Muir: Too early to change the masking rules - what's the rush?


By Tom Muir

March 17th, 2022



It isn’t popular to talk about masks and social distancing these days.

Everyone wants to see the pandemic declared over and get us to the point where we are dealing with an endemic and those are a piece of cake.

Tom Muir who contributes to the Gazette frequently focuses on just what it is we are dealing with and where the leadership is falling short.

I’m afraid I see too many cooks in the kitchen regarding Covid mandates, and too many splits of who has authority to decide.

Is this the time for the Medical Officer of Health to weight in with some comment?

I am particularly concerned about schools and the educational system, and have repeatedly expressed that concern. Now I find out from your message here that the City bylaw does not apply to schools. And also that the Regional Office of Health has authority, and could issue a Section 22 order, which could mandate masking in schools. Then, as well, you tell me the Medical Officers of Health at the Region is recommending lifting the mask bylaw.

So who has the responsibility to protect the children and the school system in this messy division of power? Regional Health has a conflict of interest between following orders that are “legal”, and the fact that something that is “legal” is not necessarily permissible, or morally justified in an ethical society, especially when the possible consequences for the most vulnerable in our society are known and are grave.

This conflict is very concerning as it raises questions of responsibility and accountability for a decision about children and schools – Who will be called to account for the decision and the consequences? Is the Board of Education responsible for this fiduciary duty of trust? If not, then why not?

I say again, it is just too soon to stop masking and other Covid controls in the school system right after all the interactions and mingling, and therefore increased virus transmission opportunities that will occur during school break. Several weeks are needed to see what happens. In addition, the City and Regional masking and other Covid bylaws, as you say, and I repeat –

“requires the wearing of masks or other face coverings within enclosed spaces open to the public, including:

  • City Hall and City facilities open to the public;
  • Burlington Transit;
  • Public areas of offices, retail outlets and malls; and
  • Inside common areas of apartment and condominium buildings.”

Is masking necessary for these children?

My point here is that enclosed public spaces are the areas of maximum transmission, and the masking is the first line of defence, then distancing, and this is an historical practice of public health infection protection.

Further, I say we need more time in general to consider lifting the masking bylaw because there is a lag in time to show what the health indicators are doing after the break, and in general.

I read this below in the Washington Post today, and it would do us well to heed the warning about the failure to be cautious in decisions with very serious consequences that we already know about very well. The whole article is worth a read in terms of what is going on with the virus.

“A surge in coronavirus infections in Western Europe has experts and health authorities on alert for another wave of the pandemic in the United States even as most of the country has done away with restrictions after a sharp decline in cases.”

“Infectious-disease experts are closely watching the subvariant of omicron known as BA.2, which appears to be more transmissible than the original strain, BA.1, and is fueling the outbreak overseas.”

My bottom line is that someone has to be called to be responsible to fulfill the Board of Education duty as Trustees – with root of Trust – to protect the children and the schools from the risk of this inherent policy harm, as stated by many independent experts, and by the known ways of how the virus acts. This is not safe policy for children, teachers, schools, or parents. It is not stated by Ford to be a safe policy, but a personal choice about risk tolerance.

The children themselves do not have the wherewithal to make such an independent choice for themselves, and are at the mercy of the politics, and what you decide to do. The rest of us will be collateral damage.

In my view, whoever gets to decide, whether it is the Board or not, will be guilty of negligence of fiduciary duty if they just obey Premier Ford’s orders.

Tom Muir is a retired federal civil servant who writes frequently on public issues




Return to the Front page

Electric Mobility Surveys Now Available 

By Staff

March 15th, 2022



Surveys are available for residents to complete to identify opportunities and barriers for supporting and encouraging electric mobility in Burlington. Participants have the opportunity to complete one or more surveys on:

The survey starts with a few general questions and then you will be given the option to select which survey you would like to answer. At the end of each survey you can choose to complete another or answer some optional questions before you submit. Thank you for your feedback.

Return to the Front page

Milton, Oakville and the Region end their State of Emergency - Burlington still hanging in there

By Staff

March 15th, 2022



The Town of Milton has ended its state of emergency for Covid-19. The state of emergency was first declared at the onset of the pandemic, on March 24, 2020.

The ending of the state of emergency follows the same announcements from Milton’s municipal partners – Halton Region and the Town of Oakville.

With the end of the state of emergency,  all residents are thanked for their resilience and commitment to keep our community safe. Residents are asked to remain kind, considerate ,and respectful toward those who continue to practice public health measures for their own well-being.

Residents are also encouraged to remain vigilant and practice what we have learned over the last two years. This includes staying home when sick and most importantly, getting vaccinated and boosted.

