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.


Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

Denis Gibbons: From alter boy to world class hockey researcher covering seven Olympic hockey tournaments.

sportsgold 100x100By Pepper Parr

February 26th, 2018



When the 23rd Winter Olympic Games closing ceremonies were over Denis Gibbons was able to get to bed at a decent hour and not be up all night watching events that set a record for the number of medals won by Canada as well as new records in a number of sports.

Gibbons book cover picture of him

Denis Gibbons

That was a big change for Gibbons who has in the past served as a free-lance reporter in seven different Olympic hockey tournaments from 1988 to 2014.

Hockey and Gibbons go back to the days when Father David Bauer was a major force in the development of hockey in this country.

Gibbons, as an altar boy at St. Joseph’s Parish in Acton, followed the St. Michael’s Majors, the team Father Bauer coached, very closely. He was hooked on hockey for life.

During his first trip to the Soviet Union Gibbons found it difficult to get a real sense of what was going on – he didn’t know a word of Russian and the Cyryllic lettering completely baffled him. But hockey was hockey and he didn’t have to know Russian to understand the game.

Gibbons decided to learn Russian and see if he could get a free-lance assignment to cover the 1980 Olympics.
He got himself into a Russian class at McMaster University where it took him several efforts to come away with decent marks – but he eventually learned the language and got a job as researcher for the ABC television network in the 1988 Olympics.

Gibbons decided his experiences covering Olympic hockey were worth a book.

Gibbons Dennis N. Book coverThat book – Hockey My Door to Europe, which details his experiences that included being detained by the Czechoslovakian police and being in Europe when the Berlin Wall fell, is a detailed look at how hockey was covered by the television networks and the role Gibbons played in getting information out to the public.

The book has a Burlington angle – the Burlington Cougars midget reps were paying a visit to Semperk Czechoslovakia in 1983 to take part in a tournament. During some off time Gibbons was walking about with two cameras around his neck taking pictures. He attracted the attention of the STB – the Czech secret police.

For those interested in hockey – the book is a must.

A review will follow.

Gibbons is a former editor of the Burlington Post and currently free lances for the Bay Observer.

Return to the Front page

Gould expands on the details of the Canada Learning Bond - $2000 is available through an RESP.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 22, 2018



Earlier this week a very pregnant Karina Gould stood before an audience and talked about the cost of an education and how the government was going to help.

Gould - baby + work comment

Karina Gould: “I will be working until the day I go into labour”.

A few days prior Gould told a CBC reporter that she would be “working until she goes into labour” and returning to the House of Commons as soon as possible.

Expect to see her in the House with the child snuggling up against her chest – perhaps even being fed. The country has never seen anything like this before.

Gould, the youngest female Cabinet minister in the country’s history, is not only doing her job as Minister of Democratic Institutions – she is alto filling in for her colleagues – she has delivered statement for two ministers recently.

Gould told the audience at The Centre for Skills Training and Development in Burlington that when “more people can afford post-secondary education, our economy can grow and our middle class can thrive. That is why the Government of Canada is helping more low- and middle-income families save money for their children’s post-secondary education through the Canada Learning Bond.”

That bond can provide as much as $2,000 that gets put into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for children from low‑income families, with no personal contribution required. This includes $500 for the first year of eligibility and $100 each following year, until the calendar year they turn 15.

The federal government has reallocated $12.5 million over six years, starting in 2017–18, from Employment and Social Development Canada’s existing resources to launch a pilot project. The pilot project will explore new ways to increase awareness and access to the Canada Learning Bond.

Budget 2017 approved amendments to the Canada Education Savings Act to allow the cohabiting spouse or common-law partner of the primary caregiver to request the Canada Learning Bond and the Additional Canada Education Savings Grant on behalf of an eligible child. This change will simplify the application process, ensuring that more children who are eligible for these benefits receive the support they need to help pursue post-secondary education.

Lisa Rizatto - The Centre’s CAO,

Lisa Rizzato, Chief Administrative Officer, The Centre for Skills Development & Training

Lisa Rizzato, Chief Administrative Officer, The Centre for Skills Development & Training told the audience that: “Funds from the Canada Learning Bond can be used by young students for future expenses related to their studies including trades schools and apprenticeship programs such as those offered in the Centre’s skilled trades pre-apprenticeship programs.

Support for young people, whether they are studying or working, would not be possible without our local representatives in parliament and federal government, and we’re proud to work with them to improve the lives of citizens in our community.”

While take-up of the Canada Learning Bond has steadily increased from 0.2 percent in 2005 to 34.7 percent in 2016, two thirds of eligible children are not yet receiving this education savings incentive, representing approximately 1.8 million children across Canada.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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


Return to the Front page

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

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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

Return to the Front page

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.


Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.”

Return to the Front page

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

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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).

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page