Burlington Foundation convinces 'Pinball' Clemons to speak at their 20th anniversary event when 17 companies will be celebrated for their community giving.

eventsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 23rd, 2019



It is going to be a fun night for the sports crowd and the supporters of the Burlington Foundation.

The local news is that $60,000 in new grant gifts to local charities through the support of 17 businesses who are members of the Foundation’s Brilliant Business Circle will be announced

Pinball H&S

Michael “Pinball” Clemons grew into an amazing charismatic speaker who was generous with his time and his financial resources.

The buzz though will be the words that Michael “Pinball” Clemons will give on the subject of community giving.

It all takes place at the Burlington Golf and Country Club on Tuesday September 24th; 6:30 to 9:00 pm.

Clemons was born in Florida but came to play for the Argos in 1989, going on to enjoy a remarkable 12-year career in the CFL before going on to coach the team. Clemons is now the Argos’ vice chair.

He and his wife Diane recently became Canadian citizens.

Pinball with football

He knew what to do with the ball when you put it in his hands.

The Burlington Foundation is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year; the evening is an important celebration of giving across our community, both through the collective giving of local businesses as well as through the amazing work of local charities.

It should be a night to remember.

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That scam that took half a million out of the city's coffers turned out to be a tad more than that - $503,000 to be exact.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 23rd, 2019



The city has been transparent about the more than half a million dollars that got sucked out of an account and sent along to someone it didn’t belong to.

They were a little short on the exact amount that was taken – it was $503,000 – does $3000 make a difference.

Mayor Meed Ward issued another edition of her Newsletter and explained in the following material that will be published in another news media later this week.

“In order to provide transparency and accountability to residents, I asked our staff to provide a public update at the Sept. 11 Audit committee on what we’ve learned and how we’re protecting ourselves. The public report is available online (https://bit.ly/BurlingtonFraudUpdate).

“We learned that a single transaction was made to a falsified bank account as a result of a complex phishing email to City staff requesting to change banking information for an established City vendor.

“Upon learning of the fraudulent payment, the City immediately contacted our financial institution and the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS). A criminal investigation is underway, and as soon as we can share more about that, I will.

“The city also immediately started an internal investigation, which confirmed that our IT system was not compromised, no employees were involved in perpetrating the fraud, and no personal information was stolen or shared. Further, the city made immediate changes to our internal protocols to prevent this in future.

Meed Ward H&S

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward – would love to get that money back – chances are slim.

“I’m confident we know what happened and have made the necessary changes to protect the city. Our goal is to recover the funds and work with police to hold those who did this accountable, so they can’t target anyone else.

We know cyber fraud is a growing area of risk for municipalities, and there have been recent reports of other cities across the country falling victim to a similar scheme that ensnared Burlington. I will be raising this matter with my fellow mayors at the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario when we meet in November, so we can share our experiences and expertise to protect all our citizens.

“Cyber fraud is also a growing area of risk for organizations and individuals. One way you can protect yourself is to never share financial information online. If you get an email asking for password changes, seeking banking or other financial information, even from an agent you may do business with, call first. I also recommend visiting the HRPS website for some tips for fraud prevention and protection against cybercrime (https://bit.ly/HaltonPoliceFraudPrevention).”

The Gazette has been a consistent advocate for more in the way of public awareness. Some of our readers are getting tired of hearing us say: If in doubt don’t.

A number of years ago the Gazette collaborated with Crime Stoppers, the police and a number of the banks in putting the message directly into the hands of bank customers.

Royal V 5

Each bank that participated was given coupons with their corporate logo. More than 15,000 were distributed.

Bankers were explaining to us that they hear about the frauds after they have taken place – they were looking for a way to warn and advise their customers what to be on the watch for.

We devised a program that had coupons the banks handed out to their customers. Whenever a customer was getting cash from a teller one of the coupons was slipped into the bank notes.

The belief was that people tend not to take the time reading literature – but when they opened their wallets or purses they would come across the coupon and pay more attention.

Did it work? It certainly did. One major bank reported that they got a call from a client that prevented a significant scam from taking place.

An additional part of the program had the banks making a contribution to Crime Stoppers.

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Fire Prevention Week is more than a date on the calendar. It's an occasion to learn how to protect yourself and your family.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

September 23rd, 2019



fire extinguisher

Do you have one? Do you know how to use it – and is it up to date?

Fire departments across the country do their best to get out the message – “don’t give fires a chance”.  Sure, it is part of their job but for every fire person the fear is that the fire they are racing towards may be the scene of a death from a fire that was an accident and should have never happened.

During Fire Prevention week there is an opportunity for adults to learn how to test and properly use the fire extinguisher they have in their homes – you do have one don’t you?

Disastrous fire do take place.  The house fire in Halifax that burned seven children to death has yet to be explained.  The father of the seven children is still in hospital in a coma and does not yet know that all his children are dead.  His wife visits daily.

Halifax house fire

Seven children were burned to death in this Halifax house fire.

The Burlington Fire Department is recognizing Fire Prevention Week from Oct. 6 to 12 with its annual fire station open house where residents can learn about key home hazards, how to prevent fires and how to safely escape from the house if they need to be a hero in their own home.

Fire Prevention Week is a province-wide initiative held each year in October. This year’s theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practise Your Escape!™”

Fire Station 1 Open House
Burlington’s Fire Station 1 Headquarters, 1255 Fairview St. will be hosting an open house on Sunday, Oct. 6 from 1 to 3 p.m. Burlington Fire Headquarters will be open for public tours and family-friendly fire safety activities, rain or shine.

Please bring non-perishable food items to the event in support of Burlington Food Banks.

Headquarters will feature special activities and live fire demonstrations. The demonstrations start at 2:30 p.m.

• Adult fire extinguisher training
• Truck tours
• Equipment displays
• Live fire demonstrations
• Kids’ fire hose spray
• Fire safety obstacle course
• Kids’ craft table
• Face painters
• Photo booth
• Station tours


The display of these massive pieces of equipment awes the kids – ensuring that they know the fundamentals of fire prevention can be taught to them when they are at a “touch a truck” event.

Fire Prevention Facts
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in Burlington and in Ontario unattended cooking is the leading cause of many fire injuries and deaths. That’s why this year’s messages focus on how to stay safe in the kitchen.

• Never leave a pot unattended on the stove.
• Keep clutter away from elements and heating surfaces.
• Use a heat-resistant surface to cool down cookware.
• Keep young children and pets away from stove tops.
• If a pot catches fire, don’t take any risks. Never try to move a burning pot. Put a lid on it and turn off heat if it is safe to do so. Never throw water over it.
• Don’t tackle the fire yourself – Get out, stay out, call 911.

Lazenby David

Fire Chief Dave Lazenby

Burlington Fire Chief Dave Lazenby sets out his approach to running the fire department: “While the Burlington Fire Department family focuses on fire prevention all year long, we’re getting ready to kick off our annual Fire Prevention Week Open House to connect with residents.

