Lions Farmer's Market to OPEN May 19th at the Burlington Centre

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Burlington Centre Lions Farmers Market to Open Wednesday May 19, 2021at the Burlington Centre

The outdoor Market operated by the Burlington Lions Club has been approved by Burlington Centre management and the Halton Region Health Department.

Farmers Market LionsNow in its 63rd year, the Market continues to be immensely popular, drawing customers from Burlington, Hamilton, Waterdown and Oakville to the Burlington Centre to purchase fresh produce. Vendors come from all over Southern Ontario, and we’ve added 10 new Vendors this year bringing the total to 50.

The Market is open on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays:  open from 8 am to 2pm – 3 pm on Fridays

The new virus variants required enhancements to last year’s comprehensive Covid precautions. Elements of the 2021 Safety Plan include: Customers are to maintain 2-metre (6-foot) distancing at all times, especially if wait lines occur due to heavy attendance. Personal Masks are prudent and required in close proximity and encouraged in lines. And of course Vendors, Volunteers and Customers are to remain home if feeling unwell, and seek testing as necessary.

New provisions:
We will post the allowed capacity of Customers at one time in the Market.
Products purchased should not be consumed while inside the Market.
We cannot accommodate entertainers/buskers as in the past.

Unchanged from 2020, but with increased emphasis:
Entry and Exit are separated at one location only, to enable counting customers to manage the capacity limit. Customers are required to respect the perimeter cones and rope flags when arriving and leaving.

Social Distancing at all times. Hand Sanitizer stations at Entry/Exit. Service dogs on duty only, other pets not permitted.
Signage will remind visitors of the daily one-way direction of travel, distancing at stalls, patience and courtesy. Our goal is “Shop ‘n Go!” since others may be waiting. Come early!

Vendors’ stall displays are set up for “Point to Buy” service without customer contacting the produce. (Sorry, no samples.)

It takes 40 Volunteer 2 hour shifts each week (in addition to the Vendors’ work) to set-up and put away the Safety Plan Items and staff the Entry Point. New Volunteers are invited to contact the Market Manager on site, or visit the market website, or leave a message at 905-634-4002 for a call back. An opportunity for you to do some Community Service!

Burlington Centre Lions Farmers Market – For further information contact Perry Bowker at 905-632-5832

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Mayor hosts another Town Hall - take part by telephone - 6:30 this evening.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This evening the Mayor and a collection of people who can answer COVID19 related questions will be taking part in a Telephone Town Hall from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The town hall will be hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, who will be joined by a panel of local leaders to help answer residents’ questions. The panel will include:

Audit Tim 1 more vocal

Tim Commisso, City Manager will be on the call.

 

Tim Commisso, City Manager, City of Burlington
Dr. Dale Kalina, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Joseph Brant Hospital
The Honourable Karina Gould, Member of Parliament, Burlington
Allan Magi, Executive Director, Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services, City of Burlington
MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos, Oakville-North Burlington
Eric Vandewall, President and Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Brant Hospital.

How to Participate

Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can:

1. Join by telephone: Call 1-800-541-5864 just before 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28 to join the town hall. For those individuals calling in, please be advised more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If the first call does not connect, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

2. Listen to audio: Live audio from the April 28 town hall will be broadcast on YourTV, channel 700 on Cogeco and on the YourTV Halton YouTube page.

Once the call begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel.

A recording and transcript of the town hall will be posted to this web page after April 28 at burlington.ca/townhall.

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Parts of South West Milton Declared a 'Hot Spot': vaccinations available for those over 16

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This isn’t a Burlington story – at least not yet.

Milton water towerStarting Friday, April 30, residents who are 16 years of age and older living in the Milton L9E postal code area can book an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. Residents must have had their 16th birthday on or before the date of their first appointment in order to be eligible.

Milton has concentrations of industry that have large numbers of workers in conditions that result in the passing along of an infection.

The Milton L9E postal code area is a designated “hot spot” in Phase 2 of the Province’s prioritization plan due to historical and ongoing high rates of COVID-19.

The L9E area is in the south west part of Milton.

People undoubtedly travel from Milton to Burlington and the variants of Covid19 seem to move quickly.  Some extra caution would be wise.

Halton Region continues to follow Provincial direction on prioritization and does not have the authority to grant exceptions. Residents who are 40 years of age and older can also book appointments through multiple pharmacies in Halton offering the AstraZeneca vaccine. This vaccine is safe and effective, and another way to gain protection from severe illness and complications from COVID-19.

