Plan - Have your say.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 2nd, 2018



The Halton District School Board is holding an engagement survey: Have Your Say.

Have your say timelineFrom February 5th through to March 9th, 2018, parents/guardians with children in the Halton District School Board, students, staff and Halton community members are invited to complete the survey on line.

The Have Your Say survey will provide the Board with feedback regarding the goals and targets in the Halton District School Board’s Multi-Year Plan (2016-2020). Participation in the survey will help the Board identify opportunities to improve schools, with a focus on student achievement and well-being.

The survey will be available starting Monday, February 5, 2018 at, or via the Board’s website at The survey is available in six languages: Arabic, English, Hindi, Mandarin, Punjabi, and Urdu.

“With your feedback, we can help guide meaningful change to improve student learning, well-being and success,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “We are committed to engaging our community and building relationships so we can continually improve the educational experience for all students. Our goal is to ensure each and every one of our students is able to pursue the pathway of their choice.”

The Have Your Say survey is completely anonymous. Individual responses will be grouped together for analysis.

The Halton District School Board is committed to sharing the results of this engagement survey with the community. A summary of the information collected will be shared with stakeholders by June 2018.

This data continues to support school and system improvement planning. If you have any questions about the survey, contact Terri Blackwell, Superintendent of Education, at 905-335-3665, ext. 3409 or via email:

If you have any difficulties accessing the survey or require technical assistance, contact

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Peter Marshall opened the Boyne school in 2015 and built the school’s culture on three concepts: Work hard, be nice, and make a difference.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 31st, 2018



Peter Marshall, Principal of Boyne Public School in Milton, has been named one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals for 2018 by The Learning Partnership, an organization which honours the unique and vital contribution of principals in publicly-funded schools.

Peter Marshal - HDSB

Peter Marshall opened the Boyne school in 2015 and built the school’s culture on three concepts: Work hard, be nice, and make a difference.

“Peter Marshall is a dedicated leader who puts student success and happiness first,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “His desire to ensure students, staff and the community come together to provide an inclusive learning environment where students feel welcome and encouraged speaks to his leadership and teamwork skills. He joins a group of outstanding principals and educators from the Halton District School Board who have received this award.”

Each year, 40 principals across the country are recognized for demonstrating innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and for their remarkable efforts toward improving public education. Recipients attend a five-day executive leadership training program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management in late February.

“It is an honour to be recognized by The Learning Partnership,” says Marshall. “It is humbling to read some of the kind comments written by students, families and staff about the work we have been doing at Boyne Public School. There are so many wonderful administrators within our Board and this really is an indication of the great work throughout the Halton District School Board. I feel very fortunate to be in an amazing school with terrific children, supportive families and hard-working staff.”

Marshall’s nomination was supported by students, parents, school staff and colleagues.

In the nomination package sent to The Learning Partnership, parents of students at Boyne Public School described Marshall as someone who enables their children to realize their full potential and contribute to society in meaningful ways. Students said Marshall continuously strives to improve their learning environment and teaches them the importance of connecting with others and that one simple action can impact a community for the better.

Under Marshall’s leadership, Boyne Public School opened in September 2015. He built the school’s culture on three concepts: Work hard, be nice, and make a difference. Students, staff and parents credit this culture for fostering an environment that is a welcoming and caring place for children.

Staff members speak about Marshall’s ability to promote progress and engage educators in their capacity to effect positive change and growth. His colleagues say his knowledge of the curriculum and research-based practice is driven by caring and empathy, which results in his effective leadership style.

Andrea Taylor +

Loui Silvestri and Andrea Taylor were named Outstanding Principals in 2017

This is the fourth consecutive year Halton District School Board principals have received a Canada’s Outstanding Principals award: Alka Sahai (2015), Michelle Newlands (2016), and Loui Silvestri and Andrea Taylor (both 2017). The Learning Partnership invites nominations of outstanding principals from school boards, colleagues, parents, teachers, students and community members.

