We’re Not Ready for the United Nations

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Chief Allan Adam of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation photographed after he was beaten by RCMP officers in Fort  McMurray, Alberta, Canada, March 10, 2020.

As we approach another Canada Day it is time to reflect on why the world community largely left Canada sitting on the shelf. Norway and Ireland, and not Canada, have been elected as the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council. In fact Canada had fewer votes than when we last tried under the Harper government.

So who cares whether Canada gets a seat at the Security Council and would we have made a difference anyway? Hasn’t the UN and its Security Council (SC) been largely discredited since its creation over half a century ago? And there were all those times the UN failed us, like when Russia invaded Ukraine and the US bombed Iraq, and when we allowed a massacre in Rwanda.

Unlike Justin Trudeau, former PM Stephen Harper couldn’t have cared less when he tried and also failed to get a seat. But then he couldn’t even be bothered attending scheduled UN meetings. No doubt his animosity towards world governance has left Canada in a shadow. So it would be easy to just blame Harper but that’s not going to stick.

UN Canadians

Canadians that are part of the United Nations Mali Task Force

Losing says more about Canada and how we are seen by the rest of the world than whether the UN was worth the cost of Harper’s airfare there. There are a lot of explainers out there with a lot of excuses for why we failed this time. Canada came late to the party and had fewer committed votes. The EU clearly voted for European nations over Canada.

Although Canada has moved to increase its miserable levels of international aid and policing, it’s still too little too late. Perhaps the poorer nations would rather not vote for another rich G7 nation. And maybe China used its influence to discourage its client nations as a way of further punishing us over the Ms. Meng, Huawei mess.

How hard did the US work on our behalf given Trump’s mixed emotions about our PM? Renewing our contract to arm Saudi Arabia didn’t help our reputation as a peace loving nation. And the Saudis themselves are hardly going to vote for us after our recent human rights spat. And did I mention how Russia might be voting? Come to think of it Canada has earned itself a few good enemies lately.

Then there is Canada’s middle east policy, slavishly pro-Israeli and embarrassingly so during the Harper years. The Liberals have since nuanced that policy, voting against new settlements, Still, it is hard to see much daylight between the policies of the two governments as Israel mulls amalgamating the West Bank.

We’ve been bullied, abused and pushed around, by both China and the US. And we just sit there and take it as if we really believe that the meek shall inherit the earth. We used to be respected as a powerful military and manufacturing nation. Today we have fallen back in many ways to where we started out – hewers of wood and drawers of oil. Would a UN seat allow Canada to develop a backbone?

Huwai executive

Meng Wanzhou – Chief Financial Officer of Huawei wearing the tracking bracelet required under her bail conditions.

Even Canadians don’t understand why we’re still holding that Huawei executive prisoner for a dysfunctional US administration when she broke no laws in this country. And we don’t get why we haven’t responded in kind to China’s one-sided trade war with us when they export so much more than we do. Do we really expect other nations to vote for an international wimp?

Mr. Trudeau invested a lot of capital twisting the arms and peddling Canadian democratic exceptionalism to more than just a few dictators in his quest for the elusive UN seat. Had he paid as much attention to the budding global pandemic, fewer Canadians might have perished to COVID 19. Ireland has half the death rate and Norway doesn’t even register on the same scale. A pandemic is a matter of global security after all.

While the PM was selling his vision of an inclusive, tolerant and compassionate Canada to African leaders, racial warfare was breaking out at home. And the conflict was over another fossil fuel pipeline making a mockery of any credibility the PM might claim on the climate change file. Oh and isn’t Canada still subsidizing the oil industry, and aren’t the provinces still fighting the carbon tax?

There is no concealing that racial inequality was behind those spectacular protests last winter, which partially shut down our economy. But then racial inequality is embedded in Canada’s Indian Act, created back at the time of confederation. And beyond indigenous populations, the black lives matter demonstrations have challenged the reported successes of Canada’s immigration and multiculturalism policies.

Chief RCMP

Chief Allan Adam of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation photographed after he was beaten by RCMP officers in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, March 10, 2020.

Then video footage appears telling everyone that Canada’s famous red coats are not much better than a pack of thugs and goons. The unending American style police brutality and even murder against indigenous minorities is carried on tape for all to see as the PM and his police commissioner debate how much systemic racism really exists in our police services.

We keep telling ourselves that we live in the best country in the world. And indeed life is pretty good here for some but that ego-centric view glosses over our many warts, especially when it comes to life conditions for our indigenous populations.

So as we approach another celebration of the founding of this country we should embrace some humility. The UN delegates sent us a message. We’re not ready to take a leadership role on the world stage when we haven’t even got our own act together here at home.

But we can do better and there is a lot of work to do. Are you ready for the challenge Mr. Trudeau? What about the rest of us?

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

 

 

Background links:

Canada Fails –    Trudeau’s Loss –    COVID Death Rates

Foreign Aid –     Are We Listening

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Ontario's driver testing services provider, DriveTest, will begin to gradually offer limited driver testing services in a staggered, phased approach across the province

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Monday, June 22, 2020, Ontario’s driver testing services provider, DriveTest, will begin to gradually offer limited driver testing services in a staggered, phased approach across the province. Driver Examination services will be reintroduced in three phases until full services are restored this fall. The gradual approach will ensure that strict protocols are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is part of the government’s efforts to ensure that critical services are in place so people can return to work as Ontario reopens.

Visiting DriveTest Centres

To reduce crowding and support new requirements for physical distancing, health checks and enhanced sanitation, most DriveTest centres will serve customers who want to take a knowledge test, exchange a driver’s licence and apply for or upgrade a commercial driver’s licence based on when they were born.

People with birthdays between January to June will be allowed to visit a centre the first week of reopening and people with birthdays between July to December will have access to DriveTest services the following week:

Driver test dates McKenna

Access to DriveTest services will continue to alternate weekly until full services are restored.

Plan Your Trip to DriveTest Before You Go

Learn more about available driver testing services, how to access DriveTest centres, and which customers are being served each week at DriveTest.ca.

Information will be updated every Monday.

Extended Driver’s Licence Status

The Ontario government has extended the validity of all Ontario driver’s licences to keep people safe and reduce the need for in-person visits to ServiceOntario and DriveTest centres to contain the spread of COVID-19. No one will lose their licence due to COVID-19.

Access to the different services available is being phased in.

Phase 1

On Monday, June 22, 2020, all 56 full-time DriveTest Centres will reopen for the following transactions:

G1 knowledge and vision tests

M1 knowledge and vision tests

Driver’s licence exchanges
Out-of-province licences
Out-of-country licences (jurisdictions with reciprocal driver’s licensing)
Out-of-country licences (non-reciprocating jurisdictions)

Commercial driver’s licence applications and upgrades
Knowledge tests
Vision tests
Medical report submissions
Criminal Record and Judicial Matters (CRJM) Check or equivalent document submissions
School Bus Driver Improvement Course certificate submissions

New Entrant Education and Evaluation Program (NEEEP)/ Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) Test

Commercial road tests (Class A, B, C, D, E, F and Z) at 28 locations across Ontario:
Barrie, Belleville, Brampton, Brantford, Burlington, Chatham, Clinton, Cornwall, Downsview, Guelph, Hamilton, Hawkesbury, Kitchener, Kingston, Lindsay, London, Newmarket, Oshawa, Orangeville, Orillia, Ottawa Walkley, Peterborough, Sault Ste Marie, St. Catharines, Simcoe, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timmins

Phase 2

Starting on Tuesday, August 4, the following services will be available:

Road-testing for G2 driver licences

Road-testing for all motorcycle licences

Commercial driver road testing will expand to the remaining 22 DriveTest locations across Ontario that road test commercial drivers.