Return to the Front page

Natalie Pierre, chosen by current MPP Jane McKenna to be the Progressive Conservative candidate for Burlington in 2022 election

By Pepper Parr

March 14th, 2022



Natalie Pierre

For over 30 years, Natalie Pierre and her husband Paul have made Burlington their home. Natalie is a human resources and finance professional with experience in the public and private sector. For the past 13 years, she has led hiring and recruitment at Sheridan College.

As a mentor and coach, Natalie has worked with high school, college and university students, to overcome the challenges they face in entering the workforce.

A determined problem solver, Natalie has worked tirelessly with all levels of government to advocate for improved mental health supports. Natalie and her husband have two children, Katie (25) and Mike who would have been 22 this year. Natalie has, and will continue to be, a strong voice at Queen’s Park.

Return to the Front page

The Mayor amends Election procedures while council sits quietly

By Pepper Parr

March 14th, 2022



During the debate on March 2nd about the use of city facilities when elections are taking place, I sent the following to the City Clerk:

“There were two documents on the screen that did not appear to be in the agenda.
I have attached two screen shots to help you identify what I am talking about.
Would you have both documents sent to me – and would you explain why the documents were not in the agenda pkg.

I did not get a response from the City Clerk but I did get a response from the city communications department – the City Clerk doesn’t appear to answer email sent to him – a matter we will cover in some detail on another occasion.

We wanted a copy of a document that Mayor Meed Ward introduced to Council as a “walk on” agenda item. Walk on means the item was not on the agenda. The Procedural bylaw requires that the Chair of the meeting seek the approval of a majority of Council to permit the “walk on” item.  It was the Clerk’s job to catch the error and bring it to the attention of the Chair.

That didn’t happen either.

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon had nothing to say

When a report is being introduced to a Standing Committee meeting there is usually an introduction or comments from Staff on why the report is before Council.  City Clerk Kevin Arjoon had nothing to say – so the Mayor moved the report which allowed her to then talk about the nine amendment she had plus a Staff Direction.

Some Gazette readers took exception with our concern over the documents not being available to the public  – they are usually available five or six days before a meeting – giving those interested an opportunity to delegate.  That is another matter that will also be covered at another time.

Two of the nine amendment were not staff supported; the others were supported by Staff.

Each amendment was introduced to the Standing Committee. There was stiff debate on some of the amendments.

The agenda item was: Use of Corporate Resources During an Election Policy.

In previous municipal elections then Councillors Meed Ward and Bentivegnia had significant issues with the Clerk’s department as to what was permitted and what was not permitted.  There were some pretty silly decisions made by the Clerk at the time.

Marianne Meed Ward had some direct experience with city staff, the Clerk’s Office to be specific, on how election rules should be administered. She was making sure that the same things didn’t happen in 2022

Mayor Meed Ward started her presentation setting out “Principles” and adding a :However to those Principles.



The Mayor then took council through each of the amendments – one by one.


What Meed Ward wanted to ensure was that members of Council would still be able to do their jobs while the election campaign is taking place. There were portions of the policy document that could be interpreted to suggest that a Councillor seeking re-election had an advantage.  All members of those currentlt on council were consistent in wanting a level playing field.

During the meeting the Committee Clerk was able to make changes in the document that was before Council.  In the illustration below you can see where items have been revised.


Most of the rules related to city space and  would not apply to independent bodies like the Performing Arts Centre, the Art Gallery and the Libraries. The independent bodies were expected to create policies of their own.  Councillor Bentivegnia argued that it was still city property – and it is – but it is city property that is governed by an independent Board. It took Bentivegnia a couple of conversations to fully understand that one.



Council members and many Staff people use their own phone for city business.  The city pays a person who uses their own phone about $35 a month


The use of city business cards during an election was prohibited – but what does a candidate do if while talking to a voter at the door step the voter asks about a specific problem. Can the candidate give them a copy of the Council members business card and ask the voter to call the office and get the help they need?

The point being made was that while you are electioneering you are a candidate and not a Councillor.  Councillor Nisan suggested that they all take part in a bonfire at which they would all burn their city provided business cards.

Incumbents are seen to have advantages new candidates don’t have in terms of media.  This council was going to great lengths to ensure that their names and pictures did not appear in documents coming out of city hall.

Social media was a challenge.  Some things on social media cannot be changed.  An entry on LinkedIn cannot be changed was an example Meed Ward gave.

A lot of time was spent figuring out how Council members could talk about city business and not cross the line into working as a candidate.  Several Councillors wanted the city communications department to monitor what the Councillors sent out – the Communications department took a pass on that one.