The Learning Partnership is a national charity dedicated to enhancing publicly-funded education to prepare students in Canada for a globally connected world by building partnerships between government, education and business.

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HDSB Board Superintendent of Education Rob Eatough will address LGBTQI2S+ youth at Milton high school.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 26th, 2018



The Halton District School Board is hosting the 2018 HDSB Secondary GSA Student Conference on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at Milton District High School (396 Williams Ave, Milton).

Rainbow flagThe all-day event, with the theme Queering Valentines, begins at 9 a.m. with a marketplace of community partner displays including the Positive Space Network, the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity and Egale Canada.

The conference features keynote speaker Teddy Syrette, a two-spirited genderqueer activist. Board Superintendent of Education Rob Eatough will also address the conference.

Organized for students and by students, the day offers LGBTQI2S+ youth and allies the opportunity to connect, converse and create with each other. Facilitated conversation spaces throughout the day include Inclusion in Sports, Trans Inclusive Environments, LGBTQI2S+ Literature, Spoken Word Workshop, and Indigenous and Two-Spirit Perspectives.

This conference is one way the Halton District School Board ensures all Halton schools are positive spaces that welcome, recognize, and respect diverse genders and sexualities.

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District school board recognizes nine for 'inspiring students.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 19th, 2018



The Halton District School Board has Inspire Awards for people who go above and beyond to support students in the School Board.

Everyone in the Halton District School Board community can nominate or be nominated – families, neighbours, related organizations, staff, students and school volunteers.

The Inspire Award is given to an individual or group that is formally or informally associated with the Halton District School Board, who support our students and their achievements through exemplary caring, initiative, innovation and creativity.

Recipients choose where they receive their award, so some choose the monthly Board meeting, while others choose to receive the award at their school or workplace or in the mail, if they wish. This month, three out of the nine recipients chose to receive the award at the January Board meeting while others have chosen to receive it at other locations this month.

HDSB Inspire awards

Pictured with trustees and director of education are ( L-R) Brian Vincent and Amy Abbott from TA Blakelock and Juliann Rosizky, itinerant EA and occasional teacher.

The following Inspire Awards recipients will have their awards presented at their school or workplace, as requested:

Kyle Kennery, child youth counsellor (CYC) at McKenzie-Smith Bennett PS
CYC at MSB displaying deep caring for students. He ran a floor hockey club, basketball club; always making himself available to students. (Award at MSB)

Lorna Brooks, volunteer at McKenzie-Smith Bennett PS
Lorna has volunteered for many years on the School Council and by helping with the Nutrition Program, always with a friendly smile. (Award at MSB)

Andrew Strachan, volunteer at Ethel Gardiner PS
Volunteered with tremendous support for Hungry Bears Breakfast Program supported by Halton Food for Thought. The program has run five days per week since 2008. (Award at Ethel Gardiner PS)

Marge Anderson, volunteer at Ethel Gardiner PS
Volunteered with tremendous support for Hungry Bears Breakfast Program, supported by Halton Food for Thought. Program has ran since 2008, five days per week. (Award at Ethel Gardiner PS)

Steve Feltz, teacher at Bruce Trail PS
He helps students see the value in striving for success, the benefit of being involved and bringing out the best in his students and helping students gain confidence. (Award at Bruce Trail PS)

Diane Vandenbossche, representative for the Learning Disabilities Association of Halton (LDAH) on the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)
Diane has been the LDAH rep on SEAC for many years, and is a strong advocate and voice for children with special education needs. (Awarded at SEAC meeting).

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Library and Sound of Music hook up -

eventsred 100x100By Staff

January 18th, 2018



SoM + BPL graphicBurlington Public Library and the Sound of Music Festival are excited to announce a new partnership.

Starting in January, free music and art education workshop series begins. They are called: Taking It to the Streets, designed for kids ages 9 to 12:

Sun January 21: Body Percussion Level 2 with Sheldon De Souza

Create music from nothing to something! Turn a zipper into a scratching turntable. A bottle for a cowbell. Clap, tap or stomp in a pattern. Use multiple voices to layer and create impact.

