Security guard tries to extort people in mandatory 14 day quarantine: charged sexual assault as well

Crime 100By Staff

February 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Tough enough being quarantined – but imagine a security guard trying  to extort money from you and then sexually assault you.

HRPS crestThe Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has arrested and charged a security guard with multiple charges related to a quarantine compliance check.

The accused is employed by one of the four private security companies hired and trained by the Public Health Agency of Canada to be designated Screening Officers under the Quarantine Act. Screening Officers visit travellers’ quarantine locations to establish contact, confirm identify and confirm that travellers are at the place of quarantine they identified upon entry into Canada, to ensure that travellers are complying with the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirements.

Police investigation revealed that on February 18, 2021, the accused attended a residence in Oakville to conduct a quarantine compliance check. The accused informed the victim that they were in violation of the quarantine order and demanded that a fine be paid in cash. When the victim declined to pay, she was sexually assaulted by the accused.

On February 23, 2021, HRPS officers with the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit located and arrested 27 year-old Hemant (full name) of Hamilton. Police will not be disclosing the name of the security company that employs Hemant, but can confirm that he has been suspended.

Hemant has been charged with the following:
• Sexual Assault
• Extortion

Hemant was released from custody pending a court appearance in Milton on March 23, 2021.

There may be additional victims, and police would encourage anyone who may have experienced something similar to contact their local police service (where the offence took place).

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

Note: Screening Officers contracted by the Public Health Agency of Canada are not police officers and cannot issue an offence notice (ticket) or conduct an arrest. Immediate demand for payment of any kind should never be made in the course of a quarantine compliance check.

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A housing strategy for Burlington - virtual event March 8th, Survey opens March 1st

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Housing in Burlington covers the full spectrum. From the outrageously expensive to the basement apartment that is poorly heated and too expensive. The only housing the city doesn’t have are shelters set up in the ravines where the homeless do their best to keep warm

ADI row housing

Part of the Station |West development – has the tiniest park you will ever see.

The City of Burlington is hosting a Virtual Launch for the Burlington Housing Strategy on Monday, March 8 at 7 p.m. The Housing Strategy is an opportunity to develop creative, innovative solutions for housing issues in Burlington. The City’s strategy will build on and support Halton Region’s Housing Strategy.

Last month, City Council endorsed the Burlington Housing Strategy Terms of Reference and directed City staff to start work on a Housing Strategy to give current and future residents more housing options.

Residents are invited to join City staff and a community panel to learn and talk about housing in Burlington. The Virtual Launch of the Burlington Housing Strategy is on March 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. on Zoom. To hear the presentation and join the discussion, click on https://zoom.us/j/91995969251

wedr

Whenever it sells – it will sell for millions

The launch, hosted by City staff, will feature a community panel of key stakeholders from government, the private sector and the community to share their ideas. Ted Hildebrandt of Community Development Halton will present, followed by a discussion period for community members and stakeholders to give input, voice concerns and share experiences.

Residents are encouraged to take the online Burlington Housing Strategy survey as well, starting on Monday, March 1.

The feedback gathered from the survey and during this meeting will be considered as City staff develop a draft housing engagement plan. Staff will present the draft engagement plan and community feedback to Council at the Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility Committee on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

For more information and to take the survey on the Burlington Housing Strategy, visit getinvolvedburlington.ca/housingstrategy.

 

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Public did not get a chance to hear about the proposal that could have reduced $1.46 million from the budget

budget 2021By Pepper Parr

February 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Just what was the hullabaloo all about?   It was about a possible $1,466,000 savings that had something to do with city hall staff remuneration.

Councillor Stolte looking for a response to her motion - put forward last April

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte had some ideas on where savings could be found – wasn’t allowed to talk about them. They had to do with how much the city pays its staff.

Details on just what was behind that idea were not made public because Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte was not given the opportunity to talk about her proposal in a public session.

We are never really going to know the whole story but based on what is available we can say this: no one in the city knows the Municipal Act better than Clerk Kevin Arjoon who managed to find several sections on the Closed meeting provisions to keep Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte from speaking publicly about her idea for reducing the size of the tax bite for the current year.

Stolte had an item on the BAR forms that didn’t have an amount next to it. It did have a note that it was to be discussed in a CLOSED session.

BAR confidential

The items Stolte had in mind were broken out by Staff who created a list of four items.

Council then went into a CLOSED session to debate.  We do not know what Stolte said, if anything, in the CLOSED session of a Standing Committee that lasted 12 hours.

There is a report that Stolte did not speak to her own motion while Council was in CLOSED.