“In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.

“We look forward to meeting with you to share information about fire safety, prevention and escape planning.”


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The agriculture sector has a lot going for it - creating more value added opportunities is the target.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 23rd, 2019



The Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee celebrated their 40th year of advising the Halton municipalities on the state of the farm business and showing the politicians where attention was needed.

They tied the 40th anniversary into a Farm Tour; an occasion when a bus travels around the Region visiting different farming and agricultural operations.

This year it was a visit to Notre Dame Catholic high school where there was a lecture on why Catholic schools were better schools. The real reason for the visit was to look at the agricultural robotic gizmo the students put together. It automatically plants the seeds, waters the plants and will pick the weeds as well.
Notre Dame garden

It is a prototype but it works. Can it be commercialized? That’s something the school would really like an opportunity to prove.

Horses at windows

The horses wanted to know who all these strange people were – taking pictures but not giving them any treats. The several barns on the property have a total of 240 stalls with more on the way; two exercise tracks and everything else a horse might need to rest and get back into shape. The vast majority of the horses are Standard Bred with many racing at the nearby Woodbine Mohawk Racetrack.

Next on the tour was a visit to the First Line Training Centre in Halton Hills where standard bred horses are trained and get sent to to nurse any injuries. The place has 240 stalls with more coming on line in a couple of months.

There are dozens of paddocks, an automatic walking ring and a pool where horses can be exercised without have to carry the weight of their bodies.

Horse swimming

The handlers put a rope around the horses tail to prevent it from going forward – the animal then treads water to exercise all four legs with out having to bear the weight of their bodies.

Horse entering pool

A horse being led into the pool for some exercise.

Standard Bred racing is a big business in rural Halton,  – the Woodbine Mohawk Racetrack is now operational year round.

The last stop of the way was at the Wheelbarrow Apple orchard where there are 10 acres of apple trees with at least two of the finest apple varieties grown in the province.

Apple Farm

Ten acres with more than a dozen apple varieties ready for the public to pick on a ‘pick your own’ farm.

Much more on this when we return with an in-depth look at farming in the Region.

Dinner was served at the Gambrel Barn in Country Heritage Park on Tremaine Rd. The meal gave the word “rubber chick dinners” a whole new meaning. The main meal and the Crème Brule dessert were something to write home about.

The downside was the handing out of service plaques: anyone still alive who served on a HAAC Board or committee got a certificate with their picture taken.

There was a solid speech from Senator Black on the work a Senate committee had done on the state of agriculture and where the growth opportunities are.

The Gazette will come back to just what agriculture means for Halton Region and where the opportunities for growth exist.

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Counterfeit Oxycodone Pills Containing Fentanyl Circulating in the Greater Toronto Area - that includes Burlington.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 21st, 2019



Can you tell the difference between these pills? Neither can we. One of these is oxycodone, and one is fentanyl, made to look like oxycodone.

HRPS Oxy photo

If you have to use the pills – at least know that you are using the right thing.

The Halton Regional Police Service and the Halton Region Health Department want to warn the community that counterfeit Oxycocet® (oxycodone) pills containing fentanyl are known to be circulating in the Greater Toronto Area. The pills closely resemble oxycodone pills. The presence of fentanyl in these counterfeit pills increases the risk of overdose among people using them. For context, fentanyl was present in 75 per cent of all opioid-related deaths in Halton Region in 2018.

If you use drugs, or have a friend or family member who uses drugs, these tips may help save a life in the event of an overdose:

Know the signs. An overdose is a medical emergency. Know the signs of an overdose and call 9-1-1 right away:

– difficulty walking, talking, or staying awake
– blue lips or nails
– very small pupils
– cold and clammy skin
– dizziness and confusion
– extreme drowsiness
– choking, gurgling or snoring sounds
– slow, weak or no breathing
– inability to wake up, even when shaken or shouted at

Don’t run. Call 9-1-1. Our frontline officers, and other first responders in Halton, carry naloxone and we want to assist. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides broad legal protections for anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose. This means citizens, including youth, will not be charged for offences such as simple possession for calling 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Carry naloxone, a drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available free-of-charge in Halton at:

– Regional Health Clinics (in Acton, Burlington, Georgetown, Milton and Oakville) and Halton Region Needle Exchange Program (Exchange Works)

– Some local pharmacies. To find a pharmacy that distributes naloxone, visit the Ontario government’s Where to get a free naloxone kit web page.

Never use alone. Don’t use drugs alone, and don’t let those around you use alone either. If you overdose when you are alone, there will be no one there to help you. If you are using with someone else, don’t use at the same time.

Go slow. The quality of street drugs is unpredictable. Any drug can be cut with, or contaminated by, other agents or drugs (e.g. fentanyl), which in very small amounts can be harmful or fatal. Know your tolerance and always use a small amount of a drug

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Rivers on the Prime Minister: 'That’ll Teach Him for Browning Around'


Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

September 20th, 2019



After the release of an old photo showing our prime minister dressed up for an Arabian Nights gala at the high school where he taught classes back then, there is only one question on everyone’s mind. Who is the real Justin Trudeau? Is he, indeed, the son of our most celebrated PM, Pierre, or is Justin really Aladdin? Not to start any rumours, but how many of us really knew what went on during those days of Trudeau-mania?

If so why didn’t he use his magic carpet to fly off to chum with his daddy’s old buddy, the Aga Khan, instead of relying on Mr. Khan’s hospitality, and thereby ticking off the ethics commissioner? And when it came to governance, why didn’t he just use his magic lamp on Jodi and Jane – to wish them away instead of suffering through that messy Justice Committee hearing business?

Trudeay blackface

It did happen; he did apologize: now let’s see how he bears up during the rest of the campaign.

But seriously, in today’s world, it doesn’t matter why you do, or did what you did, it only matters that you did it. And historical mistakes are still mistakes. Political parties vet candidates for office; investigating what they had done in their past which might damage them and hurt their chances in the voters’ eyes.

Someone with a criminal record, for example, would likely be rejected by most parties, notwithstanding that they’ve already paid the price of their crime to society. Wearing blackface is not a criminal offence and it may not have been intended to mock or insult. But it is still considered incorrect, since its origins are based on racism.

At one time black performers were excluded from performing before non-black crowds. So white performers emulated them, quite often making them an object of ridicule for entertainment. It wasn’t the Ku Klux Klan and it may have been an America a generation or two ago, but the hurt still continues.

Political correctness is important in politics, almost regardless that the intention may not be to mock, hurt or offend. One needs to be sensitive to the feelings of others.

Mr. Trudeau as PM has been a strong advocate of human and civil rights. And that is perhaps why the revelations of these skeletons from his past, innocent as they may have seemed at the time, are still hurtful, indeed shocking to all of us. And it’s true that he set himself up for the repercussions of this latest outcry – the bigger you are the harder you fall.

