Is Tourism Burlington about to get access to significant funding to promote the city ?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December  20th, 2019



When Myles Rusak appeared before a Council Standing Committee last week he set out some of the Sound of Music (SOM) longer term thinking and the objectives they had in mind. He was short about $40,000 of the budget he needed to accomplish the bigger plan.

Myles Rusak 2

Myles Rusak, Sound of Music Executive Director pitching City Council for financial support.

He explained to Council that it was going to take the SoM a couple of years to get some realistic lift-off and asked Council for the $40,000 + each a year for three years needed to meet the SoM long term plan. Rusak said that he thought the funds could come from the Municipal Accommodation Tax that is expected to come into force early in 2020.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward didn’t see it quite that way. She commented that council will decide where any MAT money goes.

Rusak had suggested that the SoM might get attached to the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) that municipalities can now impose.
This new tax would apply to hotel and motel rentals. The first serious look at the tax suggested that an estimated $750,000 – $1 million of annual revenues in Burlington. 50% of that would go to Tourism Burlington – the balance would go to the city to be distributed as they saw fit. Sound of Music wants to be on that gravy train.

The tourism people are certainly onside. In March the Tourism Burlington Board of Directors unanimously approved the feedback received during stakeholder consultations. Those recommendations include:

The Board of Directors supported the adoption of a 4% Municipal Accommodation Tax on the assumption that the core funding support from the City of Burlington for Tourism Burlington remains in place and that the MAT funding be considered incremental.

From 2007-2010 the Burlington Hotel Association collected a voluntary Destination Marketing Fee (DMF) with the goal of increasing visitation to the city and overnight stays.

The City has a Tourism Service Agreement with Tourism Burlington that was put in place in 2015:

The goal of Tourism is to reduce its dependence on funding from the City. All acknowledge that the receipt of funding from the City is essential to the performance of the business and responsibilities of Tourism provided for under the Agreement.

Tourism - centre

Tourism Burlington has an Information Centre with all kinds of material and staff that will answer questions.

Tourism works independently and co-operatively with the City to reduce its dependence on funding from the City and secure its own revenues by way of soliciting sponsorships and donations to provide and support the tourism undertakings and responsibilities herein.

The annual operating grant provided by the City to Tourism will not be reduced as a result of any participation by Tourism in any destination marketing program implemented in Burlington which may provide funds to Tourism for any new or enhanced initiatives beyond the scope of services provided hereunder.

A continued commitment by Municipal Council to a sustainable and predictable source of core operating funds for Tourism Burlington will enable Burlington to become a more significant participant in a very competitive tourism sector. By continuing to provide core funding, monies generated through the Municipal Accommodation Tax would bolster tourism promotion and development opportunities that would not otherwise be possible if Tourism Burlington was restrained by its existing annual operating budget.

Replacing Tourism Burlington’s core funding allocation from the City of Burlington with the revenues generated from the Municipal Accommodation Tax would merely maintain the status quo and would not achieve the intended purpose of the legislation which is to grow the tourism sector in the municipalities that adopt the accommodation tax.

The municipal portion of the MAT would be allocated to destination development initiatives that will be beneficial to visitors and residents.

The provincial legislation allows the remaining MAT funds can be retained by the municipality. Since this money is generated through accommodation room revenue, the remaining funding should be set up as some type of reserve fund to assist with destination development/ tourism capital projects and initiatives.

Tourism magazine

Tourism Burlington publishes a Guide for Visitors to the city.

Economic development stakeholders and the City would work together to develop fund parameters and criteria to ensure return on investment and community benefits. The accommodations interviewed strongly support this approach. It is imperative to see growth in hotel occupancy and revenue particularly with new properties opening in the area over the next few years increasing competition.

The Bridgewater will at some point actually open and the hotel that is part of the development will want to be very active in promotions.

The Waterfront Hotel has plans to demolish the existing structure and build something much bigger and much higher. These two hotels will add significant capacity to the city and will add to what is collected in the way of the Accommodation tax.

Short-term rental (STR) accommodations such as Airbnb, HomeAway, will also collect the MAT.

During discussions with the local accommodaters they unanimously recommended that all accommodations be included so that it would level the playing field. It is recommended that short-term rentals be Phase 2 of the MAT plan as it will take time to negotiate agreements with the various companies. At a recent industry forum on MAT it was suggested that before agreements are established with STR that municipalities consider updating their by-laws. For example, some cities have restricted short-term rentals to principle residences.

Bridgewater from the west - higher elevation

The Bridgewater development includes a hotel – that will at some point will open.

Tourism Burlington will develop an integrated strategy for the MAT funds that will include the development of guiding principles, identification of target audiences, performance measures and strategic partnerships to ensure return on investment for the local tourism industry.

Tourism Burlington worked in conjunction with the Hotel Association, the Marketing Committee and Board to develop a comprehensive DMF marketing plan which included campaigns, sales missions and incentives.

Babes at parking meters

Burlington’s parking meters are a challenge for any visitor

Regional data sets out the extent of tourism in Burlington.

Total visitor spending $303.5M ($101M Burlington)
Total person visits 4.3M (1.4M Burlington)
25% are overnight visitors
87% of overnight stays are with friends/relative

Purpose of trip
64% are visiting friends & relatives
22% pleasure trip
6% business/conferences
5% shopping
Average nights stayed 2.1
Average age: 44.8 years

Burlington at one point had a Visitor Information Booth in Spencer Smith Park – 1970. In 1985 the city worked with local tourism partners to formally strike a Visitor & Convention Centre Board. This non-profit organization evolved to become Tourism Burlington (TB) which was incorporated in 2005 and is overseen by a volunteer board of directors.

Waterfront hotel with pier at foot

Waterfront hotel – due to be demolished and replaced with something a lot taller.

TB is funded by and has a service agreement with the City of Burlington. Other sources of revenue include federal and provincial grants primarily for summer students, cooperative marketing initiatives such as their guide, maps and sale of souvenirs.

TB has 3 FTE’s who are supplemented with part time weekend and summer travel counselors and over 1,000 volunteer hours. There are 1,889 tourism businesses and 24,491 tourism jobs in Burlington.

There is an opportunity to grow tourism in the city – it will be interesting to learn what Tourism Burlington plans to do going forward – they are going to have close to half a million dollars to spend so the problem will not be funding. To bring about real tourism growth the TB will have to be very creative – something we have not seen all that much of from the tourism people.

City Council did give the Sound of Music the $40,000 + they needed for 2020, but the funding was just for the one year. They will have to come back next year with their hands out.

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Are residents being well served by the new Customer Service Response system?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 20th, 2019


More than eight years ago during a conversation with then Mayor Rick Goldring he remarked on how surprised he was when people would approach him in the supermarket or at some event and chat him up. It wasn’t something he expected when he was elected Mayor.


There were different views on Rick Golding’s effectiveness as a Mayor – but there was never any doubt that he cared passionately about his city. See him in a Santa Claus parade collecting loonies and twonies in a sock.