Part-time Travel Point locations will resume driver examination services as locations become available for the public’s use.

Phase 3

Starting on Tuesday, September 8, all DriveTest centres and Travel Point locations will be fully operational, including G road-testing services.

Ontario will work with the service provider and with public health officials to ensure that the above dates are appropriate depending on the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

New Health and Safety Protocols

To protect the safety of Ontarians, DriveTest will also require customers to wear face coverings inside centres and during road tests, sanitize their hands when they enter the building and undergo temperature checks before road tests.

All DriveTest staff will wear personal protective equipment when serving customers. Driver examiners will also be equipped with face shields, sanitizer packages and seat covers when conducting road tests.

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Regional Public Health Unit data up to end of day on June 17, 2020

covid virusBy Staff

June 18th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

We are not where we want to be yet – the objective is going to be to ensure that it doesn’t get any worse.

People will be out mixing with other people.  Be careful – pay attention and realize what we are up against.

If there is a spike in infections at the end of the month the province will have to take away the play time we’ve been given.  Beating this virus is a job that we all share – don’t blow it.

This is the first Public Health Unit report where Burlington has not had the lowest number of infections in the Region.  Halton Hills is the lowest – just by one.

Cases over time

789
COVID-19 cases among Halton residents to date (710 confirmed + 79 probable)

83
COVID-19 cases currently active among Halton residents (74 confirmed + 9 probable)

Fig 1

Figure 1: COVID-19 cases, by episode date, Halton Region, Mar. 1-Jun. 17, 2020

 

Fig 2

Figures 1 and 2 show the 789 COVID-19 cases among Halton residents reported by end of the day on June 17. All cases have been graphed according to their episode date, which is used to estimate the date that symptoms began. Figure 1 shows the number of new cases per day, while Figure 2 shows how cases have accumulated over time. Counts for the past 14 days should be interpreted with caution (indicated using the grey shaded area on the graph), since there is a delay between when a person becomes infected and when they develop symptoms, get tested and are reported as a case. Please note the large increase on April 11 is due to expanded testing and identification of COVID-19 among asymptomatic individuals at Mountainview Residence.

Individuals who are lab-confirmed cases are shown in green. Individuals who are probable cases are shown in orange. Probable cases are individuals presumed to have COVID-19 because they have symptoms of COVID-19 and are travelers returning from an affected area, have had close contact with a confirmed case and/or lived/worked in a facility experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, or have indeterminate test results.

Fig 3

For each day, Figure 3 shows the average number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past seven days, including only those cases that are not staff or residents/patients associated with an outbreak in an institutional or congregate care setting. Cases have been graphed according to their collection date, which is the date that a sample was taken from them to be tested for COVID-19. The graph suggests that the average number of new cases per day was highest in late March/early April, with another increase in mid-May. Counts for recent days should be interpreted with caution (indicated using the grey shaded area on the graph), since there is a delay between when a person is tested and when their test results are reported to Public Health and entered into the system.

Case demographics

78
cases were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak (10% of all cases)

111
cases work in health care (14% of all cases)

Fig 4

Figure 4: COVID-19 cases, by age and sex, Halton Region, 2020

Fig 5

Figure 5: COVID-19 cases, by municipality of residence, Halton Region, 2020

Figure 4 shows that by end of the day on June 17, the most COVID-19 cases were among Halton residents aged 40-59 (with 284 cases, or 36%). 441 cases (56%) were female.

 

Figure 5 shows that by end of the day on June 17, the greatest number of COVID-19 cases were among residents of Oakville (with 265 cases, or 34%). Please note this figure shows counts, and therefore does not take into account the different population sizes or age structures of the four municipalities. Counts in municipalities can also be inflated by outbreaks that have occurred within institutions in their boundaries.

Case exposure source

Fig 6

Figure 6 shows the percentage of COVID-19 cases by primary exposure category for Halton’s four municipalities and for Halton overall. For Halton overall, by end of day on June 17, 285 cases (36%) had contact with a confirmed case that was believed to be the source of their infection. 266 COVID-19 cases (34%) had no known travel or contact history, and therefore were believed to have acquired the virus within Ontario, making them community cases. 132 (17%) were residents/patients or staff associated with an outbreak in an institutional or congregate care setting. 99 cases (13%) had a history of travel that was believed to have been the source of their infection. Information on exposure source was pending for the remaining 7 cases (1%). These proportions vary by municipality. It is important to note that cases can have multiple exposures, and these data reflect only their primary exposure category based on information gathered during case investigation.

Case and contact follow-up

Fig 7

Figure 7: Percentage of COVID-19 cases reached by Public Health within one day of being reported, Halton Region, cases reported Jun. 11-Jun. 17, 2020

Fig 8

Figure 8: Percentage of COVID-19 community contacts reached by Public Health within one day of being reported, Halton Region, contacts identified Jun. 11-Jun. 17, 2020

Figure 7 shows that 100% of Halton cases reported over the past seven days (June 11-17) were reached by Halton Public Health within one day of being reported, which exceeds the provincial goal of 90%. Similarly, Figure 8 shows that Halton Public Health reached 100% of contacts identified over the past seven days (June 11-17) within one day, compared to the provincial goal of 90%.

Case outcomes

97
cases who have ever been hospitalized to date (14 listed as currently in hospital)

682

cases who are recovered/resolved

24
cases who have died to date (11 of the deceased were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak).

Institutional outbreaks

19
confirmed institutional outbreaks of COVID-19 reported to Halton Region Public Health to date (1 is ongoing)

Fig 9

Figure 9 shows the 19 confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19 in Halton institutions reported by end of the day on June 17. Institutions are defined as long-term care homes, retirement homes and hospitals. 18 of the outbreaks have resolved, and one is ongoing. Among the 19 confirmed institutional outbreaks reported to date, 11 (58%) have been in long-term care homes, seven (37%) have been in retirement homes and one has been in a hospital (5%).

Lab testing

>3,100
Halton residents were tested for COVID-19 within the past seven days of available data (June 7-13).

>24,400
Halton residents are known to have been tested for COVID-19 to date.

Fig 10

The green bars in Figure 10 show the number of Halton residents who were tested for COVID-19 each week, beginning the week of March 1-7. Data for the most recent week (June 7-13) is incomplete due to reporting lags. The number of people tested decreased the week of May 17 compared to past weeks as mass testing of institutional residents was completed. The number of people tested then began to increase again, as the provincial government permitted more widespread testing.

The orange line in Figure 10 indicates the percentage of tested Halton residents who were positive for COVID-19. The percent positivity was highest the week of March 29-April 4, when 8.2% of Halton residents who were tested for COVID-19 had positive results. In the most recent week (June 7-13), 0.8% of people tested for COVID-19 tested positive, although this number is subject to reporting delays.

Comparison to Ontario

32,917
total confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario to date

Fig 11

Figure 11 shows age-specific rates of COVID-19 for Halton and Ontario. Rates take into account the population size of each age group to make it possible to compare between different areas. Halton’s age-specific rates are currently significantly different from the provincial rates for all age groups except youth aged 0-19. For example, Halton has 36.4 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+, which is statistically significantly lower than the 84.3 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+ in Ontario overall. It is important to note that these rates will fluctuate as numbers increase throughout the pandemic and that differences between age groups may reflect differences in the likelihood of developing symptoms and being tested.

Data limitations and data sources

Halton case data: integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS), extracted at 7:00 AM on June 18, 2020, to reflect data entered by the end of the day on June 17, 2020

Halton lab data: Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Number of individuals who were confirmed positive for COVID-19, COVID-19 Testing Period: 15 Jan 2020 to 13 June 2020. Received on June 15, 2020.