Mr. Trudeau recently pulled a candidate’s nomination for comments he made which were considered anti-Semitic. He has attacked Mr. Scheer for his party’s links to apparent white supremacists. He has suggested he might intervene in the Quebec law which bans wearing cultural paraphernalia in the broader public service. And he has attacked Maxine Bernier for his position on immigration as racially motivated.

The revelations of at least three situations in his own distant past, where he wore dark makeup in performances, are shocking for a man with that kind of profile and record. He has fallen off his high horse, tumbled off the pedestal upon which he had lifted himself.

Trudeau -facing the music

Trudeau -facing the music

But he has apologized for his past actions and asked/begged, forgiveness from the Canadian people. He admits that what he did was racist, though he wasn’t aware of its significance when he did it. The media interviewed people on the street and the reaction was fairly muted. Twenty years is a long time ago after all, and who doesn’t have something in their closet that they’d rather not let out?

But Trudeau’s political opponents are making political hay – and that is all fair in the game we’re in, barely a month from the election. We have come to expect a lot of our prime ministers, not only how they run our government but also who they really are. Does the public really believe that their PM is a racist? After all, wasn’t it his father who gave us multiculturalism in the first place?


Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers


Background links:

Brown Face in Vancouver –   Origins of Blackface

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ECoB does it again - ensures that the public will get to hear what federal election candidates have to say.

federal election 2019By Pepper Parr

September 18th, 2019



ECoB is once again serving the people of Burlington with an innovative approach to keeping people informed on what the different federal election candidates have to say as they strive to get elected or re-elected.

ECoB debate at Baptist on New

ECoB filled church halls during the municipal election. This time they are going digital.

ECoB, the Engaged Citizens of Burlington who sponsored candidate debates in every ward of the city during the last municipal election. In a number of instances you couldn’t get a seat to hear the candidates,

This time ECoB is going to interview candidates and publish the interview on their Facebook page. They are working with the Gazette who will post the interviews which will allow viewers to watch them at their leisure.
More on this as details and specifics become available.

ECoB does report that the Liberal, NDP and Green Party candidates have agreed to take part. The interviews will take place early in October.

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A Record Lottery Winner from Canada

News 100 blueBy Claire Nash

September 18th, 2019



Going by the endless headlines one gets, being a lottery winner can be a truly memorable and exhilarating experience for anyone. After all, these events transform regular people like you and me, into millionaires overnight.

Lottery balls 1

It’s all about luck.

There are several accounts of the lucky Canadians buying a lottery ticket and thus a fortune for themselves. And many others continue to try their luck on a daily basis. The best ways to be one such winner is by playing reputed and well-known lotteries in Canada.

You can play Powerball online, Lotto 6/49 and more. Here in this article, we will tell you about the biggest lottery winner from Canada and the US Powerball which gives you a chance to win several more millions of dollars from Canada.

Record Lottery Winner from Canada
The biggest lottery winner from Canada is a woman named Zhe Wang from Mississauga, Ontario. In 2016, she won $ 64 million, the biggest jackpot ever in the history of Canadian lottery. As per the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., Zhe Wang had the single winning ticket for that jackpot. The ticket was for the Lotto 649 draw of October 17, and was purchased from a Petro Canada in Mississauga.

As per the gaming agency, Zhe Wang’s big win puts her at the top of the biggest lottery prize winners from Canada who won through a single ticket. Before her the largest Lotto 649 win record was held by 4 joint winning tickets – 1 from western Canada and 3 sold in British Columbia. That was for a total sum of $ 63.4 million, drawn on April 13, 2013.

US Powerball gives you a chance to score an even bigger win
US Powerball, which has had some of the biggest winners in the history of lottery ever, for instance this $ 768 million, 24 year old winner, requires you to match 5 numbers from 1 to 69, as well as the Powerball number ranging from 1 to 26 on the ticket. There are several other prizes as well, with a total of 9 prize tiers. Not to forget, the popular Powerplay multipliers. In the event that someone else also gets the same numbers, the jackpot amount is shared between them, and if no one hits the jackpot, the money is rolled over to the next draw, continuing this way till a winner comes along. Please note, it’s pretty common for such rollovers to happen, the reason why US Powerball jackpots are considered the biggest in the world.

Lottery balls 2

With lotteries it is the luck of which ball comes down the chute.

While in the United States, the age limit to play Powerball is 18 (19 in Nebraska and 21 in Arizona, Iowa and Louisiana), in Canada too you should be minimum 18 years to play this lottery. In the event that you win the jackpot, or any prize for that matter, there will be no tax due from you in Canada. You stand to win exactly the same amount of money as any winner from the United States.

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How to manage the pan handlers - just what did get said at that Council meeting

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Staff

September 18th, 2019



Suzanne Vukosavljevic, Manager of Communications for the city sent out a media release saying:The City of Burlington is not pursing a by-law related to ticketing drivers giving to panhandlers on Burlington streets.

“On September 10, 2019, a staff report on panhandling went to the Planning & Development Committee for discussion. There is no City staff direction related to targeting and ticketing drivers donating money to panhandlers.

“There was an amended motion put forward at that meeting that was not approved by Burlington City Council; that motion was to report back to the Planning and Development Committee by the end of 2019 on the possibility of a by-law that would target drivers donating money to panhandlers at City intersections.

Here is what actually happened at the Standing Committee meeting:

Meed Ward H&S profile

The Mayor just asked the question: Could the police issues a distracted driving ticket to someone who gave a pan handler money while they were in their car.

The idea of perhaps ticketing car drivers for giving pan handlers money, because they would have been “distracted” from their driving, was a question raised by the Mayor when she asked Staff if they had asked the police if they could issue distracted driving offence tickets.  Heather MacDonald, Director of City Building said they did not ask that particular question.

Vukosavljevic, added that: “The actions that were approved by Burlington City Council include:

• The City of Burlington will continue to work with the Halton Poverty Roundtable (which is part of United Way) as part of their broader communication to residents about poverty.

• Update the City’s website to provide information on how residents can assist those in need, including donating money.

• The City will share ways to help via social media and the City Talk newsletter.

• The City will prepare communication material for ward-specific newsletters with information for residents about this issue.

• The City will continue to work with the Halton Regional Police to monitor panhandling on the streets of Burlington.

“Burlington City Council shared their concerns on the well-being of all who need help in Burlington, and was clear through its deliberations that the end goal is to get the most support to those who need it, and that donating to active local charitable organizations is important to ensuring the best results from the community.”

One of the concerns was expressed by ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns who said that the pan handling was a “racket”. Some of these people are “optimizing or using space for their own purposes”.

Mayor Meed Ward added that she had been at the Guelph Line Fairview intersection earlier and had seen pan handlers at the intersection with drivers handing them money.