Sun February 11: Creative Arts with Rosalinde Pecino

Rosalinde Pecino

Rosalinde Pecino will show people how to explore the world of imagination and artistic expression.

This workshop is an opening into the magical realm of creative arts using a series of exercises focusing on play, discovery, relationship, and expression. Together, with the help of the arts, we explore the world of imagination and artistic expression!

Sun April 8: Body Percussion Level 2 with Sheldon De Souza

Sun May 27: Theme to be announced

Sessions run 1.30-3pm. To register for any one or all of the Taking It to the Streets music education workshops @Central, please visit Sound of Music Festival. Space is limited. Maximum 20 children. There is no cost to attend but pre-registration is required.

Questions about the workshops? Contact Elizabeth Gomez, Chair, Music Education, Sound of Music Festival, 905.334.2241.

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Day care facilities at the two high schools being closed are being set up at different schools.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 16th, 2018



The process of closing the two Burlington high schools begins.

Some good new – the Ministry of Education is providing capital funding for the relocation of two existing child care programs.


What was a purpose built school that included an additional gymnasium is going to be hard to replace.

Pearson Co-operative Nursery School will move from Lester B. Pearson High School to Brant Hills Public School in Burlington.

The Lord Elgin YMCA Child Care Centre will move from Robert Bateman High School to Frontenac Public School in Burlington.

The provincial government will provide funding for these two projects. Brant Hills Public School will receive $771,381 to upgrade facilities, and Frontenac Public School will receive $1,028,508.

For both these relocated child care programs, the capital funding will be used to retrofit underutilized spaces.
Scott Podrebarac, Superintendent of Education who handled the PARC’s and with responsibility for Early Years/Child Care Liaison in the Halton District School Board said: the funding “allows us to work with two long-standing, established child care programs to increase the number of child care spaces in our community and serve more families.”

The design phases for the Pearson Co-operative Nursery School are complete and the new space will open at Brant Hills Public School in September 2018.

How many of the parents currently using the Pearson facilities will want to or be able to use the new location.
Renovations to Frontenac Public School are in the preliminary design stages and the opening date for the Lord Elgin YMCA Child Care Centre will be announced at a later date.

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Art Gallery video - a nice look at what the Art Gallery has to offer.

artsorange 100x100By Staff

January 15th,2018



Everyone knows we have an Art Gallery. A significant number of people attend events at the Gallery. Hundreds of young people take courses and hundreds more seniors are active participants in the Guilds.

art etc video

Some of the Art Etc retail operation at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

The Art Etc shop offers the best selection of arts and craft related products in the city. The quality is close to unsurpassed.

The Gallery has its supporters – they are loyal and generous and the funds they provide are needed.

Utter Morris, a Burlington based insurance agency that has been in business since 1927, underwrote the cost of a short video – it is part story about the Gallery, and an appreciation of what the Gallery has to offer and a bit of a look at how the place works.

Hopefully the Tourism department will make use of it and perhaps the developers of all those high rise condominiums can use the material in their sales presentations.

It’s worth looking at – CLICK for the link.

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Were social license or civic space part of the decision to close two Burlington high schools ?

opinionandcommentBy Rory Nisan

January 14th, 2018



What is democracy?

Is it a single act, an election every four years?

Certainly, that is one part of democracy, an essential but not sufficient component. Without the ability to have the final word on our leadership through a free and fair vote, and the ability to do so in a human rights-based system, with freedoms of association and expression, we do not have democracy.

However, a vote every four years does not guarantee that leaders will listen to their constituents in the long gaps between elections.

Is democracy a decision made by an elected representative?

Trustees - fill board +

Halton District School Board trustees in session

When that person is balancing the values and interests of their constituents, the sum total of decisions is certainly an important aspect of democracy.