Ontario case count overall: Public Health Ontario, Epidemiologic Summary, COVID-19 in Ontario: January 15, 2020 to June 17, 2020, posted on June 18, 2020 to https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus.

Denominators for Halton and Ontario age-specific rates: Population projections [2020], IntelliHEALTH Ontario, extracted on April 8, 2020.

Data notes
All cases of diseases of public health significance diagnosed in Ontario are entered into iPHIS by local public health units. iPHIS is the Integrated Public Health Information System. It is a dynamic disease reporting system which allows ongoing updates to data previously entered. As a result, data extracted from iPHIS represent a snapshot at the time of extraction and may differ from previous or subsequent reports as data are updated.

The data only represent cases reported to public health and recorded in iPHIS. As a result, all counts will be subject to varying degrees of underreporting due to a variety of factors, such as disease awareness and medical care seeking behaviours, which may depend on severity of illness, clinical practice, changes in laboratory testing, and reporting behaviours.

Cases are included if their “diagnosing health unit” in iPHIS is Halton Region, which means counts include only individuals whose primary residence is in Halton Region. The case may not necessarily have been managed by Halton Region, if they were temporarily residing elsewhere during their case management period. Cases managed by Halton Region who normally live elsewhere but who were managed by Halton Region staff because they were temporarily residing in Halton during their case management period have not been included.

Cases for which the Disposition Status in iPHIS was reported as ENTERED IN ERROR, DOES NOT MEET DEFINITION, DUPLICATE-DO NOT USE, or any variation on these values have been excluded.

Cases are considered “currently active” if they are open in iPHIS.

Figures 1 and 2 distinguish between lab-confirmed and probable cases. Probable cases are defined as epi-linked cases, which means they are presumed to have COVID-19 because they have symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and have travelled to an affected area; have had close contact with a confirmed case; and/or lived in or worked in a facility known to be experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19; or have indeterminate test results. All other figures and numbers include both confirmed and probable cases combined.

Figures 1 and 2 use episode date, which is a field that is intended to approximate the symptom onset date for each case. It is calculated hierarchically, using symptom onset date if available; when it is not available, specimen collection date is used; if neither symptom onset nor specimen collection date are available, the lab test date is used; and finally, if none of these other dates are available, the date the case was reported to Public Health is used.

In subsequent reports, counts in Figures 1-3 may increase as cases are added from past dates as individuals become symptomatic, get tested, and their results are reported to Halton Region Public Health, as well as any past results are added due to delayed data entry or new arrival of lab results.

Cases are considered to be patients or residents of an institution experiencing an outbreak if they are linked to a confirmed Halton institutional outbreak in iPHIS, and they are not known to be a staff person at the institution.

Cases are considered to work in health care if they are known to have an occupation that involves caring for patients, e.g. physician, nurse, occupational therapist, recreational therapist, chiropractor, paramedic, midwife, orderly, etc. Individuals who work in health care settings but do not provide direct care to patients (e.g. managers, cleaning staff) have not been included.

Exposure type is determined by examining the exposure and risk factor fields from iPHIS to determine whether a case travelled, was a resident/patient or staff member in an institution or congregate care setting experiencing an outbreak, was a contact of a case or neither. A hierarchy has been applied as follows: Travel-related > Associated with institutional or congregate care setting outbreak > Close contact of a confirmed case > Neither (indicating community acquisition) > Information pending. It is important to note that cases can have multiple exposures, and these data reflect only their primary exposure category. Numbers are relatively low, and differences between municipalities have not been assessed for statistical significance. Known cases reflect only individuals who were prioritized for testing, which means that differences between municipalities are currently difficult to ascribe to other factors.

Case outcomes (hospitalizations, recovered/resolved, deaths) reflect the latest available information reported to Halton Region Public Health and recorded in iPHIS by the extraction time.

Cases are considered to have been reached within 24 hours if their investigation start date and case reported dates in iPHIS are no more than one day apart.

Contacts are manually tracked to determine if they were reached within one day. Any contacts referred to Public Health Ontario for follow up have not been included.

Institutional outbreaks include outbreaks of COVID-19 in settings such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals and prisons.

Lab testing data reflects only lab tests that have been assigned to Halton Region based on the methodology used by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. There are several known limitations associated with this data which result in the numbers being underestimates:
• The unit of analysis is the tested individual. Once an individual is confirmed positive, subsequent tests for that individual are excluded from the daily totals;
• The COVID-19 test results were captured in the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS). The testing date represents the date of specimen collection: “observation date” in OLIS. Due to the time required for transportation and processing of specimens, it takes six days for approximately 95% of results to be finalized and reported for a given testing date. Some laboratories did not report all or part of their COVID-19 test results to OLIS. Unconsented test results were excluded;
• Daily counts less than six suppressed;
• The location of tested individuals was based upon the test recipient’s postal code (and corresponding PHU) recorded in the OHIP Registered Persons Database (RPDB) for those residing outside a long-term care (LTC) facility, and the LTC address on the OLIS test requisition for specimens collected from LTC facilities. These address assignments lead to misclassification of PHU in approximately 14% of individuals.

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14 Charges Laid Against Motorcycle Driver in Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

June 18th.2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

At around 6:30 pm, yesterday a sharp eyed police officer was following up with a citizen-reported traffic complaint in the area of Dynes Road and Woodward Avenue.

While conducting traffic enforcement, the officer noticed a northbound motorcycle with no licence plate.

The motorcycle was being followed by another motor vehicle with proper licence plates attached. The two vehicles were travelling together in a manner that made the officer believe the drivers of the two vehicles knew one other.

After following the motorcycle for a short distance, several Highway Traffic Act offences were observed. In the interest of public safety, the officer made the decision to cease following the motorcycle.

Motorcycle 9 - Tow

Police seized the motorcycle – then laid 14 charges

As a result of the follow up investigation, on June 17, 2020, a 19 year-old male from Burlington was identified as the motorcycle driver and charged with 14 offences from the Highway Traffic Act, Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, and Trespass to Property Act. Those charges include:

• Drive Motor Vehicle – Perform Stunt
• Drive Motor Vehicle – No Licence
• Disobey Stop Sign – Fail to Stop
• Owner Operate Motor Vehicle on a Highway – No Insurance
• Engage in Prohibited Activity while on Premises

The motorcycle was also seized by police.

All drivers are reminded to operate under a valid driver’s licence, valid insurance policy, and to follow the rules of the road. Officers have many investigative tools at their disposal to properly locate and identify drivers operating on Halton roadways in an unsafe manner.

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Director of Education admits: 'We made some mistakes': has a Task Team in place to think through what will happen in September.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 18th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A week from today school would have closed for the academic year.

We just didn’t have all that much of an academic year.

Parents and students adjusted to the changes – not always easily. There are still grade 12 students who are working with their teachers to get to the point where they can graduate.

The Premier and his Minister of Education promised that every student who put in the effort would graduate – and if that required extra tutoring then extra tutoring would be available.

Now what ?

Does school start again in September?

School will start – just what form it takes is far from clear. The Province has said they will announce their plans for the Boards of Education across the province by the end of the month.

Miller prep at Central

Stuart Miller, Halton District School Board Director of Education speaking to parents at Central High School.

Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board isn’t leaving anything to chance.

He has appointed a Task Team co-chaired by two of his top Superintendents to take a deep look at what educators are up against and what the possible options are.

Terry Blackwell and Scott Podrebarac are co-chairs of the Task Force.

Scott Podrebarac was the Superintendent that oversaw the implementation of the Board decision to close two of Burlington’s seven high school. He didn’t get much in the way of brownie points for that job.

