Are We Waiting for a Miracle because we aren't very good at common sense ?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Premier Ford started an online petition to persuade the federal government to enhance border control, presumably to tighten quarantine and restrict flights from COVID hotspots. It may be a little unorthodox for a province to start a public petition, but he must have felt it was necessary.

Our federal government has a less than stellar history when it comes to border control. Failure to act earlier by closing the border and enforcing quarantine was responsible for bringing the virus into our communities in the first place.

But today most of the infection comes via community transmission. Alberta has a pilot program in place to either test or quarantine arriving passengers at its airports. Their records show that less than 2% of all arrivals are testing as positive. Of course, if all arrivals properly quarantined none of this should be a problem. But we know people cheat, even in New Zealand and Australia where the military confines arriving passengers into mandatory quarantine in dedicated hotels.

So bravo Mr. Ford. But before Ford goes all ballistic and accuses the federal government of sloppy border control, he should look in his own backyard. Ontario’s winter surge of COVID cases is almost entirely the result of half-hearted provincial policies. Having declared victory too early, last summer, Ford’s administration has now allowed the virus to spread even further into workplaces, grocery stores and gradually into schools.

Ford OPEN for business

That lifting of the lock-down in March was probably not the Premier’s best decision.

Ford’s enthusiasm in reopening the economy, pretending Ontario was back to some kind of near-normal was folly. Opening bars and restaurants, gyms and churches and expanding the allowed size of private gatherings have all contributed to the degree of sickness we now find.

The mixed messages and ever changing rules of the government’s COVID public health restrictions were proof that the authorities had no plan, were making it up on the run or just muddling through. And then there is the unfortunate hypocrisy, as for example, when one of the government’s senior ministers holidays in the Caribbean while the Premier lectures the rest of us to stay at home.

If Ford actually had a plan it would be ‘waiting for a miracle’ – the vaccine. And even with that his people have fumbled at getting it out of the starting gate. Ontario has the lowest rate of inoculations among all provinces. And stopping inoculations over the holiday period, as if waiting for Santa to return to the North Pole, has not helped the government’s credibility. Not that COVID ever takes a break!

Ford’s effort to restart the economy too early has set this province back, rather than move us ahead. It has turned out to be a short term gain for a much longer and more severe pain. He is fortunate that the federal government has been shouldering the vast majority of the costs of this pandemic. But we know there is only one taxpayer in this federation at the end of the day.

Sadly there is some question as to whether the vaccines will even stop the epidemic or just keep us from getting sick. A scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO) has speculated that the virus may continue unabated to spread and mutate, perhaps to a variant which can evade the vaccine we’ve just taken and/or become even more deadly as happened with the Spanish Flu.

Halton has a very good student immunization rate - 93% of students are immunized.

The Teddy Bear makes it all bearable.

While we are waiting for our jab in the arm, shouldn’t our biggest effort be to eliminate the virus to (near) zero, the hard and proven way, as New Zealand and even China have done?

The truth is we really don’t know what these vaccines will accomplish, for how long they will protect and even whether there will be longer term undesirable consequences for those immunized. But assuming they do work as hoped, at current roll-out rates it may take close to a year to immunize enough people to allow us to safely get back to some kind of normal. By contrast New Zealand eliminated its viral contagion in seven weeks with an extensive and enforced stay-at-home lock down.

Mr. Ford’s current partial lockdown for 28 days, given the extent of infection transmission, particularly in the workplace, is not likely going to be enough. All of these half-hearted solutions have only led to COVID fatigue and rule breaking and ultimately to some kind of mental health crisis. And the task is not hopeless. Atlantic Canada has shown how it is possible to manage a contagion while the rest of the provinces have floundered.

In hindsight perhaps controlling this epidemic was too big a job to be left in the hands of the provincial governments and their health authorities. Perhaps the Prime Minister should have enacted the Emergency Act as he had offered to do at the outset of the crisis. After all, the feds are picking up the tab while we lock down and they could hardly have done a worse job with the miserable series of lock-downs. But then Mr. Ford might reasonably point out that the feds needed to have got their own house in order first – and he’d point to border control.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes from time to time about whatever is on his mind.  A former sheep farmer he has served as a federal bureaucrat for 25 years, ran for public office and lost. He was the founder of the first sustainability public interest group in Burlington.

 

Background links:

Ford’s Petition –   Ontario Vaccinations –   Acting Early

Ontario Mess –    Not Prepared –   Ontario Minister Holiday

WHO Scientist Doubts –    Alberta Airport Arrivals

Return to the Front page

One nut case and one provincial cabinet minister who seem to think that the rules don't apply to them - great notes to end the year on

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

An Ontario politician who has already been charged once for disobeying COVID-19 rules is blatantly breaking them again.

MPP Randy Hillier posted a photo on Twitter Sunday showing himself and 14 other people at what appears to be a holiday celebration. He used the hashtag “#nomorelockdowns” to accompany the photo, which shows disregard for Ontario’s public health guidelines.

In another tweet, he confirmed the photo was taken Dec. 27.

Ontario has been in a province wide lockdown since Dec. 26, put in place to combat the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus and ease the strain on the province’s health-care system.

Announcing the lockdown last week, Premier Doug Ford said it was a necessary measure to save hospitals from becoming overwhelmed in upcoming weeks. Currently, no indoor social gatherings are allowed, except for those with members of the same household.

Hillier Randy MPP

Randy Hillier, MPP for an Eastern Ontario riding had been expelled from the Tory Caucus, is still pushing back over the Covid rules.

Ontarians found guilty of hosting illegal private gatherings can face a fine ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, according to the Reopening Ontario Act.

