Minimum wage increase is not as simple as Doug Ford makes it sound. Complex with possible unintended consequences.

background 100By Staff

March 16th, 2018



In the lead up to the June 7th election in Ontario, the minimum wage continues to be a hot button issue.

Both the provincial Liberals and the NDP have committed to increase the minimum wage from $14 this year to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019.

But the new leader of the Ontario PC party, Doug Ford, is now saying that he would freeze the minimum wage at $14 an hour and remove everyone earning less than $30,000 a year from the income tax rolls.

Two different scenarios with very different implications for low-wage workers in Ontario.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) an independent think tank, looked at the most recent Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) data from 2015 and found that 4.9 million Ontarians who had a total income of less than $30,000 per year filed taxes.

In a recent report the CCPA had this to say about not going forward with the minimum wage increases:

Two-thirds of those (3.2 million people) paid no income tax, due to a combination of existing tax deductions and tax credits. For those low-income Ontarians, the promise of no taxes offers nothing new.

The 34 per cent of Ontarians with incomes less than $30,000 who paid tax had an average provincial income tax bill of $485 in 2015.

The average Ontario tax rate for those with incomes below $30,000 a year was 0.9 per cent of their total income.

minimum wage protest sign

Minimum wage demand.

So is a $485 tax cut better than increasing the minimum wage from $14 to $15 an hour? The simple answer is: no.

Assuming Ontario minimum wage earners work 37.5 hours per week, a one dollar an hour increase in their wages would be worth $1,950 a year, before taxes.

These workers would be further ahead with an increase in wages rather than having their wages frozen and getting a tax cut.

But it doesn’t stop there.

We know that low-income people rely on public services. They can’t send their kids to private school, they rely on subsidized child care in order to work, they are more likely to take public transit.

Freezing the minimum wage and offering a tax cut in its place would not only reduce low-wage workers’ direct income, it would also reduce the amount of revenue that the province has to pay for the public services that they need to rely on: like public education, subsidized child care, and public transit.

This is simply a bad trade off for low-income Ontarians. And it’s an approach that would create a host of other problems.

Eliminating Ontario income tax on the first $30,000 of income for all Ontarians would be prohibitively expensive.

Removing anyone with less than $30,000 of income from the income tax rolls would mean that only half of the population (53 per cent) would be paying income taxes in Ontario.

Those who are paying income taxes could feel that they are carrying too much of the burden, further eroding our trust in government and public services. As public economist Armine Yalnizyan tweeted: “Can you spell tax revolt?”

Min wage growth

Is this rate of minimum wage growth inflationary?

This tax reduction could be targeted to low-income workers through a tax credit as Lindsey Tedds pointed out.

However, economists also worry about the impact on the incentive to work when you face a sharp increase in the taxes you pay on the next dollar of income. This was widely debated and called the “welfare wall” in the 1990s. As economist Mike Moffatt tweeted: “Anyone making $30,001 would face one hell of a marginal tax bill.”

Tax policy is complex and can have unintended consequences.

That’s why we need to know what the impact of such a proposal would be on low-income Ontarians, the public coffers, tax fairness, and incentives. Canning the minimum wage increase in favour of a tax cut would either be expensive or have a number of negative unintended consequences, and ultimately leaves low-wage workers no farther ahead.

Sheila-BlockSheila Block is a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Ontario office.

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Liberal government uses Throne speech to set out their election campaign; Doug Ford takes the sound bite route.

opinionandcommentBy Pepper Parr

March 16th, 2018



Doug Ford is out there getting on every TV and radio station that will give him ten minutes to explain what he will do differently. We get an idea of what he has planned in bits and pieces; he wants to see the private sector involved in the sale of cannabis and he wants to cut out the waste in government spending.  He has said he will scrap the Cap and Trade carbon tax – even though the federal government has made it clear that if a province does not have a cap and trade tax then the federal plan will be imposed on them

Doug Ford

Doug Ford announcing his intention to run for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party in Ontario.

Ford wants the government out of business; he believes the market is the best approach to controlling prices and wants to see much less regulation.

One wonders what the tens of thousands of people who got those $25 Gift Cards from Loblaws who are trying to put their decades long price fixing on bread prices behind then think about less government regulation.

Brown campaign magazine

Great campaign literature – it will become part of Ontario’s political folk lore.

The Progressive Conservatives had an election platform that had the former PC party leader all over it. There were a lot of good things in the plan but it was scrapped and the hundred thousand copies of that plan that were printed were recycled. They got rid of the magazines – then they got rid of Brown.

The Premier of the province can list all the changes she has made since the last election in 2014. She too needs a way to get her platform in front of the voting public.

Premier Kathleen Wynne found a neat way to get a lot of attention and put her platform in front of the public.
She is going to use all the pomp and ceremony that is part of a Throne Speech.

On Thursday Wynne advised the Lieutenant Governor to prorogue the Legislature, which she did and on Monday she will read out a Throne Speech that will set out what the government plans to get done in the election that will take place June 7th.

Dowdeswell delivering Throne Speech MAr 16-2018Tough to beat a Throne Speech for visual effect on television.

The government will reintroduce government bills that were before the legislature prior to prorogation so that debate on them can continue. This includes proposed legislation aimed at eliminating the gender pay gap and increasing pay transparency for workers, as well as legislation that would transform Ontario’s corrections system, and protect consumers by improving access to elevators and giving people more control over their credit information.

No sitting days will be lost due to prorogation, as the legislature is convening for the 3rd session on March 19, 2018, consistent with the Parliamentary Calendar established in the 1st session.

The prorogation of the Legislature was within parliamentary rules – neat move on the part of the Premier.

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Sound of Music announces Kick Off events - ticketed shows.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 16th, 2018



The Sound of Music Festival announced today that the “All-American Rejects” and “Everclear” will be playing the Saturday, June 9th Kick Off to Sound of Music Festival.