His job was to do what the Board of Trustees determined – it did get a little messy when the decision to close Central High School was rescinded and Bateman high school was closed instead. That decision did not go well with the Bateman parents.

Blackwell

Terry Blackwell

Terry Blackwell was the Superintendent tasked with creating an iStem program for Aldershot High School that turned out to be an amazing success. Miller and his staff were not at all sure that the parents in the Region would take to the idea.

Blackwell and Miller at itsem Nov 2018

Superintendent Terry Blackwell and Director of Education during the night parents showed up to register their children for the iStem program at Aldershot High School.

Registration was much higher than expected and while the first year, made up of grade nine students, wasn’t a full academic year, the students did very well.

The Gazette covered those iStem classes on several occasions – they are an amazing bunch of students.

The plan is for a second iStem program to be opened in Milton.

Scott-P-close-up-400x355

Scott Podrebarac

Scott Podrebarac showed an ability to handle a very tense situation over a long period of time.

Blackwell sounded every stakeholder she could think of as the listened to the community and what they thought a more science based high school program should look like.

Her listening tour was extensive – the most extensive we have seen within any organization during the ten years we have been reporting on Burlington.

These two Superintendents will be looking at possible directions the delivery of an education can take. Will there be more “on-line learning”? Can students adapt to the change and how much of a change is necessary.

One hope that at some point there will be an opportunity for the public to have significant input on a critical public service.

In commenting on what the province meant when the Premier said there would be a plan in place for September, Miller said “We don’t know what it means.”

Stuart Miller

Director of Education Stuart Miller – never to far from a cup of coffee

Everything hinges on the number of new infections that are reported – and that number, according to what the science community tells us, is dependent on people staying far enough apart so that the infection is not transferred person to person.

There are a lot of unknowns – which Miller said creates a huge challenge for staff and a lot of uncertainty for parents.

The school closures resulted in less spending on facility operations but very large sums had to be spent on technology and software so that teachers could communicate with their students and get them through the course load.

Miller said that the Educational Assistants were able to work the telephones and keep in touch with the students – in what we learned was a much needed support role.

Principals-table-768x438

Some of the Halton District School Board principals and vice principals at a PARC meeting. These people had to administer schools that weren’t open and support staff they could not meet with.

Asked what was the biggest challenge he has had to face Miller replied with: Everything was a challenge and we certainly made some mistakes. It wasn’t a day by day situation – in the early phases it was hour by hour.

Internet access turn out to be a big problem, teachers were not sure what the best approach was in many given situations. Students, as well as parents, were concerned that their children were not getting the education they needed and deserved but everyone realized that the classrooms were closed for very good reasons.

Miller realizes that this situation isn’t over nor is he at all sure what direction it is going to go in.

“We have great students and great teachers” said Miller. “I am fortunate to have a senior staff that comes through day after day.

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Update on the targeted shooting in the New Street Walkers Line part of the city.

Crime 100By Staff

June 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Shelter in Place order given by the Halton Regional Police earlier today to residents in the Woodview Road area, near New Street and Walkers Line, has been removed.

The suspects remain outstanding and the investigation is ongoing at this time.

police cruiser second

The police investigation is ongoing

A 23 year old male victim is in serious but stable condition at hospital and is presently receiving treatment for a gunshot injury.

Based on current information obtained by investigators, it is believe that this was a targeted incident and that there is no known, ongoing, related threat to public safety.

Investigators are working to obtain an accurate description of the suspects involved in the incident. Suspect descriptions will be provided to the public as soon as available.

Anyone with dash cam video or home surveillance video from the area of Woodview Road, near New Street and Walkers Line, between the hours of 8:00 AM and 9:45 AM is asked to contact the Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4777 ext. 2315 or 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 www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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Life gets a little more pleasant and bearable - the suds will flow on Friday. City is still at Level 3 of the Emergency rules.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The city will begin to open up later this week – people will be getting out and experiencing a much different dining experience.

The Gazette will have photographers out documenting how the city responds and behaves.

Brant street getting ready

Queen’s Head setting up for Sound of Music in better days. Will we see this on Friday?

Will there be lineups next to the pop up stands – How many patio places are there going to be?

The city is currently at a Level 3 under the provincial emergency legislation. City manager Tim Commisso reports that the city declared a level 2 on March 12th and moved to a level 3 five days later.

He said earlier today that the Emergency Coordination Group reviewed the criteria and said “we still meet the criteria for level 3 so no change.

The documentation and legislation, including the regulations amounts to a decent sized book. Commisso did say that he hasn’t read every page but is “generally aware of the policy” adding that he has “the benefit of having Amber Ruston advise me as our Emergency Manager – she is an expert staff resource in all things related to provincial and emergency municipal management.

So – we are still at level 3 but we can get out for a meal – with wonderful weather seats at Emma’s Back Porch and Spencer’s overlooking the lake will be at a premium.

There will be some pretty tight rules to be followed – follow them – they are in place for our benefit. When you come across an establishment that isn’t following – remind the operators that the rules are in place for a reason – your health.

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Shooting on Woodview Road - victim with serious injuries transported to hospital.

Crime 100By Staff

June 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, on

 

HRPS crestAt just after 9:00 am this morning the Halton Regional Police Service received a call regarding a shooting on Woodview Road (in the area of New Street and Walkers Line) in Burlington.

Upon arrival at the scene, one victim was located with serious injuries and has been transported to hospital.

Two possible suspects fled on foot. Suspect descriptions are not available at this time and suspects remain outstanding.

Area residents are asking to shelter in place until further notice.

Residents should expect ongoing heavy police presence in the area. Any witnesses are asked to call 905-825-4777 ext. 2310 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

For ongoing updates, please follow @HaltonPolice on Twitter.

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Mayor has soothing words for a troubled sector of the local economy - 'our beloved restaurants'

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

June 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In the eyes of the Mayor the provincial reopening strategy, will allow “our beloved restaurants” to welcome customers again to dine on-site – just in time for summer!

In her most recent Better Burlington Newsletter the Mayor explains that: “While indoor dining is not yet permitted, outdoor patios will be permitted to open for businesses as of this Friday, June 19th for those who are ready to reopen.

“I know our restaurant owners have been deeply engaged in the health and safety guidelines that will help them reopen in ways that keep our community health, such as the Dinesafe reopening guide and checklist from the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association and the comprehensive guidelines set out by the Province.

west plains bistro

Will that parking lot become a pop up patio quick quick

“To help our local restaurants manage provincial guidelines on physical distancing and serve as many customers as possible, the City of Burlington is working hard to enable patio expansions and pop-ups.

“Our teams have been working with the Burlington Restaurant Association over the past month to better understand their interest and needs so we could be ready to quickly work together on this initiative with a one-time detailed application form and an accelerated approval process.

“Restaurants can apply for patio permits that leverage city space downtown such as sidewalks or streets, and permits that expand into private property such as parking lots (in partnership with landlords) anywhere in the city.

“I know we are all looking forward to spending time outside together in a new and safely distanced way, and supporting our restaurants and small business owners who are very excited to see us again.

The Province’s framework for reopening includes additional details on this stage:

Food trucks

Will food trucks fill some of the outdoor gap?

Restaurants, bars, food trucks and other food and drink establishments (e.g., wineries, breweries and distilleries) can open for dining in outdoor areas only, such as patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent premises.

Establishments must take appropriate measures to ensure physical distancing of at least two metres between patrons from different households, including:

using reservations

limiting number of patrons allowed in the outdoor space at one time

ensuring enough space between tables, including to allow for movement

access to indoor facilities is limited to patio/outdoor dining area access, food pickup, payment, washrooms or other health and safety purposes

The big question is: Are you going to be able to get a table? Many people are about to find out just how much that restaurateur loves them.