In November, Hillier said on Twitter he was charged for his role organizing a large gathering at Queen’s Park in Toronto. He has opposed lockdowns and masks and has promoted a debunked pandemic conspiracy theory in the Ontario legislature.

Ford previously called the MPP “totally irresponsible” for the protest. The premier said he’s “never figured out” anti-maskers who believe COVID-19 is a hoax, saying, “this is a very serious virus we’re seeing … around the world, around our country.”

People on Twitter have called for Hillier to resign.

This comes after more than 40 local physicians signed an open letter to Hillier in December, fact-checking his incorrect claims about COVID-19.

“You are spreading misinformation that minimizes the seriousness of COVID-19 to support your personal anti- lockdown and anti-mask beliefs,” Dr. Jeanette Dietrich wrote.

“I urge the public to ignore you and heed the advice of trained health care professionals. Continue to practice social distancing, wear masks, and keep everyone safe.”

The above was picked up from Huffington Post Canada.

St Barts

Described as The Island for Billionaires St. Barts was the holiday destination for the province’s Minister of Finance while the rest of Ontario is under a month long lock down.

It gets worse. We learned today that the Ontario Minister of Finance, Rob Phillips,  had slipped out of the country early in December to the Caribbean island of St. Barts to celebrate the holidays in the sunny, sunny south.

Premier Ford, said he was not aware the Minister had left the county and ordered him to return immediately.

ROD pHILLIPS

Rod Phillips, was once the Minister of the Environment and moved into Finance. He was at one time the Chair of Post Media. His is going to have to get some media help to get out the mess he is in now.

The Minister did leave for his holiday, which had been planned sometime before the lock down was put in place.

While out of the country his staff was sending out tweets which implied that he was still in the country serving the public.

An example of really sick hypocrisy.

Durham Region, where Phillips’ constituency is located, entered into the “control” phase of Ontario’s tiered lockdown system in late November. Public health guidance for this phase says trips outside of the home “should only be for essential reasons.”

Tweets from Phillips’ official Twitter account reminded Ontarians on Christmas Eve to thank the “special heroes” making sacrifices during the pandemic.

“As we all make sacrifices this #Christmas, remember that some of our fellow citizens won’t even be home for Christmas dinner over Zoom,” the tweet reads.

“Thousands of front line heroes will be at work, looking out for us.”

stocks -

There was a time when Stocks were set up in public places where offenders against public morality formerly sat imprisoned, with their legs held fast beneath a heavy wooden yoke. It was never outlawed – just fell out of favour. Might be time to bring it back

Several photos of Phillips on public visits to small businesses and fundraisers were taken before his trip and were tweeted while he was abroad.

The only thing we haven’t heard from the Minister are the words “Let them eat cake”.

The Premier should think in terms of firing Phillips.

Dozens, perhaps hundreds of young people have had to cancel wedding plans because of the 10 person limit lock down requirement for gatherings of people.

With hundreds dying from Covid there are literally thousands who will not be able to attend funerals for the departed.

What I am looking for is a word stronger than ‘hypocrisy’. Putting Phillips in stocks on the lawn outside the Legislature might be an appropriate punishment.

The bigger damage is to the concept of public service which used to be something that was seen as noble. The giving of one’s self to serve the public, which is certainly what those thousands of hospital workers who care for those with COVID-19 are doing, gets trashed by people like Phillips.

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.

Return to the Front page

A full moon and common sense don't seem to mix

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is something about the strength of a full moon – the tug it has on our emotions and the impact it has on the earth.

Unfortunately that gravitational force does not bring any common sense with it.

full moon dec 29

A full moon in the process of rising over the city

One Gazette reader learned that the 6 foot social distance had been reduced to 3 feet for some – and the moon had nothing to do with it.

“Saw a family of cousins, aunts and uncles greeting on the street, mask-less, hugging and exclaiming, “So nice to see you again”, while the cousins piled into a van.”

Our reader suggests that family might want to touch base with each other around the 9th of January and ask how they feel.

The vaccine exists – but we have to be inoculated with it before it can do any good.

I am sure that most people listen for the number the province publishes on how many new infections are reported and how many deaths are recorded.

Adhering to what the lock down requires us to do individually is not always easily – but it is the only way we can stop the spread of the virus.

There is no rocket science to what we have to do. The rocket science has already taken place – the vaccine was determined and manufactured in record time.

We now wait for the next full moon and see what the governments report.

Return to the Front page

Did the Mayor get the feedback she was looking for from her colleagues?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 29th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The genesis for the document the Mayor sent her colleagues on December 7th came out of a 2017 Citizen Review Committee report that called for a review of the role for Deputy Mayors in subsequent terms of council.

Mayor Meed Ward was putting together the list of who would serve as Deputy Mayor and when and explained to her colleagues that one could not serve as the Deputy Mayor (DM) while they were serving as Chair of a Standing Committee. Changing that rule would call for a change in the procedural bylaw. While doing that it made sense to the Mayor to take a deeper look into what the other members of Council thought the role should be when they were serving as Deputy Mayor.

DM evolution graphic

A Council meeting on evolving the role of deputy mayor. First time around it didn’t produce all that much.

In a short visual presentation to Council, which was meeting virtually, Meed Ward set out what she saw as the options.
Roles and Responsibilities, Term and Term Extension, How Selected and Other. It was the “other” that was particularly interesting and revealing.

Meed Ward and Itabashi mayor

When the Mayor travels – and this one does like to travel – she needs a deputy mayor in place to ensure there is continuity of operations should a crisis hit the city.