But it is what people expected of their elected representatives. In Burlington people want to keep that small town feel and know that they can approach their member of city council to talk about a problem or a concern. The practice then, for many of the council members, was to give the citizen their business cards and ask them to call their assistant, explain the problem and the Councillor would follow up and make sure it was taken care of.

Then something changed. Not sure where the change came from. We recall conversations a number of years ago from a General Manager (when Burlington had General Managers) about installing a CSR (Customer Service Response) system – this was supposed to handle all the communications problems.

The Gazette is in touch with members of Council frequently – the level of response varies, most get back quite quickly. There is one who said he had been told “not to talk to you” when we approached and asked a question.

We recently sent a note to a member of Council and used the new system – the one where you enter the ward number – – if you wanted to reach Shawna Stolte.

Here is what came back to us:

CRM notice

Being referred to as a “case number” didn’t strike me as all that customer friendly.

Maybe times are changing and it will all come down to each of us being a “case” with a number from which all our questions will be answered.

How much did the city spend on the system that assigns me my case number and are we getting value for those dollars?

Perhaps the problem is the Councillors just don’t have the time needed to respond to all the calls.

There is a solution to that problem – add more Councillors.  But that is not likely to happen for one reason – it would impact on the financial interests of the current members of Council.

Burlington has seven seats on the Regional government Council.  If we added Council member they would not get a seat at the Regional level and not earn the $50,000 +/-

Oakville solved that problem by having members of Council that are Regional Councillors as well as town Councillors and some who are just town Councillors.

Council ALL 2018

There are seven members of council in Burlington – are they able to meet the needs of the people they represent?

It is a direction Burlington should at least be looking at – soon, so they can be in a position to approach the electors in the 2022 municipal election with a council structure that meets the needs of the citizens.

Don’t expect the current council to put that kind of initiative on the table.

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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Urban Growth Centre land use study is done.

Newsflash 100By Pepper Parr

December 19th, 2019



The good news is that the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) Land-Use Study was produced within the one year time frame Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility, said it would be done in.

It will be formally presented to Council at a Statutory meeting on January 14th. In the meantime the report – 135 pages long – will be closely read and re-read by the development community, their advisors and their legal counsel. All those billable hours will be racked up and billed before the end of the year.

Too early to say whether or not this is a gift to anyone.

Heather_MacDonald COB planner

Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility

In a statement released by the city, Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility said: “The recommendation to implement an ICBL was brought forward by City staff in response to two primary concerns, including growth pressures that continue to emerge for the lands in the study area and a need to review the role and function of the John Street Bus Terminal as a Major Transit Station Area (MTSA).

There was a time when a much larger bus termial existed 25 yards to the left of this small terminal onm John Street - it was where people met. There were fewer cars, Burlington didn't have the wealth then that it has now. We were a smaller city, as much rural as suburban. The times have changed and transit now needs to change as well.

Is this John Street Bus Terminal a Major Transit Station Area or just a place where you can buy a bus ticket?

With the findings of the study in hand, City staff will come back to City Council on Jan. 14 with proposed amendments to the current in-force-and-effect Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw that will make it possible for new development in the identified study area to be better informed by the City’s transit, transportation and land use vision.”

The staff recommendation report and proposed amendments can be viewed online.

The full Dillon report is HERE

The purpose of the proposed Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments is to:

• strengthen the integration between land use and transit by introducing policies related to transit-supportive development

• introduce the concept of Major Transit Station Areas and a policy framework

• introduce development criteria for development applications within the study area

• update or add definitions to the Official Plan to align with Provincial policy documents and/or assist in the interpretation of Official Plan policies

• introduce additional permitted uses and heights on lands near the Burlington GO Station.

A review of the Land Use study will follow – soon.

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Rivers: Who do we hold accountable if we fail to stop climate warming?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 19th, 2019


“President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and others who oppose action to address human-induced climate change should be held accountable for climate crimes against humanity.” (Jeffrey David Sachs- special adviser to the UN)

heavy smoker

He had no idea what he was doing to his body.

Have we learned anything from the tobacco companies? For decades they understood the consequences of smoking and second hand smoke. But rather than changing their product, or at a minimum, informing the public, they lied – hiding the truth about the dangers, sowing confusion and misleading the public about the health hazard of their products. It was deliberate and it was manslaughter – a crime against humanity.

So now we find out that the oil companies did the same thing. Their research as far back as the fifties pointed to today’s evolving climate change. And they too established a program of disinformation and outright lies, enabling climate deniers like GW Bush and Stephen Harper to employ the uncertainty they created as an excuse to resist climate action.

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg

Alberta’s latest enabler Jason Kenney has just opened his energy war room, furthering the notion that Alberta is under attack by the environmentalists. And he’s poured $30 million to make himself battle ready for the fight to the finish against the 16 year young Greta Thunberg and those other fearsome greenies. And the chest pounding, hype and propaganda are working.

Albertans were motivated to donate more than anyone else in the last federal election, hoping to get the pro-oil Conservatives elected. And now Kenney’s blind defence of big oil has even spilled over into the classroom. Parents at one Alberta school have threatened a teacher not to use a balanced approach, pros and cons, when it comes to teaching about the oil sands. According to the oil zealots there can be no discussion of a downside to Alberta’s biggest industry.

A few days ago Mr. Kenney rode into Ottawa to shake hands with Mr. Trudeau and pretend he wanted to mend fences, offering him one heck of a Faustian bargain. Green light another monster oil sands project and reap some kind of political peace in exchange. It was an offer he thought Trudeau couldn’t refuse. But chances are pretty good he will.

The Teck Resources proposed Frontier mine oil sands project would convert 24,000 hectares of mostly northern Alberta wetland into two massive open mine pits, a bitumen processing plant and a tailing pond for the toxic waste residue. And it would likely need another pipeline to move the estimated 260,000 barrels of bitumen a day the project will produce.

Four million tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG) a year will be pumped into the atmosphere every year for the next 41 years. The project would last over a decade beyond the PM’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions. And that does not account for the GHG emissions resulting from burning all that oil.

Trudeay and Kenney - the handshake

Kenney did eventually shake the Prime Ministers hand.

And is Kenney serious? How would Trudeau square approving this massive carbon emitting project with his 2030 emissions target. He would lose any credibility he has on the climate change file and with it the support of the third parties, whose support he is counting on for this current mandate. Mr. Kenney may not be the devil but he came to Ottawa to steal Justin’s soul and then to damn the rest of us to an ever faster and more aggressive global warming.

Look at Australia which has just experienced its hottest day ever amid the worst bush fires in the nation’s history. The massive area of scorched earth will take decades before it can be rehabilitated, its wine industry has been dealt a blow and a toxic cloud has blanketed its largest city and drifted across the Tasman Sea as far as New Zealand. The fires have emitted half of the annual GHG national contribution of carbon, and they are still burning.

