City Planning was in Crisis before the Crisis Struck

opinionred 100x100By Jim Young

April 16, 2020


I have lived on Silwell Court, which backs on to the controversial 2100 Brant Street Development, for 28 years. I know the neighbourhood and the people involved, they were my neighbours. I also know John Calvert; a quiet, capable former Mississauga city planner. He and I share notes on planning issues and I am always the wiser for his thoughts.

Like John, I worked for change at the last municipal election, hopeful that those changes would bring greater local resident input on city plans. Also, like John, while happy with much of our new council’s work on Transit, Climate Change and the recent Covid-19 crisis response, I am equally disappointed in their approach to land planning issues. His Op-ed piece on 2100 Brant Street and the Gazette picture juxtaposing the proposed 233 units with the 236 surrounding homes says all that needs to be said about over-intensification, poor planning and design.

National-Homes-766- 233

The blue area denotes the Havendale community with 236 homes. The orange area is the proposed National Homes development where 233 homes would be built.

But greater than any objection to that development is my fear that the process to approve it indicates how future planning applications will be handled and resolved by the city. A process that not only limits the public input electors demanded in the 2018 council rout, but leaves us wondering whether it is an unfortunate confluence of conflicting provincial / municipal planning ideologies or intentional city planning policy; forsaking local input for expediency.

First it is only fair to point out that, even with the best of intentions, municipal planners are severely limited by The Ontario Planning Act. Developer amendments to zoning bylaws and official plans, are assessed, not necessarily on the local impact or wishes but more on how they comply with provincial planning legislation and guidelines. Also, the time for city planners to assess those amendments is severely limited by the Planning Act. Even the much debated Official Plan, still in the works after so many years, must comply with The Act and subsequent provincial guidelines on density, transit and mobility.

The land use planning, amendment and appeals process was already complex and changes by two successive provincial governments and an ongoing Official Plan review by the city have made the whole process so complex as to be un-navigable by planners and unintelligible to us mere citizens.

The old process was: The city’s Official Plan regulates what may be built. Developers who wanted to deviate from that submitted amendment applications to the city are approved or disapproved. Prior to submitting the application, developers held a statutory public meeting to inform residents of the proposed changes. Cities had 120 days to respond to applications. Developers could appeal unfavourable planning decisions to the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board). Failure by the city to respond in time was also grounds for an appeal by the developer.

The first change, in early 2018, saw the OMB replaced by LPAT (Local Planning Appeals Tribunal), a supposedly more municipal and resident friendly body. It allowed 180 to 210 days for cities to respond to amendment applications and made it, theoretically, easier for local residents to contest developer proposals. Before any of this could be tested, the Provincial election that year changed the government.

Ground break - Oct Suz Hammel, +

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna at the ground breaking of The Gallery, the 23 storey tower going up opposite city hall. The provincial government delivered regulatory changes that kept developers smiling.

With that change, a more development friendly government cut amendment application response times to 90 or 110 days and changed much of the amending criteria in favour of development. In a city which still had no official plan in place and a large number of pending applications, this was an impossibly tight deadline to meet. Throwing further confusion into this was the Review of the Official Plan, demanded by the electorate and concentrating on the downtown.

In a bid to allow planners time to develop the new official plan free from ongoing amendment applications the city froze the planning process using an Interim Control Bylaw. (ICBL)

We can argue whether this was undertaken properly, if the (ICBL) was successful? If the Downtown Transit Hub should have been addressed first? If the revised downtown plan is any better? But those are arguments for another column.

The outcome has been that on top of all the in-process amendments, frozen by the ICBL, developers lodged a further thirty one appeals to LPAT opposing the new plan and the ICBL. Add to this a city and a province beset by a Covid 19 lockdown and the whole process has simply seized up. Applications are frozen again, LPAT appeals are suspended and there seems to be confusion about whether the application deadline clock is still ticking or not. An email from Heather MacDonald, Executive Director, Community Planning Regulation and Mobility suggests to me the clock is frozen too, an article in the Gazette, April 14 suggests the issue is being debated at the province but there is no decision as yet.

The debate now becomes: Is the city a victim of powerful and shifting provincial planning whims? Or is the city happy to hide behind a land planning regime it cannot win against and capitulates to quietly while still disingenuously proclaiming its defence of resident interests?

I am beginning to believe the latter. Reading John Calvert’s plea to our mayor, one might reasonably conclude that the city’s new approach to planning amendments is: Receive the application. Sit on it until the response time runs out. Let the developer appeal to LPAT, then negotiate a settlement agreement with the developer with almost no input from local residents.

I worry that, with the city’s planning in an unresolvable mess and aware that municipalities are virtually powerless anyway, our elected council has found a way to live with a pro developer provincial planning regime while shrugging off responsibility for the outcomes.

I further worry that in a “Covid Shutdown” political environment, what little resident or municipal input exists in the planning process will be further eroded by meetings in camera, with no traditional citizen delegation.

Related news articles:

Calvert letter to the Mayor on trust

The pain Calvert carries

Marianne Meed Ward on trust.

Jim Young 2Jim Young is an Aldershot resident who delegates at city council on transit and local development.  He is consistent in his mission to ensure local government is transparent and accountable to the people who elected them.