Meed Ward pointed to possible variations: A purely ceremonial role where the Deputy Mayor would represent the Mayor and cut a ribbon or make a few comments at some event.

It could possibly be a situation where the deputy gave advice and worked as a partner with the Mayor. Should the person serving as Deputy be elected or appointed? Should there be an additional stipend and what should the term of office be? Anywhere from a month to the full four years.

It was clear that the Mayor was wide open to any ideas – not something one normally gets from a sitting Mayor. In the comments she made after the presentation she said she saw part of a Mayor’s job was to groom and nurture future holders of the office.

The over-riding question was – does council do nothing about the role or should it be enhanced?

Meed Ward is currently taking a course at McMaster on Corporate Governance and had learned that continuity of operations was critical. It was while doing the course work that Meed Ward fully realized that there really wasn’t an acceptable backup policy – someone to fill in when the Mayor was not available.

That resulted in a report she brought to council that led to a long protracted discussion on just what the role of a deputy mayor should be and if there were people on council who could step into the role if it became necessary.

The discussion revealed a lot about the other members of council: how they saw themselves and what they thought the role of a deputy mayor of council should be. They all wanted it to be more than cutting ribbons and taking part in flag raising.

The pressing concern for the Mayor was having a deputy in place and then developing a program that would educate the Councillors on just what is expected of them should they have to fill in for the Mayor.

The current council includes five people who had never served on a committee and knew next to nothing about how a municipal council worked. They were both green and wet behind the ears.

They have grown in the two years they have been in place and it is becoming clearer as to who has the skills and the inclination to seek higher office.

What these members of council were not prepared to do was set out just what the role of a deputy mayor should be.

They did agree that there needed to be a deputy Mayor in place for more than a month at a time and in January the Mayor will release the names of the people she would like to see in place as deputy mayor for the balance of this term which has a little less than 22 months left.

Mayor Meed Ward wanted to know what her colleagues would like to see as the role of a deputy mayor. She didn’t get much in the way of a clear answer.

“What do you think the role should/could be?”
“Should the term be monthly? Quarterly?”

Meed Ward asked: “What else comes to mind, is there anything missing? We need to capture those thoughts now.”

Meed Ward

Mayor Meed Ward was looking for much more in the way of input on the role of a DM from her council colleagues.

Meed Ward kept pressing the other members of council: “I want to be open minded and hear what my colleagues think” adding that she has her own initial thoughts. She was not on for one person serving as deputy minister for a full year.

The decision as to who serves as deputy mayor is part of the Mayor’s job. She will listen to council but she decides.

Councillor Sharman made it clear to his colleagues that he had served as the deputy mayor in place when the flood hit parts of the city in August of 2014.

Flood Fairview plaza

The day the rain wouldn’t stop both the Mayor and the City Manger were out of town. Councillor Sharman was the DM – he had to call a Special meeting of Council – something for which he admits he was not prepared.

“I was not prepared for that” but the city did get through it.”

Sharman had yet to get over not being given a chance to serve as deputy mayor so far this term saying that he was the “primary” Councillor and that he wasn’t sure what his not being part of the list that did serve as deputy mayor “was all about.”

Shawana Stolte 1

Councillor Stolte wanted a lot more in the way of discussion on just what a DM should be doing.

There were a number of good ideas put out for discussion. For Councillor Stolte the immediate objective was to get a deputy mayor in place “so that the Mayor could “get a good night’s sleep” Meed Ward had said that the city was at risk in not knowing just who would stand in for her if she were incapacitated.

Stolte agreed with that position however she did not want to take time at this point to define just what the role of a deputy mayor should be.

That for her is something that would be discussed during 2021 because “it is a bigger conversation” that needs time and some research. One of her questions was – Why enhance the role? Stolte pointed out that there was a statutory responsibility to have a deputy mayor in place and she wanted to see a number of people who had some training and experience to be able to slide into the job when the Mayor was unable to.

Councillor Kearns pointed to the diversity on council and said the mayor should uses the most qualified people to serve as deputy mayor. She felt council should be cautious and careful to ensure that chaos did not result with a less than clear understanding of the job.

Kearns with Mike

Was serving as DM resume padding ?

Was the role of deputy mayor just resume-building, should DM get paid more, would a deputy mayor have more in the way of ranking?

Getting in as a DM is one thing – how do you get out,  asked Kearns.

Councillor Sharman took that one step further and asked: What happens when the DM screws up.

There was an occasion when, due to a communications error, that the feelings of two Councillors were “hurt”. Everyone stepped around just who the two were and what the circumstances were – but that did point up the importance the newbies place on the job.

Councillor Nisan said he found that when he was serving as the DM a document would be put in front of him that h would be asked to sign.

On one occasion Nisan chose to meet with the city solicitor and ask for some direction before signing.

The Emergency Control Group, (ECG) that in practice runs the city while there is a pandemic and the province has set some rigid rules. In Burlington the Mayor takes part in the ECG meetings and the city manager reports to council on what they are doing and why.

Councillor Sharman has always had issues with just the Mayor taking part in ECG meetings.

Councillor Nisan pointed out that with continuity being the major driving force the ECG becomes a focal point for a DM. He added that there might come a point when there is more than one critical issue taking place which could stretch what a councillor could handle.

KG Dec 7

Councillor Galbraith had little to say on the role the DM should play.

Councillor Galbraith, who was chairing the virtual meeting, didn’t have all that much to say other than he had served as the DM and he had no problems. His assistant did come up with a “chain of office” he could wear.

He saw the role as more ceremonial than anything.

Angelo B

For Councillor Bentivegna it was a big step.