Item 1 Defeated.Stolte Item 1
Item 2 – withdrawn

 

They then recessed until 6:30.

After the recess they then went back into Closed session to debate the other two items.

Based on what we have been able to piece together, we know that the proposal had to do with staffing.

Tim Commisso - finger up hard eyes

City manager Tim Commisso appears to have out the interest of his staff ahead of the taxpayers.

The city manager was adamant in wanting to get the discussion off the public table and have the views of Council members, particularly Stolte, away from the public.

More to follow on this one.  There are very serious grounds for the way large parts of the meeting were held, including Chair of the meeting, Rory Nisan, who called the vote on a Stolte motion but did not allow her to speak until after the vote – and then cautioned her on several occasions about what she was going to say.

More details on what happened will be the focus of a follow-up story.

The big issue for the Mayor at this point is where she is going to find the $343,735.00 to get the tax increase down to 3.99%.  As it is now it stands at 4.18%

More on that as well.

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Public School Board releases Multi Year Plan - The world changed while the plan was being written

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

February 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board released its Multi Year Plan for the period 2020-2024 earlier this week. One quarter of the time frame has already passed making the document, in our view, a little less relevant.

The Gazette asked HDSB trustee chair Andrea Grebenc why the delay. She explained that “traditionally the plan has been announced just as we begin the school year in which it was intended to start – so summer 2020 would have been the appropriate time.

Grebenc frown

Andrea Grebenc, Chair of the HDSB learned that listening was the biggest part of creating a Multi year Plan

“We ended up soft-launching by approving it in the fall. The MYP creation process is a 6-month plus process and was interrupted by the pandemic. The process involves dedicated time from senior level staff and trustees and when the pandemic hit mid-March, both trustees and staff were pulled into dealing with the crisis at hand.

“We run a very lean administrative compliment (meaning we spend less than our provincial allocation on senior staff and redirect into the schools) so the pandemic stretched us and briefly pushed the MYP development down the priority list.”

The pandemic did much more than stretch the public school system – they had to create a new, effective way of delivering an education to students with nothing in the way of a play book to follow.

It will be some time before classes return to anything even near normal. There are some solid lessons to come out of the pandemic – those will have to be thought through.

Next September the Board should have a new Director of Education in place; he or she (it could and should be a she this time) will have to rebuild much of the way Boards of Education prepare students for a much different future.

The purpose of the MYP, approved by Trustees in November 2020, sets direction and prioritizes the collective actions of all stakeholders to ensure efforts of the HDSB are aligned to support the Board’s more than 65,000 students, 9,000 staff and the broader community.

The MYP 2020-2024 consists of five key areas:

• Equity & Inclusion
• Mental Health and Well-Being
• Learning and Achievement
• Environmental Leadership
• Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness

MYP HDSB graphicsThe Board identifies its commitment within each area and outlines goals that define the key strategic work the Board will undertake during the next four years. While there are five distinct areas to the plan, no one area stands alone or above another as each is connected.

Adaptability, Relationships, Innovation, Communication, Accountability and Engagement are foundational elements of the MYP plan that describe the values of the HDSB and how staff and stakeholders will work together to achieve the goals outlined in the plan.

The Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness area of the MYP demonstrates the HDSB’s commitment to expanding knowledge and understanding of Indigenous perspectives and realities. To further the Board’s commitment to this area, Stephen Paquette has been hired into a permanent position as the Board’s Indigenous Knowledge Guide & Engagement Advisor, to provide expertise to staff, schools and departments.

As part of the Equity & Inclusion area of the Plan, the HDSB created the Discriminatory and Harmful Language Protocol to provide clear expectations for how staff respond when harm is caused. This protocol will be followed by students and staff to promote a school environment free from discriminatory language.

In September 2019, the Board initiated a process to develop a new MYP. A steering committee was created to help guide the development of the MYP. An external consultant, Maximum City, was hired to initiate an extensive stakeholder consultation process to review the contents of the previous MYP and seek input about what the HDSB community values and would like to see represented in the next MYP.

Input on the MYP was received from more than 4,000 HDSB respondents including parents/guardians, students, staff and community members on a broad range of issues.

Chair Andréa Grebenc said “The resulting plan clearly outlines the focus of the next few years and recognizes the key priority areas we heard from students, our staff and the broader Halton community.”

The pandemic will have bumped some of those priorities down the list – there is a whole new world ahead of the education system – the challenge will be to identify the positive opportunities and at the same time take a pass on some of the past practices.