“The expansion to more residents in hot spot communities that are seeing a higher rate of COVID-19 transmission and severe health outcomes is critical,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “While vaccination is an important tool in curbing the spread of the virus and preventing severe illness and death, I urge all residents to continue to follow public health direction, including staying home except for essential trips, sticking to your household and not attending any indoor or outdoor gatherings.”

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People with hearing impairment will benefit from hearing loops to be set up in the city

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 27, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington will receive $59,700 from the Ontario Government’s Inclusive Community Grants program that will be used to install hearing loop systems in city recreation centres to help individuals with hearing aids and cochlear implants get clearer sound, participate more fully and enjoy their experiences in programs and activities.

As part of the Burlington Active Aging Plan, the City has expanded recreational programs for older adults and seniors across the city. As this segment of the population grows in Burlington so does the demand for recreational services. This initiative will help keep older adults and seniors active, healthy and engaged in the community and offer them recreation and social programs that will enrich their quality of life. These projects are planned for completion by March 31, 2022.

hearing hand at ear

4 million people in Canada have some degree of hearing loss.

The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association estimates that 4 million people in Canada have some degree of hearing loss, which works out to almost 1 in 10 Canadians. Hearing aids are an effective solution to improving hearing quality. However, hearing aids are not always effective in all environments on their own. Induction loop systems (hearing loops) are a great way of improving sound quality for individuals wearing hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Many individuals in City programs rely on hearing aids. By installing hearing loops in City facilities, it will make it easier for these individuals to hear and have a more positive experience.

Hearing loops will be installed in areas including customer service counters, meeting rooms, multi-purpose program rooms and auditoriums in City facilities that host the majority of adult and senior programs. Initially, the City will focus on five community centres:

Haber name in sign

Haber Recreational Centre is one of the locations for the hearing loops.

The Burlington Seniors’ Centre, Tansley Woods Community Centre, Haber Community Centre, Mountainside Community Centre and Brant Hills Community Centre.

The next phase will look at customer service counters at various City pools.

Ward 4 Councillor, Shawna Stolte said: “As our older adult and senior population grows in Burlington, it’s important for the City of Burlington to invest in safe, accessible community spaces for individuals of all ages and abilities to enjoy.

“I am proud of my fellow council members for recognizing this need and investing City funding to augment this grant. This will allow the City to install hearing loops in as many facilities and spaces as possible to enhance the recreation experience for those in our community with hearing loss.”

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Downtown and lake front were quiet and civil on Saturday and Sunday

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 26th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It wasn’t tank top and short shorts weather but it was an improvement over the weather the city experienced the past two weeks.

Previously, when the weather was warm and did invite short shorts there were complaints about the number of people who were using the Promenade at Spencer Smith Park and just hanging around the downtown core.

Promenade Apr 24

No crowds, many people were masked and traffic moved nicely.

The Covid19 infection reports are still a serious threat – the prevailing attitude in Burlington seems to be that those reports concern Toronto and the Region of Peel – Burlington is safe.

Far from the truth – many people in Toronto and within the Region of Peel do the best they can to get out of their communities and visit places like Burlington.  The waterfront is a huge attraction.

Family at square opp ciity hall

Families gather in the Square opposite city hall enjoying the warmer weather.

The Emergency Control Group that oversees just how the city administration responds to the infection threat is working double time putting together plans to limit the number of people who use the park and the Beachway where there are long stretches of sandy beachfront that will become very inviting when the summer weather is upon us.

For City Manager Tim Commisso this is a problem that keeps him awake at nights; he knows full well that should there be a spike in the number of Covid19 infections in Burlington the public howl will fall on his shoulders.

Commisso Apr 17

Running a city with some exceptionally good people supporting him is a job Tim Commisso, City Manager could do with his eyes closed – that may be why he took on the job when asked to serve as interim and then applied for the job. The task he deals with now is not what he saw coming – but it is something he has to deal with.

The public doesn’t hear all that much from the Emergency Control Group.  At their most recent report to Council Commisso said that he expected to have to meet with Council more often than the on average monthly report in that takes place.

The Emergency Control Group is tasked with adjusting service delivery levels and allocating staff to where it is needed most.

There are now 10 bylaw enforcement officer on the payroll – while parking is something they used to spend a lot of time on – parking is no longer getting the same attention.

The rate of calls to the bylaw enforcement office is up over 200% from last year.  The staff in that office often have to tell people that it is going to be awhile before they can get the attention they want.