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Soar by Hooman Mehdizadehjafari selected for the City View Park public art commission

artsorange 100x100By Staff

June 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mehdizadehjafari’s artwork, Soar will be installed in front of the new pavilion being constructed at City View Park.

A Request for Expressions of Interest was released in October 2019. Over 50 artists’ submissions were received and reviewed by a community jury made up of residents, local artists and project stakeholders.

Soar - art work city view park

Mehdizadehjafari’s artwork, Soar will be installed in front of the new pavilion being constructed at City View Park.

The jury selected three finalists to develop preliminary artwork concepts.

These three submissions were shown to residents for feedback on Get Involved Burlington and at two in-person displays at Brant Hills Community Centre and Burlington Public Library – Central Branch. More than 400 comments were received. Public feedback and the artist’s technical proposal were factored into the jury’s final scoring and decision.

City View Park Project
The council approved City View Park Master Plan is being implemented through several phases. To date, three artificial turf fields, creative playground, parking, pond/wetland, trails, natural restoration and a park maintenance facility have been added. The next phase for a pavilion is currently out for construction tender with that work scheduled to start in September 2020. The artwork will complement the park building.

Artwork Location
The artwork will be in a large naturalized area in front of the pavilion. This area will link together pathways from the future parking lot to the front entrance of the pavilion and a central roadway. The artwork will be viewable from inside the pavilion’s main lobby through large glass walls looking out.

Soar artist City View park

Hooman Mehdizadehjafari,, an Iranian-Canadian artist with an impressive body of work.

Artist Statement
Inspired by the oldest living creature in Eastern North America, the public art design Soar inherited its form from the Eastern White Cedar.

The 17-foot-tall metal sculpture reflects the rich natural heritage of the region, in particular the Niagara Escarpment.

The diversity of materials used creates a beautiful play of colours that can often be seen in nature and alludes to the diverse and united community of Burlington. Soar is a reflective mirror of the rich natural heritage of the site and celebrates the gracious and honourable ambition of appreciating and protecting the environment and ensuring its passing on to future generations.

The applied words THROUGH – NATURE – WITH – LOVE – WE – THRIVE in Soar, create an infinite circulation that reflects the ultimate message of this piece: by loving our nature, valuing and protecting it, we may grow and thrive within it peacefully.

Artist Biography
Hooman Mehdizadehjafari, creator of Hoomanart is an award-winning Iranian-Canadian visual artist and designer based in Vancouver, Canada. He was born in 1985 in Kerman, Iran and graduated from the Tehran University of Art with a Master’s in Sculpture and Painting.
https://www.hoomanart.com/about

 

 

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Arrest Made In Series of Identity Frauds. Police Seeking Assistance in Identifying Second Wanted Male.

Crime 100By Staff

June 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

The Halton Regional Police laid charges against one male in relation to multiple identity fraud incidents.

HRPS crestBetween March and May 2020, there have been a number of incidents where a group of thieves targeted elderly females shopping in retail spaces. Suspects obtained the victims personal identification numbers of their financial cards as they observed them at these retail locations. As the victims returned to their vehicles in the parking lots, these suspects distracted them in order to steal their credit cards.

These suspects used the stolen credit cards for cash withdrawals and retail purchases in the Town of Oakville and the City of Burlington.

On June 12th, one accused male was arrested in Toronto.

Investigation by the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau has led to the charges against the following individual:

Constantin LITEANU (46 years of Burlington)
• Participation in Criminal Organization
• Fraud Under $5000 (7 counts)
• Personation with Intent (7 counts)
LITEANU was held for a bail hearing on the 12th of June 2020.

Fraud 1 June 16fraud 2 June 16Fraud 3 June 16

The Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau is also seeking the public’s assistance in order to identify the second suspect who is described as male, white, 25-30 years old, 5’9 to 5’10, medium build 170-180 lbs, with facial hair and dark rimmed glasses. This male is wanted by a number of police services throughout the Greater Toronto and Niagara Area. (Photos attached)

Shoppers are reminded to pay close attention to their surroundings and keep a close eye on their valuables. Purses should be kept on your person at all times. Do not leave items such as purses and cell phones unattended in grocery carts while shopping.

Any fraudulent activity on your financial cards should be reported immediately to your bank and to police.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable Derek Gray of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau – Older Adult Abuse Investigator at 905-825-4747 ext. 2344.

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 www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

Please be reminded that all persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Related news story.

Thieves preying on female seniors

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Some of the locations that open up on Friday.

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The rules that will apply to the opening that begins on Friday will dribble out from the province – setting out just what will be in place in terms of social distancing, mask wearing and what the retail and hospitality sectors will be expected to do.

Still a lot to be learned – stay tuned – here is what we know so far.

select personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;

shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;

tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;

water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;

beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;

camping at private campgrounds;

outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;

drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations; and
film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing.

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Is forgiving any interest due on tax arrears good policy or a dumb idea financially ? The city isn't exactly flush with cash these days

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The retail and hospitality sectors have been bleeding badly – they needed every break they could get.

For many rent and the hydro bill were the biggest nuts they had to deal with.

Many residents were finding that they were not always able to make the rent and city taxes were something they just had to put on hold.

The city jiggled the due dates on property taxes for the resident section which was a help.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward put forward a motion at a Standing Committee last week asking staff to set out what things would look like under different tax relief scenarios.

One was to set aside the policy of charging people interest on their outstanding taxes.

The Mayor argued that it just didn’t seem fare for those who were struggling to get by during the pandemic to have to pay interest on overdue tax payments. It was like holding people down financially and insisting on collecting interest on overdue taxes just so that the city could meet its financial commitments.

A little on the altruistic side but that’s part of where this Mayor comes from.

What happens then with the taxes owed the city by the two large shopping venue – Burlington Centre and Mapleview Mall.

The public learned last week that the two locations had not remitted taxes since mid-March but were expected to do so by the end of the month.

What if they decide it is just good business to hold on paying taxes and use the cash available to get their operations up to speed and pay whatever interest was due.

During the 2008 recession Burlington had a city Councillor who did just that – why shouldn’t the malls do the same thing.

Would the city forgive the interest for the large commercial operators or is this proposal to apply to everyone – the big corporate interests, the small business operations and residents?

Are there any unintended consequences lurking in that proposal.

Can’t see this one riding all that well on the stomach of the Director of Finance.

Finally, did the public have the right to know that the malls were late on their tax payments – or more correctly that they had taken advantage of a program the city put in place?

Related news story.

Tax collection dates shifted to ease the financial strain.

Pepper - Gazette shirt - no smile

 

 

 

 

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.

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Regional Health Unit reports on data up to the 14th.

covid virusBy Pepper Parr

June 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A large part f the reason the Provincial government decided to open things up for the Region of Halton was the numbers that came out of the Public Health Unit work.

The numbers are pretty good. Data up to end of day on June 14, 2020 was released this morning.

Cases over time

787
COVID-19 cases among Halton residents to date (708 confirmed + 79 probable)

102
COVID-19 cases currently active among Halton residents (89 confirmed + 13 probable)

Figure 1

 

Fig 2

Figures 1 and 2 show the 787 COVID-19 cases among Halton residents reported by end of the day on June 14. All cases have been graphed according to their episode date, which is used to estimate the date that symptoms began. Figure 1 shows the number of new cases per day, while Figure 2 shows how cases have accumulated over time. Counts for the past 14 days should be interpreted with caution (indicated using the grey shaded area on the graph), since there is a delay between when a person becomes infected and when they develop symptoms, get tested and are reported as a case. Please note the large increase on April 11 is due to expanded testing and identification of COVID-19 among asymptomatic individuals at Mountainview Residence.