Sound of Music will get no sympathy from Alexandre Kubrak were she to be elected a Council member. She thinks the event should be looking for additional sponsors - she's not the only one with that thought.

Sound of Music – pulls more people into the city than any other annual event.

Kick Off weekend is a ticketed event that launches a week of free music on Burlington’s Waterfront. The concert offers a two day, one stage show with more bands to be announced in the coming weeks.

The Kick Off Concert will be held on Saturday, June 9th and Sunday, June 10th with gates opening at 1:00 pm on both days, show ending at 11:00 pm on Saturday and 9:30 pm on Sunday.

Tickets for Saturday are $65, tickets for Sunday are $55 and the 2 Day Pass is $110 + fees/tax, purchase at now. Prices will go up.

All American rejects - singers

All-American Rejects

Since the start of their career, alt-rock/power pop titans The All-American Rejects have sold over 10 million albums worldwide and helped define a post-emo sound that was the soundtrack of a decade. With smash hits “Gives You Hell”, “Dirty Little Secret”, “Move Along”, “Swing, Swing” and “It Ends Tonight”, their songs have become an indelible slice of the era.

It’s been 20 years since Everclear released their 1997 multi-platinum smash So Much For The Afterglow, yet the album remains a beloved fan favorite, and continues to inspire new generations of musicians & fans today.

Everclear performing live at the Saban Theatre Los Angeles by Alex Huggan.

Everclear performing live at the Saban Theatre Los Angeles Photo by Alex Huggan.

The free Father’s Day Weekend concert lineup for June 14-17 will be announced April 25, 2018.

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Police arrest and lay criminal charges against four people for multiple Break and Enter offences.

Crime 100By Staff

March 16th, 2018



A multiple jurisdiction police investigative team was set up to solve the numerous residential break and enters that were taking place in the Region – mostly Burlington and Oakville.

The Halton Regional Police Service and the York Regional Police Service have concluded a lengthy break and enter investigation which spanned multiple jurisdictions and have arrested four people, who, between December 19, 2017 and January 8th 2017, were involved in a total of 13 residential break and enters.

In each incident the suspects knocked on the front door to determine whether or not a resident was home. After confirming the homes were empty, the culprits forced entry to the front doors ransacking bedrooms in search of money or jewellery.

Halton police - good angleThe cross jurisdictional investigation used a comprehensive menu of investigative techniques, inter agency collaboration, and community awareness. The combination of those ingredients resulted in the identification of the accused.

Early in March the Halton Regional Police and the York Regional Police arrested three of the culprits (Rai Teixeira, Lincoln Samuels, and Cesar Montenero). At the time the accused failed to escape arrest by colliding with another vehicle and fleeing the scene on foot. The last of the 4 accused was arrested on March 8, 2018.

Search warrants supporting the offences were executed at the accused’s residences and resulted in the recovery of large amounts of jewellery and evidence linking the culprits to the entries in the Halton Region.

Duraiappah HRPS Deputy chief

Deputy Police Chief Nick Duraiappah

Halton Region Deputy Police Chief Nick Duraiappah said: “Residential break and enters are a clear priority for our service.” He wanted people impacted by these crimes “to know that the persons responsible will be held accountable.”

The accused face a total of 48 criminal charges.


Rai Teixeira (22) of Brampton was charged with Break and Enter – Commit (10 Counts), Break and Enter – Intent (3 Counts)

Lincoln Samuels (22) of Tottenham was charged with Break and Enter – Commit (6 Counts), Fail to Comply Probation (4 Counts)

Cesar Montesdeoca (22) of Brampton was charged with Break and Enter – Commit (8 Counts), Break and Enter – Intent (2 Counts), Fail to Comply Probation (2 Counts), Possession of Property Obtained by Crime

Vincent Vassel (23) of Brampton was charged with Break and Enter – Commit (5 Counts), Break and Enter – Intent (2 Counts), Fail to Comply Probation (6 Counts)

Anyone who may have additional information concerning this investigation can contact Halton Regional Police Detective Ron Strauch at 905-825-4747 ext. 2255. Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-477 (TIPS) or through the web at

People charged with a criminal offence are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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City still looking for public input on a transit survey.

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 14th, 2018



Burlington Transit is in the process of developing a multi-year Transit Plan that will guide new investment in the city’s transit system.

Improving Burlington’s transit service is a priority for the City of Burlington. That has not always been the case; the service has been under funded for close to a decade with constant changes to the routes and the level of service. People who need transit just gave up and looked for some other way to get around town.

James Ridge Day 1

City manager James Ridge told council members that the transit service was crappy – then got $1.5 million into the budget.

It was a report by a new transit staff member that was presented to a council committee last September that brought about a change within the city administration. City manager James Ridge said at that time that transit was a “crappy” service that was on the wrong side of the regulations that govern how staff has to be supported with a work environment that is safe.

Ridge was blunt and direct and got $1.5 million put into the budget for immediate changes.

Now the city has to determine just what is needed in the way of public transit in a city where the bulk of the residents want to use cars to get around and city council members just don’t want to push for public transit.

Transit wkshp = Edwardth = Mayor with cell

Doug Brown, a transit advocate watches as Mayor Goldring looks for a transit route on his Smart phone. Joey Edwardh looks on.

All this despite passing a Strategic Plan that calls for increased use of transit and an Official Plan that makes frequent mention of the need to get people on public transit and out of their cars.

The elected council are certainly not taking the lead on this one – it is the city administration that is leading the change.

On a media release the city said: “As our population grows, providing a variety of convenient, reliable options to help people get around the city is essential. The Transit Plan, along with other city plans like the Transportation Plan and the Cycling Plan, will help to bring this vision to life.”