Link to the MYP

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Council wasn't able to get to that magic 3.99% tax increase on Tuesday - they will try again on Thursday

budget 2021By Pepper Parr

February 23rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was late; 9:45 pm. They had been going at it since 9:30 in the morning.

City Council was doing their best to get a budget increase of 3.99% that they could take to council on March 3rd.

They didn’t make it in Tuesday.

The budget number when the adjourned was at 4.18% – they needed to find $343,735 in savings to get to the 3.99%.

The schedule called for a follow up meeting on Thursday – maybe they will find the savings then.

At times it was a bit of a gong show. At one point they were arguing over how they would vote against something that had no amount attached to it.

On another occasion the Chair, Rory Nisan, went to call the vote on an item and had to be informed that it had been withdrawn. Nisan had stepped away from his seat.

suggestion boxEveryone needs a break – the Gazette will get up bright and early on Wednesday and report on what they did get done.

We will tell you all about the budget item that had to be discussed in a CLOSED session.

We also learned that the city does not have an employee suggestion box.  Does that say something?

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Inoculation locations announced - just waiting for the vaccines to arrive

News 100 redBy Staff

February 23, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton Region is ready to open our vaccination clinics for prioritized populations once vaccine supplies are secured by the Federal Government.

“Halton Region staff have been working tirelessly to ensure we are prepared to vaccinate our residents, starting first with our most vulnerable populations,” said Halton Regional Chair, Gary Carr.

“Like other regions, our ability to get these sites operational is dependent on supply from the Federal Government. These clinics are in addition to our mobile teams vaccinating residents in long-term care and retirement homes, Halton Healthcare’s clinic for health care workers and our ongoing preparations to eventually provide vaccine to the rest of our community.

I cannot thank our Public Health, Paramedic Services, Hospital teams and staff working behind the scenes enough for their dedication to get us ready.”

Clinics are located in each municipality and have been selected based on the ability to maintain health and safety measures, accessibility and amenities.

  1. Gellert Community Centre, 10241 Eighth Line, Georgetown
  2. St. Volodymyr Cultural Centre, 1280 Dundas Street West, Oakville
  3. Compass Point Bible Church, 1500 Kerns Road, Burlington
  4. Milton Centre for the Arts, 1010 Main Street East, Milton

These are initial locations and other clinics may be identified as required.

“The preparation of these clinics is an important milestone in our work to vaccinate those most at risk of becoming very sick with COVID-19,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “I encourage everyone to get the vaccine when it is your turn, and in the meantime, prepare yourself and your family by reviewing credible information on the vaccines on halton.ca.”

Quick Clinic Facts:

  • The clinics are not yet open to the general public. The clinics will first serve priority populations identified by the Province, beginning with adults 80 years of age and older.
  • Information on clinic openings and how to book an appointment will be available when the amount of vaccines is confirmed. The public and current priority populations will be notified through a variety of print and digital channels when the booking system is ready and more details are confirmed.
  • Planning is also underway to provide additional supports such as transportation for residents who require them. More information will be provided as those details are confirmed.

The Gazette will provide details on just where these places are later in the week

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Regional Health Unit Preparing to Begin Mass Inoculation - Putting the Infrastructure in Place Now

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Working our way through winter days that at times have a beauty of their own; getting some of the needed exercises shoveling snow.

Living with the expectation that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that all we have to do is follow the rules that have been explained very well.

PHU data Feb 20

This is where the outbreaks have taken place

Some of the messaging doesn’t get through. While reporting to the Regional Council Dr. Hamida Meghani said that if people choose to get out to a restaurant there shouldn’t be more than four at a table and that all four should be from the same household. Not two people from one household and the other two people from a different household.

The Regional Public Health Unit is producing solid data that gives a promising picture.  The unit is in the process of going through a phase that will see it continue to handle the identification of new infections and follow up on the tracing that helps determine where the infections came from.  The arrival of variants to Covid19 makes that job much harder and calls for an even faster response.  A tough task for a unit that is already overloaded.

COVID-org-structure-1-690x344

Facilities and logistics group has worked with Human Resources to recruit the 400 nursing people that will be needed to do inoculations for up to 12 hours a day – seven days a week once the required vaccines have arrived.

On top of it all they are putting in place the procedures needed to begin the mass inoculation that will begin hours after the vaccines arrive.

Dr. Meghani works with a team that is now seasoned and beginning to be able to keep at least half a step ahead of the pandemic many don’t really fully understand.

During the most recent update given to Regional Council Dr. Meghani was seen to actually chuckle – just a bit, while responding to a question.  There haven’t been all that many occasions for her to slip away from the sobering side of the possible outcomes if the variant Covid19 infections get out of control.  I suspect this keeps her awake at night

PHU case locations

This is where the infections are being found. For Burlington the east end of the city has the highest rate.