Meanwhile, the running of a city has to take place, with the city hall basically closed; open if you need a marriage license – by appointment only.  Transit is still running the system.

Parks are now open and the people at Parks and Recreation have acquired an ability to pivot on about two hours notice skill set.

For people at the municipal level everything is in a state of flux; with the vast majority of the 700 plus full time people working from their homes.  They have all gotten very good at slipping into Zoom meetings.

Finances are in good condition; the province has provided short term and long term funds creating enough of a cushion for Joan Ford, City Treasurer to have the confidence she needs to assure the public that we will not be going broke.

 

 

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JBH has admitted 33 patients with COVID-19, several are critical and on ventilators in the ICU

News 100 redBy Staff

April 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

A message to the community from Eric Vandewall, President & CEO Joseph Brant Hospital

Across the province, the hospital system is experiencing significant pressures, as the Variants of Concern have now become the predominant strain of COVID-19. Hospitals are reaching full capacity.

Joseph Brant hospital rendering

33 Covid19 patients in Intensive Care Unit

As of today, (April 22, 2021) Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) is sitting at 91% capacity. Last week, the Ontario government expanded the four-week lockdown to six weeks, in the hopes of bringing down case numbers. They are also working to increase critical care capacity and bring in health care workers from other jurisdictions.

Long-Term Care homes are expediting admissions for Alternative Level of Care patients, as the need for acute care beds is rising faster than the system can currently accommodate. At JBH, for over a year we have been preparing for what is happening now – the worst-case scenario.

Our teams continue to work hard to review and revise plans for potential situations we may experience. To manage capacity pressures, JBH has enacted a team-based model of care on some patient care units. Team-based care shifts patient care from “I” (i.e. nurse as the “primary” caregiver) to “We”, where nurses are paired with other care providers. In a team approach, each team member’s skills and knowledge are utilized to share the responsibility for meeting patient care needs.

It is all hands on deck to ensure that we keep our patients and our community safe. Yet, as I referenced last week, it is distressing to see continued skepticism on social media and through ongoing anti-lockdown demonstrations. Many falsely contend – still to this day, despite urgent, emotional pleas from the medical community – that the severity of this pandemic is over-inflated.

Today, at JBH we are caring for 33 patients admitted with COVID-19, including several critically ill patients on ventilators in our ICU.

Our critical care department is currently working at 160% of its standard capacity, with nine additional ICU patient beds added in the last week. Some of these patients were immediately hospitalized after going to emergency with symptoms that were non-existent only days prior. These are people with families, loved ones, living their lives before contracting this virus. I cannot state our current reality more clearly. It is the same reality taking place in hospitals across Ontario, and across parts of this country. The numbers continue to increase daily and we are living and working in extraordinary times.

This is not a time for skepticism, but empathy, understanding and hope. Because yes, despite the bleakness of this picture, there is much hope. I’m happy to report that we are actively hiring more healthcare workers. This week, we put a call out to the community to apply for temporary full and part-time Pandemic Assistant positions to help support our clinical teams or assist in our screening stations.

Visit www.josephbranthospital.ca for more information and to apply.

This week, we surpassed 13,000 vaccinations administered at JBH, and we continue to vaccinate over 400 community members daily. We will continue to vaccinate as many as we can, based on available supply. I am also encouraged to see eligibility for the Astra Zeneca vaccine expand to the 40-59 age group. If you are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, please remember:

• Book your COVID-19 vaccination appointment – in Halton, visit www.halton.ca/covidvaccines or call 311 to book by phone • If you vaccinate elsewhere (i.e. pharmacy or doctor’s office) and book multiple appointments in an attempt to get the earliest time, please do not forget to cancel your appointments at the other locations. This causes a significant backlog with wait lists and further delays for those waiting to get the vaccine

Eric andewall TITLE

Eric Vandewall. President & CEO Joseph Brant Hospital

• Read the scientific evidence available online to support that vaccination is a key factor in stopping the virus – Halton Region and the Province of Ontario share evidence and FAQ information

• As always, continue to follow public health measures including washing your hands, wearing a mask, adhering to physical distancing, before and after vaccination.

Thank you again to our community for the ongoing support, encouragement and cooperation. We must take collective action to get through Wave 3. I know that many people are tired and concerned about the road ahead – but together, we are strong and we will rise to the challenge, and we will get through this extraordinary time.