Meed Ward argued that during the period between May 2, when candidates can file their nominations through to the last Council meeting in September, there was still a lot of serious council business to take care of.  There had to be a way for Council members to communicate with their constituents and at the same time campaign.  Removing any name identification and photographs (the Councillor would be identified as Councillor for Ward X) from communications material the city issues was determined to be the best approach


Meeting with constituents at a ward meeting called by the Councillor had all kinds of possible red flags.  Councillors saw it as unreasonable for a Councillor to say nothing about running for office at a meeting to discuss an issue.

Burlington is now very much into branding.  There is a project that focuses on creating and promoting One Burlington, to ensure that the city as a corporation gets the visibility and attention it feels it deserves and needs.

During the last election Mayor Meed Ward arm wrestled with the City Clerk at the time over the placing of small magnetic fridge cards on the bumpers of cards.  Councillor delegated to Council on his right to put signage on his vehicle.  The Clerk at the time argued that part of the vehicle was paid for by the city.  It was a different Clerk and a different time.

All these amendments had merit.  Councillor Kearns added an amendment of her own asking that Spencer Smith Park be kept campaign free.  That lost – however Civic Square was defined as campaign free.

The issue for the Gazette was the absence of any public input.  While this Council would love to believe they are all going to be acclaimed – that is as certain as that Irish rainbow that is going to direct us all to that mythical pot of gold.

It was at the end of the meeting that those monitoring the web cast heard the City Clerk apologize for the walk on report – he said it was better to do it now rather than wait until April.

That raised a serious – why wasn’t this done months ago?

We all knew what the date of the election was going to be.  A city that can’t stop itself from touting how engaged it is – manages to find a way to issue a report that is the very foundation of the way we choose our leaders.  The Clerk’s incompetence should have been noticed by the City Manager.   How did he manage to be asleep at the switch while the Clerk fumbled with the file?



Return to the Front page

Progressive Conservatives still searching for a candidate to run in the June election

By Pepper Parr

March 14th, 2022



Jane McKennasai: I’m happy to report, that on my recommendation, yesterday the Ontario PC Party named long-time Burlington resident Natalie Pierre as our candidate.  To learn more about Natalie, request a lawn sign, make a donation or volunteer on the campaign please visit

So much for a democratic nomination


Have the Progressive Conservatives in Burlington decided to concede the seat in the Provincial Legislature?

No word yet on who their candidate is going to be.

Jane McKenna gave is giving up the provincial seat to run as Chair for the Region of Halton.

Jane McKenna has announced that she will be running for the Chair of Halton Regional Council in October.

With something close to 75 days of campaigning left before ballots are cast June 2nd, one has to wonder what’s going on with the Burlington Progressive Conservative Association.

To date 18 of the people who went to the Legislature with Doug Ford 18 have decided they don’t want to return.

Mariam Manaa met Andrew Drummond on his door step while she was out campaigning.

To date the candidates are Mariam Manaa the Liberal Party and Andrew Drummond running for the New Democratic Party.


Return to the Front page

Former school board trustee official challenges current trustees to do what is right or follow a 'lame duck' Premier

By Peggy Russell

March 13th, 2022



Public School Board Trustees in the Province of Ontario have less than a week to make a very big decision regarding their responsibility to the students and staff and, by extension, the welfare of their communities, with the responsibility they were charged with when elected.

Peggy Russell

Do they follow the direction of the Premier of this Province or do they follow the advice of the experts represented through the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition’s Statement of March 9, 2022?

The Ontario Children’s Health Coalition states: “Masks remain an important layer of protection as the pandemic continues and may be needed in communities with low vaccination rates and where there is a surge in cases. Masks also protect those most vulnerable, including high-risk, immunocompromised and fragile children.”

Trustees in the Province of Ontario have a definitive Role in which, “they must weigh what is in the best interests of the whole education system” which they are duly elected to represent.
This will be the true test of elected Trustees relevancy; there is no hedging around this one.

Either they listen to the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition or, if they do not, they should be prepared for the potential legal ramifications, not just as a Board, but as individuals who could be named in Legal Actions for not following the advice of the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition.

Currently Trustees have been advised that legally, they must abide by Public Health Orders. My question is: Are those Orders in the best interest of our collective society or that of special interest groups and some sectors of industry?

Then there is the moral obligation to the children, families/guardians, of the students they serve: to ensure that each and every student, no matter their health status, is provided the same opportunity to learn in a safe classroom environment.

Do Trustees understand that this indeed is their Alamo?

Either they listen to the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition and do what is right or they follow a “lame duck” Premier who is seeking re-election and the Orders of Ontario Public Health Units who serve at the pleasure of the Premier and their government. Which will it be?