The media release from the Communications department appears to be trying to put a bit of a spin on a situation that makes some people uncomfortable.  It always works better when you let the facts speak for themselves.

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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K9 unit brought in to track down a culprit to a garage where he was found hiding.

Crime 100By Staff

September 18th, 2019



On Thursday September 19, 2019 at approximately 5:00 am, a lone male culprit entered a 7/11 convenience store located at Guelph Line and Prospect Street in the City of Burlington.

The culprit was hiding his face by pulling his shirt up and was carrying a large metal pipe. The male culprit confronted the store clerk and demanded money. The clerk provided the culprit an amount of money and he then fled the store. The store clerk was not injured in this incident.

At approximately 5:30 am, a homeowner in the area of Dynes Road and Woodward Avenue in the City of Burlington reported to police that an intruder was on their property. The homeowners became aware that a male person was on top of the roof of their bungalow style single family home. A homeowner came outside and confronted the male person who came down from the roof. The male culprit threatened the homeowner and indicated that he had a weapon.

Cst Mitchell with police dog Juno being trained. Another police dog, Storm, was used in the drug raid in east end Burlington.

Cst Mitchell with police dog Juno being trained. Another police dog was used to track the culprit to a nearby garage.

The male culprit then ran off from this residence. The homeowner was not injured in this brief interaction.

Halton Regional Police Service canine officers and uniform officers set up a perimeter in the Dynes Road area. A canine track was commenced which lead officers to a townhouse complex nearby on Dynes Road. At 6:20 am, police located the male culprit hiding in a garage in this townhouse complex and he was arrested without incident. The male culprit had broken into the garage at this location.

Police were able to recover an amount of money and the metal pipe believed to have been used in the original robbery incident. There are no further public safety concerns in this incident.

A male person named Shad Atkin , 31 years old from the City of Burlington is charged with the following Criminal Code offences:

1. Robbery
2. Wearing a disguise to commit a criminal offence
3. Uttering a threat to cause death
4. Trespassing at night
5. Breaking and entering

He will appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in the Town of Milton for a bail hearing. Police want to remind the public that the person charged in this incident is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Anyone with information about this robbery incident is asked to contact the Halton Regional Police Service – 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905.825.4747 extension 2323 or 2315 or 2316.

Tips can also be submitted 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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Arrest Made in Connection to Rims and Tires Thefts from GO Station Parking Lots

Crime 100By Staff

September 18th, 2019


Between August 21, 2019 and September 11, 2019, there were numerous incidents of thefts of rims and tires from Go station parking lots along the Lakeshore West corridor. In all of the reported incidents, the rims and tires were taken and the vehicle was left on cement blocks.

HRPS crestOn September 18, 2019, members of the Halton Regional Police Service Criminal Investigations Bureau and members of the Tactical Rescue Unit executed a Criminal Code search warrant at the accused residence in the City of Brantford.

Investigators seized a 2004 GMC Yukon utilized by the accused in the commission of these offences.

Police have arrested Kenneth Anderson Davis (29) of Brantford. He has been charged with:

-Theft under $5000 (13 counts)
-Mischief to Property (13 counts)
-Theft of Motor Vehicle (1 count)
-Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (1 count)
-Breach of Probation Order (15 counts)

Davis was held for a bail hearing on September 18, 2019 in Milton.

We thought GO station parking lots were under video surveillance 24/7.  Apparently not; makes them very unsafe late at night for people returning to their cars.

Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to contact Detective Omar Nadim of the 2 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 Ext 2278.

Tips can also be submitted 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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Bookstore chain teams up with schools to increase the number of books in school libraries.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 18, 2019



Burlington’s Tecumseh Public school is going to be part of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation’s Adopt a School program, running now through to October 6, 2019!

The fundraising initiative connects Indigo Brant with Tecumseh Public School and the surrounding community to help provide support for much-needed additional library resources. With an inadequate library budget of less than $30 per student for the entire year, this local school will now have an opportunity to upgrade its library collection and enrich the lives and education of its students.

Indigo wall sign - booksThe Indigo Love of Reading Foundation believes that the right book at the right moment can change a child’s life forever. And if you are a serious book reader you know how true that statement is.

This year, 182 Canadian high-needs elementary schools across the country have been “adopted” by local Indigo, Chapters and Coles stores in their communities who will fundraise on their behalf.

Supporters can participate by making a donation in-store or through the Adopt a School registry at indigo.ca.

Each school’s unique registry will consist of 50 books for supporters to shop during the campaign. When a book is purchased from a school’s registry, Indigo will double the impact of each customer’s donation by providing an additional copy of that book to the school, enabling even more children and youth to benefit.

Talk to your child’s teacher or ask the people at the bookstore if you find this is something you would like to do.

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Sound of Music sends a signal to council - we will be back with our hands out. That is going to be a tough sell.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 18th, 2019



Myles Rusk 4

Myles Rusak, Executive Director of the Sound Music seemed to be telling council that these huge events are no longer the attraction they used to be.

Myles D. Rusak had to wait hours before he got his ten minutes to tell city council meeting as a Standing Committee that he had wonderful news for them: From its humble beginnings in 1979 as a showcase for the Burlington Teen Tour Band to its current iteration as Canada’s Largest Free Music Festival; over the years this Festival has evolved in many new and exciting ways.

Rusak didn’t use the phrase Sound of Music – it would appear it is going to morph into the “Festival”.

Rusak was the last speaker during what had been a very full day – and it would run on into the evening.  He got his ten minutes but there were no questions – council was making a hard stop – they wanted to go home for dinner.

Band on stage

These huge events don’t pay the bills. The SoM board wants to re-imagine the event.

Rusak explained that the Sound of Music is a registered Non-Profit Organization that has an obligation to you, our stakeholders, to share with you how we operate, where our funds come from and the overall impact of the Festival on the community.

Myles Rusak 1

Moving forward we aim to be a resource for emerging artists, and a year round showcase for local talent.

Under new management (there was no mention of how the SoM unceremoniously dumped the previous Executive Director) we aim to evolve yet again to increase our capacity for supporting Music and the Arts in our community.

Our vision is to not be defined exclusively as a “festival” – moving forward we aim to be a resource for emerging artists, a showcase for local talent and a valued community partner who wants to see Music and Performance in this community thrive in new and exciting ways.

Our commitment to you is a new level of transparency and accountability; an admission that they had not been all that transparent or accountable in the past?

It was at this point that Rusak advised council that he wasn’t in front of them asking for money – but that he would be back.

Rusak apparently didn’t realize that for the most part the 2020 budget has been drafted and except for some serious tweaking there aren’t likely to be any major changes – unless the Mayor decides to continue with her raids on reserve accounts.

But I digress.

Rev - exp 2019

If the numbers are what we think they are – the SoM doesn’t make any money on the ticketed events.