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Gardener in chief recruiting volunteers for the Food Bank community garden.

graphic community 2By Pepper Parr

April 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Burlington Food Bank managed to have 7 plots in the community Garden on Maple Avenue assigned to them.

They then had to find a volunteer who would oversee the operation of those 7 plots.

That volunteer would then have to recruit a volunteer crew to manage each of the plots.

Sam LaGRand 2

Sam LeGrand and Robin Bailey at the market garden site on Maple Avenue

Robin Bailey, Executive Director of the Food Bank did the interviewing and felt he had the ideal volunteer – Samantha LeGrand, who prefers to be known as Sam.

The two of them did a short interview on-site where Sam asked for people to foster some of the seedlings she has – she has run out of space at her own dwelling.

Sam LaGrand 1

Sam LaGrand – Good Bank gardener

If you think you could look after some of those seedlings please go to the Food Bank web site and register as a volunteer and then select the tab on the registration to do with Community Garden help.

In early May Sam will need volunteer help for planting, and then subsequently help for watering and weeding throughout the season.  You can contact  Sam at garden@burlingtonfoodbank.ca

Sam brings an eclectic education to the gardening she is going to supervise – she is the kind of gardener who gets her fingers dirty.

She was a student at OCAD, the Ontario College of Arts and Design where she studied drawing and painting – she has had a number of gallery showings.  She was also a student at Western University where she studied astro-physics and creative writing.

She said she loved the job she has at the Children’s Place; retail was something she liked.

Gardening is as much a passion as it is working.  Sam knows gardening – she has some ideas for the different designs she wants to use – high yield is one of her objectives.

The community gardens in Burlington – there are now seven of them – was the result of work done by Michelle Bennett and Amy Schnur when they approached city council in 2015 looking for support on an application they had made to the provincial government to create community gardens.

The province required municipal support for every grant they provided – at the time city council wasn’t all warm and fuzzy about the idea.  They were reluctant to put up some real dollars.

Amy and Michelle weren’t prepared to walk away from the project – they convinced the Parks and Recreation department to put in the water service that was needed.  From that point on community gardens were real – they sold out the day they were opened.

Related news stories

Community gardens a hit

How Burlington community gardens got started

 

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Lowville Park: construction and parking lot updates

News 100 greenBy Staff

April 23rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Construction of Lowville Park has begun for the 2021 construction season. As part of the Lowville Park Master Plan, work continues on park improvements. The return of park reservations will occur later in the spring.

A river runs through the park where the salmon spawn and children get to play.

A river runs through the park where the salmon spawn and children get to play.

Parking Lot Closures

During construction, the park will be open to the public but there will be temporary parking lot closures:

Weekdays – Monday, April 26 to Thursday, May 20
Entire parking lot closed

There will be no parking; the parking lot will be closed for construction

Weekends – Saturday, May 1 to Sunday, May 16

A third of the parking lot will be closed for construction staging

The rest of the parking lot will be open for public parking. First come, first served.

Rob Peachey, on the left, Manager Parks and Open Spaces for the city, talks through some solutions to managing the very large weekend crowds.

Rob Peachey, on the left, Manager Parks and Open Spaces for the city, talks through some solutions to managing the very large weekend crowds. They are standing on the school house steps overlooking the park.

Vehicles parked illegally will be ticketed and/or towed at the owner’s expense by City of Burlington Parking Bylaw Officers.

The park will remain open for pedestrians and cyclists. Areas of the park under construction will be closed. For your safety, please stay out of the areas marked as closed.

Park Reservations
Visitors are reminded to continue to be vigilant about public health practices and provincial directives to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Starting May 24, visitors to Lowville Park will be required to make an online reservation before they can enter the park. The reservations are free and available in three-hour time slots.

Reservations are open to book:
o Weekdays between 4 and 8 p.m.
o Weekends between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

• Due to the limited number of spots available, we ask that one spot per day be booked to allow everyone the opportunity to enjoy the park
• One vehicle per reservation
• Reservations for those walking or biking into the park are not required
• Visits are three hours in length. Arrive and depart within your scheduled times
• An automated gate will match vehicle license plates match the reservation
• Changes/cancellations can be made up to 48 hours before your arrival time, including change of date, name, license plate and number of people
• Late grace period: we understand unexpected circumstances may arise. It’s ok to be a few minutes late
• City of Burlington reserves the right to cancel park visits due to adverse trail conditions. Trail networks may close completely if conditions are too wet and damage will be unavoidable. Should your visit be cancelled, you will be notified by email
• City of Burlington reserves the right to cancel park visits due to COVID orders and restrictions. Should your visit be cancelled, you will be notified by email
• Details about how to make a reservation will be made available next month.