Councillor Bentivegna saw the discussion as a “big step” and pointed out that anything this council might put in place could be changed by a new Mayor.

It was Councillor Sharman who asked the question that should have been at the beginning of the meeting: “What business problem are we trying to solve?” He understood that the need for continuity was critical and had already pointed out that he was the most qualified Councillor to take on that task and didn’t understand why he wasn’t the full time DM.

Mayor Meed Ward certainly understood. One does not put the fox in the hen house.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward. Unbeatable? Some Tory's seem to think so.

Marianne Meed Ward will let her colleagues know what she has decided to do with the DM issue – she seemed to be looking for more in the way of ideas from council members.

She did say that she was prepared to spend some time with Councillors and mentor them but said it would be difficult to do much for them if the rotation is monthly – quarterly would give her the opportunity to do more for them.

Expect the rotation to be quarterly and this time around Councillor Sharman will get a chance to strut his stuff.

The Mayor will present her list early in 2021

Return to the Front page

Lock down seems to be working - a month less a day to go.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 29th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

How is that lock down going for you so far?

Lisa Kearns who from time to time walks the streets of ward 2,  reports that people are “walking for health and walking dogs. Not seeing any groups, the odd distanced coffee walk is happening.”

Lisa Kearns

Councillor takes to the streets – all seems to be well – quiet.

“All food service is open for pick up, including coffee shops so there is some activity there.

“Parking is readily available as well, so an indicator of reduced activity.

“Merchants all closed since lock down, chatted with one who was in store doing paperwork but not allowing in customers.

“Overall, 90 min parking fees waived was well received. Parking supply better managed for availability around commercial areas. Would still have to measure the Covid factor as merchants report more destination shopping (in and out) compared to leisure retail (store to store browsing).

Parking meter wrapped

Parking isn’t free but a quarter will get you 90 minutes.

“Significant absence of “December P” negative parking emails this year, last year there were 7 oppositional, detailed and direct emails with about 12 general concern emails. This year zero.”

No word from any of the other members of Council – yet.

 

Return to the Front page

Just why do people gamble

News 100 blueBy George Wolfson

December 29th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is well known that real money gambling makes entertainment more exciting and the experience of visitors intriguing.

Financial motivation is very important for those gamblers who come to casinos to try their luck not only for fun but also in the hope of getting a cash prize. If you find yourself interested in gambling, below you will find the most popular reasons why people are involved in this sphere.

Key Motivations by Experienced Gamblers

Paid Wolfson pic a

Monetary rewards greatly affects our behavior.

Money is a very strong human stimulus. Receiving monetary rewards greatly affects our behaviour and turns off rational thinking. The desire to gamble and take risks has become a modern phenomenon in the financial life of gamblers. Take a look at these five examples:

1)     Businesswoman

She is an ambitious and professional businesswoman with a very difficult job. She works in the world of finance and experiences the ups and downs of the financial industry on a daily basis. She feels the need to relax after work without burdening herself with the need to go out. Therefore, she takes advantage of online gambling on livecasino.land. When she plays slot machines, she’s not doing it to win. As a professional, she knows how to set limits on gambling.

2)     Team leader from the event planning industry

He is in charge of a team of people at his job. In the evenings, if he has free time, he prefers to stay away from people. When he plays slots, he prefers to win, but not always, as slots are just fun. He understands his statistical odds of winning and doesn’t expect more.

3)     A professional bartender

He enjoys extreme outdoor sports and works seasonally. In the off-season, he visits mountains for skiing and snowboarding. His hobby is what makes him happy. He likes to live on the edge. When he gambles, he is not motivated to win: he rather enjoys the thrill of risk-taking. As someone who doesn’t like routine, he loves slot machines. His motivation to play is based on emotion. This is a typical example of someone who loves slots because of the chemistry that takes place in the brain and the release of dopamine associated with it.

4)     A university student

He works part-time and likes experiments. His lifestyle is intensive and he doesn’t have much free time. He enjoys spending time with his friends, loves playing computer games, and knows all the slots available on the market. He loves the gamification elements that most of these games offer.

In Conclusion

Paid wolfson pic b

Behavioral psychology explains some of the reasons people gamble.

So, what really motivates players to enjoy gambling? The reasons and motives are numerous. In general, it can be explained by behavioral psychology. We have given just a few examples of players, who enjoy gambling at online casinos. For a deeper understanding of the issue, psychologists need to study the reasons why people play in detail.

However, we made a non-scientific effort to explain why people play.

 

Return to the Front page

Winter is here - the silence that comes with a healthy snow fall is something to enjoy

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Another lock down begins.

Another month of limitations on what we can do and who we can be with.

The only nice thing about Christmas Day and the realization that we have a difficult time ahead of us is the snow – there is something in the Canadian psyche and our DNA that welcomes snow.

Flower pots - snow

The flower pots lost their colour weeks ago – now they collect snow.

The silence the snow brings; the trees that are covered in the stuff; watching kids playing in it, and for those who enjoy  getting out on cross-country skis, the joy of winter is experienced again.

City hall reports that the streets have been cleared.

Still a day of pure holiday left. Enjoy.

Return to the Front page

Brant hospital worker first to be vacinated

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday, Joseph Brant Hospital’s first health care worker received the hospital’s first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccine was administered at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH), the Vaccination Centre designated for Halton Region.

JBMH president Eric Vandewall is reported to be working on his schedule and aking tme to meet with the city. Dinner with senior city staff was a good start.

Eric Vandewall, President & CEO Joseph |Brant Hospital

“All Joseph Brant Hospital Staff and Physicians celebrate this important milestone in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Eric Vandewall, President & CEO.