Return to the Front page

Council will meet Monday evening - all via Zoom. Heavy reports scheduled

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 16th, 2020



The City Council meeting on Monday will be a much different presentation.

First – it will be delivered via Zoom which should take out a lot of the glitches that were encountered during the two previous virtual city council meetings.

The Clerk’s office still does not appear to have come up with a way to permit delegations – and given the agenda we have been led to believe they will be working from – it is going to be a whopper of an event.

Each of the departments is reported to have prepared a report on what they have been up against and what the closure of many programs is going to do to their budgets.

The reports are said to be lengthy.

The decision to use Zoom apparently didn’t come from the city’s techy people – a Councillor who had experience with Zoom during her time on the Library Board managed to convince the city manager that it was worth a try.

There is nothing all that elegant about Zoom – but it is functional. Councillor Galbraith reports that they have been given headsets which should make it easier to communicate to each other.

The most important part of the COVID-19 crisis is sound communication with a central point where the decisions are made.

Burlington is basically run today by the Emergency Control Group that is made up of every level of bureaucracy, the police, fire, ambulance – and the people who deliver the essential services.

They meet at least twice a day every day and manage the issues that crop up.

The bylaw they work under has the Mayor representing the voice of city council. The Mayor seems to have interpreted that to mean she is THE voice of council and much of her behaviour leaves the impression that she is not only leading the parade – but IS the parade.

There is thought to be some turmoil between the 7th and 8th floors of city hall. The Councillors are all on the 7th floor with the Mayor and her team on the 8th.

Mayor hospital clap

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward in front of the hospital convey the public’s gratitude for the service they are giving and the risks they are taking.

The Mayor has taken to holding Front Line Claps to support the people who are not ill but put themselves at considerable risk taking care of those who need care.

Last Friday, instead of clapping from the veranda of her house the Mayor took to her car and was part of a caravan of vehicles that drove down Maple and onto the hospital grounds where she lead at least 15 first responder vehicles.

They pulled up in front of the hospital where the Mayor hopped out with a megaphone in her hand and addressed whoever in the hospital could hear her. The Mayor was alone – no members of council with her.  It would have been a very simple matter to invite the other members of council to take part.

Didn’t happen.

Return to the Front page

Halton Region COVID-19 data suggests that long term care facilities account for 17% of the infections

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 16th, 2020



It’s a bit of a numbers game – with each level of government using their own data.

The public would love to see a single point where all the data resides.  Not likely to see that any day soon.

The Region provides the local data.  This afternoon they released the following:

April 16th

It is pretty clear now that the danger point is the long term care centres and the nursing homes – where in Halton Region 17% of the cases are from those locales.

Based on what we are getting from the Regional Public Health people – there have not been any deaths in the homes.

Hopefully that is due to the quality of the care being given and the very strict adherence to the rules and not luck.  The Long term care facilities are run by the Region where staff would be full time.

The data indicates that the really high at risk demographic is not taking the hit that other parts of the province are experiencing.

Return to the Front page

Telephone service that will allow people isolated to talk to groups in a conference type call.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 16th,2020


Burlington Recreational Services team is piloting TelePALS – Telephone Partners in Accessing Leisure Services.

senior on the phone

Connecting those that are isolated 15 people at a time.

It is a service that allows people who may not know each other to connect and communicate by telephone. The Seniors’ Centre Without Walls (SCWW) is as simple as just picking up your telephone!

Through the use of multi-person phone calls, SCWW provides the opportunity for participants to join in on health and wellness seminars, educational lectures, brain-stimulating activities, listen to live musical entertainment, join in on general conversations, and make new and meaningful friendships – all from the comfort of home! It works just the same as attending a class or a lecture at the centre, but instead it is facilitated over the telephone.

Seniors’ Centre Without Walls Basics:

Completely free program.
You do not need to be a member of any association.
Programs are multi-person phone conversations (or conference calls).
No special equipment needed – just your average phone!
Call yourself in to the program, or we can call you – it’s your choice!
Each phone session lasts between 30-60 minutes on the phone.
Each phone session averages 10-15 people on the call.
You are able to hear each other, talk to one another, learn, and/or just have fun!

The first phase of the pilot involves people referred to Parks and Recreation; phase two will have broader participation.

Since the closure of City programs the team doing the pilot has conducted a Caring Calls program reaching over 2500 participants. They heard that many of our community valued these calls very much and the point of connection they provided.

“Many also indicated a desire to be contacted again. Because we became aware of so many people experiencing a sense of isolation, we thought we would start TelePALS with these folks first, and then increase the service by promoting it more broadly to the City in coming weeks.

“At this time if you know of friends, families, clients or other individuals that are not on-line, or not comfortable with computers but would like to hear more about Telephone Recreation programs via TelePALS, could you contact Mandy Newnham ( for  more information.”

The first priority would be to reach older adults or individuals who may be more home-bound due to a disability; they expect to expand very quickly to enroll any older adults interested in the programs.

The city has yet to go public with this program – we stumbled across what they were working on. We will do our best to keep you posted – the Parks and Recreation are not known for their ability to communicate all that well.

Return to the Front page

Joseph Brant Hospital has a sign it wants to put on your front lawn.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 16th, 2020



The men and women who enter the Joseph Brant hospital every day deserve every scrap of support that can be found.