Trustees in Ontario must be prepared to legally challenge the Province, Ministry of Education and, where applicable, Ontario Public Health Units. Trustees need to understand what is truly at stake at this moment or they risk becoming irrelevant.


Peggy Russell is a past Vice-Chair of the Halton District School Board. and was a Director of the Ontario Public School Board Association for eight years.



Return to the Front page

Waterfront study and the development application - no recent news on either.

By Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2022



The deadline for responses to the survey put out after the Waterfront Study virtual meeting that took place on February 22nd, was March 1st the last date they would be accepted.

There are two things taking place with the area outlined in blue. The oldest activity is a study of the area outlined in blue which the city says has been ongoing since 2018 – it actually started way back in 2015 when the city had a Staff member doing some work on what would be possible and fit in with the Promenade and Spencer Smith Park when the owners of the Waterfront Hotel decided they were ready to redevelop the property. The area within the red boundary is the property owned by Darko Vranich . In August of 2021 he began the process of providing the City Planning department the information it would need to prepare a report for City Council which would decide to Approve the development, Not approve the development or approve a development with required changes. hotel site was ready. The report from the Planning department has to be before City Council and approved no later than April 17th of 2022

It was a very short survey; two questions – what did you think and where do you live.

The X’s mark the land the city would take as permitted park land allowance.

Shouldn’t have taken all that long to sift through the responses, pass them along to the consultants overseeing the study and share both the results of the survey and whatever the next step was going to be.

There was some interesting news shared during the DATE meeting – the most significant being that the city planned on taking a 20 metre wide piece of land from the west side of the site. The width would run from Lakeshore Road to the southern and of  the the property line.

There doesn’t appear to be any sense of urgency about a study that is intended to “inform” the long term development that will take place.  Wouldn’t the Hotel site development application, if approved, set the pattern for any development in the immediate area.  No?


Related news stories:

A time line that didn’t work for the citizens.

What about a land swap

The Statutory meeting

Return to the Front page

15 bus shelters in Burlington have been vandalized.

By Staff

March 10th, 2022



In the past the damage was graffiti. It isn’t public art by any stretch of the imagination. It’s kids with too much free time on their hands and parents not fully aware of what their children are doing.

15 bus shelters in Burlington have been vandalized.

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is investigating an ongoing string of damage targeting bus shelters.

Between February 23 and March 7, 2022, 15 bus shelters in Burlington have been vandalized. On several occasions, the city completed repairs only to have the glass on the same shelter smashed again overnight.

The majority of the shelters targeted were on New Street however police are also investigating occurrences on Lakeshore Road, Harvester Road, Brant Street and Guelph Line.

The HRPS is conducting extra patrols in these areas and request residents report any suspicious activity to police. Police have not made any arrests and do not have any suspect descriptions to provide.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4777 ext. 2316

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at


Return to the Front page

Burlington Councillor Paul Sharman along with several Oakville Council members bark back at Metrolinx: 'Meet your commitment build the grade separations'

By Staff

March10th, 2022



When Metrolinx advised the Town of Oakville and the city of Burlington that they would  not be able to proceed with the planned construction of grade separations  – they surely didn’t think that was going to be the end of it.

Burlington ward 5 Councillor took the lead on this and, working with Oakville council member issued a statement making it clear that a delay was not on for their communities.

The Town of Oakville and City of Burlington received updates from Metrolinx (the Province’s Agency for coordinating and integration transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area) on the Burloak and Kerr Street Grade Separations.

Life today at the Burloak crossing.



This was the promise – when the price ballooned Metrolinx wanted to back out. The local municipal Councillors aren’t on for that decision.

Metrolinx indicated it could no longer meet its commitment to the costs agreed to by all parties involved for both the Burloak and Kerr Separations and that the Kerr Street underpass would be deferred with no future timeline. ” These changes to our agreements with the Provincial agency are unacceptable to us.”

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman – isn’t prepared to accept the Metrolinx decision.

Grade separations not only ease congestion, they are pivotal to the health and safety of our community for vehicles and pedestrians and ensure rail transportation moves unimpeded across the Lakeshore West Line.  As representatives in areas directly impacted by these railway crossings, we hear daily about delays, safety issues and concerns from our residents.  We are determined to ensure the Province and Metrolinx fulfill their commitments to the residents in our neighbourhoods and the Halton community at large.

The Metrolinx LAkeshore West line is schedule to offer 15 minute service – vehicles will never get to cross the tracks under those conditions.