Yet, individual decisions by representatives can nevertheless be anti-democratic if they are taken for other reasons, such as payback to political, union, private or corporate interests who have funded their campaign, or to further professional goals (promotion, a future private sector career, fear of disagreeing with a senior bureaucrat).

Is democracy the social licence given to leaders from civil society?

Licences carry responsibilities to be maintained. They are only given when tests are passed. They can be revoked. Social licence is critical to democracy.

Is democracy a function of civic space?

When a society has the room it needs to engage in decisions that affect it — and it fills that space with collective action, we have the strongest democracies.

As far as the decision to close Pearson and Bateman High School is concerned, we do not believe that civic space was respected; nor was any social licence given to trustees to make that decision. We were then let down a second time by an Administrative Review process that supported the decision of the trustees despite noting several flaws in the process. We expected a better outcome based on the consultations we had with the facilitator and the numerous violations of policy we had uncovered.

Miller Diane addressing Wilson HDSB

Administrative Review Facilitator Margaret Wilson listening to Diane Miller.

Yet, while there are errors and omissions in the Administrative Review report, our battle was never with the facilitator, because the true letdown was a Program and Accommodation Review (PAR) that was so deeply flawed that the Premier had to put a halt to all PARs shortly after ours was completed.

Second, the original sin was committed by trustees who voted against our schools in the first place; they did so against strong evidence as well as the wishes of a clear majority of constituents. And we cannot forget one trustee whose failure of leadership all but ensured the closure of Pearson High School.

The community will bear the consequences of these errors for years to come, and the “divide and conquer” approach to community engagement of the Halton District School Board and the PAR process has left the Burlington community divided.

Has democracy failed us?

It has been said that democracy is the worst system of government, except for all of the other ones, and we certainly feel that way at the moment.

Still, we need to expand our horizons in reflecting on this encounter with democracy, politics, interests and values. Because while Burlington is going to be worse off as a result of the school closures, we have made strides in improving democracy as well as local and provincial governance as a result of the actions taken.

We stood up for what we believed in and proved that decisions in Burlington and Halton cannot be taken lightly in the future. We did so by protesting in the middle of winter, by putting up signs and getting signatures, and so many other activities to get our voices heard. We will also make sure that future decisions are better made, by supporting candidates for trustees later this year who understand the foolishness of the decisions taken, who will actually read our emails and who have the analytical and leadership skills that our community deserves.

rory shot

Rory Nisan

We engaged the province in our fight, pulling no punches in confronting Premier Wynne with our plight. She took notice, as did Education Minister Hunter, as did MPP McMahon. As a result of our tireless conviction, and that of other citizen groups around the province, Wynne put a hold on all PAR processes, thereby admitting that they have failed Ontarians. It was too late for our schools because our PAR process had concluded, but it may save many others.

Furthermore, Leader of the Official Opposition Patrick Brown has promised to stop all school closures should he be elected on June 7, in part because of our advocacy, meaning our collective efforts could have an even bigger impact across the province.

We also exposed the flaws in the decision and in the process, so when a new system of reviewing schools is developed they will have a “worst practice”, which has been carefully documented by our teams, upon which to draw.

Importantly, we also learned how to advocate for our community: how to push our objectives in the media, how to go door-to-door for signatures, how to build momentum, how to convince people to get involved. These democracy skills are ours to keep.

And finally, we gained enthusiasm. We will not go home. We will continue to advocate for Burlington’s children when they are confronted with bad ideas from un- elected bureaucrats who have forgotten that they were not elected, or from elected representatives who have forgotten how to represent.

Several years down the road, when the Director of Education has moved on to a new position, and most or all of the trustees have been voted out or retired, we will still be in Burlington, fighting for our kids.

And by holding our elected officials’ feet to the fire and never giving up on what we believe in, we will be agents of change, and create a better Burlington.

rory closeupRory Nisan is a long-time Burlington resident and Lester B. Pearson High School alumnus. He has been an active member of the Save Pearson community organization, serves on the City of Burlington’s Mundialization Committee, and is co-creator and co-organizer of the One Burlington Festival, which brings together Burlingtonians of different faiths and cultures.