People bang pots and pan and clap for two minutes on Friday evenings – some people are providing meals and other levels of support for those workers who are doing 12 hour shifts.

Unfortunately, earlier this week the hospital announced that 12 staff members and three patients were identified as having contracted the COVID19 virus – the staff members are at home – self isolating. No word on the patients, one of which was in the surgical unit.

Quite how this happened has yet to be explained – what the public would also like to hear is how the hospital doubled down to ensure that staff were taught to be even more careful. The virus was brought into the hospital.

Leadership at the hospital is grateful for the incredible support received from the community. The support for staff through donations of Personal Protective Equipment, technology and in-kind support speaks to the level and depth of community support.

Hospital support signThe Hospital Foundation is inviting people to show their support for the hospital and staff by displaying a We Love Our Hospital lawn sign.

Their goal is to remind our healthcare heroes that the entire city is behind them and appreciates what they are doing every day. Signs can be requested online at

The sign will be delivered and installed by Foundation staff while ensuring physical distancing.

Return to the Front page

The outhouse will be an experience - talking to people will be wonderful

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

April 16th, 2020



Without naming anyone – got the following from friends.

They, like hundreds of people, are looking for a way to break out of this social isolation we are all coping with.

outhouseThe friends said: “Once I’ve got the deck up – I can set up some social distant chairs and invite you two over – each bring our own picnic hamper including drinks and glasses –

“I have an outhouse so nobody needs to go into the house – but at least we can talk to each other without wearing a mask if we’re a metre or so apart.”

The outhouse will be a new experience but we do need to talk about that 1 metre distancing when all current advice recommends 2 metres.

Might wait until the next Town Hall the Mayor puts on and ask the medical experts if this would be acceptable.

Return to the Front page

Burlington Green has a neat project for children - turning milk cartons into bird feeders

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

April 16th, 2020



At a time when parents are looking for ideas and small projects to keep their children active Burlington Green has put forward a neat idea – Put your Waste to Work.

They want to Up-Cycle cartons into bird feeders to help attract pollinators and encourage biodiversity right in your backyard.

BG milk carton projectBurlington Green will demonstrate how to create bird feeders from old juice or milk cartons on Facebook Live. This event is suitable for ages 8+.

When: Thursday, April 16th at 2:00 pm via Facebook Live. To watch, follow the event live on the Burlington Green Facebook page.

Please register for this event here.

Missed the event? Not to worry! You can view the video on our Facebook page following the event.

Return to the Front page

Ontario has a Premier that is delivering

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 15th, 2020



You have to give credit where credit is due.

For the past month Ontario has had a Premier who has delivered.  Surprising to many, is the level of empathy we are seeing from the man.

Doug Ford - habd to head

Ontario Premier Doug Ford – being pressed at every level yet keeping it all together.

Doug Ford is there before the cameras every day of the week; answering the tough, but necessary, questions.

Yesterday he stepped away from the camera, took a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his brow.  He was sweating it literally.

There is nothing smooth or slick about Doug Ford; his oratory doesn’t soar but when he says he will “look into it” – he does.

Hearing a politician say that they will do whatever it takes and then having them deliver on that statement is certainly refreshing.

His response to the desperate situation in the long term care homes hit home for this man; his Mother-in-law is a resident in one.

He moved swiftly to make changes across the system – long term care and the people who provide the service will benefit from his ability to see the problem, accept the advice he was given and get the wheels moving.

There will come a time when the spending being done today will have to be recovered from the tax base and we will watch with interest on how the current government pulls that off.

But right now Doug Ford is leading in a way this writer didn’t expect.

Does anyone happen to know where the leader of the provincial Liberals is.  Has the New Democrat leader lost her tongue?

Many of us laughed when Doug Ford was basically hidden during the last federal election for fear that he would embarrass Andrew Scheer.

I may have issues with underlying philosophy that the Progressive Conservatives bring to the table but the man leading the government today is doing the job and I’m not embarrassed.

Listening to him say that he is a politician and he listens to the experts – and that it is his job to step aside and let the experts do their jobs is refreshing.

We didn’t see that from the federal Liberals during the SNC mess that occupied the minds of many trying to figure out just what the full story was behind the demotion of the then Minister of Justice Jodie Wilson Raybould.

Ford for the people

Doug Ford is likely to be a two term Premier.

Every political leader has people who do the longer term political thinking.  Were I Doug Ford, I would be asking my team to think about when to go back to the electorate.

When the COVID-19 crisis is behind us and things are getting back to, or close to, normal I would call a snap election – because when this is all over there is going to be a huge economic mess that may take as much as a decade to recover from and some very painful financial decision are going to have to be made.

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

Food Bank is delighted - people are getting used to the idea that the Bank delivers.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 15th, 2020



The Burlington Food Bank reported that there were just a few people at their door after the long weekend.  Their transition to delivery rather than pick up is working. .

The Food Bank is asking people who need food or know of someone who could use their help to have them email us at or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at the door. If you live in Burlington, we are here to help.

Angelo - not getting it -deferal

Councillor Angelo Bentivegna worked his connections and found some needed storage space for the Burlington Food Bank – Kudos to the Councillor.

The long weekend gave the Food Bank a chance to get caught up – the now have about 45 food hampers ready to go out this morning.