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal, mainly to Asia. Much like Canada it has an obscene carbon footprint, not even counting the emissions from the coal it exports. It once dabbled with a carbon tax, but like we did in Ontario the Aussies booted out their environmentally conscious government for one led by a series of right wing climate action deniers.

And speaking of Ontario, premier Doug Ford is as busy as ever eliminating every single climate change mitigation program the previous government had initiated – as if somehow the climate is a partisan issue. And the provincial auditor general has warned that Ford will not come anywhere near the provincial 2030 emission reduction target. But nobody, including his environment minister, expects him to, anyway.

Ford scrapping carbon tx

He means every word in the sign before him – unfortunately.

So far he has cancelled the provincial cap and trade carbon pricing system, eliminated rebates for home energy conservation and electric vehicle (EV) purchases, cancelled plans for high speed rail travel, ended the provincial EV charging station program and the requirement for charging to be available in new housing. He has shut down almost 800 renewable energy projects, is fighting the federal carbon tax up to the Supreme Court, and has just canceled Hamilton’s light rail transit system.

Transitioning to a zero carbon society is unlikely to be accomplished at zero cost. But as we have already seen, the consequences of climate change will be much more costly. Just ask the Australians. And the fact is that the cost for many of the transitional changes can be phased in as existing infrastructure gets replaced. Or the costs can be redistributed and shared, like the carbon tax, to avoid major impacts for those in need.

Pennywise and pound foolish are those who would avoid transitioning as quickly as possible to a lower carbon footprint. Financial debt can be paid off, but restoring the earth’s climate and the life it supports, once we have passed a tipping point will be impossible. Which do we think future generations would object to the most? And who do you think they will blame for these climate crimes against humanity?

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:

Crimes Against Humanity –     Tobacco Crimes –    COP 25 Madrid

Australia –    Alberta Political Donations –     Teacher Threatened

Kenney –     Natural Gas –    Oil Sands –    Alberta War Room

Oil Deception –     More Australia –     Hamilton

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Glen Eden will open Friday - lifts will operate from 8:30 am to 9:30 pm

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

December 19th, 2019



Glen Eden hills

Pick the slope you want.

Glen Eden will be opening the hill and spinning the lifts on Friday, December 20, 2019!

Lifts will be running from 8:30 am to 9:30 pm, which are the regular hours of operation during the season, weather permitting. Glen Eden will be closed on Wednesday, December 25 for Christmas Day but will be open on Boxing Day.

It is anticipated that Updraft Chair and Ridge Chair will be running and that Twister, Challenger, Sidewinder, Slow and Easy and Nighthawk, as well as both Learning Centres, will be open.

Another devotee who will be at Glen Eden on opening day is Travis Gerrits, former Olympic freestyle skier from Milton. Gerrits wants to be there for first tracks but he won’t be taking that first chair. Instead, he will be walking up the hill, carrying his skis, as inspired by the “earn your turns” philosophy on skiing and snowboarding.

One of the most popular spots to ski and snowboard at Glen Eden are the terrain parks, located on Nighthawk and Falcon.

There’s no better place to hang out after school or work and you won’t find a community like the Glen Eden terrain park at any other hill. This season, there will be some brand new features in the terrain park, many of which will be available on opening day.

Glen Eden lifts

Staff working to have as many lifts as possible running and as much terrain as possible for opening day

“The team at Glen Eden has been working around the clock to make sure we can have as many lifts running and as much terrain open as possible for opening day,” says Craig Machan, Senior Manager, Kelso/Glen Eden. “We are so excited for opening day, the upcoming season and the opportunity to provide a great skiing and snowboarding experience for everyone who visits!”

“We are so proud to be able to offer an opportunity for the members of our community to ski and snowboard with their families at a hill that is affordable, approachable and close to home,” says Hassaan Basit, CAO, Conservation Halton. “The team at Glen Eden always works so hard to make each season the best that it can be, so I know that this is going to be another great season!”

Promo Cards
New this year, Glen Eden has introduced four Promo Cards to their offerings. Off-Peak is loaded with 5 lift tickets, Prime Time is loaded with 3 lift tickets, Youth Triple Play is loaded with 3 lift tickets for youth and Stay Tuned is loaded with 5 ski or snowboard tunes. (Season pass holders receive a discount on Promo Cards, so members can buy them for friends and family.) Click here for more information.


It’s a little like learning to walk – once she gets the hang of it there will be no stopping her.

Lesson Programs
For those that are new to skiing or snowboarding, Glen Eden is a great place to get your start with lesson programs for all ages and skill levels. There are a number of options, including Christmas Camps, Group Lessons, Semi-Private Lessons and Private Lessons. Click here for more information, or call Visitor Services at 905-878-5011 (ext. 1221).

Glen Eden also offers a beginner lesson program, known as Discover Skiing and Snowboarding, which teaches the basics of stopping and turning. Discover is available at the beginner hills on a “first-come, first-serve basis” but bookings should be arranged for larger groups. For groups of 20 or more people, please call 905-878-5011 (ext. 1278) at least one week in advance.

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Region releases figures setting out new house builds for 2020

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 19th, 2019



If you want to know what the growth of residential housing is going to look like for 2020 – have a look at what the Regional government approved in November.

New houses in the Alron community on the North side of Dundas added to the construction industry numbers for the 3Q of 2011.

New houses in the Alton community on the North side of Dundas Street added to the construction industry numbers.

Regional Council approved Allocation Program Option #1 of up to 19,329 Single Detached Equivalents (SDEs).

This includes up to 8,716 SDEs to be allocated to the Town of Milton,

7,118 SDEs to be allocated to the Town of Oakville,

3,000 SDEs to be allocated to the Town of Halton Hills, and

495 SDEs to be allocated to the City of Burlington.

Of course single detached equivalents are not condominiums.

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Rotary Centennial Pond re-opens on Thursday.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 18th, 2019



If you didn't get to strap on the blades this winter - you're out of luck. Rink closes at 10:00 pm this evening.

The Rotary Centennial Pond will be open on Thursday

It wasn’t exactly warm yesterday – but outdoor maintenance people managed to repair the water main break at the Rotary Centennial Pond.

It will re-open for free outdoor skating at 10 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 19.

Spencer’s at the Waterfront has re-opened for lunch and dinner today, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019.

The two locations were temporarily closed due to the water main break that happened on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019.

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Criminal code charges laid against Sean Baird may impact a lot of vested interests in the city.

Crime 100By Pepper Parr

December 18th, 2019



The announcement that the police had a warrant to arrest Sean Baird may have had a number of people putting in calls to their lawyers.

Baird created a number of Ontario Corporations that were registered as Third Party advertisers during the 2018 municipal election that made Marianne Meed Ward the Mayor.

The Gazette was unable to elicit any comment from Sean Baird during that election – he basically said he had nothing to say.