Individuals who are lab-confirmed cases are shown in green. Individuals who are probable cases are shown in orange. Probable cases are individuals presumed to have COVID-19 because they have symptoms of COVID-19 and are travelers returning from an affected area, have had close contact with a confirmed case and/or lived/worked in a facility experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, or have indeterminate test results.

 

Fig 3

For each day, Figure 3 shows the average number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past seven days, including only those cases that are not staff or residents/patients associated with an outbreak in an institutional or congregate care setting. Cases have been graphed according to their collection date, which is the date that a sample was taken from them to be tested for COVID-19. The graph suggests that the average number of new cases per day was highest in late March/early April, with another increase in mid-May. Counts for recent days should be interpreted with caution (indicated using the grey shaded area on the graph), since there is a delay between when a person is tested and when their test results are reported to Public Health and entered into the system.

Case demographics

78
cases were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak (10% of all cases)

113
cases work in health care (14% of all cases)

 

Fig 4

Figure 4 shows that by end of the day on June 14, the most COVID-19 cases were among Halton residents aged 40-59 (with 283 cases, or 36%). 441 cases (56%) were female.

Figure 4 shows that by end of the day on June 14, the most COVID-19 cases were among Halton residents aged 40-59 (with 283 cases, or 36%). 441 cases (56%) were female.

Fig 5

Figure 5: COVID-19 cases, by municipality of residence, Halton Region, 2020

Figure 5 shows that by end of the day on June 14, the greatest number of COVID-19 cases were among residents of Oakville (with 265 cases, or 34%). Two cases with municipality information pending are not shown. Please note this figure shows counts, and therefore does not take into account the different population sizes or age structures of the four municipalities. Counts in municipalities can also be inflated by outbreaks that have occurred within institutions in their boundaries.

Case exposure source

Fig 6Figure 6 shows the percentage of COVID-19 cases by primary exposure category for Halton’s four municipalities and for Halton overall. For Halton overall, by end of day on June 14, 312 cases (40%) had contact with a confirmed case that was believed to be the source of their infection. 234 COVID-19 cases (30%) had no known travel or contact history, and therefore were believed to have acquired the virus within Ontario, making them community cases. 131 (17%) were residents/patients or staff associated with an outbreak in an institutional or congregate care setting. 99 cases (13%) had a history of travel that was believed to have been the source of their infection. Information on exposure source was pending for the remaining 11 cases (1%). These proportions vary by municipality. It is important to note that cases can have multiple exposures, and these data reflect only their primary exposure category based on information gathered during case investigation.

Case and contact follow-up

Fig 7

Figure 7 shows that 98% of Halton cases reported over the past seven days (June 8-14)

Fig 8

Figure 8: Percentage of COVID-19 community contacts reached by Public Health within one day of being reported, Halton Region, contacts identified Jun. 8-Jun. 14, 2020

Figure 7 shows that 98% of Halton cases reported over the past seven days (June 8-14) were reached by Halton Public Health within one day of being reported, which exceeds the provincial goal of 90%. Similarly, Figure 8 shows that Halton Public Health reached 100% of contacts identified over the past seven days (June 8-14) within one day, compared to the provincial goal of 90%.

Case outcomes

96
cases who have ever been hospitalized to date (15 listed as currently in hospital)

661

cases who are recovered/resolved

24*
cases who have died to date (11 of the deceased were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak).
* Please note that the total number of deaths has decreased from 25 to 24 as there was a reporting error to Public Health that has now been corrected.

Institutional outbreaks

19
confirmed institutional outbreaks of COVID-19 reported to Halton Region Public Health to date (1 is ongoing)

Figure 9: COVID-19 institutional outbreaks, by date outbreak was declared, Halton Region, Mar. 1-Jun. 14, 2020

Fig 9Figure 9 shows the 19 confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19 in Halton institutions reported by end of the day on June 14. Institutions are defined as long-term care homes, retirement homes and hospitals. 18 of the outbreaks have resolved, and one is ongoing. Among the 19 confirmed institutional outbreaks reported to date, 11 (58%) have been in long-term care homes, seven (37%) have been in retirement homes and one has been in a hospital (5%).

Lab testing

>2,300
Halton residents were tested for COVID-19 within the past seven days of available data (May 31-June 6).

>19,720
Halton residents are known to have been tested for COVID-19 to date.

61%
of Halton cases reported in the past week to Public Health had been tested for COVID-19 within the past two days. This is an indicator of current lab reporting timeliness.

Comparison to Ontario

32,370
total confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario to date

Figure 10: Age-specific rates of COVID-19 (per 10,000 population), Halton Region and Ontario, 2020

Fig 10Figure 10 shows age-specific rates of COVID-19 for Halton and Ontario. Rates take into account the population size of each age group to make it possible to compare between different areas. Halton’s age-specific rates are currently significantly different from the provincial rates for all age groups except youth aged 0-19. For example, Halton has 36.4 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+, which is statistically significantly lower than the 84.1 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+ in Ontario overall. It is important to note that these rates will fluctuate as numbers increase throughout the pandemic and that differences between age groups may reflect differences in the likelihood of developing symptoms and being tested.

Data limitations and data sources:

Halton case data: integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS), extracted at 7:00 AM on June 15, 2020, to reflect data entered by the end of the day on June 14, 2020

Halton lab data: Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Number of individuals who were confirmed positive for COVID-19, COVID-19 Testing Period: 15 Jan 2020 to 6 June 2020. Received on June 8, 2020.

Ontario case count overall: Public Health Ontario, Epidemiologic Summary, COVID-19 in Ontario: January 15, 2020 to June 14, 2020, posted on June 15, 2020 to https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus.

Denominators for Halton and Ontario age-specific rates: Population projections [2020], IntelliHEALTH Ontario, extracted on April 8, 2020.

Data notes
All cases of diseases of public health significance diagnosed in Ontario are entered into iPHIS by local public health units. iPHIS is the Integrated Public Health Information System. It is a dynamic disease reporting system which allows ongoing updates to data previously entered. As a result, data extracted from iPHIS represent a snapshot at the time of extraction and may differ from previous or subsequent reports as data are updated.

The data only represent cases reported to public health and recorded in iPHIS. As a result, all counts will be subject to varying degrees of underreporting due to a variety of factors, such as disease awareness and medical care seeking behaviours, which may depend on severity of illness, clinical practice, changes in laboratory testing, and reporting behaviours.

Cases are included if their “diagnosing health unit” in iPHIS is Halton Region, which means counts include only individuals whose primary residence is in Halton Region. The case may not necessarily have been managed by Halton Region, if they were temporarily residing elsewhere during their case management period. Cases managed by Halton Region who normally live elsewhere but who were managed by Halton Region staff because they were temporarily residing in Halton during their case management period have not been included.

Cases for which the Disposition Status in iPHIS was reported as ENTERED IN ERROR, DOES NOT MEET DEFINITION, DUPLICATE-DO NOT USE, or any variation on these values have been excluded.

Cases are considered “currently active” if they are open in iPHIS.

Figures 1 and 2 distinguish between lab-confirmed and probable cases. Probable cases are defined as epi-linked cases, which means they are presumed to have COVID-19 because they have symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and have travelled to an affected area; have had close contact with a confirmed case; and/or lived in or worked in a facility known to be experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19; or have indeterminate test results. All other figures and numbers include both confirmed and probable cases combined.