For those who wonder what our City Councillors are able to do during the State of Emergency there was some news from Councillor Angelo Bentivegna who was able to locate and provide some storage space for us.

Good timing as Feed Ontario will be delivering some pre-made hampers to us expected sometime this week.

Food Bank Update today


Return to the Front page

Police Make Arrest in Steroid Trafficking Investigation

Crime 100By Staff

April 15th, 2020


Police Make Arrest in Steroid Trafficking Investigation in Burlington.

The Halton Regional Police Service has made an arrest in relation to a Steroid Trafficking investigation in Burlington which began in March, 2020.

police Steroids apr 15

The evidence.

Investigation by the Burlington Street Crime Unit on April 14th, 2020 has led to charges against the following individual;

Shane JOORIS (35 Years of Burlington)

  • Trafficking in a Controlled Substance (Steroids) – 2 counts
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance (Steroids)

A search warrant was executed at a Burlington residence and the following items were seized:

  • 31 various steroids and medications used for bodybuilding

$20,230 worth of drugs were seized as a result of the search warrant.

The accused was released on an Undertaking.

Tips 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

Please be reminded that all persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Return to the Front page

Government considering 'making it possible to suspend certain municipal planning decision timelines during the state of emergency'

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2020



Queens PArk bannerA breath of fresh air ?  Included in the debate in the Legislature today was a decision “making it possible to suspend certain municipal planning decision timelines during the state of emergency, and change the Development Charges Act to ensure municipalities can continue to count on a vital source of revenue that helps pay for local growth-related infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewers as well as fire and police services.”

The announcement was made in the Legislature – we now have to wait for the specifics that will be released by the Minister of Municipalities and Housing.

Many will wait to see what reference is made, if any, on the processes and procedures that apply to Local Planing Act Tribunal.

Return to the Front page

I heard a very distraught man who was deeply hurt

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2020



I didn’t know John Calvert. I knew of him. He was Director of Planning in Mississauga at a time when Hazel McCallion was Mayor – and he survived – Hazel was one tough cookie.

I was sent a copy of the letter Calvert wrote to Mayor Marianne Meed Ward expressing his profound disappointment on how the National Homes development on Brant was proceeding.

John Calvert has lived in Burlington for more than 30 years.  Watching the shape, look, and feel of the city disintegrate has bothered him for some time.

John Calvert with model

John Calvert: Deeply hurt and disappointed

I had to ask a friend for contact information and see if Calvert would take a call from me.

He said he would and we had a ten minute talk.

I heard a very distraught man who was deeply hurt talk about the Due Process that he did not feel had taken place and the need for public input on planning decisions.

He agreed with me that people were excited when Marianne was elected Mayor – many believed that the development proposals on the table were going to ruin the city.

Calvert said he “likes Marianne” he just didn’t seem to like what she was doing.

“It took me some time to write the letter” said Calvert. “I showed it to my neighbour Ed Doer who was heavily involved in the opposition to the National Homes development; he said I had written what needed to be said.”

When Mayor Meed Ward went to France to take part in the 75th WWII anniversary she went with Calvert’s wife who was one of the Burlington residents who made the Juno Beach reception centre possible. Calvert told me that the two women travelled together and got along very well.

Calvert said he was asked to speak at one of Meed Ward’s campaign funding events. “I did so willingly” said Calvert
Calvert knows the ins and out of the planning profession. He told me that the communities we build today will determine the kind of society we will have a couple of decades later.

He talked about the lack of amenities in a community that was to have 233 homes – which may have been chiselled down to 215.

“The traffic problems will be horrendous.”

Calvert hopes that this Council decides to take a sober second look at what is being proposed.

The issue for Calvert is trust and quality in developments. By quality he doesn’t mean quartz counter tops and shiny high end stoves. He means space for people to live, back yards where there is room for one of those large Italian families and parks where children can play and enough room for a child to learn to ride a bicycle.

Calvert said he was excited when Meed Ward came along – mistakes that had been made were going to be corrected. Now it doesn’t look that way.

“Someone has to stop this” he said

Related news item:

The Calvert letter

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

Schools will not open on the 4th of May - 'year is not lost' adds the Premier

Newsflash 100By Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2020



Doug Ford - habd to head

Premier Doug Ford – sweating out a very tough situation.

During a media conference call hours ago, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that Ontario Schools would not be re-opening on May 4th and that the Minster of Education will be making an announcement on that matter in a few days.

The Premier added that the decision to not open the schools on the 4th “does not mean that the school year is lost”.

Return to the Front page

Mayor loses a major fan: Planner 'profoundly disappointed and personally offended' over expected LPAT settlement on the 2100 Brant development.

opinionred 100x100By Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2020



She broke his heart – he truly believed that after working his buns off to get her elected that she would not sell him out – the Mayor has lost a fan.

John Calvert with model

John Calvert

John Calvert, former Chief Planner for the City of Mississauga when Hazel McCallion was Mayor wrote Marianne Meed Ward saying:

Madam Mayor

Trust, Honesty and Commitment are the qualities I value most in family, friends and colleagues.

It appears that Council is considering a settlement agreement with National Homes on their application for a townhouse development at 2100 Brant Street.