Baird photo

Posters, reminding people to consider anonymously reporting criminal activity are being posted in Burlington bars and restaurants in a joint initiative between Crime Stoppers of Halton and the Burlington Restaurant Association. Taking part in the program’s launch are: front row from left, Const. Lad Butkovic, Karla Madge, Det. Const. Paul Proteau, Barry Glazier, Crime Stoppers of Halton Executive Director Dianne Hartwick and Mike Marcolin; back row from left, Ted Kindos, Sean Baird, Brian Dean, Burlington Restaurant Association President Craig Kowalchuk, Gene Quondamatteo, Mike Coles and Andrea Dodd. Baird is circled in red.

The election, one of the messiest Burlington has seen in some time, pitted a lot of vested interests against a public that wanted to retain the look and feel of the city, especially the downtown core where high rise condominium development applications were flooding the city’s Planning Department.

Police react to complaints – in Ontario they don’t go looking for infractions that might have taken place during an election.

Someone has to put information before them – then they take action.

Other than a concerned citizen – there were just three people who would have taken a complaint to the police.

We do know that the Halton Regional Police Service received a complaint and that they turned to the Ontario Provincial Police for help.

The charges that were laid came out of an investigation by the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch, with the assistance of investigators from Halton Regional Police. The Regional Police would not have a lot of experience or depth with this type of criminal offence.

The Provincial Police were asked to, in the language the police use, take carriage of the complaint.

The charges laid include:

Uttering a Forged Document – Contrary to section 368(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada

Fraud over $5000 – Contrary to section 380(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada

Corrupt Practice (four counts) – Contrary to the Municipal Elections Act.

The question on the minds of many is: Who took the complaint to the police and what were the police given in the way of information or evidence?

The Gazette published the names of the Third Party advertisers – they were all numbered companies, registered by Sean Baird. It was the Gazette that brought that information to the public.

Baird wasn’t running for public office –is it  reasonable to assume that he was acting on behalf of someone ?  Who?

When the police eventually locate and arrest Baird (at last report the police were still looking for him), he will be interrogated and then arraigned in Court at which point everything is public.

It will be interesting to learn who will defend Baird.

Related news stories:

The numbered companies

Arrest warrant issued for Sean Baird

Hanky panky during the 2018  election campaign.

The Baird numbered companies.

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The community is seriously divided on the private tree bylaw - so is council but the

News 100 greenBy Staff

December 18th, 2019



It has been a contentious issue for close to a decade.

It was impossible to find a consensus – positions were deeply divided. The environmentalists had a view point and they believe they are right; the property rights people know the environmentalists are wrong and have all kinds of documentation to show the law is on their side.

Positions taken by King George III were brought up by the property rights people who argue that the municipality don’t have the right to tell the owner of a tree what they can and cannot do with or to that tree.

City Council did get to vote on the bylaw that has several sections of which have been deferred to a January Council meeting.

The bylaw will not come into force until April 1st, 2020.

The fear amongst many in the city is that those who have trees on their property may choose to cut them down before the bylaw is in force.

Anthony Fac

Albert Facenda, a frequent council delegator.

Albert Facenda, a frequent council delegator said in a Gazette comment: “Arborist’s, Start your Chainsaws and Chippers!!  Between now and April 2020 tree service companies will be going crazy to get ahead of the deadline.”

Before the vote took place Councillor Paul Sharman tabled 12 amendments to the bylaw. Some were deferred but there was nothing of substance that was approved as an amendment.

Sharman hand up

Councillor Sharman: “”This Council couldn’t wait for Roseland pilot project to complete.”

In his closing comments Sharman said:

“This Council couldn’t wait for Roseland pilot project to complete.

“This Council couldn’t wait for the forestry management plan.

“This Council doesn’t even know the capacity of the built area was even designed to hold a bigger UTC than 15%, this whole thing may be a wild goose chase.

“As Arborist, Thomas Wright, says, this Council does not even know whether the City has a significant loss of tree canopy happening.

“So, it is proposed that the City of Burlington impose heavy fees, possibly significant fines and replanting costs on potentially 10’s of thousands of home owners in the next 10 years all with the single ideological goal of stopping them from cutting trees down that will die in any event.

“This bylaw may trigger a number of unintended consequences, including:

1) Providing home owners, the incentive of selling their land to assemblers who will convert single family home neighbourhoods into blocks of townhomes, especially south of the QEW. All because this Council has made it prohibitively expensive to improve their homes.

2) Disincentivizing home owners from ever planting trees on their own property because when they grow to be over 20cm’s they represent a significant financial risk in the event they wish to reorganize their property.

“People will not be allowed to manage their own property without paying huge, punitive fees to the City all to protect someone’s good idea.

Sharman picking

There were times during the private tree bylaw debate when Councillor Sharman was distracted.

“The reason the Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) in the urban area is only 15% is precisely because it was developed with homes. But no one in City Hall has checked that out.

“This whole rushed and ill-conceived bylaw is premised on the desire to sustain and increase the UTC significantly, but no one in the city has bothered to check how feasible that lofty goal is. All that is being done here is a huge penalty on anyone who wishes to improve their property. The property they have worked hard to own. The city is going extort huge sums of money to satisfy an idealistic fantasy.

“I cannot support this decision Council is about to make in the complete absence of evidence. I repeat myself again, this bylaw is rushed and ill-conceived.

Shawana Stolte 1

Councillor Stolte: “As a community …we are playing “catch up” to other more progressive municipalities.

Councillor Shawna Stolte responded saying: “I by no means see this Bylaw as being “rushed and ill-conceived” as presented by my colleague on Council.

“Staff have worked very hard on this policy framework and members of the Forestry Department have worked towards this goal for nearly a decade.

“As a community we are not leading the way…we are playing “catch up” to other more progressive municipalities that enacted tree protection bylaws years ago. If these policies had not been effective, those communities would have repealed them long ago.

“One silver lining of the City of Burlington taking so long to enact our own tree protection bylaw is that we have benefited not only from the research conducted by other municipalities but also from the benefit of their lived experiences. This does not mean however that we should merely replicate another municipality’s solutions.

“We are unique, we are special and we have worked hard to collaborate and come up with an initial framework that fits our unique community.

“There remains some details to finalize, especially with the financial impact to the residents, but the purpose and objective of the bylaw is clear and I am proud to support this proactive, positive step forward for our community.”


Angelo - not getting it -deferal

Having seconded the 12 amendments to the Private Tree Bylaw Councillor Bentivegna had questions about many of them.