Rusak told council: “We know you work hard for your money and you deserve to know how it’s used when you buy a festival ticket, VIP upgrade, merchandise or beverage at the Festival. I do hope this report answers those important questions.”

He trotted out that phrase that covers all past sins – he was going to be “accountable and transparent”.

Rusak had some astounding news:

The Sound of Music pumps $12.7 million into the local economy.

Local spending

These numbers don’t add up to the $12 million touted.

Raw data 1

A quarter of a million people attended – the spending doesn’t appear to be in sync with that figure. The 34% that were non-local – does that mean Hamilton?

Every dollar invested in the Sound of Music returns $160
MORE here

Rusak also had a dour note. The festival market is changing he said and “we have to change or we die”.

And that’s when he explained that the event had to become more than a three day event. Sound of Music had already grown to a couple of additional days when ticketed events took place.

Sound of Music is talking to Cogeco about doing something with the community cable operation.  An all year round program.

He talked about putting something together with the Performing Arts Centre. The folks over there have been trying to get the Sound of Music in their building for the past two years. PAC Executive Director Tammy Fox told the Gazette that she will get them in there at some point in the future.

Social media

Impressive numbers – what do they mean? No analysis was offered.

The Sound of Music Executive is currently working on a Strategic Plan that Rusak assured the Councillors would be made public. Sound of Music doesn’t have the best of reputations for telling people what they would like to know about the revenue and expense side of their operation.

Myles Rusak 2They tend to tell people what they want people to hear.

Rusak is new to both the organization and to Burlington.

He cuts a fine figure. Time will tell if he actually walks his talk.

Related news stories:

SoM volunteers don’t like what they are hearing.

SoM Board holds emergency meeting

New Executive Director appointed.

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Job Fair: Halton Region connects job seekers with local employers.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 18th, 2019



Halton Region is hosting a job fair to help connect job seekers with more than 90 employers in the local community. The event is being held on Tuesday, September 24 at the Oakville Conference Centre, located at 2515 Wyecroft Road in Oakville, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Region holds Job Fair at Burlington Convention Centre

Region holds Job Fair at Oakville Conference Centre, located at 2515 Wyecroft Road in Oakville

“Halton Region supports job seekers and employers through a variety of valuable services including training, career development and networking events,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We are very fortunate to have a highly skilled talent pool here in Halton, and our job fairs provide a great opportunity for those seeking employment to meet in person with employers from our thriving business community.”

Employers at the September job fair will represent a variety of industry sectors including technology, government, advanced manufacturing, retail, hospitality, and healthcare.

Halton Region will also be accepting resumés and interviewing candidates for roles in its three long-term care homes. Job opportunities at the Burlington, Milton and Oakville homes include cooks, dietary aides, personal support workers, registered nurses, registered practical nurses and schedulers.

Each year, the Region’s Employment Halton staff connect more than 12,000 job seekers with more than 250 local employers by providing services such as training, job placement and access to online job boards.

Employment Halton staff also offer workshops and one-on-one sessions to help job seekers create resumés, prepare for interviews and ultimately find work.

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Lane Restrictions for Halton Region Road Resurfacing: Brant at the QEW

notices100x100By Staff

September 17th, 2019


Road resurfacing work will be done on Brant Street between QEW and North Service Road

Between Sept. 10 and Oct. 3, Halton Region is resurfacing sections of Brant Street between the QEW and North Service Road. The road resurfacing work will result in QEW/403 ramp lane restrictions and closures between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Lane shifts and restrictions on Brant Street are also in place.

🙂 This could be an exercise to get people ready for the road restrictions that will take place on Brant once the construction of The Gallery, the 23 story condominium going up across the street from city hall, begins.

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Telling the kids why you want to run a 38k marathon: and teaching some valuable lessons.

sportsgold 100x100By Ashley Worobec

September 17, 2019



How does a 40 year old medical professional explain to her two children that she going far away to run a marathon?

Ashlet Worobec tieing shoes

Lacing up while daughter Casey looks on. Casey is now close to completing a 5k run.

The 7 year old daughter, Casey and my 10 year old son Drew are old enough to start to understand all of the work that goes into a lofty goal like this. I have been running with them since they were babies and I would push them in our running stroller – back then, I would often load both kids into the double Chariot and off we would go for 5-10km.

As they got older, once in a while they would bike beside me, and now we’re at the point where they are starting to ask to come and run with me; I will sometimes finish my run, and then loop back home and pick them up and we’ll do a run around the block together.

We also regularly sign them up for local 1km kid’s races. With almost every event, there’s a kid’s race option, and they regularly do the Good Friday 1k “Bunny Hop” at Aldershot High School and the Moon in June kid’s race in downtown Burlington.

Santa Claus run

It’s a family affair.

They are getting to the age where a 5km race is within reach, so that’s what they’ll likely start doing quite soon. We almost always do Burlington’s Santa 5k in December, and have been since the kids were tiny. The picture of us a few years ago is a treasure; my daughter ran a lot of the 5km that year as a 3-year-old! I really believe that if kids see their parents being active, the likelihood of them being active too dramatically increases- the reality is, my kids just don’t know any different, we’ve always lived a really active lifestyle and my identity as a runner has always been a part of their lives.

Two other valuable lessons that my running taught me were:

1- qualifying for the New York marathon- I failed to meet the qualification standard twice, and finally reached it on my third try. The kids saw my tears and my disappointment after those two unsuccessful attempts, and they also saw my perseverance in trying yet again, and ultimately succeeding.

group sports

No word on whether or not the dog participates in the actual run.

2- They’ve learned about relying on others for support. My husband was away this weekend and I asked my father-in-law to come over and watch the kids on Sunday morning while I went for my group run. He was with them for more than 3 hours so that I could fit my training in; I truly appreciate his support, and I think it helps the kids to see the importance of family and friends, and the magnitude of what I’m trying to accomplish.

Training status graphs - data

The data from the device on her wrist is a critical guide during every run.

This weekend my training group did a 30km long run; I’ve only got 3 long runs left! I’ve got a 33km, 36km, and 38km to tackle before I start to taper and recover and prepare for the marathon!

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Schedule of fees and services for 2020 - bearable. A much needed fee for per-consultation meetings was long overdue - developers were getting a great deal - no fee at all.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 17th, 2019



For the most part there are no free lunches at city hall.

There is a fee attached to every service.

Each year the city reviews its schedule of fees and services; deletes some (rarely) and adds new fees when conditions change.

The list is long – we will not post what was agreed upon at Standing Committee because it might get revised when city council meets on the 23rd,.

The Gazette will publish the fee schedule once it has been approved by council on September 23rd.