Figures 1 and 2 use episode date, which is a field that is intended to approximate the symptom onset date for each case. It is calculated hierarchically, using symptom onset date if available; when it is not available, specimen collection date is used; if neither symptom onset nor specimen collection date are available, the lab test date is used; and finally, if none of these other dates are available, the date the case was reported to Public Health is used.

In subsequent reports, counts in Figures 1-3 may increase as cases are added from past dates as individuals become symptomatic, get tested, and their results are reported to Halton Region Public Health, as well as any past results are added due to delayed data entry or new arrival of lab results.

Cases are considered to be patients or residents of an institution experiencing an outbreak if they are linked to a confirmed Halton institutional outbreak in iPHIS, and they are not known to be a staff person at the institution.

Cases are considered to work in health care if they are known to have an occupation that involves caring for patients, e.g. physician, nurse, occupational therapist, recreational therapist, chiropractor, paramedic, midwife, orderly, etc. Individuals who work in health care settings but do not provide direct care to patients (e.g. managers, cleaning staff) have not been included.

Exposure type is determined by examining the exposure and risk factor fields from iPHIS to determine whether a case travelled, was a resident/patient or staff member in an institution or congregate care setting experiencing an outbreak, was a contact of a case or neither. A hierarchy has been applied as follows: Travel-related > Associated with institutional or congregate care setting outbreak > Close contact of a confirmed case > Neither (indicating community acquisition) > Information pending. It is important to note that cases can have multiple exposures, and these data reflect only their primary exposure category. Numbers are relatively low, and differences between municipalities have not been assessed for statistical significance. Known cases reflect only individuals who were prioritized for testing, which means that differences between municipalities are currently difficult to ascribe to other factors.

Case outcomes (hospitalizations, recovered/resolved, deaths) reflect the latest available information reported to Halton Region Public Health and recorded in iPHIS by the extraction time.

Cases are considered to have been reached within 24 hours if their investigation start date and case reported dates in iPHIS are no more than one day apart.

Contacts are manually tracked to determine if they were reached within one day. Any contacts referred to Public Health Ontario for follow up have not been included.

Institutional outbreaks include outbreaks of COVID-19 in settings such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals and prisons.

Lab testing data reflects only lab tests that have been assigned to Halton Region based on the methodology used by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. There are several known limitations associated with this data which result in the numbers being underestimates:
• The unit of analysis is the tested individual. Once an individual is confirmed positive, subsequent tests for that individual are excluded from the daily totals;
• The COVID-19 test results were captured in the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS). The testing date represents the date of specimen collection: “observation date” in OLIS. Due to the time required for transportation and processing of specimens, it takes six days for approximately 95% of results to be finalized and reported for a given testing date. Some laboratories did not report all or part of their COVID-19 test results to OLIS. Unconsented test results were excluded;
• Daily counts less than six suppressed;
• The location of tested individuals was based upon the test recipient’s postal code (and corresponding PHU) recorded in the OHIP Registered Persons Database (RPDB) for those residing outside a long-term care (LTC) facility, and the LTC address on the OLIS test requisition for specimens collected from LTC facilities. These address assignments lead to misclassification of PHU in approximately 14% of individuals.

For daily Halton case tables and up-to-date information about how to protect yourself and others, please visit halton.ca/covid19

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Mayor prepared to give up $1.65 million in possible revenue from late tax penalties.

Budget 2020 redBy Pepper Parr

June 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On June 22, City Council will consider a motion brought forward by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward at committee last week, to get options for cancelling penalty and interest on late tax payments until the end of the year or some earlier time frame.

Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward in a celebratory mood.

The cost of eliminating penalty and interest is $1.65 million. Oakville has already made this decision, Halton Hills hasn’t and Milton is offering an application program to defer penalty and interest.

The City of Burlington is looking at a potential year-end negative shortfall of $3.2 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Meed Ward thanked staff for “doing everything they have done and making the tough decisions to bring that negative shortfall down from an initial $18 million hole through a combination of cost control, reserves meant for fluctuations in revenue like we are experiencing with COVID-19, and other measures.”

Committee unanimously approved a motion to direct the City’s chief financial officer to come back in September 2020 to present at Corporate Service and Strategy Standing Committee (CSSRA) a 2021 Budget Framework Report with budget timelines as we look to approve that budget in Q1 2021.

“We know times are difficult for many residents and businesses who are having difficulty paying their taxes” said Meed Ward.  “We need to explore ways to assist.”

The City has already cancelled penalty and interest on tax until June 30, and also delayed the dates of the next installments to Aug. 20 and Oct. 20. Final tax bills will be mailed out in July.

Property taxes are the most important revenue source for the city to ensure we continue to provide essential services for residents of the City of Burlington during these challenging circumstances. Taxpayers are encouraged to make payments where possible during these unique times.

Meed Ward explained that: “For this reason, myself and fellow mayors across Ontario and Canada continue to urge the federal and provincial governments to step up and provide relief funding for municipalities. I encourage you to reach out to your MPs and MPPs and let them know your City needs financial relief so that you can continue to make use of the services and programming you need in Burlington.

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Burlington to open up to Stage 2 on Friday

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Premier Dog Ford will announce later today that the following parts of the province will move to Stage 2 on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

Lakeshore looking east to Brant north side

You will be hard pressed to get a seat this weekend – city moves to Stage 2 – things open up.

Informed by public health advice and workplace safety guidance, and supported by the collective efforts of businesses, workers and families to limit the potential spread of the virus, the latest public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. are:

• Durham Region Health Department;
• Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
Halton Region Health Department;
• Hamilton Public Health Services;
• Lambton Health Unit;
• Niagara Region Public Health Department; and
• York Region Public Health Services.

These regions are in addition to the 24 public health regions that entered Stage 2 on June 12, 2020. Before opening, business owners need to review the workplace safety guidelines and public health  advice.

“Thanks to the collective efforts of our frontline health care workers and the people in these regions to stop the spread of COVID-19, more businesses will be able to open their doors and thousands of people will be able to go back to work and put food on the table,” said Premier Ford. “With the public health trends improving day by day across the province, I am hopeful all regions of Ontario will enter Stage 2 very soon. But we must remain on our guard to prevent any potential surge or secondary wave by continuing to follow the sound advice of our public health officials.”

The following regions will remain in Stage 1 under ongoing assessment until trends of key public health indicators demonstrate readiness to move into Stage 2:

  • Peel Public Health;
  • Toronto Public Health; and
  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

“Opening more regions of Ontario is another positive sign that we are making steady progress in our collective efforts to contain this deadly virus,” said Minister Elliott. “As many more Ontarians begin to work, shop and interact with others, it’s never been more important that we continue to follow public health advice, especially physical distancing with anyone outside of our social circle, so we can soon successfully and safely move into Stage 3.”

Public health remains the government’s top priority. All Ontarians must continue to follow public health advice, including practising physical distancing, wearing a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you think you have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID‑19, get tested.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be gradually loosened or if they need to be tightened.

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City hall has been adapting on a daily, sometimes hourly basis as the rules from the province change.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Audit Jones - said no

Sheila M. Jones, Executive Director, Strategy, Accountability

In a report to Council Sheila M. Jones, Executive Director, Strategy, Accountability, explained that “the need to re-design and to be agile to respond to the time-sensitive nature of some decisions, this report serves as a template for bringing decisions and information to the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability (CSSRA) Committee. As such, it is beneficial to provide an overview of how and what is expected in this report format.”

Jones was talking about the Service Redesign that gets upgraded almost every day. By service she means the services the city delivers to the citizens of the city – something that went through a radical change when the province declared a State of Emergency and used the power behind that legislation to order that municipalities limit severely the opportunities the members of the public have to congregate the city found itself having to lay off most of the part time staff and move most of the full time staff out of city hall and have them work from hone using ZOOM and their cell phones as their method of communicating.