PHU Virus spread Feb 19

The hospitalization rate and the effective reproduction number are what support the view that we are getting ahead of the virus.

phu Testing - capacity

The very legitimate fear that the hospitals would not be able to cope with the number of people needing serious care would become a reality – the current numbers indicate that – so far – so good.

PHN Public capacity

The Public Health Unit has been able to reach 93% of those people who have become newly infected in one day; This is critical in identifying the source of the infection.

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Region decides to appeal the decision on the CN hub - taking it to the Federal Court

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Stunned by the federal government decision to approve the CN rail hub that is proposed for the southern part of Milton, Regional Council announced on Friday they would make an application to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review of federal decisions by the Minister and Cabinet resulting in federal approval of the CN truck-rail hub in Milton.

“We understand how important this effort is to our communities and our goal is to overturn this decision through the legal system,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “The fact that the Federal Government approved this project while ignoring the significant adverse effects on health identified by the expert panel it appointed is beyond disappointing. We will continue to fight for the health of Halton residents.”

Since the project was announced, community opposition has centered around the significant adverse effects on air quality and human health, in addition to concerns about safety in the surrounding areas due to the potential for increased traffic. The project will be within one kilometer of more than 34,000 residents, one hospital, 12 schools, and two long-term care homes.

CN-site

The development that will bring few jobs to the community has the potential to do significant ongoing environmental damage.

While seen as a Milton area issue the number of trucks that would travel the roads in Burlington is significant – the estimate is for 1,600 truck trips a day – every day. This is to be a 24/7 operation with shipping containers brought in by rail and transferred to trucks that would delivery to locations throughout the GTA.

“The Federal Government has approved a project that will have a significant detrimental impact on the health of Halton residents that its expert panel said cannot be mitigated,” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. “Cabinet owes our residents an explanation.”

The communities and local representatives at the provincial and federal levels have come together and have been a strong voice against this ill-conceived proposal that is off-side what this Region and Province approved for the CN lands. Regional Council thanked Liberal MP Adam van Koeverden, for his continued opposition to the CN plan.

Following its multi-year review, the federal panel concluded that this Project’s significant health effects cannot be mitigated. Even after mitigation there will still be significant problems. These effects result from the release into the air particulate matter (PM2.5) that is dangerous at any level of exposure and causes an array of health effects on the community.

The CN facility in Milton would not create a significant number of jobs, or provide the kind of investment Milton or Halton Region has planned for and approved in Regional Official Plan Amendments.

Although the Project’s significant adverse environmental effects on air quality and human health are paramount, the Project’s permanent adverse effects on anticipated employment, investment, and municipal finances are also significant. There is a belief that the economic and capacity benefits desired by CN could be achieved by modernizing its existing Brampton facility.

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Regional Public Health Unit Passes on what the Province Dictates

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 19TH, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We  asked the Regional Health Unit for an update on who will get vaccinated first.

We received the following:

“Preparations are underway to vaccinate additional priority populations identified by the Province, including adults 80 years of age and older and recipients of chronic home health care. We will be providing an update to the community in the coming days with additional details as they are confirmed.

Understanding that these groups may have barriers to accessing information and appointments, we are also working with our local partners who will support us in targeted outreach to these populations.”

The link provided in the quote is important.

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A Confidential Issue on the City Operating Budget ? Why?

budget 2021By Pepper Parr

February 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Have you ever seen something like this before?

BAR confidential

BAR forms (Budget Action Requests) are documents Councillors use to bring forward changes they would like to see made in the budget Staff have put forward.

The Gazette has learned that the Clerk has informed a member of Council that the item that was put forward must be treated as confidential.

Confidential matters are determined and governed by the Municipal Act and usually relate to matters that involve a named individual or a property matter.

There is much more to this story.

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Mayor sued for $1 million by Sean Baird - 11 others included in the Statement of Claim. City will pick up the Mayor's legal expenses

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

CORRECTION: The $2150,000 for malicious and high handed conduct should have been $250,000

 

Sean Baird has instructed his legal counsel to file a Notice of Action and has delivered a Statement of Claim to the following

Meed ward election night 1

Marianne Meed Ward on election night.