“We are calling on all Halton MPPs to work to ensure the government’s commitments to the construction of both grade separations move forward and that they do so immediately and at the costs agreed to with the Municipalities in 2018.  Now is not the time to put critical infrastructure on the back burner.  With the Province mandating growth throughout our communities, we in good conscious cannot continue to fulfill the Province’s demands of added population without safety being put firs.” said Sharman

“Movement throughout our Region relies on critically integrated corridors and the infrastructure to move those vehicles, pedestrians and transit safely and quickly.  This is more than a step backwards; the Government has slammed the car in reverse.  We are calling on all residents who have a stake in this infrastructure getting built to contact your MPP and let them know that these delays, deferrals and cost overruns are unacceptable.”

Provincial members:

Stephen Crawford (Oakville) –

Parm Gill (Milton) –

Jane McKenna (Burlington) –

Effie Triantafilopoulos (Oakville North-Burlington) –



Sean O’Meara                                                                                           Beth Robertson

Regional & Town Councillor Ward 1                                                         Town Councillor Ward 1

Cathy Duddeck                                                                                         Ray Chisholm

Regional & Town Councillor Ward 2                                                         Town Councillor Ward 2

Paul Sharman

City of Burlington Council Ward 5

There is an interesting omission: Burlington’s Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is not a signatore to the statement.  She was all over television reports in the decision

Return to the Front page

Why were access fees waived - the public didn't see a dime of the savings - money went to telephone company

By Staff

March 7th, 2022



On March 3 a city Standing Committee approved a report that  waived permit fees in the amount of $33,800. for improved internet services for north Burlington.

This is basically how accessible internet access will be.

The improved service in north Burlington is a very important need to those residents. These improvements are being funded by the federal and provincial governments. They did not request municipal assistance or funding.

A Burlington resident has a problem with the decision pointing out that on January 25 2022 the city held an information session for this work. I attended.

The two contractors (Bell Canada and Internet Access Solutions) have not formally requested any financial assistance from the city. The contractors have been working to obtain permits from the City, Region, and Conservation Halton.

Fibre optic cable is being laid all over north Burlington giving the residents much needed internet access.

A  Burlington resident who asks not to be identified thinks “the Mayor/council appear to want some credit for the improved internet access. Must be an election  year.”

“The $33,800 given away is monies that we the taxpayer will have to make up in the 2023 current budget from tax dollars. ( Sounds like Rob Ford and the license plates) This expenditure should have been accounted for in the 2022 current budget if council wanted to participate.

“Sounds like bonusing to me.

“Do not blame the contractors for…. getting something for nothing.”

The question here is:  Why are the taxpayers waiving fees that would have been paid by Bell Canada and Internet Access Solutions, the two companies installing hi-speed broadband service in rural Burlington.



Return to the Front page

Changes in transit schedule - effective March 13th

By Staff

March 7th  2022



Effective Sunday, March 13, 2022, Burlington Transit is

      • Increasing service on routes 6 and 10
      • Improving connections on routes 1, 3 and 12
      • Aligning route 48 to school bell times

Schedule information

Overview of Service

Peak service is between 5:30 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m.

For more information or to get help, contact BT Customer Service at, 905-639-0550

Return to the Front page

A program for seniors who need special care may get really rolling with Covid19 restrictions being eased.

By Pepper Parr

March 7th, 2022


A program for seniors who need special care may get really rolling with Covid19 restrictions being eased.

You know him as the Council member for ward 5; the without a doubt, smartest member of Council – with ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns a very close second smartest council member.

Councillor Sharman has held two public sessions with Senior’s as part of his effort to understand their needs and develop policy that Council can put in place to serve this vital community. At most of the sessions Sharman’s Dad is often in the audience.

Sharman has always had a soft spot for the seniors, it is a sector to which he pays close attention.

During a conversation over what he was going to do next Paul Sharman would not say he was going to run again nor would he offer as much as a hint about possibly challenging to the sitting Mayor come October.

Paul Sharman wanted to talk about PACE, a project on which he has done some work in the past and very much wants to do more on in the future ; he made it clear to me that he was talking about near future.

Last November he explained what PACE (Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) was about to a small group of seniors at the Wellington Tower in downtown Burlington.

Paul’s story was a very personal that resonated with his audience. He first learned about it during a conference he was attending in Detroit. Sharman was invited to visit a charitable organization that created an interesting program.  He and Rick Goldring, Burlington mayor at the time, went down and visited Presbyterian Villages and United Methodist Retirement Communities, that provided thousands of income-geared condo-style homes that were rented to people on limited incomes.

On the ground floor of all of this was a program called PACE. Other communities were served by standalone PACE centres.