The city wants to hear from Burlington Transit riders to learn more about how they currently use public transit and from people who do not ride the bus to find out what might encourage them to consider transit. They created an online survey to gather input – the survey is open until March 26. The information gathered will be used to help build a better transit service.  The survey can be accessed HERE

Whenever the city has to remind the public of the survey it is usually because not very many people have responded.

Transit - seniors with Gould

A public meeting, put on by Bfast, (Burlington for accessible, sustainable transit) filled the meeting room at the Library. The city knew then that there were problems with transit.

The Gazette has not seen much in the way of enthusiasm from most of the members of city council.


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Burlington resident arrested for immigration fraud: charged with defrauding Syrian refugees with promises of getting them sponsorship into Canada.

Crime 100By Staff

March 14th, 20918



A Burlington resident has been arrested by the Halton Regional Police Service as a result of an investigation into fraud-related allegation.

HRPS crestThe Halton Regional Police Service Fraud Unit have today wrapped up a three-month long investigation into allegations that a Burlington resident has been defrauding Syrian refugees currently living in Qatar with promises of getting them sponsorship into Canada.

A search warrant was executed on the suspect’s residence and the accused was arrested at that time.

Charged with 8 counts of Fraud Over $5,000 dollars and money laundering is Bashar ABDULAHAD (49yrs) of Burlington.

The allegations came to the attention of the police through a community volunteer group in Toronto who had victims come forward to them through relatives now living in Canada.

Working with this group and a contact in Qatar, police were able to identify eight victim families who had all sent funds to the suspect with total losses in excess of $200,000 dollars. The police believe there are many more victims however given the logistical issues of victims who are currently living overseas, officers have had to rely upon a local volunteer in the affected country to spread the word on the investigation and locate other victims. Given the victims’ current status, police believe some are reluctant to come forward.

The suspect claimed he could bring the victims into Canada through a local church under an immigration sponsorship program. The church has cooperated with police and has no involvement in the fraud.

Anyone with information pertaining to this incident is asked to contact the Halton Regional Police Service Fraud Unit, Det. Cst. Jon Williams at 905-825-4747 ext. 8737.

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See Something, Hear Something, Know Something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or through the web at

Anyone charged with a criminal offense is  presumed to be innocent until a court of law decides otherwise.


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Date for council to receive Official Plan recommendation report moved back 20 days to allow for new maps to be included

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 13th, 2018



The April 4th meeting of the Planning and Development Committee that was to accept a report recommending adoption of Burlington’s proposed new Official Plan has been moved to April 24 at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. and, if required, Wednesday, April 25 at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall in Council Chambers.

Official-Plan-Binder_ImageThe meeting date for the recommendation report has been moved to allow for new provincial maps to be added to Burlington’s proposed new Official Plan. The updated natural heritage and agricultural systems mapping was released by The Province of Ontario on Feb. 9, 2018 as part of its Places to Grow program.

The Official Plan (April 2018) that is recommended for adoption will be released the week of March 26th.

As a result of further discussions with the Province and the Region of Halton a number of refinements to policies and mapping have been required to clearly demonstrate conformity with senior plans. Two main areas are highlighted below.

The Province of Ontario recently released new mapping that relates to the Natural Heritage System and Agricultural System in Burlington. As a result, the City is now adding maps to its proposed new Official Plan to incorporate this new provincial mapping.


On July 1, 2017, the Province of Ontario approved a revised Provincial Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), which outlines policies for planning and managing growth in the GGH to the year 2041, and which includes the City of Burlington.

The revised Growth Plan policies recognize the importance of both a Natural Heritage System and an Agricultural System to the GGH. The protection of these resources is vitally important to the Plan’s long term vision for the GGH.

The revised Plan states that the Province will map a Natural Heritage System for the GGH to support a comprehensive, integrated, and long-term approach to planning for the protection of the GGH’s natural heritage and biodiversity. Municipalities are required to incorporate the Natural Heritage System as an overlay in their Official Plans, and apply appropriate policies to maintain, restore, or enhance the diversity and connectivity of the system and the long-term ecological or hydrologic functions of these features and areas.

The revised Plan also states that the Province will identify an Agricultural System for the GGH. Prime agricultural areas, including specialty crop areas, are to be designated in official plans in accordance with mapping identified by the Province and these areas must be protected for long-term use for agriculture in municipal Official Plans.

On Feb. 9, 2018, the Province announced the release of the final mapping for both the Natural Heritage System and the Agricultural System for the GGH to support the Growth Plan. It is now in full force and effect, as of the date of its release. It therefore applies in the consideration of all planning matters, including development applications, within municipalities in the GGH, including the City of Burlington.

Ag land base map cropped

Provincial agriculture land base map released February 9th, 2018

(The resolution of the maps available is very low.  The Gazette will work at getting higher resolution and a subset map for just the Region of Halton and then Burlington,)

The City of Burlington will now be incorporating the Provincial Natural Heritage System and Agricultural System mapping as released by the Province into the mapping of its proposed new Official Plan, in order to conform to the Provincial Growth Plan.

In implementing the Natural Heritage System and Agricultural System, the Province permits municipalities to refine provincial mapping with greater precision in a manner that is consistent with the Growth Plan.

However, this is only permitted as part of a “municipal comprehensive review,” which is a new official plan or an official plan amendment initiated by the upper-tier or single-tier municipality, in this case Halton Region, that comprehensively applies the policies and Schedules of the Growth Plan.

The refinement of the Natural Heritage System and Agricultural System mapping will be undertaken on a Regional basis as part of the Region of Halton’s next Regional Official Plan Review. The City cannot make refinements to the mapping in the Burlington Official Plan until the Region completes its municipal comprehensive review through its Official Plan Review process.

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Complaint calls from workers to the Employment Standards office doubles since the new legislation providing better pay and benefits to employees.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 13, 2018



The number of Ontario workers contacting the Minister of Labour’s Employment Standards hotline to ask about the minimum wage has doubled since the rate was increased to $14 an hour on January 1, 2018.