“After many months fighting against COVID-19, it is a remarkable moment our teams are recognizing.

However, we must be vigilant in following the safety measures, to protect our community, our vulnerable populations and our front-line health care workers for many months to come.”

After Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Ontario moved to rollout the vaccine to health care workers in high-risk settings, at 17 hospital vaccine delivery sites. OTMH is the Vaccination Centre for the Halton Region.

On December 22, 2020, COVID-19 vaccines began being administered to health-care workers across the Halton Region, who are providing care in long-term care homes and other high-risk settings.

Joseph Brant Hospital is working with Halton Healthcare and Halton Region Public Health to identify health care workers to receive the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the OTMH Vaccination Centre.

Planning is underway at Joseph Brant Hospital to prepare to open a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for staff and physicians at its own site in early 2021, as the vaccine becomes more widely available.

Although the news of the first vaccination at Joseph Brant Hospital is extremely positive, it is critical that everyone continues to follow public health advice to help keep everyone safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Return to the Front page

Update on City services and programs during the COVID-19 province-wide shutdown

News 100 redBy Staff

December 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, 0N

 

The province-wide shutdown, with additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19, is beginning Saturday, Dec. 26 at 12:01 a.m. The shutdown will be in place for all regions of southern Ontario, including Halton Region, until Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021.

Impacts to City services and programs

City Hall
Starting Jan. 4, 2021, City Hall, located at 426 Brant St., remains open for in-person service by appointment only for commissioning services and marriage licences. Walk-ins are not permitted.

Please visit burlington.ca/commissioning, burlington.ca/marriages or call 905-335-7777 to book your appointment. Residents can also visit burlington.ca/onlineservices to access a variety of City services online.

Service Burlington is available to answer questions by phone during regular business hours at 905-335-7777 and email at city@burlington.ca.

Burlington Transit
Burlington Transit will continue to run as scheduled including specialized transit. The transit terminal at 430 John St. will remain open to provide PRESTO services including SPLIT passes. Presto services are available at Shoppers Drug Mart or online at prestocard.ca. Transit schedules are available online at burlingtontransit.ca to download and print, via Google Maps, Apple Maps and using myride.burlingtontransit.ca.

Halton Court Services – Provincial Offences Office
Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will remain open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday to Friday. Visitors to the courthouse must self-screen using the provincial e-screening application at http://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening and wear a mask or face covering unless exempted from by the Mandatory Mask Bylaw

Telephone payments are available at 905-637-1274, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Many online services are also available by email at burlingtoncourt@burlington.ca or by visiting www.haltoncourtservices@burlington.ca

Recreation Services and Facilities
City of Burlington indoor recreation facilities will close, and all programs are cancelled. Recreation Services staff are contacting user groups, renters and program participants affected by these changes. Residents are asked to please be patient during this time as it will take two to four weeks for staff to process the large volume of cancellations.

Those who paid using a credit card will receive a pro-rated refund to their card where possible. This applies to rentals and program participants. All other payment methods will receive a credit to their recreation account.
Cheque refunds can be requested by emailing liveandplay@burlington.ca. Please be sure to include your full mailing address in your request.

Individuals with questions can follow up with their sport provider or user group or call Recreation Services customer service at 905-335-7738.

Residents are encouraged to remain active by accessing outdoor recreation opportunities such as walking/biking on trails or visiting parks and playgrounds. Residents can also take the Outdoor Winter Play Challenge and see how many free activities they can complete by Feb. 19, 2021.

Learn more at burlington.ca/playoutside. Options to stay active at home are available online at burlington.ca/activeathome.

Rotary Centennial Pond is open for skating, however all users must pre-register and complete the online screening at burlington.ca/screening. Capacity on the rink is 25 people. Please follow our social media channels and website for updates.

Roads, Parks and Forestry
Services provided by the Roads, Parks and Forestry Department will continue as needed. Residents with questions or issues can email RPF@burlington.ca or call 905-333-6166.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward made the following comments:

Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

City Hall is an essential service – but you can’t just walk in. Appointments necessary.

“I support additional measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 and appreciate that the Province listened to our voices (and those of others) calling for capacity limits based on size, including for big box stores, supermarkets and malls. Essential services will remain open, with restrictions.

“What has changed in the last few days is the need to look at health indicators beyond a single public health unit as we have in the past, especially for hospital capacity. We will continue to make decisions based on health evidence, and adapt quickly in light of new information that can change daily, sometimes hourly.

“Having recently spoken with the President/CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital, we’re supporting communities around us, so it’s critical to bring the numbers down across the entire GTHA region.

“It’s also clear the current measures in lockdown/grey areas are not sufficient – their numbers are not coming down. More needs to be done to stop the spread at source. New measures must be effective, enforced and based on health evidence. More must be done to protect long-term care homes, essential workers, and improve workplace safety.

“The City of Burlington is an essential service and is prepared to enter the Province’s shutdown. Our staff will continue to work from home serving residents, and we have established safety protocols for those staff required to be on site.

“I remain grateful to our residents and businesses who’ve followed health advice to keep yourselves and others healthy. Your efforts are working, and we will continue to do our part to assist regions around us.”

Quick Facts
• To report an incident of non-compliance with the provincial emergency orders in Halton, please call the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 hotline at 905-825-4722.

The hotline will accept non-compliance reports for the following Provincial emergency orders:

o Restrictions associated with level grey/lockdown of the provincial COVID-19 Response Framework
o Indoor/outdoor gathering limits
o Consolidated Mask Bylaw 47-20

Return to the Front page

Sean Baird avoids criminal convictions

Crime 100By Pepper Parr

December 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The pandemic took our inquiring minds off some of the other important news items.