The Standing Committee did hear a Staff recommendation to:

A proposed 2% indexation of Planning and Engineering fees taking effect January 1st, 2020 will offset the impact of inflation, while ensuring that the fee structure remains fair and reasonable to the development industry. Some exceptions of increased or new fees include:

Revision fee for a Zoning Certificate:
Change this fee to apply to 3rd and subsequent submissions, which better reflects the cost of staff resources to comprehensively re-review an application. The intention is to encourage applicants to conduct a fulsome review of the Zoning By- law prior to making a submission, thereby making submissions which require less revision.

Revision Fee for OPA:
Changing revision fees so that there is no longer a separate category for Major or Minor revisions. This brings the cost of revisions in line with Official Plan Applications, which no longer have Major or Minor application types.

Preconsultation Fee:
A complex Preconsultation Fee has been proposed for all Official Plan Amendments, Zoning By-law Amendments and Subdivisions. These applications currently have a preconsultation process with no associated fee. The new fee reflects the staff resources required to review the materials and provide comprehensive feedback.

Currently when preconsultation meetings do not result in a future development application, staff costs are not accounted for.

A Standard Preconsultation Fee has been proposed for all Site Plan, Variance (except for Sign Variance) and Consent Applications. There is currently a preconsultation process for Site Plan Applications and an informal service-counter preconsultation process for Variance and Consent Applications. The intention of adding a fee to this existing process is to add a formal process for Variance and Consent Applications, to account for staff time, and to provide greater quality control to applications that are received so that they are able to be processed with greater efficiency.

Both types of Preconsultation Fee (complex and standard) will be credited to a future application(s) within 1 year of a Preconsultation Meeting date, thereby rendering the fee cost neutral to formal applications. If an application is deemed to substantially deviate from the Preconsultation proposal a new Preconsultation fee, may be required, at the sole discretion of the Director of City Building. Additional Preconsultations beyond the first will not be credited to a future application.

Building Code Permits and Inspections
The Building Code Act (BCA), 1992 provides municipalities with the authority to collect fees to fully recover the cost of administration and enforcement of the BCA and the Ontario Building Code (OBC). Regulations made under the BCA/OBC outline the details of what can be included as part of the cost including direct and indirect costs, and provisions for a reserve fund. The basic principle for providing building permit and inspection services is: “Fees for Service”.

Rates and fees within the Section 6.11 of the City of Burlington Building Permit By- law 13-2018, are indexed to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of Ontario as of December 31st and are adjusted annually on February 1st.

It is important to note that the exact amount of prescribed index is to be derived from official figures published by Statistics Canada, a common practice and an industry standard. While the exact CPI amount is not available at the time this report is written, staff will provide this information to Committee as soon as published by Statistics Canada, on or before the Council meeting scheduled for January 2020.

Routine Disclosure allows the public the right of access to information through an informal request rather than a formal request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). This process and related fees were implemented in January 2019. It is therefore proposed these fees remain unchanged and no increase is recommended at this time.

The short-term focus in Transit continues to be system stability and building a foundation for future service changes and growth. In 2019 council provided the following direction to Burlington Transit:

o Provide free transit for adults 65 years of age and older between 9 a.m. and 2:30
p.m. on weekdays starting in June 2019 as a pilot;

o Provide free monthly passes on PRESTO for Burlington residents who qualify for the Subsidized Passes for Low Income Transit (SPLIT) program;

o Burlington Transit will work with Halton Region on ways to improve the Subsidized Passes for Low Income Transit program;

o Burlington Transit will work with school boards to develop a fare strategy for students;

o Burlington Transit will create a working group comprising of one Member of Council, members of the public and Burlington Transit Staff.

Transit staff will be monitoring these changes and strategizing to ensure that they are reasonable and appropriate as well comparable to other municipalities. For the 2020 rates and fees Transit Services will remained unchanged with the exception of:

o Discontinuance of all 10 ticket purchases. (Child, Student, Adult and Senior) effective August 31, 2019

o A 2% increase to Charter Fares to reflect inflationary cost increases.

Traffic Operations existing fees are proposed to increase by 2% to reflect inflationary cost increases.

Parking rates remain unchanged for 2020, as rates remain competitive.

Roads and Structures – Design and Construction
Tender Fees have generally increased by 4.5% to remain competitive with neighbouring municipalities while covering costs. The permits and curb cuts have increased 5% to help offset the increase in staff time required to deliver this service. The amount of staff time has increased significantly over the years in following up with contractors to complete their work to City standards.

Roadway and Sidewalk Maintenance
Upon completion of a market scan, an increase of 20% in 2020 is proposed for the windrow program to align with industry standards.

With a focus on increasing participation and fostering a sense of belonging for all residents, rates and fees are determined by community needs, customer feedback, participation rates, and market trends. A market analysis is performed each year to determine Burlington’s competitive position while keeping rates affordable to maintain and encourage participation.

Recreation Service
There are a total of 258 rates for programs and memberships for Recreation Services.

Rate increases are as follows:
o 3% average increase for Adults 55+ drop in programs
o 1% average increase for Aquatics recreational programs
o 1% average increase for both indoor and outdoor pool rates
o 1% average increase for Recreation Skate and Shinny Hockey
o 2% average increase for Youth, Teen, Preschool programs
o 2% increase for Tyandaga memberships
o 2% average increase for Gym rentals
o 1% average increase for Room rentals (includes Auditorium, Bandshell & Meeting)
o 6% average increase for Marketing (includes Arena Board, Live & Play and Read-O-Graphs)

New Rates:
o Shinny 10 Pass
o Tournament Application

Discontinued Rates:
o School Break Programs – In a continued effort to streamline rates, this rate was identified as a duplicate and is now combined / connected with other school break program rates.
o Make Time To Play Gymnasium Bookings – This rate discontinued as it is now connected to the Last Minute rate.
o Non-Resident Administration Fee Seniors (Per Program or Membership) – As opposed to having 2 Non-Resident Fees (General Programs and Seniors Programs), the rate has now been combined and called Non-Resident Administration Fee

o User Group Program Insurance Admin Fee – This fee has been discontinued as there has been a change in the fee structure with our current insurance provider.

Youth, Teen and Preschool recreational program rates were restructured to align with business needs and allow for flexibility for the changing market.

Overall, rates were maintained or slightly increased with the average rate increase between 2% and 3% to ensure customer participation and satisfaction.

Organized Sport Service
There are a total of 71 rates for Sport indoor and outdoor space rentals. Rate increases are as follows:
o 1% average increase in arena ice rentals
o 2% average increase for arena floor and storage rentals
o 2% average increase for school board use of city facilities
o 4% average increase for school board
o 2% increase for school board gymnasiums
o 2% increase for artificial turf
o 2% increase for park rentals
o 2% increase for photography and weddings

New Rates:
o Commercial / Non-Resident Arena Ice Rental
o Commercial / Non-Resident Arena Floor Rental
o Tournament Application

Overall, rates were maintained or slightly increased with the average rate increase between 2% and 3% to ensure customer participation and satisfaction.