Washrooms are available at Lowville Park and visitors are reminded to continue to be vigilant about public health practices and provincial orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

• Maintain a physical distance of at least 2-metres from others.
• Only visit the park with members of your immediate household.
• Stay home if you feel sick.
• Wash and sanitize your hands before and after visiting the park.

Burlington is a City where people, nature and businesses thrive. City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at Burlington.ca/Enews and download the free City of Burlington app.

Vito Tolone

Vito Tolone, Director of Transportation

Vito Tolone, Director of Transportation explains some of the issues people need to be aware of: – “We are working to open the parking lot for the summer season. Through the initial construction this spring, please bear with us when the parking lot is closed and keep in mind that there are very few parking spaces available on Lowville Park Road.

The City saw success in reopening and managing parking and park capacity using the reservation system last summer. This year, we have been able to automate this system so we can allow residents the chance to reserve their parking spot. This reservation system allows us to manage the number of visitors and control parking.”

 

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Federal grants help three community groups to continue helping others

graphic community 3By Pepper Parr

April 23rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The big dollar grants from various levels of government can overwhelm a bit – just how any zeros are there in a billion?

It is the smaller grants, those under the $100,000 level that are understood and appreciated.

This afternoon, Karina Gould announced three grants to Burlington organizations that we all know about.

There was $71,000 distributed with $25,000 going to Community Living; $24,900 going to the Legion and $21,667 going to Community Development Halton.

seniors grant screen

This is how media events now take place. I need a haircut so badly that I chose not to be seen.

All the grants had a Covid19 connection.

Community Living cares for 400 people and is the oldest community organization in the city.

Their grant got applied to technology which allows them to take basically all of their programs virtual. This includes the music classes, the art classes and the friendship circles.

The cheer leading team and the news team wouldn’t be able to do anything were it not for the ability to Zoom .

The residential program is able to continue but under very strict limitations. Those in the residential program have at times gone for a significant number of days without seeing family.

Gould in the Legion kitchen

A Friday evening Fish Fry at the Legion; they managed to coax MP Karina Gould into the kitchen

The Legion once got MP Karina Gould into their kitchen during one of the Friday Fish Fry Nights – that will be back on once the level of social mobility improves. The Legion needed to upgrade the HVAC system – the grant will help them get that job done.

Community Development Halton, (CDH) a non profit organization that does social planning research and operates Volunteer Halton as well as running an Age Friendly program.

CDH partnered with Food for Life preparing meals for 800 people who are isolated during the pandemic.

They found when talking to people while the meals were being delivered that many were finding the social isolation very difficult.

CDH has this practice of talking through problems and issues; they began to brain storm over what could be done to alleviate the sense of being alone and isolated.

Lap blanket were knitted and distributed; young people were encouraged to write cards to people they had never met – the cards were included with the meals when they were delivered.

Heather Thompson told the people taking part in the media event virtually of an occasion when one woman opened her lunch and found the card – burst into tears.  An act of kindness she didn’t expect struck a chord.

The funds that were distributed came from the federal New Horizons for Seniors program.

Those dollars made a huge difference to three organizations in this city who take care of people with real needs.

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Regional Public Health Unit releases video - some are quite lengthy

News 100 redBy Staff

April 23, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Region Public Health Unit released the follow:

Getting our community vaccinated and protecting our most vulnerable residents from COVID-19 continues to be Halton Region’s top priority. As of Thursday, April 22, 2021, 158,938 doses have been administered in Halton to priority populations identified by the Province. This represents about 30 per cent of Halton’s population who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Our vaccination status dashboard is updated Monday to Friday between 12 and 2 p.m. Please click here to view the full dashboard.

Our team would also like to share the following videos:
• April 21 COVID-19 Vaccine Safety from Dr. Hamidah Meghani      4:06 minutes
• April 21 COVID-19 Council update from Halton Region Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deepika Lobo   9:34 minutes
• April 21 COVID-19 Vaccine Council update from Halton Region Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Joana Oda and CAO Jane MacCaskill    25:53 minutes

Editor’s note: Keeping a public informed is vital; using video is often better than something written – putting out a video that is close to half an hour long is vert poor communications practice.