In the Courts we were surprised to learn that the  R. V. Sean Baird case had advanced a bit.

On September 8, 2020, the charges of fraud over and utter forged document against the accused were withdrawn.

Recall that Baird was originally charged with:

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

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

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

Meed Ward H&S

Marianne Meed Ward.

It would appear that Baird is still facing the four counts of Corrupt Practice.
A conviction under the Municipal Elections Act is pretty small potatoes.

The original complaint to the police is believed to have come from then newly elected Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

 

Related news stories:

Baird registers as a Third Party advertiser in the municipal election

Police issue arrest warrant for Sean Baird

Impact of Baird arrest not fully known yet

Return to the Front page

Province dropping $200 into the households of parents with high school students

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

News about the schools  is pouring from every source, making it difficult for parents to keep up.

One piece of news that will help make their day – the province wants to give parents $200.

MMR students 1

Each of those students will attract $200 to the family budget.  Notice how this group is respecting the social distancing rules.

Parents of high school students in Ontario are eligible for a one-time payment of $200 per student to offset the cost of mandatory home learning this January.

Following the winter break, high school students will learn from home until Jan. 11 at the earliest, as part of the latest province-wide COVID-19 shutdown.

Premier Doug Ford announced on Dec. 21 that all schools in Ontario will remain closed after the winter break as part of the province wide COVID-19 shutdown, with secondary school students returning to the classroom on Jan. 11 in Northern Ontario and Jan. 25 in Southern Ontario.

Elementary school students across the province will also return to school on Jan. 11.

The province has made lump sum payments of $200 and $250 available twice this year for parents of children up to 12 years old or children and youth up to 21 years old with special needs, but this is the first time payments have been offered to parents and guardians of all students from 13 years old to those in Grade 12.

“While Ontario schools remain safe, we won’t take any chances following the holidays — we will pivot to teacher-led online learning to help protect against the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

“We are providing direct financial support to parents of elementary, and now high school children. to help them get through this pandemic.”

The provincial government will post application instructions to the Support for Learners web page in January.

Applications for secondary school students will be open from Jan. 11 to Feb. 8. The application deadline for payments for children up to 12 years old or children and youth 21 years old and younger with special needs — which was announced in November — has also been extended to Feb. 8.

The Gazette will let you know when the application forms are ready.

Return to the Front page

BurlingtonGreen hiring: two positions open

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Established in 2007, BurlingtonGreen is an award-winning, non-partisan, registered charity. Through awareness, advocacy and action initiatives, we work with the community to protect nature, mitigate climate change and to create a healthier, more environmentally responsible Burlington.

BG hiring graphicOur “Branching Out” strategic plan guides our impactful work. We collaborate with residents, businesses, organizations, and governments to ensure the rights of the environment are respected and together we make direct and tangible improvements to the local environment through the delivery of a wide variety of programs, events and services.

If you are passionate about creating a healthier environment and want to create positive change for a more sustainable future in Burlington, we invite you to check out the rewarding employment opportunities outlined below.

Video or phone interviews will be scheduled during business hours and ideally, we aim to onboard the successful candidates at the beginning of March, working remotely and potentially returning to our office located at Nuvo (former Crossroads Centre) at 1295 N Service Rd, Burlington, ON.

APPLICATION PROCESS:

No later than January 10th, 2021 at 5:00 pm, please send a 1-page cover letter and resume to Amy Schnurr, Executive Director at hr@burlingtongreen.org with your name in the subject line and on the file name of each attachment. In your cover letter, tell us what’s motivating you to apply and what skills or expertise you have that will be most important to be successful in the role you are applying for, and where you might be challenged.

Please note that we will not accept résumés without an accompanying cover letter and we thank all applicants for their interest. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

More details on the job description and requirements CLICK HERE

 

Return to the Front page

Conservation Authority asks people to stay on the trails and away from the water

News 100 greenBy Staff

December 22nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

School, what little there is left of it, will be out soon. This time for quite a bit longer.

Nothjing iminent - but Conservation Halton advises that rain expected has the potential to flood the creeks.

Winter ice on a fast flowing creek is not safe to walk on – stay away from the creeks.

With everything shut down and the kids still wanting to be outdoors the creeks and stream are inviting places to be adventuresome.

Conservation Halton reminds residents of dangers that can exist near streams, rivers, ponds and lakes around this time of year and urges people to keep family and pets away from the edges of all waterways.

wer

A trail in the winter is beautifully quiet. Get out and enjoy them.

While those of us in the environmental field know the call of the great outdoors only too well, this year more than ever, we want to remind all nature seekers to be extremely cautious when outside this winter. We ask that you “Target Trails and Steer clear of Streams”.

While temperatures have declined since November’s unseasonably warm days, we are experiencing frequent freeze-thaw cycles, resulting in the melting of accumulated snow and ice cover. This runoff will create hazardous conditions near all waterways, by contributing to higher water levels and increased velocities in local watercourses. As well, slippery and unstable streambanks and extremely cold water temperatures can also lead to very hazardous and dangerous conditions close to any body of water.

Be safe this winter and remember the following tips:

• Keep family and pets away from all bodies of water
• Avoid all recreational activities in or around water
• Tailor your winter outdoor activities to trails at your local parks and Conservation Areas

Return to the Front page

City hall figuring out what they will be able to deliver in terms of services during lock down.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 22, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Lock down graphicCity staff are reviewing the lock down restrictions to determine how it may impact city programs and services.