Adam Atkinson – with CHCH
Sharon Balcaran-Grantham
John Bkila – Communication person in the Mayor’s office
Kelly Childs – owner of a cup cake shop
Lynn Crosby – citizen and manager of the Mayors 2018 election campaign manager
Georgie Gatside, City of Burlington employee
Victoria Hughes Al-Samadi – Chief of Staff for the Mayor
David Lea – journalist for Torstar
Marianne Meed Ward – Mayor of Burlington
Don Mitchell – with Global News
James Burchill – operates the Smart Car Confidential blog
Pepper Parr, publisher of the Burlington Gazette

The Mayor and I are finally involved in a law suit where we are on the same side.

Some facts.  Mr Baird was charged under the criminal code for fraud over $5,000 and Used forged documents.  He was also charged under the Municipal Elections Act.  The Crown withdrew the Criminal Code charges against Sean Baird.  The municipal elections Act charges have yet to be heard in a Courtroom.

Sean Baird is now suing for damages to his reputation.

The Statement of claim is for $1 million for libel plus $250,000 for malicious and high handed conduct.

Many of those served with the Statement of Claim are employees of a national newspaper operation who will cover the legal costs.

The City will cover the legal costs of the Mayor, her staff and city employees. That expense will be buried in the legal department budget.

In the covering letter that accompanied the Statement of Claim and the Notice of Action counsel writes.

“You are invited to make inquiries with respect to these matters, and to publicly apologize to Mr. Baird with respect to the contents contained in these pleadings. On a without prejudice basis, I will thereafter seek instructions from Mr. Baird for dismissal of the claim against you on a without cost basis.”

More to this story.

Related news stories:

Sean Baird charged with fraud

Criminal charges against Sean Baird withdrawn
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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Council and Staff are in agreement on 27 changes to the budget - Stolte doesn't hop on that band wagon - asks for a 10% cut in the Council payroll

budget 2021By Pepper Parr

February 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They are referred to as BAR (Budget Action Request), forms that each Council member can submit asking for an increase or a decrease to the budget brought forward by Staff.

At this point – before there is a serious debate on the budget, the increase is 4.99% over what the city taxes were last year. Mayor Meed Ward told Staff that she wanted them to come back with a budget that had a 3.99% increase over last year – and to include some ideas on how to get to that point.

There was something quite a bit different this year many of the 29 items were submitted by all the members of Council. In previous councils a member would push for an item they wanted to deliver to their ward – re-election for this crowd is just 20 months away, not a lot of time in the world of politics.

The following list of items, requested by Councillors on the BAR forms.

BAR 1 of 4

BAR 2 of 4

BAR 3 of 4

BAR 4 of 4

Are the changes asked for enough to bring the tax increase down to that 3.99% the Mayor wanted – maybe even lower?

Each of these will be debated, with Staff on hand to advise. Note that for many of the items Staff is in agreement with what a majority of the Council members want to do.

Of note is this.  Ward 4 Councilor Shawna Stolte did not join her colleagues on the BAR items they put forward but did put forward three of her own – all were suggesting decreases in salary for the Members of Council.  She wanted members of Council to take a pass on the annual increase they get each year and to take a 10% cut of the salary they currently get for 9 months.

The sum total for the two BAR amounts to $629,000.

There are two situations where Council asked that funds be added to the budget.  Stolte wanted $110,000 added to the Capital Works budget while Kearns, Nisan and Meed Ward wanted $15,000 added to the Heritage Property Tax rebate program.

Look for the Mayor wanting to take a victory lap when the budget is approved in March.

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Regional Public Health Unit Ready for the day the COVID19 vaccines arrive

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The day the COVID19 vaccines arrive, expect the Prime Minister to make an announcement on how well his government is doing ensuring that Canadians are getting the Covid19 virus protection they need.

Dr. Hamidah Meghani at the Regional Public Health unit will move the people who have been hired to give us that needle into position and wait for the province to tell her exactly when the vaccines are going to be in the inoculation centres ready for use.

COVID big pic 2 phase

The administering of the vaccine is a three phase program.

Earlier this month Dr. Meghani and her team met with General Rick Hillier,  former Chief of the Defence Staff , now retired, who is overseeing the distribution of the vaccines that were purchased by the federal government for distribution to the provinces.

The Halton Regional plan was approved – now Meghani and her colleagues are waiting for the word – the vaccines are here.

So – when the vaccines arrive does that mean we all scoot over to the inoculation centre? Not quite.

We learned yesterday that there will be just four inoculation centres in Halton. One will be at the Oakville Trafalgar Hospital that will handle all the front line people – which at this point are those in the medical field.

Regional Council members wanted to know if the people who work in the supermarkets will be considered front line. Dr. Meghani said she did not know, that that has yet to be determined.

We know now that there will be a process to register for a jab of the needle.