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Municipal leaders in the Region of Halton call for sick pay for workers and a tightening of definition of what is an essential

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 22, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The following statement was released by the Chair of Regional Council and the fiour municipalities within the Region

Halton’s Mayors and Regional Chair stand with the guidance provided by the COVID-19 Science Advisory
Table for Ontario supporting sick pay, encouraging safe outdoor activities and accelerating vaccines for
essential workers, among other measures to fight COVID-19.

Throughout this pandemic, Halton’s Mayors and Regional Chair have advocated for a targeted and
evidence-based approach and believe that measures should target the sources of community spread.

On behalf of all our residents and businesses hanging on during these challenging times, we add our
voices to the call from the Science Table to:

• Permit only truly essential indoor workplaces to stay open and strictly enforce safety measures;
• Pay essential workers to stay home when they are sick, exposed or need time to get vaccinated;
• Accelerate vaccination of essential workers and those who live in hot spots; and
• Encourage safe outdoor activities.

The guidance from the Science Table is that being safe outdoors means allowing small groups of people
from different households to meet outside with masking and two-metre distancing. It means keeping
playgrounds open and clearly encouraging safe outdoor activities.

While we continue to discourage large gatherings, small groups can be at the same amenity at the same
time as long as they are following the health guidelines.

In light of this advice, we ask the Province to review and reconsider the list of currently prohibited
outdoor activities. As noted by the Science Table:

“Policies that discourage safe outdoor activity will not control COVID-19 and will disproportionately harm
children and those who do not have access to their own greenspace, especially those living in crowded
conditions.”

Regarding closing non-essential businesses, further financial supports for workers must be in place if the
government is considering closing additional workplaces.

Yesterday’s comments regarding paid sick days by Labour Minister Monte McNaughton, Government
House Leader Minister Paul Calandra, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy and Deputy Premier Christine
Elliot are welcome but they need to be backed up by urgent action and implementation, as well as a
timeline. To avert a fourth wave and break this cycle of lockdowns and restrictions, the government
needs to launch and fund a paid sick leave program in the coming days.

In addition, the Ministry of Labour should have further resources and staff allocated to increase
inspection blitzes and enforce safety measures. These blitzes should not be advertised or announced ahead of time, and they should target the facilities that have had multiple outbreaks ad employers that have not followed public health guidelines.
We need to focus on measures that work, backed by science and evidence, to get through this Third Wave and plan for recovery.

Sincerely,
Halton Regional Chair, Gary Carr Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, City of Burlington
Mayor Rob Burton, Town of Oakville Mayor Gordon Krantz, Town of Milton
Mayor Rick Bonnette, Town of Halton Hills

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Public school board hosting Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

anxious person

Halton District School Board – Supporting positive mental health and well-being.

The Halton District School Board is hosting more than 15 Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions for parents/guardians, with the first session held on April 27 and others scheduled throughout the month of May. These sessions will cover specific topics based on feedback from parents/guardians through a survey sent earlier this year. Each will be led by a mental health expert in that area who will share their knowledge and provide helpful information and resources.

Session presenters will include HDSB staff and mental health experts from local community organizations including Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK), ADAPT, Danielle’s Place, National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC), Eat2Grow, CHM Therapy Services, Halton Support Services, Developmental Services of Ontario, Mental Health and Addiction Nurses, Roots Community Services, and Bayridge Counselling Centres.

To Register CLICK HERE

Session topics include:
Healthy eating, body image, eating disorders
• Self-regulation and emotional well-being
• Substance use, vaping, online/video gaming
• Supporting children with learning disabilities
• Social isolation and connectedness for 2SLGBTQ+ youth
• Impact of COVID-19 and racism for Black identifying families
• Staying engaged during online learning
• Anxiety
• Psychiatric medications

Registration is required for these sessions as limited spots are available. Parents/guardians can register by completing the Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions Registration Form. Sessions will be held on Google Meet or Zoom (depending on the session) and registrants will be emailed a link to access the session. Sessions will not be recorded.

Parents/guardians will have the opportunity to submit questions when completing the registration form or during the session.

The Board’s new Mental Health & Well-Being webpage has information for parents/guardians and students on mental health, ways to support positive mental health and well-being and how to get additional support at school and in the community.

Mental health postcard

 

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Science Table sets out what is needed and what will not work

News 100 redBy Staff

April 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Science table logoThe Science Table yesterday released the following:

Fighting COVID-19 in Ontario: The Way Forward

Enough financial support
An emergency benefit that offers more money, is easily accessible, immediately paid and that, for the duration of the pandemic, is available to essential workers – when they are sick, when they’ve been exposed, need time off to get tested, or when its their turn to get vaccinated – will help limit spread.