The focus was on keeping older adults in their homes longer; Sharman wanted something like this in Burlington and was able to launch a first effort in January 2020 to provide comprehensive care for older adults as an alternative to long-term care facilities.

Paul Sharman’s quest to bring better care to seniors is a very personal story.  It began when his mother had to be moved to a long-term care (LTC) facility from a retirement home after apparently “assaulting” another community member while in distress. His mother was deemed violent even though she was frail.

An Earth Day event, where the lights were turned off for an hour, spooked Sharman’s mother, who was suffering from dementia, resulting in her pushing away the other community member when they approached her.

This unnamed LTC facility also had locked wards for residents who were considered “violent,” where younger residents with mental health and other issues were also located and would allegedly assault other residents.

Paul Sharman with members of his family at a community event.

After much advocacy by Sharman’s sister, their mother was eventually moved out of the locked ward to one mostly occupied by residents who had suffered from strokes. Eventually, she developed pneumonia, was unable to swallow antibiotics, and was then moved to a hospital. By then, her options were limited and she passed away in early 2015.

Paul Sharman: When he puts his mind to an issue he looks for the data and lets that lead him to the decision he makes.

“Long-term care is necessary but insufficient,” said Sharman. Sharman believes that things could have been better for his mother had there been more support services available in the community. His mother inspired him to look for ways to develop support groups for older adults so they could stay in their homes as long as possible and therefore have a better quality of life.

He and others got as far as setting up a non-profit organization that practices in condo towers and other places of congregate living.

The local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) was very engaged and interested and wanted to give them access to their services kit, meaning they would organize services for those people who needed help at home.

Healthcare system restructuring meant that CCACs were disbanded, which meant those services still existed operating under a different name, the future became unclear without the CCAC, and the program was suspended.

On the way back from Detroit, Goldring and Sharman talked about how the Presbyterian and United Methodist villages were able to pull together so many housing units with limited resources and what exactly made it work.

To help them think it through, Dr. Jennifer Mendez, a Toronto-based professor who taught geriatric care to medical students at Wayne State University in Detroit and an advisor to PACE in Detroit, was brought in to provide support for the Burlington project.  Mendez, now retired, has been involved with the American iteration for more than 25 years, first starting in Milwaukee.  Mendez says collaboration between all of the service providers is essential for the success of the program.

JBH president Eric Vandewall manages well and gets the job done.  The biggest problem he faces is a cultural one.  The problem existed long before Vandewall arrived.

Sharman’s team then presented the idea to a special meeting of 80 Burlington community leaders, including Eric Vandewall, President and CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital, and Dr. Michael Shih of Emshih Developments, who specializes in the development of medical buildings and retirement homes.

When the presentation was over, Sharman asked the assembled leaders if anyone could think of any reason not to pursue this program going forward. The room was silent. People then asked what would be done next.

This resulted in Sharman and Goldring setting up committees to discuss how PACE might be established in Burlington. Vandewall and Shih were brought on to the volunteer committee and after about eight or nine months of talking it through, the program was moved into the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), as they had all the resources and connections necessary for it to work, coupled with Halton Community Housing, which owns and operates large housing properties for older adults.

Residents over 80 years of age in 2016 census it was 5.7% in Burlington and 9.2% over 75. The 2021 census has not provided Burlington yet, but Ontario is 4.6% over 80 and 7.8% over 75.

“I think this is the population that requires the most attention,” said Shih. “Social isolation is a problem.”  “Also because of the seniors living much longer now, in terms of care and [their] financial situation, everything needs more attention,” he added.

A solid strategic thinker who wonders just where the vision for the city is hiding.

Unfortunately, just after the pilot program launched last January, PACE couldn’t offer new services or group programs due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the organizations that were already working with residents were able to continue doing so.

The pandemic shed an extremely negative light on long-term care in the province, giving PACE a chance to stand out and continue to grow.

And with the help of vaccines, the program has been back up and running for about six months and has been granted approval from the Burlington Ontario Health Team (OHT), operating out of Joseph Brant Hospital, to scale up and continue its work.

Halton Community Housing has also committed $1 million for renovations on the ground floor of Wellington Terrace to better house PACE and its programs.

There is a lot more to this story.  The big question is: can Paul Sharman get PACE off the ground and be Mayor at the same time?


Return to the Front page

Mayor really wanted to hear what the Minister of Housing was going to tell the development industry - convinces Committee Chair to recess for a couple of hours.

By Pepper Parr

March 7th, 2022



It was a small item at the very end of the agenda for the Standing Committee meeting last Thursday.