The province is in the process of creating a computer application (app) that people will use to register.
Nothing more than that at this point.

The province has not been able to launch that application; it is apparently in trials at this point.  It will be on a program called COVAX.
What has become very clear is that the province is calling all the shots – the Public Health units follow the directions they are given.

Meghani expects to be inoculating people before that provincial app is ready – she has a backup plan in place.

Covid roll out phases

The time line – who is expected to be vaccinated when. Asked when does this all start – Dr. Meghani said – the day after the vaccines arrive.

Where will the inoculation centres be located in each community? Not yet determined. They know where they want them to be – now to work out the details with the municipalities or the school boards.

We did learn that the Region will pick up whatever there are in the way of costs at the local level.

We learned too that the Region has hired 200 nursing people and will be hiring an additional 200 for a total of 400 people in place.
Interviews are taking place in the evenings and on the weekends.

Halton CAO Jane McCaskill mentioned that the Region has spent an additional $1 million and has invested heavily in Information Technology upgrades.

Dr. Meghani said that the Region will have a backup system in place. This woman doesn’t leave very many stones unturned.

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Regional government is staffed and ready to go the minute vaccines arrive - the concern is that the Covid variants will get here first.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

During an in depth meeting at which Dr Hamidah Meghani and Halton Region CAO Jane McCaskill took Regional Council through where things were with the current Covid infection rate and the plans to begin immunizing residents, we learned that Dr. Meghani was concerned, she actually said “startled, when she saw an early version of a report that will be made public on Friday about the rate at which the COVID19 variants are growing out in the community.

Covid cases to date

The lock down we just came out of worked – the number of infections has been much lower – many think it should have been even lower before ending the lockdown.

She said on more than one occasion that she could see a possible third wave, using the word “likely”.

Regional Councillors got a solid briefing with Chair Gary Carr saying that the problem Halton is going to have is not enough in the way of supply to do the job that has to be done if we are to get ahead of the virus.

COVID org structure

A very sophisticated and well staffed Regional Vaccine Committee is in place – everyone is just waiting for the arrival of the vaccines.

Sometime in January Chair Carr and Burlington Mayor Meed Ward were on to the province demanding that they  deliver on what had been promised so that the Region could vaccinate the people in Long Term Care Centres.  Hot spots in Toronto got what was supposed to come to Halton.

Watching Gary Carr when he is angry is not a pretty picture.

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A New Scam - Aimed at People Who Buy a lot Online

Crime 100By Staff

February 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This scam is perfidious – deceitful and untrustworthy.

Many of us have resorted to buying on line and the people who sell and then ship to us tend to use whatever is available.

FedEx and UPS appear to be swamped at time.

The packages are frequently late but they do get there.

This note appeared in my mail box.  I knew the moment I saw it that it was a scam – but that is due to a large degree because I see literally dozens a day.

Take a look at this:

Scam delivery failed

My first reaction was that I had not bought anything from the company – but maybe one of the companies I did buy something from was using a different delivery service.

The address it was supposedly sent from could be real.  When I thought it about it – it just looked too fishy.  Then I noticed the address they used to reach me I realized that was not a name I would ever use.

Cardinal rule:  If in doubt – don’t.

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Charges Laid Against Halton Regional Police Service Officer

Crime 100By Staff

February 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A uniform member of the Halton Regional Police Service has been charged with offences under the Criminal Code of Canada following an external and independent investigation into an incident that took place in the Town of Oakville on April 8, 2020.

On that date, four Halton Regional Police Service officers responded to the area of Third Line and Dundas Street West in Oakville for reports of a male loitering in the area. An interaction ensued between the officers and the male.

Police officer assaulting man in Oakville

Police officer assaults young man while three other stand by taking no action.

Immediately upon learning of this incident, the officer who made direct physical contact with the male was suspended from duty with pay, which is the only option available to a police service as prescribed by the Police Services Act (PSA). Further, to ensure transparency, Chief Stephen Tanner requested that the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) commence a criminal investigation into the incident.

Concomitantly, the other three officers who were in attendance at the incident were re-assigned to administrative positions pending the outcome of the investigation by WRPS.

As a result of that external and independent investigation, Constable Jason Mathers has been charged on this date with the following:

• Assault with a Weapon
• Mischief Under $5,000

He has been released and is scheduled to appear (virtually) in court on March 9, 2021. He remains suspended with pay, which continues to be the only option under the PSA.

Now that the criminal investigation has concluded, an internal disciplinary investigation into the actions of all four officers under Part V of the PSA will be completed.

Halton Regional Police Services Chief Tanner wants to tweet with you.