Accelerating the vaccination of essential workers and those who live in hot spots:
Vaccines are essential in slowing the pandemic. This means immediately allocating as many doses as possible to hotspot neighbourhoods, vulnerable populations, and essential workers. It also means accelerating the distribution and administration of vaccines overall, making it easier for at risk groups to get vaccinated, and promoting the vaccine with more intensive and effective on the ground community outreach.

mobility 1 cell phone

The challenge is to reduce the amount of mobility to below that threshold level. Individual decisions will make this happen.


Limiting mobility:
This means restricting movement between regions of the province and restricting movement into the province. COVID-19 is not a single pandemic, because different regions of Ontario and Canada face distinct problems. Moving around the province risks creating new hotspots, especially because the variants of concern are so transmissible. Simply put, Ontarians need to stay in their local communities.


Focusing on public health guidance that works:
This means Ontarians can’t gather indoors with people from outside their household (with the very limited exception of safe indoor work in essential workplaces). It means Ontarians can spend time with each other outdoors, distancing two metres, wearing masks, keeping hands clean.

Keeping people safely connected: Maintaining social connections and outdoor activity are important to our overall physical and mental health. This means allowing small groups of people from different households to meet outside with masking and two – metre distancing. It means keeping playgrounds open, and clearly encouraging safe outdoor activities.

What Won t Work

Policies that harm or neglect racialized, marginalized and other vulnerable populations will not be effective against a disease that already affects these groups disproportionately. For these reasons, pandemic policies should be examined through an equity lens to ensure that all communities benefit.

adelsteinn brown

Dr. Adelstein Brown; Chair of the Science Table

As noted in repeated studies from around the world, inconsistent policies with no clear link to scientific evidence are ineffective in fighting COVID-19.

Policies that discourage safe outdoor activity will not control COVID19 and will disproportionately harm children and those who do not have access to their own green spaces, especially those living in crowded conditions.

There is no trade -of   between economic, social and health priorities in the midst of a pandemic that is out of control. The fastest way back to work – and to all the other things that make life in Ontario great is to get this disease under control as quickly as we can together.

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City Manager Tim Commisso - 'people are asking why the outdoor amenities are closed – this puts us in a very difficult position'

graphic community 3By Pepper Parr

April 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

While it was a virtual meeting of city council one could ‘feel’ the concern and the anguish as city staff and city council wrestled with the problems and the very limited tools they had to work with.

Chart April 10 0 covid

What’s to understand – the facts were there for everyone to see – the province blew it in February and lives have been lost needlessly.

Last Friday at 1:00 pm the Science Table gave its advice to the province’s Chief Medical Health Officer. Slides with data that was pretty easy to understand were used to make the points needed to support the recommendations.

At 4:00 on that Friday the Premier took to the podium and issued a Stay at Home order. He gave police the authority to stop people at random to ask where they lived and where they were going. He also ordered the closing of public parks – that particular order was not as clear as it should have been.

The scientists, there are 120 of them, all volunteers, gagged. The Stay at Home order was a small part of what they recommended.

The people close to the thinking that goes into the decisions that get made were aghast. The public didn’t know it at the time but many were giving serious consideration to resigning.

Burlington’s Mayor Meed Ward called an Emergency meeting of city council for Saturday to look at the options. Staff spent time Friday night and early Saturday morning pulling together data that set out what the provincial recommendations meant to the city.

Three hours of debate ended up with nothing concrete but did produce a list of questions that needed answers for the regular meeting of city council that was to take place today, Tuesday. Between the Friday and Tuesday there was a lot of public debate across the province over the closing of parks.

Mental health for all was in poor shape. There was fear, worry, concern and doubt. While Burlington didn’t have infection figures that were off the wall, the variants of the Covid19 virus were known to move around quickly and do much more damage than the virus we had to deal with when the pandemic was declared.

The public consensus seemed to be that the parks could be open for use and had to be open if people were to have a place to go and get some exercise.

AB Apr 20

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna made the point rather well when he excitedly told his colleagues that he was flooded with phone calls – “people were stopping me on the street” he said and asking if the rule applied to football fields or the skate park. He added that there was no clear message and people were confused.

City manager Tim Commisso pointed out that people are asking why the outdoor amenities are closed – this puts us in a very difficult position. Executive Director Sheila Jones said “people are not willing to change their behaviour and we cannot enforce our way out of this”.