The Gazette will monitor what city hall decides to do and keep you fully informed.

In the meantime do the responsible thing – let’s not make this any worse than it is.

Return to the Front page

City reviewing details from province to determine how different this lock down will be from the last one.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Province puts us into a 28 day lockdown – but city hall continues to do what it does; deliver the services needed as best it can under the circumstances.

Commisso stare

City Manager Tim Commisso

City Manager Tim Commisso said earlier today that his office got detailed instructions from the province which they are now reviewing and will get information out to residents as soon as everything has been figured out.

Commisso did say that “Some city service delivery differences compared to previous lockdown and we will get out an updated what’s open/what’s closed list out ASAP once we review the provinces detailed list that they provided minutes ago.”

From Commisso’s point of view there is “Really no change for the Emergency Coordinating Group (ECG) – it will still meet regularly during 28 day lockdown period.

Gymnasiums in Haber Recreation Centre

Haber Recreation Centre: Ideal place to do mass inoculations

We don’t know yet when city council will meet – given that everything is virtual they should be able to maintain their January plans – budget being one of the biggest hurdles to get over,

Commisso wasn’t able to add much to how the inoculations are going to go other than that “it is too early to say if city facilities will be needed for that purpose”

Commisso expects that in January we will start to see a picture of what is needed (in the way of municipal facilities) for Covid19 vaccinations.

Right now we just hunker down and do what we can to let the Covid19 virus die out while we wait for the vaccines to arrive.

Return to the Front page

Gazette reader claims governments no longer have the moral authority to tax

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

We are all in this together.

Is there a member of council who hasn’t used this phrase?

Perhaps Councillor Sharman.

A Gazette reader sent in a comment which we have edited for length and clarity.

His concern was what a tax increase next budget might look like. His view was that a 0% increase was necessary because there are hundreds, perhaps thousands who are not working because their jobs disappeared or because they have been infected with the Covid19 virus.

“ I think we have entered a new reality. The costs of this pandemic have overwhelmingly and been shouldered by the private sector–layoffs, reduced wages, business closures and bankruptcies, increased private debt.
Governments and their employees have largely been sheltered from the worst economic impacts of this pandemic; even before the pandemic, public sector workers were enjoying higher wages, benefits, and pensions than their private sector counterparts. In this environment, governments have no moral authority to go to workers in the private sector and raise their taxes further depressing their standard of living in order to maintain the incomes and benefits of workers in the public sector.

“It is clearly time for governments of all stripes, including the current free spenders on Brant Street, to start reducing their spending …”.

What about a 10% pay cut for the members of Council – the savings would be put into a fund that would be available to those retailers in the city who are taking it in the ear,

The 10% would apply to just the salary – not the gold plated pension or the benefits.

When compared to the council members in the other three Halton municipalities Burlington Councillors have a very sweet deal.

A 10% piece of the base salary would amount to $5000 each.  We are talking about just the city salary – our Councillor are also Regional Councillors and the source of the other half of their $100,000 a year pay cheque.

Such a gesture might restore some of the moral authority our reader thinks this council no longer has.

Can this be done – it wouldn’t be easy but it could be done.  There was a time when Marianne Meed Ward didn’t think free parking was a benefit she could accept and said she would return the value of that benefit to the city.

Not certain if the Meed Ward followed through on that every year she was a Council member.

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.

Return to the Front page

Public Health office instructs retail operations to tighten up how they handle people using their locations

News 100 redBy Staff

December 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Regional Medical Officer of Health, using the authority she has under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA), issued instructions to the commercial and retail sectors.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Regional Medical Officer of Health, Dr. H. Meghani.

“I am issuing additional instructions to retailers ahead of anticipated higher volumes of shoppers this week,” said Dr. Meghani.

“Owners and operators must maintain capacity limits and physical distancing in retail spaces, common areas and indoor/outdoor line-ups to create safer spaces for both employees and patrons.

Our region is surrounded by areas in lockdown which will increase the number of visitors from neighbouring regions to our stores. It is more important than ever that we follow public health measures and I am hopeful that residents outside our region stay home or shop for essentials in their own community.”

Instructions issued by Dr. Meghani are intended to supplement the Regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA). Today’s instructions require that that all persons who own and/or operate one or more shopping malls and/or one or more retail stores in Halton region manage and actively monitor capacity to maintain adequate physical distancing. This is in addition to public health measures and regulations already in place

Dr. Meghani is also reminding all residents of their civic responsibilities to protect themselves and others.

“Patrons are also responsible for following all rules and protecting each other. In addition to wearing your mask, if you are shopping in person please keep a two metre (six foot) distance from others at all times,” Dr. Meghani added.

“This means being patient and courteous when shopping, waiting your turn to select items at grocery stores, following the directional arrows marked in store aisles, staying two metres apart in all line-ups and accepting that your trip may take a little longer than usual. Please take your responsibilities seriously and please continue to be kind to one another.”

This isn’t the first lockdown we have experienced.  We have been down this road before – so we know what we have to do.  Let’s just make sure we do it.

Return to the Front page

The 19th application for a retail cannabis license has come in - ten have been approved so far

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 20th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Application for 19th cannabis retail store in Burlington received by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario: Written comments due to Province by Jan. 1

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has received an application for a 19th cannabis retail store in Burlington called Pleasantrees. The proposed location at 372 Brant St. is now up for public comment.

This application does not meet the City of Burlington Council approved guidelines because it is within 500 m of another cannabis retail store.