11:40 a.m. (recessed). 2:30 p.m. (reconvened)

Those watching the web cast had been advised that the agenda would be revised – that usually happens when there is a CLOSED Session of Council and the city shifts things around to accommodate any outside people taking part.

We actually slipped up on this one – rather than wait and listen to the Chair read into the record what part of the Municipal Act was being used to go into Closed meeting we logged out expecting to return at 2:30.

As committee Chair Kelvin Galbraith had the authority to recess a meeting – the standard is to get agreement from council members. Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Galbraith share the Red Carpet Task Force work – they work well together.

Chair Kelvin Galbraith had advised viewers that there would be a break from 11:30 to 2:30

There were two other important items on the agenda: leaf collection and a revision to the Private Tree Bylaw – always contentious issues in Burlington.

Turns out – there was no closed session

Council members switched venues and went to the West End Home Builders Association event at which the Minister of Housing was speaking to the people who give council all kinds of grief.

Was Mayor Marianne Meed Ward blushing when she met with the Premier at a Joseph Brant Hospital event?

No word yet from anyone on just what was said during the event.  Our source said there was some expectation that the Premier might show up.  Doug Ford usually takes every opportunity he can to talk to developers.

We understand that Council Sharman attended as well.

What bothered at least one council member was that even though two members of Council (and possibly three) left the meeting there was still a quorum (4 out of the seven members constitute a quorum) and the meeting could have continued.

Chair Galbraith told the Gazette that anything to do with trees in Burlington should have the attention of every member of Council.  It was his call to make, which he did.



Return to the Front page

Halton District School Board releases findings from Student and Staff Census

By Staff

March 6th, 2022



The Halton District School Board is releasing the findings of the Student and Staff Census conducted in the 2021-2022 school year in a phased approach between March – September 2022.

At this point we know how many students participated.

The release will begin with data on the identities of students and staff including language, ethnicity, race, Indigeneity, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

At the March 2 Board meeting, a presentation of Phase 1 data of the Staff and Student Census was made to Trustees.

The HDSB conducted the voluntary Student Census from January to June 2021, and Staff Census from April to June 2021, as required by the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan to gather and report identity-based data. The Student Census was completed by 78 per cent of elementary students and 84 per cent of secondary students. The Staff Census was completed by 75 per cent of staff.


Following the release of identity data, perceptual (how students perceive their school experiences) and disaggregated data showing trends and patterns in special education, academic achievement and student experiences, will be shared between now and September 2022.

“The findings of the Student and Staff Census are intended to support every community to ensure we are meeting the needs of all students and staff in the HDSB,” says David Boag, Associate Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

“This data provides us with new information about who our students and staff are to fully understand the needs of all staff, students and families. This will help support success and well-being, identify and eliminate discriminatory practices, systemic barriers and bias to provide equitable opportunities and outcomes, and allocate resources to support students and programs where the need is greatest.”

With the findings of the Student and Staff Census, the HDSB will continue to examine disparities and disproportionalities in opportunities and outcomes for students and staff, prepare action plans that align with the HDSB Multi-Year Strategic Plan 2020-2024 and continue to engage with stakeholders.


Return to the Front page

Recommended Preferred Precinct Plans for the Burlington MTSA - means what they plan to build around the GO station

By Staff

March 5th, 2022



The hot development action has always been south of Caroline, clustered along Lakeshore road.

The long term growth of the city is going to be around the GO stations that are now also known as MTSA’s – Major Transit Service Areas – that will have GO service, local transit service, as well as anything else that transports people coming together in the same spot.

The Recommended Preferred Precinct Plans for the Burlington MTSA.

Residential development will be significant with clusters that include, 5, 6, 7 or even 8 high rise towers and all the social amenities.  Get used to a new one: linear parks which is another phrase for a path with some grass.

The Recommended Preferred Precinct Plans for the Burlington GO station set out above identify the name of the precinct they are in but provide no detail on what the zoning is for each precinct. Presumably that will follow.  What you get at this point is a pretty graphic.

A rendering of what the Burlington GO station now looks like. The housing that will be built in the immediate area will be in the 3500+ population range

The Recommended Preferred Precinct Plans for Aldershot and Appleby Line will be separate articles



Return to the Front page

Police Officer injured during arrest attempt

By Staff

March 2nd, 2022



The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is appealing for witnesses or dash cam footage of an arrest attempt that took place in Burlington.

On Monday February 28, 2022, at approximately 2:45 pm an officer attended a parking lot located at 963 Francis Road in Burlington (in the area of Plains Road East and the QEW).