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Civic engagement - Timbits style. Bold indeed!

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 12th, 2018



The city goes to great lengths to engage its citizens – the are using social media much more and reporting significant reach into the community.

That reach isn’t reflected in the level of public awareness of just what the city has planned for the various neighborhoods in the downtown core.
If you are a Timbits type you may have noticed the public message that scrolls across the screens in some of the locations.

Grpw Bold - community engagement

Civic engagement – Timbits style.

Intriguing – not sure if the city pays for the space on the screen or if the franchise owner runs the video as a public service message.

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Conservation issues weather conditions notice - rising water in the creek system.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 12, 2018



Flood conditions - yellowWith weather all over the map we plan for what we are told the weather is going to be during the day and know that it will probably change significantly before the end of the day.

A major dump of show on the weekend and rain three days later that washes much of the snow away.

One day you could have worn shorts and sat out on a patio and the next day you need those mitts.

The recent rain has added to the water flooding into the creeks creating safety concerns.

The Conservation Authority has issued a Watershed Conditions Statement advising that Environment Canada is forecasting rainfall that will continue into Friday. Expected amounts will range between 10 to 20 mm with higher amounts possible in localized areas.

Kids near winter water

Not what you want children to be doing – especially if they are unsupervised. Caution.

Based on the forecast of mild temperatures and rainfall, combined with the partial melt of our existing snowpack, we may experience an increase in flows and water levels in our creeks throughout Halton. In addition, the snowpack melt may contribute to blockages at bridges and culverts and produce localized flooding concerns in low lying areas.

Widespread flooding is not currently anticipated. Our reservoirs are currently at winter holding levels which allows for larger storage capacity for circumstances of this nature.

Conservation Halton is asking all residents and children to stay off ice covered bodies of water and keep a safe distance from all watercourses and structures such as bridges, culverts and dams. Elevated water levels, fast flowing water, and slippery conditions along stream banks continue to make these locations extremely dangerous. Please alert children in your care of these imminent dangers.

This Watershed Condition Statement will be in effect through to Saturday January 13, 2018.

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Report confirms Board followed its process for Burlington PAR - school closure plans will now move at full speed.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 11th, 2018



With the headline : Report confirms Board followed its process for Burlington PAR, the school board gets on with the changes that were voted in by the school board trustees – close the Lester B. Pearson high school at the end of the 2018 school year and close the Bateman high school in 2020

“The Administrative Review report regarding the Burlington Secondary Program and Accommodation Review (PAR) process from the Ministry of Education concludes the Halton District School Board followed its process for the Program and Accommodation review of Burlington secondary schools.

“This report does not change the Board of Trustees’ decision from June 7, 2017 to close Lester B. Pearson High School and Robert Bateman High School.

“The report contains recommendations by the provincially-appointed, independent facilitator Margaret Wilson, who undertook a review of the Board’s Burlington secondary accommodation review process in November and December 2017.

Margaret Wilson PAR Admin Review

Margaret Wilson, Facilitator of the Administrative Review of the process used to close two of the city’s seven high schools apparently didn’t see any serious flaws in the process used.

“While there are suggestions for improving the process in the future, the report’s conclusion states: “Based on my review and consultations, I conclude that, while there were violations of the Board PAR Policy, they were such that they had no material effect on either the deliberations of the PARC or on the final decisions of the Board.”

Miller prep at Central

HDSB Director of Education Stuart Miller at a Central high school meeting.

“We appreciate the comprehensive nature of this review,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “We are pleased to see the recommendations in the report and we will review our Program and Accommodation Review Policy to ensure these recommendations are considered for the future.”

“With the conclusion of this review, we will continue our work toward building new school communities, and our focus on positive transitions for students, their families, staff and the community,” adds Miller. “We are committed to working with our school communities to ensure the smoothest possible transition.”

There are two very disappointed groups of parents in Burlington but the deal is done and the task now is to work to make the transition as smooth as possible.

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