Nationa; homes - Brant Master landscape

A planned 233 homes for the property on Brant Street

It pains me to write this letter after all you did on the file, as a Councillor and Mayor, and the extensive work by Vision 2100 Brant, in addition to the commitment I made to your campaign. I am so profoundly disappointed and personally offended in this process and possible outcome.

Aerial-of-2100 brant site

It has been a farm field for decades – owned by the Catholic Church. Then a developer saw an opportunity.

This file is a critical example of where you could demonstrate keeping your campaign promises which all residents expected.

I regret having believed that you would actually fulfill your two main campaign promises – to oppose over-development and improve public engagement. The proposal for 2100 Brant is probably the worst case of over-development the City will experience (except the mess being made of our downtown) and yet you appear to support it.

 The current planning process in Burlington, which is not practiced by other municipalities, consists of ….file an application…no decision….appeal to LPAT…settlement hearing. This not only denies Due Process but takes away residents’ rights.No public input into the settlement.  It is not what we were told after this Council rescinded the 2018 settlement.  We were told no more settlement hearings. Tell that to the residents along Townsend Ave after settlement hearings at 92 and 484 Plains Road. You supported these two settlement hearings.Why are the majority of development applications decided by LPAT and not Council?

You agreed that staff were compromised on the 2100 Brant file and the City would retain an outside planner to review the file, and if required, would be the expert witness at the LPAT hearing. The planner would be retained by the City and for the City. The planner was not for Vision 2100 Brant. It was your decision and now, at the last minute, there is a change of mind.

 At the second LPAT Pre-hearing (April 3. 2019), Legal staff told the LPAT Chair that the City would have two Expert Witnesses, a land use planner and a traffic engineer. The Chair gave us permission to “umbrella” or use the City’s witnesses, and made no mention that each Party needs to provide their own independent witnesses.  Check the minutes of the Pre-hearing. Once again, the residents are disappointed.

National Homes image

The intensification is obscene. The blue area denotes the Havendale community with 236 homes. The orange area is the proposed National Homes development where 233 homes would be built.

Have you challenged staff on why 2100 Brant is not compliant with the Official Plan policies on Compatibility based on the Intensification Strategy? Why have an Official Plan if the residents cannot count on Council to address the policies in their decisions? In addition, how can you support the need for 26 variances to the zoning development standards to allow National Homes to overdevelop the site?

Do you really think this is Good Planning? What impact will it have on the rest of the City? If you support it here, what does that say to all residents? This will be a precedent established by this Council. This is exactly what residents expected you, and the new Council, to oppose on our behalf.

I feel you did not keep your promise for the Downtown. How could you not remove the MTSA designation for the John Street bus stop and why hasn’t the City filed a motion with the Province to review the location for the Urban Growth Centre following MPP McKenna’s letter? The numerous delegations were counting on you to protect the Downtown by avoiding developers using these elements to ask for increased height and density as in the Adi application. Again I feel let down and unfortunately I am not alone.

I commend your leadership and time commitment in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but feel compelled at this time to make my feelings known prior to the next Council meeting where the apparent settlement agreement might be dealt with. All of us are counting on you, and our elected councillors, to support us and the City at large will expect the same when this is all brought to light.

Related news stories.

Meed Ward’s view on September 2018

New council gets the development – what do they do?

Council gets another chance to debate the development

Return to the Front page

On April 12th - the population % of Halton's COVID19 cases is higher than the province when ranked by age

News 100 redBy Staff

April 14th, 2020



The Regional Public Health office released COVID-19 data up to end of day on April 12, 2020

The population % of Halton’s COVID-19 cases is higher than the province when ranked by age.  This is because Halton has more seniors than any other part of the province.

The curve has not yet flattened.

The data tells us that there were:

87 COVID-19 cases reported to Halton Region Public Health since the last update (63 confirmed + 24 probable)

356  COVID-19 cases reported to Halton Region Public Health to date (316 confirmed + 40 probable)

Fig 1

COVID-19 cases, by reported date, Halton Region, Mar. 1-Apr. 12, 2020, shows the 356 COVID-19 cases that had been reported to Halton Region Public Health by end of the day on April 12. All cases have been graphed according to the date they were reported, which is often several days after the onset of symptoms. Among the cases in this figure, 87 were reported since the last update (meaning they were reported between April 9 and April 12, 2020).


Individuals who are lab-confirmed cases are shown in green. Individuals who are probable cases are shown in orange. Probable cases are epi-linked cases, which means they are presumed to have COVID-19 because they are symptomatic close contacts of cases or returning travelers who have COVID-19 symptoms.

Case demographics

48 Halton COVID-19 cases work in health care (13% of all cases)

Fig 2

Figure 2: COVID-19 cases, by age and sex, Halton Region, 2020 Figure shows that by end of the day on April 12, the most COVID-19 cases were among Halton residents aged 40-59 (with 129 cases, or 36%). 208 of the 356 cases (58%) were female.

Municipal level

COVID-19 cases, by municipality of residence, Halton Region, 2020

The figure 3 shows that by end of the day on April 12, the greatest number of COVID-19 cases were among residents of Oakville (with 122 cases, or 34%). Please note this figure shows counts, and therefore does not take into account the different population sizes or age structures of the four municipalities. Counts in municipalities can also be inflated by outbreaks that have occurred within institutions in their boundaries.