ESA logoData from the Ministry of Labour shows the total number of calls specifically about the minimum wage more than doubled in January 2018 — after the new minimum wage took effect — compared to January of last year.

In January 2018, the Employment Standards Contact Centre answered to a total of 26,704 calls, a 60% increase from the previous month, December 2017, when 16,742 calls were received.

The number of calls in January 2018 was 26,704, an increase of 29% over the 20,633 January 2017 calls.
In a media release the Ministry of Labour said: “The increase in calls to the Employment Standards line demonstrates that the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act is having its intended effect and that there is a need for government to stand up for workers who are not receiving the fair treatment now mandated by law under Bill 148.

That legislation became law in November and brought in improvements for workers including:

Ministry of Labour: Employment Standards in Ontario

Employment Standards in Ontario

A plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019

Up to 17 weeks leave after a worker or their child has survived domestic or sexual violence, with the first five days being paid days of leave

Ten days of personal emergency leave per calendar year for all workers, including two paid days

A required three weeks annual paid vacation for all workers who have been with the same employer for five or more years

Equal pay for part-time workers who do the same job as full-time workers.

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We 'need a date night' but can't find a baby sitter

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 13th, 2018



My looking for a baby sitter days ended a long time ago – and taking care of grandchildren isn’t even on the horizon yet. A news release on an app that helps parents find a reliable baby sitter did remind me of the time we needed a baby sitter – I don’t know where we got the name of the person that showed up. She was an older woman.

We explained what was where – this was well before cell phones. We said we would check in during the evening; said what time we expected to get back and headed out. As we were walking to the car I turned to my daughter’s Mother and said – “I don’t feel very comfortable about the women we have left our child with. The Mother said: “neither do I – what should we do?”

Mommy got a headache and we returned to the house apologized to the baby sitter agreed to pay her for the four hours and then drove her home.

Baby sitter doing selfieFinding the right baby sitter is a problem – a lot of people have horror stories.

Elize Shirdel, a Mother of two boys and a Ph.D. in Computational Biology from the University of Toronto, figured there had to be a better way to find the baby sitting help parents are looking for – she created an app called Datenight Babysitting.

The rationale behind the app was to help parents find the time to focus on the glue that holds the family together; their relationship.

Datenight is a mom-founded, parent-built app that was created to simplify the process of finding a reliable babysitter. It’s a platform that connects parents to experienced babysitters in their area. With Datenight and a few clicks, spouses can easily find a babysitter, interview them, chat and pay… but most importantly, they can feel comfortable enough to relax and spend some time together.

The Datenight Babysitting app eliminates the straining process of finding a babysitter by providing a platform for parents and experienced babysitters to connect. Launched in 2014, this leading web and mobile app screens and qualifies a roster of babysitters that live throughout the GTA. So far, Datenight has successfully booked 30,000 hours of babysitting.

Burlington is one of the markets they cover.  The sign up process is pretty simple

Datenight app

There doesn’t appear to be any risk. Depends on the supply of baby sitters.

The reality is, parents just don’t have the time to jump through all the hoops required to find a few great babysitters for their family.

It’s simple – really. Within 10 minutes of registering, parents can request interviews with experienced babysitters from the Datenight roster, who have previously been interviewed by a team of moms. Once the parents are registered, they can view a list of babysitters in their area, along with their information including their experience and credentials. Parents can choose who they wish to interview for themselves; after all, no one will pick a better babysitter for their family than the parents themselves.

Once the parent and babysitter have met and approved the match – they’re connected and parents can book and pay through the app.

Pay through the app? That’s right! Payment details can be awkward and that’s why Datenight handles all that! No last minute dash to the bank, no uncomfortable cash handover. From that point on, babysitters get to control their own hours and parents finally get a night out, to reconnect and focus on their relationship.

Could be worth looking into:


Salt with Pepper are the views, observations and opinions of the Gazette Publisher.

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The Romance Scam not only breaks hearts - it cleans out bank accounts.

Crime 100By Staff

March 13, 2018



Another resident of Halton has become the latest victim of what is known as the “Romance Scam”.

Police are urging victims of this crime to come forward and recognize they are not alone. Even the most experienced people can be manipulated by these professionals.

Recently a woman approached the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) and reported a loss in excess of $1.2 million as a result of this scam.

Valentine heartsThe location of the suspect remains unknown at this time, and according to investigators, he could be anywhere in the world. “The money is all gone, sent through various means to the U.S.A. and Europe.

The suspect is a professional fraudster operating as part of a network of criminals, all with the same intent; to relieve someone of their hard earned money. They know how to manipulate, and unfortunately, they are highly skilled at what they do,” says Detective Mark Underwood of the HRPS Regional Fraud Unit.

In a typical Romance Scam, the relationship will start with an anonymous connection, usually through a dating website or application. Often, the perpetrator of the scam claims that their ability to meet in person is limited, due to travel, overseas business or military deployment.

The suspect will then present a problem that needs to be solved with a small loan of money; e.g. a lost passport or a failing business deal. The perpetrator may then claim that they want to meet the victim in person but that they cannot do so unless the problem is solved, or until they are back in the country. They may state that there is an opportunity to make lots of money on a chance deal, contingent on a small investment with a guaranteed return.

The Halton Regional Police Service offers the following tips for residents:

• Never send money to someone you have never met. Legitimate businesses and business associates do not need to secure financing from random strangers.

• Check your facts, and do your research. Often, the fraudsters will introduce a lawyer, in the hopes it brings legitimacy to a financial transaction. Use the internet to verify that people and businesses actually exist.

• If in doubt, seek some help. A sober second look at a situation from a trusted outsider who has not been manipulated by a potential fraudster can provide clarity and make the difference.