Written comments about the proposed location will be received by the AGCO until Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 and may be submitted online at www.agco.ca/iAGCO. The AGCO will accept submissions from:

A resident of the municipality in which the proposed store is located,
 The municipality representing the area in which the proposed store is located and/or its upper-tier municipality.
Comments submitted to the AGCO should relate to the following matters of public interest:
Protecting public health and safety
Protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis
 Preventing illicit activities in relation to cannabis

After Jan. 1, the AGCO will consider all written comments and available information to decide whether the application for the proposed store location will be approved.

Currently there are ten licensed cannabis retail stores in Burlington since the ACGO moved to an open licensing system for cannabis retail store applications earlier this year. The ten stores include:

• Relm Cannabis Co. 4031 Fairview St. Suite 103
• Corner Cannabis 3007 New St.
• The Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. 1505 Guelph Line, Unit 3-4
• Friendly Stranger Plains Road 1025 and 1059 Plains Rd. E., Unit 3
• Pioneer Cannabis Co. 1200 Brant St., Unit B-004
• mihi 3500 Dundas St., Unit A1B
• Canna Cabana Burlington 2400 Guelph Line, Unit 2
• Welcome Cannabis 1401 Plains Rd., Unit 5
• Spiritleaf 3295 Fairview St.
• Canada Buds 1860 Appleby Line, Unit 11B

Seven additional cannabis retail stores are under review by the AGCO and two are out for comment, including this one.

This latest application is for a location just down the street from City Hall

Quick Facts
• On Jan. 14, 2019, Burlington City Council voted to allow the operation of retail cannabis stores in Burlington
• On Apr. 1, 2019, the first round of brick and mortar, privately-operated retail cannabis stores opened across the province
• The AGCO is licensing and enforcing regulations related to retail cannabis stores in Ontario
• The ACGO introduced an open licensing system for cannabis retail stores in January 2020. On March 2, 2020, the ACGO began accepting store authorization applications.
• The provincial requirement for a cannabis retail store is 150 metres from schools (as defined by the Education Act), as per the provincial regulations. The City of Burlington guideline for a cannabis retail store is 500 metres from schools

 

Return to the Front page

Hospital iissuing approved masks to everyone entering the hospital.Mask a MUST

News 100 redBy Staff

December 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When you next enter the Joseph Brant Hospital you will be given a mask to wear.

You may be wearing one of those snazzy decorative masks that are as cute as all get out.

Doesn’t appear to matter – the hospital administration wants everyone to wear the mask they give you as long as you are a visitor to the hospital.

 

JBH mask notice

Return to the Front page

The Rise of Canadian E-Commerce and How Web Design Comes into Play

background graphic redBy Claire Ward

December 20th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The marketplace is changing, and nowhere is this more apparent than with the Canadian e-commerce boom.

While this increase in e-commerce sales has been growing for quite a while, only recently has the true weight of this trend become fully apparent.

How E-Commerce Took Canada By Storm
First, the facts: in total, there was around a 99.3% increase in retail e-commerce sales in Canada in May 2020 compared to February of the same year. This totaled about $3.9 billion in sales.

Those are huge numbers, but they are indicative of a much larger trend that has continued even over previous years. For example, e-commerce sales have recently doubled with a 110.8% increase compared to May 2019.

That’s a big jump in only a little more than a year. Digital industries, more than any others, are set to rise in the coming decade.

While it’s clear that COVID-19 and personal shopping restrictions definitely played a role in this astronomical growth, it’s also clear that e-commerce has been on the cusp of exploding for quite a long time. All the tinder needed was a match to light the first spark.

E commerce design graphic

Covid has taught how to use online retailers – now to find an organization that can do the job.

Now, this development has the potential to restructure the entire Canadian retail industry from the ground up. For example, retail sales plummeted by 29.1% from February to April 2020 (which, admittedly, is in lockstep with the coronavirus restrictions that were rolled out across the country).

Still, it’s hard to deny the advantages that e-commerce inherently has over retail locations:

It’s easier than ever for people to find more products that physical stores may not have.

Ordering online often feels more convenient than visiting a physical store – even when grocery shopping!

Most e-commerce stores now offer free shipping, putting their prices equal to or more affordable than prices for equivalent products in retail stores

All in all, the future is abundantly clear: e-commerce is the way of the future for retail in Canada and beyond.

Winners and Losers – How Web Design Impacts Successful E-Commerce Stores
This being said, not every Canadian retail outlet will automatically benefit from huge profits over the coming months and years. Factors such as web design, which affects the look, navigation, and loading time of an e-commerce storefront or website, will determine which retail outlets will be successful compared to those that fail.

The reasons for this are relatively obvious:

People would much rather spend their time on a site that feels easy to navigate and fun to use rather than have to navigate a site that’s clunky and unintuitive

Furthermore, people are more likely to recommend an e-commerce site (and bring in more business for the retailer) if they appreciate their experience while they are there

Perhaps even more importantly, good e-commerce web design can provide credibility to a retailer. It shows that they know what they’re doing

Does Great Web Design Really Matter?
Absolutely! Knowing the benefits that well-designed eCommerce sites can bring to any retailer, it’s more important than ever before that companies build their digital storefronts with excellent web design agencies.

It may particularly be a good idea to hire a domestic agency if you’re looking for great web design in Canada, as these agencies will be able to craft an online space that’s perfectly tailored to your industry and unique needs.

But regardless, any retailer looking to take advantage of the rise of e-commerce in the Canadian market should look for an agency that:

can successfully identify customer pain points
can build a website that addresses those pain points
can provide a fast loading and intuitive web experience for all users

Time will tell which retailers rise to the challenge and craft new e-commerce stores with the capacity to grow and capture new markets.

Return to the Front page