Fig 4

Percentage of COVID-19 cases, by exposure source, Halton Region, 2020

Case Exposure source
Figure shows that by end of the day on April 12, 154 of Halton Region’s COVID-19 cases (43%) had no known travel or contact history, and therefore were believed to have acquired the virus within Ontario, making them community cases. 96 cases (27%) had contact with a confirmed case that was believed to be the source of infection. 83 of the cases (23%) had a history of travel that was believed to have been the source of their infection. Information on exposure source was pending for 23 cases (6%).

Case outcomes

46 Halton cases of COVID-19 have ever been hospitalized to date

114 Halton cases of COVID-19 have recovered to date

11 Halton cases of COVID-19 have died to date


Institutional outbreaks

1 confirmed institutional outbreak of COVID-19 reported to Halton Region Public Health since the last update

7 confirmed institutional outbreaks of COVID-19 reported to Halton Region Public Health to date

Among the seven confirmed institutional outbreaks reported to date, four (57%) have been in retirement homes, while two occurred in long-term care homes and one occurred in a hospital. One of the confirmed outbreaks was reported since the last update (meaning they were reported between April 9 and April 12, 2020). None of the confirmed outbreaks have yet been declared over. Please note these counts do not include any suspected outbreaks that remain under investigation.

Comparison to Ontario

7,470 total confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario to date

Fig 5

Age-specific rates of COVID-19 (per 10,000 population), Halton Region and Ontario, 2020

Figure shows age-specific rates of COVID-19 for Halton and Ontario. Rates take into account the population size of each age group to make it possible to compare between different areas. Halton’s age-specific rates are now similar to the provincial rates for all age groups (for example, while Halton has 21.9 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+, this is not statistically significantly different from the 17.0 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+ in Ontario). It is important to note that these rates will fluctuate as numbers increase throughout the pandemic, and that differences between age groups may reflect differences in the likelihood of developing symptoms and being tested.

Data limitations and data sources:

All Halton case data: integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS), extracted at 7:00 AM on April 13, 2020, to reflect data entered by the end of the day on April 12, 2020

Ontario case data: Public Health Ontario, Epidemiologic Summary, COVID-19 in Ontario: January 15, 2020 to April 12, 2020, posted on April 13, 2020 to

Denominators for Halton and Ontario age-specific rates: Population projections [2020], IntelliHEALTH Ontario, extracted on April 8, 2020.

Data notes

All cases of diseases of public health significance diagnosed in Ontario are entered into iPHIS by local public health units. iPHIS is the Integrated Public Health Information System. It is a dynamic disease reporting system which allows ongoing updates to data previously entered. As a result, data extracted from iPHIS represent a snapshot at the time of extraction and may differ from previous or subsequent reports as data are updated.

The data only represent cases reported to public health and recorded in iPHIS. As a result, all counts will be subject to varying degrees of under-reporting due to a variety of factors, such as disease awareness and medical care seeking behaviours, which may depend on severity of illness, clinical practice, changes in laboratory testing, and reporting behaviours.

Cases are included if their “diagnosing health unit” in iPHIS is Halton Region, which means counts include only individuals whose primary residence is in Halton Region. The case may not necessarily have been managed by Halton Region, if they were temporarily residing elsewhere during their case management period. Cases managed by Halton Region who normally live elsewhere but who were managed by Halton Region staff because they were temporarily residing in Halton during their case management period have not been included.

Cases for which the Disposition Status in iPHIS was reported as ENTERED IN ERROR, DOES NOT MEET DEFINITION, DUPLICATE-DO NOT USE, or any variation on these values have been excluded.

Figure 1 distinguishes between lab-confirmed and probable cases. Since April 7, probable cases are defined as epi-linked cases, meaning they are symptomatic close contacts of cases or returning travelers who have COVID-19 symptoms and therefore are presumed to have COVID-19. All other figures and numbers include both confirmed and probable cases combined.

In subsequent reports, counts in Figure 1 may increase as cases are added from past dates due to delayed data entry or new arrival of lab results. To minimize such retrospective changes, cases have been graphed according to case reported date, which does not reflect onset of illness.

Cases are considered to work in health care if they are known to have an occupation that involves caring for patients, e.g. physician, nurse, occupational therapist, recreational therapist, chiropractor, paramedic, midwife, orderly, etc.

Exposure type is determined by examining the exposure and risk factor fields from iPHIS to determine whether a case travelled, was a contact of a case or neither. A hierarchy has been applied as follows: Travel-related > Close contact of a confirmed case > Neither (indicating community acquisition) > Information pending.

Case outcomes (hospitalizations, recovery, deaths) reflect the latest available information reported to Halton Region Public Health and recorded in iPHIS by the extraction time.

Institutional outbreaks include outbreaks of COVID-19 in settings such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and prisons.

The story for the period ending April 8th.

Return to the Front page

A 48 km run in 24 hours - 'What an experience!'

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

April 14th, 2020



Some people worked during the long weekend – the Food Bank crowd certainly did.

Parents looked for interesting things to do with their children who had difficulty understanding and asking “why not?”

Ashley Worobec, part of the Coping with COVID19 and the kids team, reports on how things are working out in her household where two children get their education by computer.

Worobec is a chiropractor at the Burlington Sports and Spine Clinic, and an avid runner; she has competed in a number of major marathons.