Parks and Open Space Maintenance
An increase of 2% in 2020 is proposed for the adopt-a-bed program due to increased material and labour costs.

Tree Management
An increase of 2% is proposed for 2020 to cover the cost of staff time to review and process each permit.A new fee for Private tree permits have been added to the service for 2020. The pilot private tree bylaw was initiated in March 2019 and will continue until March 2021.This applies to the Roseland Community only. This fee for 2020 has been set equal to that of a public tree permit to ensure consistency in the process.

For 2020, after conducting a market comparison, Cemetery Service lot fees have been increased by 5.0% to better align with industry and market rates. All other Cemetery Service fees have been increased by 2%. It should be noted that care and maintenance fees for marker installations are prescribed by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, therefore do not see annual increases.
Overall, these rate adjustments are reflective of increased operating costs for labor, materials and contracted services.

Environment and Energy
Fees for the Community Garden program remain unchanged for 2020.

Arts & Culture Service
There are a total of 49 rates for Music, Teen Tour Band Student Theater and Festivals & Events.Rate increases are as follows:
o 2% increase for Teen Tour Band fees
o 5% increase for Student Theatre shows
o 4% increase for General Theatre Camp
o 5% increase for Specialized Theatre Camp
o 50% increase for Festivals and Events commercial events for marketplace vendors, activity providers and food vendor
o 3% increase for portable stage rental
o 3% increase for Filming Per Day

o 10% increase for Filming Application Fee New Rates:
o Student Theatre Once Upon A Time
o Special Event Application Process

Discontinued Rates:
o Festivals & Events Tent Rentals
o Filming Not For Profit / Student Rate

Overall, rates were maintained or slightly increased with the average rate increase between 2% and 5% to ensure customer participation and satisfaction. The 50% increase for Festivals and Events entries is proposed to reflect market rates.

Fire Emergency Response and Prevention
The Burlington Fire Department conducted a review of other local fire departments rates and fees for revenue generation and cost recovery. All rates that are showing an increase are comparable with other local fire departments and adjusted to align costs to the service provided. Emergency response costs provided by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) are current to the last rate provided by the MTO, this rate may change in-year based on updated information provided by the MTO. All full cost recovery line items will be billed back to individuals and companies based on the total costs incurred; this will include personnel, supplies, and retention of any third-party services. All fire department rates and fees are to promote fire safety behavior, mitigate costs incurred due to fire code non-compliance and for any services or activities provided outside the primary areas of responsibility and/or done by on behalf of any other municipality (Municipal Act, 2001).

Animal Control
The Animal Control By-law #60-2005 is being amended to reflect an increase in fees. These fees are being adjusted for inflationary increases to keep fees consistent with City administration and enforcement costs. Some fees have traditionally been adjusted annually for inflation while other fees have been more comprehensively reviewed as to costs and market rates for equivalent service(s). This increase ensures that the fee structure is fair and reasonable, while reflecting the amount of effort in processing applications.

A market analysis has shown that the charges for dog and cat adoption fees are below other municipalities. The proposed increase of 4% will make the City’s adoption fees comparable, while still remaining reasonable.

Surrender fees have been increased to better reflect the costs associated with taking in an animal. Most times the animal is in need of veterinary care and a result they spend additional time at the shelter before they are ready for adoption. The City’s surrender fees have been historically low and the increase in the surrender fees will help offset these costs.

Boarding costs for quarantined animals were also increased – shelter staff have risk for injury in dealing with quarantined animals and this should be reflected in the costs. These boarding costs are substantially lower that private sector boarding fees.

Municipal Law Enforcement and Licensing
The primary reason for inflationary increases is to keep fees consistent with City administration and enforcement costs. Some fees have traditionally been adjusted annually for inflation, other than when fees have been more comprehensively reviewed as to costs and market rates for equivalent service(s).

Fee increases vary by each service type and reflects up to a 2% increase in fees, with some fees being rounded off to the nearest whole dollar.

Corporate Legal
There are no rates or fees increases proposed for 2020 however, the charge for Drainage System Appurtenances Agreements is now specified under “All other Agreements”.

Enabling Services
Financial Management
Finance staff has reviewed fees to ensure that the City’s rates are reasonable, appropriate and comparable to other municipalities. As a result, the fees for Bid Request documents have been increased to a uniform $80 including HST for 2020 the same as tender documents for road construction.

Service Burlington
Clerks annually reviews fees across area municipalities to ensure fees are in line with other municipalities. As a result, there is a proposed rate increase of 2.0% across services. These fees are in line with area municipalities.

Geographic Information and Mapping
Where applicable, existing fees are proposed to increase by 2% to reflect inflation.

Sign Production Service
Increases of 2% are proposed for sign sales in 2020 due to increased material and labour costs.

Corporate fees reflect items charged across city services. Fees are centralized to ensure consistency in charging across the organization. There are no proposed fee increases to corporate fees for 2020.

The rationale for charging user fees is that those who clearly benefit from a service should be the ones to pay for it. User fees form one of the most significant portions of revenue earned by the City after property tax revenues. In order to mitigate property tax increases, the City of Burlington has been proactive in ensuring that the services provided by the City reflect a high level of cost recovery to the greatest extent possible while balancing affordability and providing access to services.

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CDH Executive Director retires without a send off - done at her request. Interesting.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 17th, 2019


In a media release from Community Development Halton we learn that:

Changes are happening at CDH! One of those changes will be new leadership as the Executive Director of over 20 years, Dr. Joey Edwardh will be retiring on October 9, 2019.

Shuffling the papers as she prepares to speak Community Development HAlton Executive Director Joey Edwardh delivers the message

Retiring Community Development Halton Executive Director Joey Edwardh.

Many people from the Halton community have been inquiring regarding a retirement celebration for Joey. At Joey’s request the Board of Directors and staff will NOT be hosting a retirement celebration in her honour. We respect her wishes and therefore ask the public to please send your best wishes to her directly at Community Development Halton. Joey will be in the office until Wednesday October 9, 2019.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I extend the very best wishes and gratitude to Joey for her tenure at the helm of CDH. The Board of Directors is proud of the accomplishments and impact under her leadership and the positive contribution she has made to the Halton community. Much of the work has been recognized and has been adopted in communities across the province.

Both CDH and Joey will be making new strides into the future of 2020. On behalf of the CDH Board of Directors, I wish Joey every success as she embraces new challenges on her future journey.

Sincerely, Jan Mowbray-President.


There has to be more to this story. Full disclosure; the publisher of the Gazette is in a relationship with a member of the CDH Board.

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Tax policies and tax benefits are never easy to explain - and many never do understand; the 1.3 million millionaires understand.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

September 17th, 2019



Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is promising to slash the lowest of our five income tax brackets from 15% to 13.75%. That would add an estimated $6 billion a year to the annual deficit when fully implemented. Though the change is only at the lowest step rate, it will benefit not just the lower-income class but all the higher-income folks as well, given the progressive nature of our tax system.