The best weapon against this crime is awareness. When people understand how these scams work, they will be less likely to be victimized.

When it comes to fraud, victims can help other victims by speaking out. The Halton Regional Police Service encourages victim to let people know what happened to stop it happening to others.

A safe, secure, confidential place to call with information that will keep our streets safe.

A safe, secure, confidential place to call with information about a crime.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective Mark Underwood of the Regional Fraud Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 8738.

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

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Hayley Verrall plays Nashville - at the Blue Bird Cafe.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2018


Hayley Verrall - standing with guitar

Hayley Verrall in Nashville at the Blue Bird Cafe tonight.

Burlington’s Hayley Verrall will be at the famous Bluebird Cafe in Nashville tonight singing a new song.

Hayley has been creating a career in music for the past five years, performing at small locales in the Region, getting out to clubs around the province. And now Nashville. Not as a headliner – not yet but the grit and determination needed to make it happen are both there.

And there is talent – take a listen to Hayley Verrall doing the Johnny Cash classic Ring of Fire.  A little less audience chatter would have been nice

Creating a brand and a profile as an entertainer is not easy. It takes years and years, a lot of travel and a lot of hard work – and some luck.

Being seen and heard is what it is all about.

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Not that much lease-able commercial space available in the downtown core

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 12th, 2018



The Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA) is hustling commercial real estate to fill the few spaces there are in the downtown core.

Brian Dean 2 long

Brian Dean, Executive Director, Burlington Downtown Business Association working the phones.

Working with a recognizable brand (their own) and adding catchy headlines, the Association’s vinyl window campaign was recently launched in three vacant commercial spaces. “Burlington Downtown is in a very advantageous position”, states Brian Dean, Executive Director, BDBA, “we boast an enviable business location and access to growing markets with better than Canadian average household income.

BDBA wishes to keep this momentum moving forward by strengthening our leasing messaging – creating the right business mix for our future”.

To date, there are three installations, 409 Brant St. (former Elizabeth Interiors,) Village Square, behind Village Cigar Company & Barbershop and 390 Pearl Street. (Pine and Pearl).

David Hayward, Chair of the BDBA board said: “We are looking to expand the vinyl campaign to commercial and office within our downtown boundaries”,

The Burlington Downtown Business Association is a not-for-profit organization representing over 435 commercial property owners and businesses within the Business Improvement Area.

Burlington Downtown enjoys a commercial vacancy rate of less than 5.5%.

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City wants the OMB decision on the ADI Lakeshore and Martha development to be reviewed.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2018



How does that line go? It ain’t over until the fat lady sings; there is considerable debate as to who actually coined the phrase.

The Ontario Municipal Board decision to allow the construction of the 26 storey tower at Martha and Lakeshore has moved into another round of legal arguments – the City has asked the Executive Chair of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to review the decision using what is called a Section 43 review request.

Bruce Krushelnicki

Center – Bruce Krushelnicki former Director of Planning for Burlington.

The Executive Chair of the OMB is Bruce Krushelnicki, who is the former Director of Planning for the city of Burlington. The failure of the city to file a response to the development application back in 2015 took place while Krushelnicki was the Planning Director

The OMB released a decision on February 13 regarding these development applications that allows 26 storeys.


Will the Nautique ever get built?

Under Section 43 of the Ontario Municipal Act, a review may be requested so the Board may “rehear any application before deciding it or may review, rescind, change, alter or vary any decision, approval or order made by it.”

Among the reasons cited by the city for requesting a review of the decision are:

• The Board failed to properly consider the planning hierarchy set up in the Urban Growth Centre by City Council when the Board approved the height and density at 374 and 380 Martha St.

• The Board did not consider that the city’s Official Plan allocated height and density at different levels with the Urban Growth Centre, with the greatest growth directed to the Wellington Square and Old Lakeshore Road areas. As a result, the tallest building in the city, 26 storeys, is on a site designated for significantly lower levels of height and density.

The city is asking the Executive Chair to grant the city’s review request and to dismiss the appeals related to 374 and 380 Martha St.

If that does not happen, the city requests an order directing a rehearing of the appeals or changes to the Board decision to reduce the height and density allowed on the site.

It is certainly not over.

The Gazette will review the letter (it is eight pages long) that was sent to Krushelnicki and het back to you on the details.

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Another sneaky Identity theft scam using a well know financial brand name - PayPal

IDTHEFT 100X100By Staff

March 12th, 2018



This is a real sneaky one.

The message tells you that you sent an amount of money from your Pay Pal account to someone you’ve never heard of – what do you do?

paypal logoYou might be inclined to click on the link to tell PayPal that you didn’t send this person any money. Which is exactly what the sender of the message wants you to do. They are in the process of stealing your identity.

They have your email address and they now know you have a PayPal account.

Pay Pal scam,

An email message like this gets an immediate response if you have a PayPal account – you want to tell them that you didn’t do what the email message says you did. The moment you do that – they have started to steak your identity.

It did look like the message was from PayPal – their logo was on that incoming email.

When there is an email related to your money, pause and look at it very carefully. PayPal is a useful service (although I don’t understand why they need 3 to 5 business days to put money into your account – Interac does it instantly)

Careful – and make sure that you have subscribed to a service that will catch some of the maleware that get dropped into your computer.

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Making Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics the core of a new high school course offering begins.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2018



STEM is an acronym that refers to Science Technology Engineering and Math. The Halton District School Board (HDSB) is going to put an I in front of the acronym to get ISTEM and introduce a new program for grade nine students that will start at the Aldershot High School on 2019

These programs gives highly motivated Grade 9 students the opportunity to delve into 21st Century issues outside the confines of a traditional classroom.