As she was getting ready to settle into the long weekend she heard of an Ultra 24-hour endurance test:

Six people ran 8km in our own neighborhoods, every four hours, starting at 7pm Friday night. So that was 7pm, 11pm, 3am, 7am, 11am, and 3pm for a cumulative total of 48km in 24 hours.

Ultra 6

Sara MacDonald, Mabel Watt, Lily Rendulic, Katherine Wood, Ashley Worobec and Kathryn Mercanti.

The six – Sara MacDonald, Mabel Watt, Lily Rendulic, Katherine Wood, myself, and Kathryn Mercanti. The women were known locally as “Mums Who Run”. Worobec wasn’t part of the group but an opportunity to get out and run was something she couldn’t resist.

Everyone completed the run. “What an experience!” exclaimed Worobec.

Return to the Front page

Community Development Halton announces new Executive Director

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 14th, 2020



Community Development Halton announces the appointment of a new Executive Director.

CDH logo“After a thorough and rigorous search process the Board of Directors of Community Development Halton announced that Michael Nixon will become the Executive Director, effective immediately.

Miike Nixon

Mike Nixon: newly appointed Executive Director of Community Development Halton.

“Nixon is a Halton resident and brings significant business experience and community knowledge.

“Nixon will take over from the recently retired Dr. Joey Edwardh.

“A business entrepreneur during the past couple of years, Mike comes to us from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. A 30-year veteran of the non-profit sector, Mike holds a BA from McMaster University and has served on several Boards of Directors. He brings a high level of corporate interaction as well as fundraising and donor relations experience.

“Nixon is a highly experienced, successful and well-regarded business leader. He will provide leadership to the organization, oversee program management, community relations, financial planning and management, and support to the board of directors. Mike will serve as the main public contact and spokesperson for the organization and represent the company and all professional business capacities.

“Nixon and his wife, Cindy, have been married for almost 35 years and are the proud parents of two daughters. He is an avid golfer and home renovator and at home has a passion for baking. He and his family have long supported Halton Children’s Aid through the fostering of several babies over the years.

“Over the coming weeks Nixon will be connecting with major stakeholders and officials throughout the Region to introduce himself and to better understand their needs and concerns”.

“Nixon can be reached via email at or by phone at 905-632-1975, or toll-free at 1-855-395-8807.”

Community Development HAlton is funded by the Region of Halton and the Hamilton-Halton United Way. It has a staff of about seven; some of whom have been laid off during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

Return to the Front page

The Easter egg hunt broke up a Sunday sleep-in: I'm getting to understand how my kids learn

graphic coping redBy Nicki St George

April 13, 2020


Nicki St. George is part of a team of parents who are reporting each week on how they are coping with the COVID19 virus and having the children at home.

Monday, April 6
Every morning, for the sake of my sanity, I write up a schedule on the whiteboard easel that resides in our living space. It looks something like this:
9-9:30 – get dressed, brush teeth, make bed and pull curtains
9:30-10:30 – schoolwork
10:30-11:15 – outdoor time (If you call it recess then the kids will automatically go outside and don’t question it.)
11:15-12:15 – creative time (this might be just watching a drawing tutorial on YouTube and following along, lego, play doh, etc.) or baking or something science-y.
12:30-1 – lunch (we listen to the Kidsnuz podcast while we eat)
1-2 – Reading and Dreambox math
3-4 – a walk or bike ride (weather dependent)
4 – 6 – ipad time/social time and a snack
This may seem intense; however, it keeps the requests for devices down to a minimum and I really only have to plan one thing for the day (during the creative time). My afternoons often get pretty loose and I have resorted to ‘educational TV’ as another option on occasion. I highly recommend Brain Child on Netflix! Next week I will tweak the schedule and think of something new for us to do.

Nicki Apr 13 1 Cropped

Bea – all set for the next creation.

Tuesday, April 7
I find the work on google classroom from each of my kids’ teachers easy enough to follow. I am happy to have this work as it takes a lot of pressure having to come up with my own educational activities. Today, however, Bea is completely uninterested in doing the assigned work. Instead she has decided to create her own version of Mo Willem’s “Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” and since she is completely engrossed in this project, I decide to let the school stuff go. In the afternoon, I take some bean seeds that were left on the vine and we put them into glass jars with wet paper towel so that we can watch as they germinate. We also plant some cat grass seed in an old plastic container for Clifford (our cat).

Wednesday, April 8
Today I am feeling the need to get out of the house. After providing tech support for another mum friend who is trying to navigate google classroom, we go for a drive to one of Bea’s friends’ houses. I exchange some bean seeds for a printed-out workbook for Bea. We stand far apart on the lawn and Bea says hi to her friend and her sisters. Leo asks if we can visit his friends. So, we drive around some more and find two sets of friends playing out on their front lawns. We try maintaining the required social distance from our friends, but this is sometimes challenging as the younger siblings ignore the 2-meter rule. We keep these visits short, but it is nice to see some friendly faces. Is this against the rules? On the way home, I pull into the empty parking lot at Mapleview Mall. Bea sits on my lap and steers the car around the lampposts. Leo protests in the back seat – he is a rule follower, unlike his mother.