Halton Regional Police Services Chief Tanner.

Chief Tanner on behalf of the Halton Regional Police Service said:  “We recognize that the actions of our officers at this incident have the potential to undermine public trust in our Service, and in policing as a whole. We remain committed to fostering and maintaining a very positive relationship with the community we serve.

It is of paramount importance that any investigation into the actions of a police officer is not only thorough, but also unbiased, transparent and fair. We are grateful for the assistance of the Waterloo Regional Police Service in this matter and for their investigation into this incident.”

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Burlington Recreation Programming Slowly re-opening Safely.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Recreation facilities welcome back participants in recreation programming that will start to re-open with a phased approach starting the week of Feb. 16.
Not all programs and facilities will be opened immediately; re-staffing and facility preparation is underway.

All Adult Virtual Fitness, Learning and Music Registered Programs already running until March 26 will continue as is with no change at this time.

Drop-in skating, lap swims, recreation swims and Aquatic Fitness will start to re-open this week and programs and locations will increase over the next two weeks. All programs can be viewed and registered for at burlington.ca/recreation.

Restrictions for City facilities and recreation as a result of moving in the Red (Control) Phase in the Province’s COVID-19 framework include:

• 10 people maximum for indoor programs such as ice pads, gymnasiums, etc.

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

Outdoor events limited to 25 people at a time

• 25 people maximum for outdoor programs

• Drop-in recreation programs will have a maximum capacity of 10 people, this includes skating and Aquatic Fitness

• Pool capacities for drop-in recreational swimming and lap swims will be reduced to ensure physical distancing can be maintained

• Bistro Express Curbside Pickup will again be accepting phone orders and providing nutritious home-style cooking for reheating at home. Pickup at Seniors Centre Main Entrance. Tap payment only accepted

• In-person instruction, including Learn to Swim and Aquatic Leadership courses will have a maximum capacity of 10 people

• Indoor pickleball activities are cancelled. Outdoor pickleball is available in Optimist and Leighland parks, weather permitting

• No spectators permitted at sports and recreational fitness facilities except for parent/guardian supervision of children
These restrictions will impact program providers in the following ways:

The students on the Bateman High School football team would love an opportunity to play in the rain. According to their side of the story they are not being given the chance they feel they deserve.

Team sports are on hold.

• For all team sports, indoor and outdoor game-play is not permitted

• Teams in City facilities and on City fields can adjust their programming to training and skill development with a maximum of 10 people indoors, up to two coaches and 25 people outdoors. Program participants are encouraged to reach out to their organization for additional information

• If you are a participant in a non-City program or team sport, please connect with your organization to understand how this may impact you

• No spectators permitted at sports and recreational fitness facilities except for parent/guardian supervision of children

• Parents/guardian must maintain 3-meter distance while in facilities

• No contact permitted for team or individual sports

The Ten Tour BAnd won't be in the FAmily room at the Performing Arts Centre but there will be kids running all over the place. Some will get to tickle the keys on the Grand Piano in the Main Theatre.

Public performances – including at the  Performing Arts Centre are not taking place. .

Limit duration of stay in a City facility or on City fields to 90 minutes (does not apply to sports)

• Require active screening, contact information and attendance for all patrons

• No live performances. Performing arts rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted

• Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by plexiglass or other impermeable barriers

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One student in one Burlington public school was found to be infected yesterday - numerous infections found throughout the Region

News 100 redBy Staff

February 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It should come as no huge surprise – COVID19 infections are being reported at several schools in the Region.

Mohawk GArdens Public school

A single student was infected and the class was closed – the school remained open.

Just the one infection reported in Burlington at the Mohawk Public school where the classroom has been closed.
Classes resumed at schools this week.

How many infections are there likely to be? No one has any idea. At this stage everyone is keeping a very close eye and readying for whatever they think could happen and be ready to respond.

It is going to be stressful week – we know why the infection took place – someone without the infection came in contact with someone who was infected.

The virus is in the community. How deep is infection rate likely to be ? We don’t know yet.

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An all Canadian Silver Lining - Done Right Without Government Support

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

February 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In even the darkest days of our lives, and 2020 has been the darkest I can remember, there are some silver linings. For example, on-line sales have never been better. Naturally, Amazon is the first thing we think of but other companies have also done well in this area.

While searching out a source of respirators on-line, I located a company selling Canadian made n95 surgical masks for less than $5 each. Mikhail Moore, a Vancouver engineer got together with some like-minded entrepreneurs and health specialists from McMaster University to design and manufacture respirators last summer. And in a matter of months he had ramped up a manufacturing facility and was turning out a million Vitacore face masks a month, including the highly effective n95 which had been in short supply only a few months earlier.