The officer began an investigation into a stolen vehicle parked at that location, and attempted to make an arrest of a suspect inside the stolen brown pickup truck. The suspect resisted and set the truck in motion dragging the police officer a short distance. The officer suffered minor injuries. The suspect’s truck also struck a cruiser and an uninvolved parked car during its escape. Police did not pursue the pickup after it fled the parking lot.

Through further investigation police identified and arrested the suspect.

Timothy Burt (35) of Milton has been charged with the following:

  • Dangerous Operation
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000
  • Failure to stop after accident
  • Assaulting peace officer with weapon or cause bodily harm

Any witnesses, persons with dash cam footage of the occurrence or anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Constable Jason Lin at 905-825-4777 ext. 7355.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at

Return to the Front page

Council meets for three hours on an item about election rules - with no public participation

By Pepper Parr

March 2nd, 2022



They spent something more than two hours going through, in detail, what the rules were gong to be for anyone who planned to run in the October municipal election.

The Staff report, which didn’t appear to be part of the information package that was on the agenda, had a number of amendments.  Some were staff reported – others were not.

The documents that appeared on the screen certainly weren’t in the information package.

One of nine amendments that Mayor Meed Ward brought forward suggesting changes to municipal election rules Burlington has in place.

The item was not in the original agenda – it was described as a “walk on report” which meant that there was basically no notice to the public.

Quite how the seven members of council can decide to devote close to three hours of their time and not permit any delegations, is unknown.

Every member of council mouthed the words that they wanted to ensure there was a level playing field for people running for office who were not members of Council.

They are still at it – once they finished this item, they go into a Closed Session – yes another one!

We will provide a link to the item – disgraceful, shameful – the elected determining what the rules will be with no opportunity for new candidates to delegate.

There could have been delegations – if people had known about the meeting.  But they didn’t know – because they were not informed.

Walk on items are usually done to cover exceptional situations.

The office of the Clerk has known for a couple of years that there was going to be an election and that some changes needed to be made in the rules.

Anne Marsden has announced her plans to run for Mayor – she would have wanted to be aware of this meeting. Did she even know about it?

Anyone out there who is thinking about running for public office wants to howl with real anger over the meeting taking place.

Throughout the meeting changes were being made to the rules – line by line.  For the average person – it is of little importance – for those that want to run for office – they have a major complaint.

Can’t wait to hear what Anne Marsden has to say on this one.

Return to the Front page

Transit is about to lose the best Director they ever had

By Pepper Parr

March 2nd, 2022



Director of Transit – Sue Connor – plans to retire – no date set yet.

She was the best Director of Transit the city ever had.

She was one of the best transit people in the province.

For a short period of time she took on one of the Executive Director roles for someone who wanted to spend less time at city hall.

Sue Connor decided to retire and has advised the city manager that her time has come

It is going to be a challenge to replace her.  She ran a good shop; staff loved her and she supported them consistently.

There was a city staffer who worked at city hall; smart guy but not all that happy with the job and the environment.

He got himself a transfer to transit.  A number of months later I bumped into him – huge smile on his face – clearly enjoying the new position.

Sue Connor was very good in public settings – she explained what was likely to happen – people trusted her.

I mention this to Sue – didn’t want to identify the person but after explaining what the man was doing Sue Connor smiled and said.  I know who you are talking about – yes he is happy at transit and I’m glad he is with us.

Sue Connor knew her people and her people knew her.  She showed the city that transit could be made to be effective and a good choice for getting around town.

She understood as well the challenge in moving from diesel to electricity – she just won’t be here to make it happen.

Our loss

Return to the Front page

Government shuffling the deck; dealing themselves a better hand

By Pepper Parr

March 2, 2022



Three months from now we will be marking our ballots and choosing who we want to lead us in Ontario going forward.

The Ford government is sitting at Queen’s Park passing legislation.  Yesterday we learned that there was a section in a piece of legislation that forgave a significant fine the Premier was required to pay for not getting a budget before the public by a specific date.

The government has delayed publishing the budget which was due March 31st.  The new date is sometime in late April

We learn today that the government announced an advertising program that will focus on how well the economy is doing.

While important, critically important the province is slowly coming out of pandemic driven restrictions that has ticket sales of Raptors games at the Scotiabank Arena  close to sold out.

People need some relief.

World news is horrific; we are in the middle of something that doesn’t impact on most of us – but the news we read about what is happening in Ukraine is going to impact every one of us in the very near future.

Premier Ford in the Legislature

Inflation is beginning to play havoc on what happens to us daily.   Have you been to the supermarket; have you looked at the price of a good steak ?

Supply chain issues are still not resolved

With all this going on we have a provincial government shuffling the cards and dealing themselves a stronger hand.

Keep an eye on the rascals.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.


Return to the Front page