Thursday, April 9
We do our weekly drive up to my parents’ farm in Campbellville. I am grateful for the large 45-acre section, with trails maintained by my dad, which allows for us to have long, isolated nature walks. Bea wants to hold Nana’s hand, but we keep our distance. This week my mum has given the kids a checklist of things to find. Everything is changing week by week. This week we spot a patch of yellow daffodils. I pick some to take home and this is enough to brighten up my day.

Nicki Apr 13 cropped

Leo – did he get soaked?

Friday, April 10
A teacher friend of mine posts something on Facebook that makes me realize that I am not in fact homeschooling my kids. I am not creating the content or lessons myself; I am simply administering the work and making sure that they are completing their assignments. I learn a lot about my kids and their learning styles this week. I see how easily distracted my son becomes whenever I start working with Bea. I now understand why so much of his work comes home incomplete. I also notice that Leo has excellent manners and he thanks his teacher for each assignment. Bea learns her 3D shapes this week and, in the evening, she pretends to be the teacher and teaches us all about the shapes.

Saturday, April 11
Lows for the week: Very little exercise done; my husband working so hard to meet a deadline and only emerges to read Bea a bedtime story most days; my first trip to the grocery store since the full impact of social distancing has taken effect.

Highs for the week: Leo requesting new favourite songs from the COVID-19 Spotify playlist, such as Toxic and Don’t Stand So Close to Me (a welcome departure from his usual Weird Al songs); making decoupage Easter eggs for our window with the kids, using our new firepit to make s’mores (before the new bylaw against open fires comes into effect).

Sunday, April 12
8pm (the night before): Bea writes a note to the Easter Bunny asking them to use hand sanitizer before entering our house.

4am: Bea comes into the bed and asks if she can begin the Easter egg hunt.

5am: I order Bea to go into her room and shut the door and not to emerge until it reads 6am on her fitbit watch.

5:10am: Bea calls from her bedroom, “there’s a mouse in my room.” This is not unusual for our house. I call back, “is it alive or dead?” It is alive…barely. Probably Clifford’s handiwork. A typical male, he never finishes the job he starts.

graphic coping green5:15am: Bea enters my room with the mouse in a box and tells us that it is her new pet. Dan quickly ushers her outside and gets rid of her new pet.

9am: Dan and I wake up having missed the excitement of the Easter egg hunt (for the second year in a row). Bea has eaten her body weight in chocolate and will later get herself a bowl from the kitchen to carry around with her from room to room in case she needs to throw up.
9:05am: I make us coffees (with Baileys) and scrounge around the house for the unfound eggs.

Related news stories:

The idea

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Return to the Front page

Burlington has the lowest number of COVID19 cases in the Region - but this week was 10 higher than last week.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 13th, 2020



Despite a report that there are infections at two units of the Joseph Brant Hospital the picture overall for the Region is, on balance, showing the results of staying home and being very careful when you do have to go out.

A full report on data released by the Regional Public Health Unit will follow later today – there is one indicator that will leave Burlingtonians feeling quite positive.

Figure shows that by end of the day on April 12, the greatest number of COVID-19 cases were among residents of Oakville (with 122 cases, or 34%). Please note this figure shows counts, and therefore does not take into account the different population sizes or age structures of the four municipalities. Counts in municipalities can also be inflated by outbreaks that have occurred within institutions in their boundaries.

bu municipality

Data as at April 8th, 2020

The visuals tell part of the story.  Number of COVID-19 cases for each municipality in the Region.

Municipal level

Data as at April 12th, 2020

Return to the Front page

This is about as brazen as you can get.

Crime 100By Staff

April 13th, 2020



This is about as brazen as you can get.

Man drops by a used car dealership – looks over a car – goes for a test drive with the sales rep. The engine is shut down. Sales agent heads for the office to get some papers, customer asks if the sales guy will turn the engine on again – he wants to listen to it – we will let the police tell the rest of this story.

The Halton Regional Police Service is asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect involved in a series of daytime vehicle thefts.
On April 8, 2020, the male suspect attended a dealership on Fairview Street in the City of Burlington. The male inquired about a 2017 Black Range Rover at the dealership. The male requested to see the vehicle in order to check out some of the features. Once the sales person shut the vehicle off; the male asked to hear the engine again and asked for the keys to start the Range Rover. The male suspect then proceeded to get into the Range Rover and drive away at a high rate of speed out of the dealership lot.

This same suspect is responsible for two other similar style vehicle thefts. These thefts took place on March 29, 2020 in the Town of Oakville and again on March 30, 2020 in City of Burlington. During those vehicle thefts, the male suspect proceeded to steal a 2015 Black Mercedes S550 (Oakville Dealership) and a 2018 Black Mercedes E400 (Online Private Sale). During all three incidents, male suspect was left alone with the vehicle keys briefly and was able to drive away with these vehicles.

Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect responsible for these vehicle thefts.

Brazen - keys 1

If you know this man and can identify him …

Brazen keys 2

Call Crime Stoppers.

Suspect is described as a male, white, with a slim build, 170lbs and was between 5’11” and 6″ in height with short brown hair. He was wearing a black jacket and white shirt and had black sunglasses on. The suspect appeared to be between the age of 30-40 years.

If anyone has information about the identity of the suspect, please contact Detective Constable Colin MacLeod of the 30 Division Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905 825 4747 ext. 2357.

Tips 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


Return to the Front page