Vitacore masks

Purely Canadian

One problem Mr. Moore encountered was that Canada doesn’t even have standards for respirators. We simply adopt the US NIOSH standard, but for a Canadian that means one can only get certification if the product is manufactured in the USA. So Vitacore had to work with the National Research Council and Health Canada in order to obtain an interim certification order to meet the US standard.

Canada is apparently nearly self-sufficient in PPE now, according to the PM. But that doesn’t answer the question about why we were so unprepared at the beginning of the pandemic. Following the SARS outbreak two decades ago, Dr. Teresa Tam, currently Canada’s chief public health officer, authored the Canadian manual on pandemics. That included a call for a 16 week stockpile of personal protection equipment (PPE) in order to cover potentially two waves of a pandemic in this country.

But over the years, and over the last two governments, the stockpile had diminished. Then, in early February last year, the health minister shipped the last 16 tonnes of PPE to China to help them with their COVID fight. The government obviously believed the risk of an outbreak here was minimal. And for that reason neither did they initially close the border to prevent travellers from China and elsewhere bringing the virus with them.

And then a month or so later our hospitals were becoming overwhelmed and long term care was in such a mess that the army had to be called in. And, of course, the PPE we all needed was in critically short supply. Our traditional supply from the US had been blocked by Donald Trump. The hapless bureaucracy at Health Canada ignored offers by companies like Honeywell to send us masks from their factory in Mexico. And shipments from China had to be discarded as unsafe.

So health care workers re-used their disposable masks, and made their own cloth ones, or got sick, and possibly infected even more people in the community. And Dr. Tam shamelessly delivered a barrage of mixed messages about masks, including her initial comments that people were safer without one, as health officials everywhere debated what should have been obvious.

PPE graphic

The Atlanta based Centre for Disease Control provides information and specifications for PPE.

And unfortunately it wasn’t just about PPE. Canada’s entire record on this epidemic is abysmal. Whether it’s the federal government failing to secure our borders from day one or the provincial premiers lessening restrictions too soon. And now the question is whether these jurisdictions can get us vaccinated before another variant shows up and possibly renders the vaccine irrelevant.

Australia has announced that they will be manufacturing their own AstraZeneca vaccine and therefore have more control over its supply than we do. Of course, the Aussies, with near zero COVID transmission, don’t have to be in a hurry. Still, at least we Canadians now have affordable Canadian-made face masks. And if we used them we should be able to protect ourselves and our children, at least until the vaccines do arrive and get jabbed into our arms.

Vitacore mask prod line

Face masks coming off the Vitacore production line.

Vitacore has already moved forward to develop an even more efficient n99 mask and is anticipating the potential export of their products. The company is also embarking on a timely recycling program for used/soiled PPE in cooperation with McMaster University. They are setting up drop-off stations in Vancouver and will be sanitizing and palletizing the material for reuse in road building.

And another silver lining when we consider all the money the governments have been spilling, is that Vitacore has not needed federal or provincial subsidies to make their business model work. I wonder whether Vitacore president Mikhail Moore has ever thought about running for public office. We certainly could use some of those leadership skills.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers, born in Ontario earned an economics degree at the University of Western Ontario and a Master’s degree in economics at the University of Ottawa.  His 25 year stint with the federal government included time with Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and the Post office.  Rivers is active in his community; has run for municipal and provincial office.

 

Background links:

Vitacore –     PPE for China –    Canada’s PPE

Turning Down Masks –    Government Mess –    Standards

Nearly Self-Sufficient –    Canada’s Plan

 

https://shop.vitacore.ca/collections/frontpage/products/copy-of-can95-masks-health-canada-approved-1-box

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Public school board trustees gearing up to choose the next Director of Education

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Sometime between now and the end of August the Halton District School Board trustees are expected to decide on who the next Director of Education will be.

Stuart Miller H&S

Stuart Miller, current Director of Education, to retire in August.

Stuart Miller has served as the Director for the past five years. He submitted his resignation to the Board late last year.

Every member of the Board of Trustees will serve on the Selection Committee where the objective is to reach a consensus.

There are at least two of the current roster of Superintendents, (both female) that are certainly qualified.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

Grebenc, (left) and Miller have worked well together

Consultants are being brought in to guide and direct the trustees through the process.

Board Chair Andrea Grebenc will Chair the Selection Committee, the vice chair of the Board Tracey, Ehl Harrison, will serve as vice chair.

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