Scher - face in hands

Most people really didn’t know who Andrew Scheer is – in the next month they will get their chance to determine if he should be the next Prime Minister.

Mr. Scheer is essentially copying Mr. Trudeau, who cut taxes for the middle class, the second lowest step by 1.5% shortly after becoming PM. Those with lower-incomes spend virtually all of their money, and that new spending helped the country avoid the impending 2015 recession Mr. Harper’s Tories was facilitating with his austerity program.

Except that, unlike Scheer’s plan, Trudeau also raised the marginal tax rate on those earning over $200,000, to 33%, thereby attempting and almost succeeding to achieve revenue neutrality. One needs to ask why Mr. Scheer wouldn’t apply the same formula to his plan, add another step for those earning, say over a million big ones, hitting them with a marginal rate of 40 or even 50 percent – or whatever would allow his tax cut to become revenue neutral?

1.3 millioairesCanada had 1.3 million millionaires in 2018 and that’s expected to rise to nearly two million people by 2023. Instead, Scheer’s promised new tax cut is just paying taxpayers with their own money, leaving an annual $6 billion of debt as an unwelcome inheritance for their children.

And how wise is it to slash taxes when Canada’s economy is booming with record low unemployment and solid economic growth? Timing is important. There is a danger that new consumer spending might just overheat the economy, raising the risk of inflation and lead to higher interest rates. Is this really the most prudent fiscal policy for today’s economy or just another populist vote-getter?

Buck a dayAnd for those with the lowest incomes, it amounts to a little over a dollar a day by Mr. Scheer’s own calculations. If Scheer’s goal is to help lower-income Canadians, it would have been more effective to cut the regressive HST by one percentage point, or expand a program like national pharmacare which would reduce the burden of health-related costs for most ordinary Canadians.

dividual tax returnWhen Mr. Harper followed through on a campaign promise to reduce the goods and services tax rate from seven to five percent, the net effect was roughly the same $6 billion in lost revenue as Mr. Scheer’s income tax cutting proposal. But this was not only very popular, but also sound progressive social policy, as it left more loose change in the pockets of those who needed it most.

Scheer is determined to eliminate at least one sales tax, the carbon tax. Unfortunately that would hurt more than help lower-income Canadians, since the annual rebate exceeds what most Canadians pay in carbon taxes. Of course Scheer doesn’t ever mention the carbon rebate, which is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty – a lie by omission is still a lie.

And there is a certain irony in another dishonesty when he attacks Trudeau’s original income tax cuts, the ones he is only partially emulating. Specifically he is using figures from a flawed analysis by the partisan Fraser Institute to argue that middle-income earners are now paying $800 a year more.

public transit - Toronto

Liberals eliminated the transit credit.

In their analysis the Fraser institute netted out other changes to the tax system, such as the transit credit, which was eliminated by the Liberals, but completely ignored the Canada Child Benefit which was responsible for lifting almost 900,000 people out of poverty since 2015. Correcting that deficiency showed that there was now over $2000 more in people’s pockets – not bad for a ‘tax-and-spend Liberal’.

And Scheer is promising to bring back those Harper-era tax credits for using public transit – a 15 per cent credit on weekly and monthly transit passes. That would cost over $200 million a year according to the Parliamentary Budget Office. Analysis of this feature had concluded that this was a very costly measure with most of the benefits going to those who could best afford it anyway.

Still, for a government which has made climate action a priority, encouraging transit ridership, however that is accomplished, is a good idea. Kudos to Mr. Scheer for resurfacing this policy. Changing our behaviour and reliance on the automobile is a problem, not only for traffic congestion, but also related to climate change. And by the way, a tax credit to encourage public transit makes a perfect companion to a today’s electric vehicle rebates and the carbon tax.

It is a hard sell for an opposition party going up against a government that has managed the economy as well as the Trudeau government has over the last four years. So Scheer and the other parties are either going ballistic, like the Greens wanting to kill the TMX pipeline, or becoming desperate and committing to problematic policies, like Scheer’s income tax cuts.

Justin Trudeau - hands out no jacket

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – making it sound easy.

Many voters have been cultured to believe that the biggest job for any government is to wrestle the annual deficit down to zero. Mr. Trudeau had promised to eliminate it over the course of his first term. And Andrew Scheer had also promised to do so within his first two years. But now all bets are off and none of the major leaders are promising to eliminate the deficit over the next next four year electoral term. That is, unless Maxime Bernier is brought into the discussion from the far right-field of dreams.

And there are no alarm bells ringing, at least not like like the ones Ontario premier Ford rang when he ousted the provincial Liberals by exaggerating the size of the provincial deficit by a factor of two. In fact, the real numbers were relatively closer to former Wynne’s final accounts, and even the Auditor General apparently got it wrong. How does $15 billion really become only a little over seven billion dollars?

Today’s important economic health metric is the debt to GDP ratio. So long as it is declining, the economic levers are moving in the right direction. After all, we owe the vast majority of our public debt only to ourselves, and even the servicing costs just come back to us in interest payments, which are again taxed back to an extent. What is most important is how well we grow the economic pie so that we all get a larger share, are better off and minimize unemployment. Oh, and did I mention the environment and our climate?

The NDP, which promised in the last election that it would religiously balance its budgets, has now decided to be guided by the new metrics, as are the Liberals. And the Green Party is still talking about eventually eliminating the deficit but nobody has seriously talked about the debt since the Chretien and Martin governments were defeated back in 2006.

And of course the deficit can always be reduced or eliminated by increasing taxation, as the Greens or the NDP would do while making the rich pay their fair share, however one defines that. But not by cutting taxes for everyone, including the wealthiest Canadians as Mr. Sheers 1.25% income tax cut would end up doing.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers


Background links:

Scheer’s Tax Cut –    Middle Class Tax Cut –    Ontario Deficit –    Transit Tax Credit

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City goes into some kind of a 'feed everyone' mode on Saturday.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

September 16th, 2019



Everyone was going to get fed.

Seniors taking in the music

A pleasant way to spend the morning after a hearty breakfast – listening to music they enjoyed when they were younger.

Early on Saturday morning the seniors were given a free breakfast, an update on the plans for the fall and winter season and then an hour of entertainment that had people tapping their toes and drumming with their fingers.

Senior taps his fingers

Tapping his fingers to songs he probably danced to as a young man.

Staff dance at sesnior event

The music was enough to pull staff out of the kitchen to dance.

The music brought staff out of the kitchen to dance at the back of the hall.

It was a“hearty” breakfast “among friends” event – and everyone had a fine time.

Later in the day, the city set up tents and tables and waited for people to show up and take part in the Food for Feedback event.

Saturday evening the Burlington Caribbean Connection hosted a dinner and a dance and awarded a scholarship to an MM Robinson high school student.

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