Project Based Learning logoWith the guidance of qualified teachers, students will simultaneously explore related topics by examining real-world issues through interdisciplinary project-based learning; they will identify the issues and topics that matter to them, and then they will conceive, design, and build potential solutions to these challenges. Civics and Careers will be integrated into these inquiries, allowing students to achieve extra credits.

Which credits will be gained?

Grade 9 Science
Grade 9 Math
Grade 9 English
Grade 9 Technology
Grade 10 Civics (half credit)
Grade 10 Careers (half credit)

How is this accomplished?
Qualified teachers in these subject areas will work together to identify the principles, skills, and competencies, that are universal across their disciplines. These overlapping concepts will be taught concurrently, when possible, through project-based, discovery learning. As well, students will still have the opportunity to experience two elective credits along with their required compulsory credits.

What type of learner will be successful in this program?

Successful students will require the following skills:

Creative Thinking
Time Management
Problem Solving
Aptitude in Math and Reasoning
Inquiry and Inquisitiveness
Independent Self-study

How many students will the program be able to accommodate in September of 2019?
The space capacity at Aldershot is 1018 students: 588 secondary students and 460 elementary students.

The decision to turn part of the secondary program at Aldershot high school into an ISTEM program means the board staff have to begin the really hard work of creating the course content. The Superintendents know what they want it to be – now they have to design the content, hire and train the teachers and upgrade some of the classrooms.

Blackwell + Tuffen as a team

Superintendents Terri Blackwell and Gord Truffen during a presentation to the Halton District School Board trustees

The assignment that is now in the hands of Superintendent Terri Blackwell and her team. They have more questions than answers at this point. The biggest thing they do have is clear trustee approval, the budget they need and a very clear objective with highly motivated people.  This is a teaching assignment that many of the best teachers in the Halton board are going to want to be a part of.

Who will be working with you on the course content?
The people developing the content have to work within the parameters of the Ontario curriculum. The community was a large part of making this happen – now that it has been approved the Board staff will be returning to the community for additional input.

Where will the students come from?

The expectation is that some will come from Hamilton, some will come from the private school sector and some will transfer from the Catholic Boards.

Exactly where? That won’t be known until parents with elementary students moving into the secondary level have those “what do you want to study in high school” conversations.

The Board expects to do a lot of marketing and community outreach on this one.

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Rivers on the PC leadership choice: When you turned your clock back did you take it to the 50's?



Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

March 12th, 2018


“Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot. Take thou what course thou wilt.”
( William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar)

Even though Doug Ford claims to have been brother Rob’s brain, advising him daily as Rob ran the city of Toronto, I keep coming across articles which refer to Doug as stupid.

Perhaps people are being prejudiced, swayed by his appearance, a likeness to that high school bully which we all had to confront or accommodate. You know the tough guy who always struggled with his grades, had trouble attracting the right girl for some reason, and who always spoke in monosyllabic superlatives.

Doug Ford finger pointing

Doug Ford – expect to see a lot of him in the next 90 days.

Yet it is possible that this so-called ‘dummy’ has just pulled off the biggest coup in Ontario’s political history, thereby lifting himself to the top of the roost in the respected party of John Robarts, Bill Davis, and Mike Harris. If true this would have been a plot to equal the best scripted by that genius Shakespeare.

The story starts in the aftermath of the 2014 election. The Tories had been devastated by their loss and vowed never again as they licked their wounds. They needed a change of direction and a leader to take them in that direction. Enter Patrick Brown, someone with no apparent dirty laundry, no enemies and no friends in provincial politics, but with the kind of credentials one earns hanging around Stephen Harper’s backbench.


Patrick Brown gaining the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party.

He had a vision – a pathway to victory – growing the party membership, filling the war chest, and creating a platform which had something for everyone in Ontario. It was close enough to the status quo to appeal to left leaning Tories and right thinking Liberals alike. And the people responded in numbers large enough to promise a landslide if the polls could deliver for him. True enough, the party’s popularity wasn’t all his doing, but he was at the helm and the PCs were headed for a victory not seen since Mike Harris.

But things didn’t work out that way for our young hero. The right wing of the party establishment violently disapproved of the newly adopted platform’s policies, which appeared to be carbon copies of those of the stinking Liberals they wanted to replace. Why would the public want to change horses when the one they were on is already going in the right direction. And how could anyone take the PC’s seriously when they were parading themselves as nothing more than blue Liberals.

The right wing establishment must have been AWOL, or fast asleep, when the party membership unanimously approved Brown’s platform just last November. But clearly there was a sense that Brown didn’t deserve to lead, hadn’t been in the trenches, and must have pulled a fast one to slip by Christine Elliott in the leadership vote.

pc-leadership- ontario debate-20180228

It came down to these four – what happened in the back rooms can only be imagined.

This upstart had offered himself up as another social conservative but now was behaving like it was his personal party and he and it had undergone a metamorphosis from red neck to red Tory.

Doug Ford had trumpeted his ambition to one day be the leader of this land – Canada. Ambition is a powerful motivator, especially for a man trying to live up to all that he believed his father could have been. It was Ford’s time, if only he could get rid of Brown. Elliott wanted revenge and Mulroney was simply Mulroney – owed the title by divine providence. If the young Brown got in he might remain premier for a decade or more, and then the time might have passed for these pretenders to the throne.

The flash point in Brown’s platform was his acceptance of the provincial sex-education curriculum. At least it was for Tanya Granic Allen whose extreme religious persuasion propelled her directly onto the war path against Brown. She was not going to stand for it – after all she hadn’t seen the word ‘love’ in the sex-ed program.

Brown may have been gaining popularity among the people but was losing respect in the minds of his peers and the old Harris guard – the right wing of the party. They have always been clear that less government is better government. Tax cuts are good and regulations bad. The primary role of the provincial government is to stop social creep, especially when it comes to matters of sex.

Patrick Brown resigning

Patrick Brown resigning.