The 12 amendments Councillor Sharman put forward (they were seconded by Councillor Angelo Bentivegna who at times wasn’t certain where Sharman was going).
Council Meeting December 16, 2019
1. Direct staff to prepare a Forestry Management Plan equally as comprehensive as the Oakville Urban Forest Strategic Management Plan Town of Oakville, 2008 – 2027 by Q1 2021
2. Direct staff to update the Burlington Private Tree By-Law relative to the Burlington Forestry Management Plan when complete by Q2 2021
3. Direct staff to a) compare the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to Oakville’s 2017 By-Law and explain differences, and whether to modify Burlington’s b) update the Burlington Private Tree By-Law for review at March Committee Meetings
4. Amend the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to forego replanting or cash in lieu and planting of 1st 20 cm of any tree cut down under the tree by-law application process.
5. Amend the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to revise the aggregate planting policy and replace it with the Modified Oakville replanting requirement Attachment 1 and include adjustment for tree condition.
6. Amend Burlington Private Tree By-Law to increase 2mtrs set back from house allowance (whereby no application fees or replacement is required) to equal drip distance line or 4mtrs, whichever is less
7. Amend the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to include the following clause from the Oakville 2017 By-Law “5. The provisions of this By-law do not apply to the removal of trees: (g) to permit the construction of a building or structure, where the removal, injury or destruction is required under a building permit.”
8. Amend the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to require replacement tree diameter of 30mm instead of 50mm and adjust the associated cash in lieu accordingly
9. Amend Burlington Private Tree By-Law to exclude invasive species e.g. Norway Maple from application and tree replacement
10. Direct staff to develop firm policies for the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to define forestry assessment standards in order to allow citizens to clearly understand the basis of all City arborist’s assessments, decisions and ruling to ensure transparency and accountability for the February 2020 meeting cycle
11. Amend the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to exclude rural farm property other than up to 4 acres that are used for residential purposes. Exclude all wood lots that are subject to existing municipal by laws.
12. Direct staff to return of cash in-lieu funds to applicants if not used to plant trees on private property within 3 years proportional to contribution and actual plantings accomplished


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Is the staff compliment climbing just a little too quickly?

Budget 2020 redBy Pepper Parr

December 17th, 2019



Is anyone doing a staff compliment count?

How many people have been added to the number of people who are, or will be, on the city payroll ?

There will be eight more bus drivers by the end of next year; three are to be added to the Forestry department – that number could go to five.

The Municipal Accommodation Tax will put dollars into the Tourism budget – that money will have to be spent. The Customer Service unit is being created, which means finding a new city Clerk. Will it also mean additional staff for the Customer Service Unit that the current city Clerk is going to head up?

The Museum is going to need more staff if they are to function effectively.

Burlington has been in this situation before. Sharman, Bentivegna and Galbraith understand what a balance sheet looks like – that’s just three votes. Four are needed to put a stop to anything.

A little too early to be certain but this might turn into a tax and spend council.

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Long long debates - strong differences of opinion - but council voted to create a Private Tree Bylaw on a 5-2 vote.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

December 17th, 2019



They did it.

City Council passed a private tree bylaw during debates that got close to rancorous.

A number of items that are to be in the bylaw that will become effective April 1st, 2020 were deferred to a meeting in January.

There were 12 amendments put forward by Councillor Sharman – Bentivegna seconded the amendments.

The vote was 5-2 for with Councillors Sharman and Bentivegna opposed.

Trees Pine street

The tree was cut down to make way for a development – nothing has replaced it.

Tree Guelph line close up -no name

A Private Tree bylaw would have saved this tree or put some serious cash in city coffers if it had been cut down. There was no bylaw in place at the time this tree came down.

There is a lot that has to be adjusted before this bylaw will actually work.

Mayor Meed Ward was challenged twice on rulings she made as Chair of the Council meeting.

There were a number of delegations, two that brought solid information to the discussion.

The decision is historic for the city – will it bring about the results that this council wants?  Only time will tell.

The fear amongst some is that residents will begin cutting down trees to ensure that they don’t find themselves needing permits to cut down trees – permits that could cost tens of thousands.

This is a controversial bylaw – it is going to take some very deft management on the part of the Forestry department to convince people that there is a better solution than cutting down a perfectly good tree just because, as one resident put it, “it had become a nuisance”.

This by-law has the potential to come back and bite the city, this council and the Mayor.


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Nothing festive about city hall - about as welcoming as a county jail.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 17th, 2019



The talk is about making city hall a more service oriented place.

Making it a place where the tax payers can go to and get their problems resolved satisfactorily.

A pleasant place, filled with happy people.

Given that this is a festive season – perhaps the ground level would be decorated and Christmas Carols would be heard from speakers.

The large tree in Civic Square would be decorated with bright lights and those Christmas Carols could be heard and appreciated by everyone passing by.

In Burlington it is almost as if Scrooge and the Grinch who stole Christmas joined forces to make the atrium at city hall bereft of anything that suggests Christmas.

city hall lobby

The poinsettia on the counter is one of the signs that it is Christmas. There is a spindly little tree to the right of the security desk.

There is one spindly little tree to the left of a counter that has the word “Security” emblazoned across the front.

During one of the long Standing Committee meetings during the week City Manager Tim Commisso did say that it was going to take some time for staff to get the work done that is needed to create a more welcoming, service based mood.

Seeing will be believing. The place looks as if the city has fallen upon hard times.

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Council was half an hour short of approving a budget Monday night.

Budget 2020 redBy Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2019



Mayor with Civic bling

Mayor Meed Ward, sporting her civic “bling” ran a tight council meeting – was challenged twice on decisions she made and missed completing the budget – ran out of time.

They started at 6:30 – went without a break and listened to 11 delegations – then they jumped into the 2020 budget with the hope that they could nail that but they ran out of time.

This city council has a hard adjourn at 10:30

No one is all that clear as to just where the budget increase is – it was at 3.99 then looked like it could drop to 3.5.

There was $800,000 for the eight bus drivers that will be needed for the four new buses that are due in September.

Burlington Transit getting new buses - to deliver less service.

The practice with the previous council was to have staff line up at the transit offices on Harvester Road and applaud as a new bus broke through a red ribbon.

Several council members felt that there was no need to budget for a full year’s expense when the buses weren’t going to be delivered until the fall. They decided that they would budget just $400,000.

There were other savings, small ones, and there were a number of items that Councillor Sharman had hoped would benefit his constituents. He couldn’t get the support of his colleagues on either of them.

The Clerk’s office is now going to look at the individual council members’ calendar and find the half hour to an hour that is going to be needed to get this budget passed so everyone can get away for some earned and deserved holidays.

A detailed report will follow once we know when they are going to meet.

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Party Clean Up - At the very least, you should clear up the dishes and glasses and put them in the dishwasher.

News 100 blueBy Jeremy Biberdorf

December 17th, 2019



Hosting a party is fun and exciting. Whether it’s Christmas, New Year or a special birthday celebration, you get to hang out with all of your favorite people.

party cleaning

At the very least, you should clear up the dishes and glasses and put them in the dishwasher.

However, cleaning up afterwards is not nearly as enjoyable. Ideally, you should clear up as much as you can as soon as the party ends. At the very least, you should clear up the dishes and glasses and put them in the dishwasher. You should also check for any spillages that may be a lot harder to deal with the next day. Here are some other tips to make after party cleaning slightly less of a headache.