In the early stages, mid March to near the end of April it was hectic and a close to 24/7 operation.

There wasn’t much news coming out of city hall, some city Councillors felt very much out of the loop.

City Manager Tim Commisso was living a constant round of meetings with the email volume almost unmanageable. The Gazette was able to get through to Commisso on a few occasions.

As the calendar rolled into May we began to see some stability and staff were a little more comfortable with the way they now had to do business.

The public wasn’t really aware with what senior city staff had to deal with – the change was relentless – they rarely knew was was coming at them next.

There were serious financial pressures building up – huge drops in revenue and expenses piling up at the same time.

Parks were closed; schools were closed. The streets were open and the public was asked to yes get out for some exercise but don’t congregate while out for a walk and stay at least six feet away from other people.

Pharmaceuticals were not rationed but all you could get was a one month supply. You had to keep your dog on a leash – which turned out to be very difficult to enforce.

The number of new Covid19 infections in Burlington are the lowest in the Region and the deaths at Long Term Care facilities were low – relative to the rest of the province.

Commisso had to not only manage his own time and energy but he had to keep a very close eye on his senior team to ensure that they are at least coping.

Tim Commisso - finger up hard eyesIn an interview with the Gazette Commisso said “I have a conversation with each of them frequently on how they are doing personally and listen very closely for signs that the stress might be getting to them.”

Commisso doesn’t talk about how he is coping. At times he does sound a little tired and he surely must wonder if taking on the task of serving as city Mayor was the smartest career move he ever made.

Burlington is now waiting hopefully for the province to announce that the GTAH – Greater Toronto Area including Hamilton can move into phase 2 which will allow, hopefully, some restaurants to open, and for more in the way of city services to be opened.

The Summer Camp program for kids was cancelled and Parks and Recreation is working through some ideas for what they will be able to offer once the province moves the city into Phase 2.

Thus the reporting template that Jones introduced on how the Emergency Coordination Group is going to get updates to Council.

It has been a hectic three months for this group of people; many have been pushed to the limit and worked well beyond an 8 hour day.

Vacations are coming up – Commisso knows that his people need that time off – but vacations are dependent on when the need to constantly adjust the programs being offered slows down a little.

Getting into Phase 2 is essential – limiting the number of Covid19 infections is vital.

And at this time in this world vital trumps essential.

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Canadian Armed Forces will be on Provincial highways next week

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If you happen to be on both highways 400 and 401 between June 14th and June 17th and you see a large number of Armed Forces vehicles – relax.

These are troops returning to Kingston from a training exercise at Camp Borden North West of Toronto close to Alliston.

English/Anglais VL2011-0086-5 5 May 2011 Convoys from 2 Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment (2 R22R), set out to assist residents of the Montérégie region of Quebec who are struggling to cope with rising flood waters. Operation LOTUS(E) 1-11 is the Canadian Forces (CF) joint response led by Canada Command and conducted through Joint Task Force East (JTFE) to the floods in Montérégie, Québec. The domestic humanitarian relief mission incorporates Canadian Forces Army, Navy and Air Force assets to deliver much needed assistance to communities affected by these floods. In coordination with the Federal Government of Canada and the Provincial Government of Québec, approximately 500 members from the Land Domestic Task Force, based in Valcartier, along with approximately 100 reservists from the Territorial Battle Group, based in Montreal, are deployed in the affected areas. They are engaged in multiple tasks, including: protection of infrastructure by placing sandbags, assistance in the evacuation of people in the affected areas and the conduct of safety patrols. Photo: Cpl Kate Duggan, Imagery Section, Valcartier Garrison © 2011 DND-MDN Canada Français/French VL2011-0086-5 5 mai 2011 Les convois du 2e Bataillon du Royal 22e Régiment (2 R22R) partent pour aller soutenir les sinistrés de la région de la Montérégie, qui sont aux prises avec des inondations. L’opération LOTUS(E) 1-11 est l’intervention interarmées des Forces canadiennes (FC) dirigée par le Commandement Canada et menée par l’entremise de la Force opérationnelle interarmées (Est) à la suite des inondations en Montérégie, au Québec. La mission nationale d’aide humanitaire comprend des éléments de l’Armée de terre, de la Marine et de la Force aérienne afin de fournir l’aide dont on grandement besoin les collectivités touchées par ces inondations. En collaboration avec le gouvernement du Canada et le gouvernement du Québec, quelque 550 membres de la Force opérationnelle terrestre, basée à Valcartier, et environ 1

Canadian Armed Forces troop movements

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members from Canadian Forces Joint Operational Support Group (CFJOSG) will conduct a road move, returning to their home unit at CFB Kingston, between June 14 and June 17.

While at CFB Borden, the team practiced opening a theatre of operations by building a tented camp during a pandemic environment. The camp is designed to house 250 people with all necessary real-life support capabilities.

The public is advised that vehicles will carry tentage, generators, ablutions, cots/furniture, and kitchens. The CAF is committed to creating and sustaining well-trained, well-equipped, and well-led units to meet a diversity of challenges in any environment around the world.

Drivers and pedestrians are asked to remain patient and show their support to the troops on the road as our soldiers make their way back to Kingston.

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Your social circle can now be up to ten people - which ten?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This could become just a little awkward. Embarrassing as well

The province has said we can make our get close and comfortable circle which the province calls our bubble – also known as a social circle.

We were limited to five people – at first we all had to live in the same house.

No one followed it all the tightly – the Premier broke that rule when it was convenient for him

The province, despite the fact that the number of new infections each day is nowhere near being flat, as decided that we can now have social circles of up to ten people – with some rules.

You can only belong to one circle and you have to swear the equivalent of a loyalty oath that you won’t wonder into a different circle.

5 point social circle

Only a bureaucrat that has worked for the government too long could write rules like this.

Here are the rules.

How do you decide who will be in your circle – Is Mom a given?

Yes to Mom

Is Mom on the list ? How do you manage that issue?

Close friends who aren’t family but they are great conversationalists and they always bring really good wine.

People that had a habit of dropping by can be managed – the “boy” who brings his laundry home when he visits – along with the girlfriend that you don’t particularly approve of.

Do you now have a solution to that problem?

What do you do for your damaged ego when you don’t get included in a bubble you thought you were already a part of?

 

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There will be a Parks and Recreation program - rules are not yet known.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

June 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There will be something in the way of a summer program if and when the province decides to let Burlington move to Stage 2 of the re-opening of the province.

Kids in splash pad

Splash pads will be open.

Splash pads will open – not all of them.

Mountainside - ice rink with chnage rooms BEST

Some rinks will be open – Appleby and Aldershot will not be opened – nor will Skyway

Some of the ice rinks will be open but only for groups that have the permission of their Sports organization. The one expected to make the most use is the figure skating people.

The Parks and Recreation people need to be assured that there will be at least 40 hours of ice time rented, preferably 60 before they begin to make ice – a process that will take two weeks.

Nelson swimming pool

Outdoor pools will be open

Outdoor pools will be opened – subject to whatever the province puts in place in terms of rules and approval from the Regional Public Health Unit.

Mayor Meed Ward said she would like to see at least one indoor pool made available.

There will be something in the way of a Summer Camp program – here as well – the city is waiting for the rules.

How many children can there be in any one camp; where will the camps be held. At this point the Standing Committee that met virtually on Thursday has more questions than answers.

It did give the Parks and Recreation people an additional $300,000 to spend – that was on top of the $500,000 that was already in the budget.

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