So is it possible that these unlikely wannabe leaders, and a few more of the party’s neocon class, teamed up, conspired to bring down the new king, figuratively, as Julius Caesar’s stalwart’s had taken him down. A couple of shaky accusations of inappropriate sexual behaviour, some innuendo about fake membership numbers and some suggestion of financial irregularity – that Brown was pilfering funds from the PC trust fund – would be enough to smear him. Then he’d have to resign and one of their kind would take over.

Of course this is all hypothetical and in this hypothesis it’s possible that only one or two of the candidates may have been aware of the planned political assassination of Brown but it is inconceivable that the others wouldn’t have been able to figure it out. The chief protagonist may not even have been one of the candidates. But if this story is accurate there was a plan to win and Ford won.

And the party echelon had to be eager to rid themselves of a leader bent on a mission to forever shift the party to the centre of the political spectrum and betray those who are have spent their lives arguing right from left. So somebody got to Brown’s old girl friends and then Randy Hillier complied a list of wild accusations and the party was ready to perform political assassination as Brown whimpered ‘et tu Brute?’.

Oh what a tangled web we weave. It wasn’t long before the fangs came out as our lovely snakes engaged in tribal cannibalism. Ford, jumped in feet first calling Elliot his friend, even as he ripped into her over her flip flops and her government job. He was, after all, the only fellow who had demonstrated real leadership – the first to hit the road and set the pace – trashing the carbon tax promise and attacking the morality of allowing teachers to explain sex to students.

That is what likely drew in co-conspirator Tanya, an eleventh hour entry into the pack. She was there to eat into the female vote so Ford would have a better chance of slithering past Elliott. And she did and he did. And ironically Ford, hardly a pinnacle of godly behaviour in his earlier street life, entered into an unholy alliance with Allen. Her reward was that damned sex ed thing, and ending renewable energy and maybe opening the debate on abortion again – from his pulpit as leader of Canada’s most populist province

Conspiracy theories book cover

Their will be more than one book written on “what really happened” – will we ever know?

Conspiracy theories come along all the time about one thing or another. Still there is no other logical explanation for the rapid demise of an elected leader only a few months before an election. There is no rational for the almost panic-like urgency to replace him. And what else explains the chaos that has ensued and will no doubt continue for some time.

If not a conspiracy the only other explanation is sheer incompetence. If a party can’t manage itself choosing a leader does anyone believe it can manage the affairs of the province?

Conspiracy or incompetence, take your pick.  Either way the people of Ontario deserve better.

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 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.     Tweet @rayzrivers



Background links:

Ford- Elliot –    Detailed Results –     More Leadership

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Three Burlington council members were a little iffy with their support for ensuring that the rural part of the city is fully protected.

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 12th, 2018



While Burlingtonians argue for a delay in the adopting of a new Official Plan and its impact on the downtown core their Regional government is trying to convince the provincial government that the greenbelt should include the white belt in the rural and semi-rural parts of the province.

Halton regional and Oakville city councils are calling on the province to expand the Greenbelt.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton brought forward a motion at a Regional Council meeting asking the province to extend its study area for Greenbelt expansion and to expeditiously grow the Greenbelt by incorporating appropriate Whitebelt lands within the Greater Golden Horseshoe’s “inner ring” to protect Ontario’s limited freshwater and natural heritage features.

White belt - green belt map

About 500 ha of white belt land exists in Burlington.

The Neptis Foundation, an independent, privately capitalized charitable foundation describes Whitebelt lands as those located between the outer edge of approved urban settlement areas surrounding the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton and the Greenbelt Plan area.

The Greenbelt is seen as an integral component of land use planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, complementing the Growth Plan to encourage smart planning, the reduction of sprawl, protection of natural and hydrological features and agricultural lands.

They are currently undeveloped, but are not protected from urban development in the future.

The city is more than just the Escarpment to the north and the lake to the south. It is the people in between that determine who we really are. And it takes more than a magazine saying we are the #2 city in the country doesn't make it so.

Are there parts of rural Burlington that are in the white belt zone that should be moved into the green belt zone where they can be fully protected?

The Ontario government is currently seeking input as it considers expanding the Greenbelt to include areas most in need of protection, including moraines, cold water streams and wetlands located in the outer ring of the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Burton said with these votes the councils have sent a clear message that they are against sprawl.

He noted sprawl not only causes traffic congestion and overcrowded schools, but also additional unwanted intensification in communities that are mandated to grow under the province’s Place to Grow Act.

“The Greenbelt is an integral component of land use planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, complementing the Growth Plan to encourage smart planning, the reduction of sprawl, protection of natural and hydrological features and agricultural lands,” said Burton.

“It’s important that a fulsome study of all potential Greenbelt expansion areas should be undertaken as part of this review in order to make the best, most consistent land use planning decisions across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.”

“Moving the Whitebelt into the greenbelt will protect agriculture which is viable employment in Halton,” he said.

Opponents of the motion at regional council argued it was rushed, that there wasn’t enough background information provided, that no consultation had been done with the public and that it was unclear what the possible implications could be.

Supporters argued a report had been provided, that regional council had been aware of the motion since January and that consultation had taken place.

The Burlington Regional Councillors were not unanimous in their support for motion. Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring and Burlington Councillors Rick Craven, Marianne Meed Ward and Blair Lancaster supported the motion.

Councillors Jack Dennison, Paul Sharman and John Taylor did not support the motion. Surprising to see the Taylor vote

Dennison announcing

Councillor Jack Dennison

Sharmqan looking left Feb 5-2018

Councillor Paul Sharman


Councillor John Taylor, a surprising vote against an important Regional motion.


The resolution has been sent to the premier of Ontario, the minister of municipal affairs, all Greater Golden Horseshoe municipalities, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Environmental Defence, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, the Ontario Greenbelt Association, Ontario Nature, Earth Roots, Eco Spark, and Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM).