Make sure that you have the utensils you need:
Before you start the cleaning process, you should make sure that you have all the utensils and cleaning products that you need. This means that you do not need to run to the store and stock up half way through the process. Items that you may need include:

Dishwasher tablets.
● Clean and dry cloths.
● Antibacterial spray.
● Kitchen cleaning spray.
● Floor cleaner.
● Polish.

Check what needs to be done and make a list of the items that you need. This helps to make sure that you have all the necessary items.

Let some air in:
Even if no-one was smoking at the party, there is still likely to be a stale smell in the air. You may also be able to smell unpleasant scents such as body odour and stale alcohol.

This is why it’s so important to let some fresh air in. Open doors and windows and use air freshener spray if necessary.

Collect dishes and bottles first
It makes sense to collect dishes, glasses and bottles first. As mentioned earlier, this should ideally be done as soon as the party ends.

party cleaning 1

Pour unfinished drinks down the sink and clean any bottles that can be recycled

Pour away unfinished drinks and clean any bottles that can be recycled. Dishes and glasses should be emptied and placed in the dishwasher. Remember to check all rooms for dishes and glasses. You would be surprised where people leave things at parties.

Be methodical
Once rooms are emptied of obstructions like dishes, you can clean them. Clean rooms one at a time. You should also plan your cleaning so that you do not trail through rooms that you have already cleaned.

Clean the floors last
Do not clean floors until you have finished all of the other cleaning. This stops you from getting dust and debris on clean floors. Once you start cleaning the floors, vacuum first and then clean wooden floors and wash carpets if necessary.

Get rid of stains as soon as possible
You should try to identify potential stains as soon as the party is over. Doing this makes them easier to deal with. Some stains, such as red wine, present a particular problem. If you encounter a red wine stain, it’s a good idea to use soda water to try and remove it. Add soda water, then blot the stain. You may need to repeat this process several times.

Take care of repairs
Hopefully, everything in your home will be intact after your party. However, accidents do happen. This is why it’s so important to carry out a thorough check for damage, such as cracked ornaments and broken chairs. Repairs should be completed as soon as possible, to prevent them from worsening. Depending on what the damage is you may be able to use one product for all cases of damage.

It’s important to make sure that hosting a party is a fun experience that you remember for the right reasons. Paying attention to these cleaning tips can help make this happen, by removing some of the stress.

Jeremy Biberdorf is a guy with answers to almost any question you have on maintaining a household – be it a 500 sq ft closet in New York or a 2500 sq ft home in the suburbs.  Ask him a house maintenance problem and he will have an answer.

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Holiday happenings city side: pools, parking, ice, transit - the whole nine yards.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 17th, 2019



A number of City administrative services will be closed for the holidays on Tuesday, December 24, 2019, reopening Thursday, January 2, 2020.

city hall with flag poles

City Hall closed Tuesday, December 24, 2019, reopening Thursday, January 2, 2020.

City Hall will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019, reopening on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.

Parks and Recreation Programs and Facilities

Activities and customer service hours at City pools, arenas and community centres vary over the holidays.

The Rotary Centennial Pond outdoor rink is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, weather dependent. The rink is closed on Dec. 25, 2019.

Residents can skate for free at various City indoor rinks thanks to Tim Hortons Free Holiday Skates, December 21, 2019 until January 4, 2020.

There are activities on New Year’s Day, including free swimming, skating and open gym time on Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

Burlington Transit

On Dec. 25, 2019 and Jan. 1, 2020, Burlington Transit will operate a holiday schedule. The downtown Transit Terminal and Specialized Dispatch will be closed on Dec. 25 and 26, 2019 and Jan. 1, 2020

The administration offices are closed Tuesday, Dec. 24 and will reopen Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.

For real-time schedule information, please visit or use Google or Apple maps.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires - those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

There will be limited bus service on Christmas Day – it wasn’t always this way in Burlington. Date Service schedule/hours


Dec. 24 Weekday schedule ending at approximately 8 p.m.
Dec. 25 Holiday schedule – Route 1 and 10 on 30 minute frequency
Dec. 26 Sunday schedule
Dec. 27 to 30 Regular schedules
Dec. 31 Weekday schedule with the last Route 50, 51 and 52 buses leaving the Burlington GO station at 12:55 a.m.
Jan. 1 Holiday schedule – Route 1 and 10 on 30 minute frequency

Animal Shelter and Control
The Animal Shelter will be closed from Dec. 24 to 26 and 30, 2019 and Jan. 1, 2020. On Dec. 31, the shelter will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.

For more information or to report an animal control-related emergency, call 905-335-3030 or visit

Roads, Parks and Forestry
The administrative office will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019, reopening on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. Only snow removal and urgent services will be provided.

Court House - new

Court House is closed 24, 25 and 26, 2019 and Jan. 1, 2020.

24, 25 and 26, 2019 and Jan. 1, 2020.

Halton Court Services
Halton Provincial Offences Court will be closed Dec. 24, 25 and 26, 2019 and Jan. 1, 2020.

Free parking is available in the downtown core in municipal lots, on-street and the parking garage during the month of December and on Jan. 1, 2020. There is a maximum of three hours for on-street parking spaces.

FreeP December FNL ParkingNOTE: The Waterfront parking lots (east and west) do not provide free parking during December or on statutory holidays.

For parking emergencies or enforcement over the holidays, please call 905-825-4777.

Do you have family and friends visiting for the holidays? A reminder that there is no parking on city streets overnight between 1 and 6 a.m.

Exemptions to allow overnight parking on city streets may be obtained by calling 905-335-7844 or visiting

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Skating at the Rotary Centennial Pond is on hold until the water-main break is repaired.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 16th, 2019



Ice pond - RotaryJust when it was getting to be really ice skating outdoors weather – a water-main break at Rotary Centennial Pond and Spencer’s at the Waterfront puts a kybosh on that idea.

The break occurred Sunday evening. The Rotary Pond will remain closed as crews identify the extent of the damages and work on the repairs. All recreation skating is cancelled until further notice.

Hopefully it will be repaired by the end of the week – schools are out then.


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Provincial Police issue arrest warrant for Sean Baird; charged with serious Criminal Code offenses.

Crime 100By Staff

December 16th, 20119



Meed ward election night 1

Marianne Meed Ward celebrating her election win in October 2018

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward announced this morning that she was pleased to learn that the Ontario Provincial Police issued warrants for the arrest of Sean Baird, a Burlington restaurant operator.

Baird was charged with

· Uttering a Forged Document – Contrary to section 368(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada

· Fraud over $5000 – Contrary to section 380(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada

· Corrupt Practice (four counts) – Contrary to the Municipal Elections Act.

Baird was a third party advertiser during the 2018 municipal election. During that election the Gazette identified Baird as the person behind several numbered corporations that were registered as a Third Party Advertiser.

At that time the Gazette was unable to identify which candidate Baird was working on behalf of.


Mike Wallace was a candidate for Mayor in the 2018 municipal election

Goldring campaign picture

Rick Goldring was a candidate for Mayor in the 2018 municipal election.