The distribution of the whitebelt lands is

Region of Halton; 11,700 ha
City of Burlington; 500 ha
Town of Halton Hills; 6,800 ha
Town of Milton; 4,300 ha
Town of Oakville; 100 ha

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Politicians aren't what they used to be - Robarts and Davis delivered in their day.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 10th, 2018



As publisher it is no secret that I am a Liberal but that does not mean the Gazette is a Liberal newspaper.

John Robarts - one of the best Premiers the province ever had: knew how to balance a budget.

John Robarts – one of the best Premiers the province ever had: knew how to balance a budget.

The first political event I attended in Ontario was in 1967 while I was at university. I watched a debate between John Robarts and Robert Nixon at the Grand Theatre on Princes Street and turned to my friend and said “Robarts is a very impressive candidate”; he went on to win his eighth election to remain one of the best Premiers the province has had. He was more than the leader of a party and the Premier of the Province, he was also an outstanding Statesman. His Confederation of Tomorrow Conference was about two things: leadership and dialogue.

He was replaced by Bill Davies as Premier. Davis was a little on the bland side but he represented what the province was at that time. The changes he made to the province’s education system is something we are still benefiting from today.

Bill Davis had problems learning how to balance a budget; never really did learn.

Bill Davis had problems learning how to balance a budget; never really did learn.

His brilliant decision to cede a couple of metres of the Spadina Expressway stopped that road driving into the center of Toronto.

Ontario had good government – we were all well served. Think really hard to recall anything that either man did to embarrass the province.

Fast forward to David Petersen. A Liberal; how did he compare with Robarts or Davis ? – not all that good.

From a purely Conservative political perspective – Doug Ford is just not cut from the same cloth that Robarts and Davis came from.

To be completely honest Dalton McGuinty wasn’t cut from the same cloth either.

Wynne Kathleen - looking guilty gas plant hearing

Kathleen Ford will have to give the performance of her political career to win this one. The choice for the public is crystal clear.

Too early to say anything as definitive for Wynne. She realized that Canadians had to save more for their pension years; her push to create a pension fund for Ontario forced the federal government to change the Canada Pension Plan. She was willing to abandon her proposal to create a provincial pension plan when the federal government went along with a deal to make improvements to the Canada Pension Plan.

The way Wynne bird dogged Stephen Harper into meeting with her was impressive. How does the leader of a federal government ignore meeting with the Premier of the biggest province in the country.

Let’s be clear however – Ms Wynne has some explaining to do – how she hopes to get away with presenting yet another deficit budget at the end of the month is a stretch.

Ford Doug

Will Doug Ford be the next Premier of the province?

The point here is – what has happened to the quality of the men and women who put themselves forward as leaders?

The results of the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership are now official- Doug Ford will lead the Progressive Conservatives in the June election

A John Robarts he ain’t. He has a lot to explain. Has he ever said anything contrite about the much reported drug dealing he was involved in? We don’t believe he has ever said he did not deal drugs.

We hear much about the business successes – the family labeling business is not something he is involved in on a daily basis. He benefits from the profits.

Our issue is not that he is a Conservative – it is that he is Doug Ford.

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Rivers has things to say about how Doug Ford won the Progressive Conservative party leadership

News 100 redBy Staff

March 10th, 2018



Ray Rivers, our political columnist, plays a guitar in a small band and from time to time takes to the stage.

He and I were in pretty much constant contact during the afternoon watching the CBC’s excellent election coverage of the Progressive Conservative leadership contest.

For political junkies it was pure oxygen.

Rivers had to get to the theatre in Oakville where he has a part in a play before he could write his column.

The play, Dead Men Don’t Itch, is nearing the end of its four – day run. There is a Matinee on Sunday – show up and he will autograph your program for you.

Rivers Dead Men

Rivers performs on stage on a ‘noir’ comedy.

His column should be up for you on Sunday – assuming Ray remembers to set his clock ahead one hour.

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ECoB shows the people of Burlington what the space around city hall will look like. What do you think?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 10th, 2018



Trust the ECoB people to come up with a solution – they have managed to keep at least a half a step ahead of the Planning department.

ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington is a community grassroots organization that has been fighting city hall to give the public more and better information.

Many people wanted to get some idea as to just what the downtown core would look like when there are two towers across Brant street from city hall.

Ecob model #2

The view is from Locust street looking east. The white part is city hall, the tall light grey is the approved 23 storey structure on the NE corner of James and Brant, the dark grey is a proposed application on the SE corner of the intersection. The small grey building on the right is the Queen’s Head

City Manager James Ridge told city council that he couldn’t provide what people were asking for: Rubbish said the ECoB people and they looked to their youth for an answer.

Two young people came up with a really simple idea – use Lego to make a model. One hopes that the city manager will pose with the builders of the model and set it up in city hall – better still set it up inb the lobby of the Performing Arts Centre.

In a media release ECoB said: “The LEGO model is the idea of Remi and Dezi, the kids from the lemonade and flower stands at the Sunday Centro Farm Market in the downtown.

“They’ve been worried about the proposed builds downtown and what it will do to the place they love to live as well as the disruption of the lives of their shop friends.

ECoB from south on Brant look north

Looking north on Brant with city hall in white on the left and the two towers on the right. Queen’s Head is in the forefront.

“Hearing through many dinner table chats that a lot of people still don’t know the size and scope of the builds and what areas will be destroyed – such as the farm market itself – they wondered if it would help to make a model out of LEGO.

“LEGO being these kids obsession, their parents suggested they should work together as a family to build a scale model and include the approved and proposed builds against the backdrop of the existing downtown that we all love.

“Realizing that the model would potentially be too much to complete on their own, they decided to reach out for other kids and families around the area to assist in completing the model. The activity is called “LEGO my Downtown”.


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