Marianne Meed Ward was running against Rick Goldring, Mike Wallace and Greg Woodruff.  Meed Ward won by a respectable margin.

There was some pretty dirty politics in 2018. Meed Ward wasn’t prepared to let it go and appears to have taken the matter to the Halton Regional Police who turned to the Ontario Provincial Police who investigated and eventually laid charges.

In her statement the Mayor said she “welcomes the news that criminal charges have been laid against and an arrest warrant issued, for Sean Baird, a third-party advertiser that targeted my mayoral campaign in the 2018 municipal election.”

The Provincial Police, in their media release said: “In December 2018, the OPP received a request for assistance from the Halton Regional Police Service. The request was made in relation to allegations of improprieties during the 2018 Mayoral Election in the City of Burlington.

As a result of the investigation, the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch, with the assistance of investigators from Halton Regional Police, have charged Sean BAIRD, 47, who was not involved in the Meed Ward campaign.

The Provincial Police add: “Any person with information regarding the whereabouts of this person is requested to contact the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) at 1-888-310-1122. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), where you may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2000.

Sean Baird appears to be a fugitive from justice.

There are going to be a number of nervous 2018 mayoralty candidates – Baird was working for someone.

Related news stories:

Six numbered corporations registered as Third Party Advertisers.

Baird owns several numbered corporations.

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Walking the talk - crafting a budget that focuses on climate change issues hasn't put members of council in electric cars.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2019


We were advised by the Office of the Mayor this afternoon that “The vehicle the Mayor uses is an electric plug-in.  Our apologies for any embarrassment we might have caused her Worship.

The climate has dominated the 2020 budget deliberations. Trying to get electric buses as soon as possible, pushing a private tree by law onto the books, setting aside funds to work on the Climate Action Plan, buying level two charging stations that would be set up at community centres.

Electric car fill up

If you get to the Locust Street parking garage early enough you can park your electric car and charge it at the same time. But get there early – they get taken up quickly.

Getting people out of their cars and onto buses by making it free for those under twelve, putting together a deal with the school boards that will have high school students riding a bus to school. During the summer there was a program that had seniors using transit free during the off peak hours.

Progress – Mayor Meed Ward would like to make transit free for everyone and if the buses they ride were all electric she would be ecstatic.

But there is a fly in this ointment; none one of the city councilors drives an electric vehicle.

BMW hydro EV charging device

Burlington Hydro leased an electric BMW and made it available to members of the 2014-18 city council and covered the cost of a charging station outside city hall to introduce the elected to electric vehicles. Nothing happened.

One reported that he drives his boys to school in his pickup truck and admitted that he found himself following the school bus in his pick-up truck explaining that the school bus didn’t come close enough to his home to make it convenient.

That is not exactly walking the talk.

The Mayor is provided a car as part of her benefit package – to the best of our knowledge it is not an electric car. (See correction at the top of this story) To her credit to the Mayor walks to city hall when she doesn’t have to travel – which isn’t very often.

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Sheila Jones named new Executive Director of Strategy, Risk & Accountability

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2019



Sheila Jones is the successful candidate for the position of Executive Director of Strategy, Risk & Accountability. Prior to her new role, Sheila was the City’s Auditor, a position she has held since she began with the City in 2009.

Sheila Jones

Sheila Jones; now the Executive Director of Strategy, Risk & Accountability.

From 2013 to 2016, Sheila led the Business Performance Advisory Unit which introduced Service portfolios and business plans to the organization. The introduction of both Service portfolios and the Business Case approach to justifying a new expenditure was new to the city; it took a bit of time for the line people to adjust to the change.

The creation of the new approach set the city up for the much more effective system that is in place.

In 2015 interview Jones explained where Council felt they fit into the Business Plans and Cases, Performance Tracking and Monitoring, Performance Reporting and Continuous Improvements process.

Were they OK with maintaining a strategic view of services by making decisions regarding commissioning and/or decommissioning of services; increasing and/or decreasing service levels and their appetite and/or tolerance for risk and a review of service portfolio?

Examples of de-commissioning a service were seen in the 2014 budget. Do you want leaf collection in the fall as frequently; how often do you want sidewalks plowed ?  The leaf collection has been an issue since then,

Jones asked Council rhetorically in 2015: Do you accept Council’s role and responsibilities? 100% they said BUT, …there was still some work to be done to show the link from strategic goals to performance management.

The report that was being discussed set out Senior Management, Service Owner and Staff Role and Responsibilities. Each was to maintain an operational and tactical view of services by:

making decisions regarding how services are delivered within the limits of Council approved service levels and budgets; determining, tracking/monitoring and reporting on performance and identifying risks; determining and implementing opportunities for continuous improvement; reviewing services and maintaining the service portfolio based on the decisions of Council.

It was this level of detailed work that made Sheila a natural for the job.

The work Sheila Jones back in 2015 is a primer for the five new members of the current Council

Shelia Jones does not suffer fools very well. She tends to be a little on the media adverse side but she understands and works well within both accountability and transparency standards

Prior to working at the City, Sheila worked with RBC Financial Group. She holds an MBA from Queen’s University, is a Certified Government Auditing Professional, Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Internal Auditor and has Certifications in Control Self-Assessment and Risk Management Assurance.

Sheila’s position will have corporate responsibilities for strategy execution, business performance, service reviews, continuous improvement, change and risk management. Sheila will champion the organization’s strategic plan and corporate strategies and related risk mitigation initiatives.

Corporate structure Nov 2109

The new role will be effective on Monday. There were more than 90 applications from both the public and private sectors for the position.
The position of Executive Director of Strategy, Risk & Accountability is a new position to the City as part of a new organizational design implemented in September which put more emphasis on strategic management, risk assessment and public accountability.

Filling the Executive Director position will complete a key role and team in the City Manager’s Office. Reporting directly to Sheila will be the positions of Business Performance Manager and Manager of Strategic Initiatives & Corporate Projects. Chief among Sheila’s responsibilities will be to lead this team in monitoring, guiding and reporting back, on a regular basis, on the City’s Vision to Focus work plan. From Vision to Focus is the City’s work plan that prioritizes key strategic directions from Burlington’s long-term 25-year Strategic Plan and details key goals and strategic actions required to move these priorities forward during this term of Council.

City Manager Tim Commisso said Sheila brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of risk management and accountability. Having Sheila dedicated to working closely with the Burlington Leadership Team and leading our strategic planning and risk management functions, including oversight of the implementation of Council’s Vision to Focus work plan will ensure the goals within the plan are met.”

Sheila Jones is now in a position to get Council to think “strategically” about those leaves.

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Gould gets her marching orders: The 2019 mandate letter.






December 13th, 2019

Dear Ms. Gould:

Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as Minister of International Development.

On Election Day, Canadians chose to continue moving forward. From coast to coast to coast, people chose to invest in their families and communities, create good middle class jobs and fight climate change while keeping our economy strong and growing. Canadians sent the message that they want us to work together to make progress on the issues that matter most, from making their lives more affordable and strengthening the healthcare system, to protecting the environment, keeping our communities safe and moving forward on reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. People expect Parliamentarians to work together to deliver these results, and that’s exactly what this team will do.

It is more important than ever for Canadians to unite and build a stronger, more inclusive and more resilient country. The Government of Canada is the central institution to promote that unity of purpose and, as a Minister in that Government, you have a personal duty and responsibility to fulfill that objective.

That starts with a commitment to govern in a positive, open and collaborative way. Our platform, Forward: A Real Plan for the Middle Class, is the starting point for our Government. I expect us to work with Parliament to deliver on our commitments. Other issues and ideas will arise or will come from Canadians, Parliament, stakeholders and the public service. It is my expectation that you will engage constructively and thoughtfully and add priorities to the Government’s agenda when appropriate. Where legislation is required, you will need to work with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the Cabinet Committee on Operations to prioritize within the minority Parliament.

We will continue to deliver real results and effective government to Canadians. This includes: tracking and publicly reporting on the progress of our commitments; assessing the effectiveness of our work; aligning our resources with priorities; and adapting to events as they unfold, in order to get the results Canadians rightly demand of us.

Many of our most important commitments require partnership with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and Indigenous partners, communities and governments. Even where disagreements may occur, we will remember that our mandate comes from citizens who are served by all orders of government and it is in everyone’s interest that we work together to find common ground. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is the Government-wide lead on all relations with the provinces and territories.

There remains no more important relationship to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. We made significant progress in our last mandate on supporting self-determination, improving service delivery and advancing reconciliation. I am directing every single Minister to determine what they can do in their specific portfolio to accelerate and build on the progress we have made with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.

I also expect us to continue to raise the bar on openness, effectiveness and transparency in government. This means a government that is open by default. It means better digital capacity and services for Canadians. It means a strong and resilient public service. It also means humility and continuing to acknowledge mistakes when we make them. Canadians do not expect us to be perfect; they expect us to be diligent, honest, open and sincere in our efforts to serve the public interest.

As Minister, you are accountable for your style of leadership and your ability to work constructively in Parliament. I expect that you will collaborate closely with your Cabinet and Caucus colleagues. You will also meaningfully engage with the Government Caucus and Opposition Members of Parliament, the increasingly non-partisan Senate, and Parliamentary Committees.

It is also your responsibility to substantively engage with Canadians, civil society and stakeholders, including businesses of all sizes, organized labour, the broader public sector and the not-for-profit and charitable sectors. You must be proactive in ensuring that a broad array of voices provides you with advice, in both official languages, from every region of the country.

We are committed to evidence-based decision-making that takes into consideration the impacts of policies on all Canadians and fully defends the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You will apply Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in the decisions that you make.

Canada’s media and your engagement with them in a professional and timely manner are essential. The Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, ask necessary questions and contribute in an important way to the democratic process.

You will do your part to continue our Government’s commitment to transparent, merit-based appointments, to help ensure that people of all gender identities, Indigenous Peoples, racialized people, persons with disabilities and minority groups are reflected in positions of leadership.

As Minister of International Development, you will lead Canada’s efforts to reduce global poverty and inequality, provide humanitarian assistance, help the world’s poor adapt to climate change, and support displaced persons, particularly with access to education. Core to your portfolio will be the implementation of the Feminist International Assistance Policy, which has made Canada the leading donor globally in support of gender equality, women’s rights and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights.

I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities. In particular, you will:

Deliver Canada’s international development assistance that increases every year towards 2030, reflecting our commitment to realizing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Implement the Feminist International Assistance Policy, which is geared and prioritized towards reducing poverty, including by creating opportunities for women on the ground in developing countries.

Expand Canada’s support for global education, including for the poorest and most vulnerable:

Invest at least 10 per cent of our bilateral international development assistance envelope on education; and
Lead an international campaign to ensure that all refugee and displaced children can get the education they need and deserve.

Increase Canada’s collaboration on innovative financing with new and existing partners in civil society and the private sector, including through the continued implementation of initiatives that the Government has introduced, such as the International Assistance Innovation Program, FinDev Canada, the Sovereign Loans Program and the Equality Fund, and ensure they are fully aligned with Canada’s feminist approach to development.

Improve the way we manage and deliver international development assistance to ensure greater effectiveness, transparency and accountability.

Maintain the gender equality focus of all of Canada’s international assistance investments to address economic, political and social inequalities that prevent individuals from reaching their full potential.

Develop additional programming on the intersection between women’s rights and climate adaptation in order to better support sustainable and equitable resource management, agricultural production and access to markets.

Develop programming that recognizes, reduces and addresses the unequal distribution of paid and unpaid care work and that supports and protects the rights of paid and unpaid care workers to address a root cause of global inequality.

Support the Minister of Foreign Affairs to establish the Canadian Centre for Peace, Order and Good Government.

These priorities draw heavily from our election platform commitments. As mentioned, you are encouraged to seek opportunities to work across Parliament in the fulfillment of these commitments and to identify additional priorities.

I expect you to work closely with your Deputy Minister and their senior officials to ensure that the ongoing work of your department is undertaken in a professional manner and that decisions are made in the public interest. Your Deputy Minister will brief you on the many daily decisions necessary to ensure the achievement of your priorities, the effective running of the government and better services for Canadians. It is my expectation that you will apply our values and principles to these decisions so that they are dealt with in a timely and responsible manner and in a way that is consistent with the overall direction of our Government.

Our ability, as a government, to implement our priorities depends on consideration of the professional, non-partisan advice of public servants. Each and every time a government employee comes to work, they do so in service to Canada, with a goal of improving our country and the lives of all Canadians. I expect you to establish a collaborative working relationship with your Deputy Minister, whose role, and the role of public servants under their direction, is to support you in the performance of your responsibilities.

We have committed to an open, honest government that is accountable to Canadians, lives up to the highest ethical standards and applies the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds. I expect you to embody these values in your work and observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do. I want Canadians to look on their own government with pride and trust.

As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act and Treasury Board policies and guidelines. You will be provided with a copy of Open and Accountable Government to assist you as you undertake your responsibilities. I ask that you carefully read it, including elements that have been added to strengthen it, and ensure that your staff does so as well. I expect that in staffing your offices you will hire people who reflect the diversity of Canada, and that you will uphold principles of gender equality, disability equality, pay equity and inclusion.

Give particular attention to the Ethical Guidelines set out in Annex A of that document, which apply to you and your staff. As noted in the Guidelines, you must uphold the highest standards of honesty and impartiality, and both the performance of your official duties and the arrangement of your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny. This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law.

I will note that you are responsible for ensuring that your Minister’s Office meets the highest standards of professionalism and that it is a safe, respectful, rewarding and welcoming place for your staff to work.

I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you. It is incumbent on you to turn to me and the Deputy Prime Minister early and often to support you in your role as Minister.



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