City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol pointed out that while many agree that some of the rules just didn’t make a lot of sense the fact is that the regulations are in place and until they are rescinded they are the law and have to be obeyed and enforced if necessary.

The city is required to take all steps necessary to ensure the health and safety of its citizens – actually doing that.

withdrawn notice

It looked pretty good at the Saturday Emergency of Council – by the time Council met on Tuesday it didn’t make any sense and was withdrawn.

On Saturday the city council set out instructed that were in the form of a recommendation to the Tuesday council. They were withdrawn in a rather dramatic fashion with the displayed of a GET THIS.

The very clear lack of leadership from the province was evident when Mayor Meed Ward told Council there was supposed to be a virtual meeting with the Premiers and the Mayors from across the province (imagine trying to organize an event like that) on Wednesday but it had been moved to Friday.

There was a sense that everyone was waiting for better number as we worked our way through the week. The Tuesday numbers were below 4000 (3723)- he hope being that they would drip quickly allowing the Premier to declare that he was doing the right thing and all we had to do was wait it out.

That didn’t jive with what the Science Table said last Friday. Dr. Adelstein Brown said that the numbers for the next two weeks are “baked in”.  The people who are going to end up in hospital acquired the virus a few days ago – and that it takes a bit of time for the disease to really hit a person.

Meed Ward in a mask

That was six feet – but that coffee shop isn’t open these days. Marianne Meed Ward in a coffee shop.

During the Council meeting on Tuesday Mayor Meed Ward spotted a statement from the Science Table on-line that said it was important to keep people safe and connected and “allow small groups to meet outside wearing masks and remaining six feet apart. The science table was speaking over the head of the Premier.

“We need your help” said the Mayor, ” to be patient;  we are all tired, frustrated and worried.”

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Food Bank Update: Donations are dropping off - families needing support on the rise

graphic community 5By Pepper Parr

April 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Word from the Burlington Food Bank;

Robin Food Bank with milk

Burlington Food Bank Executive Director Robin Bailey

We are low for cereal right now which is unusual for us. What it comes down to is more people, families being supported while donations are dropping off.

If you’re planning to do some grocery shopping and can remember to grab a box of cereal for the food bank bin it’s much appreciated.

Our current top 10 are

  • Canned Fruit
  • Rice (1kg or 2kg sizes)
  • Cereal
  • Large Juice (1L Tetra or Cans)
  • Juice Boxes
  • Shampoo, Deodorant, Toothpaste and Toothbrushes
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Peanut Butter
  • Crackers
  • Canned Meat (Ham, Turkey, Chicken)

 

 

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Ontario Safely Expands Age Eligibility for AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine to 40+

News 100 redBy Staff

April 20th 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Starting Tuesday, April 20, 2021, Ontario will offer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to individuals aged 40 and over at pharmacy and primary care settings across the province.

In the media release the province announced: “As we continue to fight COVID-19, we are doing everything possible to get as many vaccines into arms as quickly and safely as possible. We continue to be actively engaged with Health Canada on updated AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine safety. Last week, based on the review of available data from Europe and United Kingdom, Health Canada announced that it was not restricting the use of AstraZeneca vaccine in any specific populations at this time.

shoppeers vaccine line up

The line-ups are not that long. 40 and over are eligible for a vaccination.

“By extending vaccination eligibility for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at pharmacies and primary care settings to individuals aged 40 and over, Ontario will be able to offer the protection of the vaccine to more Ontarians earlier than anticipated. With supply of AstraZeneca available at this time, the expansion of eligibility will also significantly increase access to vaccines in hot spot communities.

“The health and safety of Ontarians is always our top priority, and for that reason, only COVID-19 vaccines that Health Canada determines to be safe and effective are approved for use in Ontario. All COVID-19 vaccines available in Ontario have been shown to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death. Adverse reactions are extremely rare. We strongly recommend that everyone book their appointment as soon as they are eligible.

“Ontario has administered over 3.86 million doses of the vaccine to Ontarians to date, and all of our partners and health care workers are continuing to work hard to administer doses as quickly as possible to Ontarians.”

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The people thought to be spreading the Covid19 virus are caught between federal and provincial benefit programs

opinionred 100x100By Andrew Drummond

April 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON,, ON

 

Monday morning the Ford government again voted down an NDP motion to introduce paid sick days to Ontario.

Doug Ford covid t shirt

Difficult to say that we are actually conquering the virus.

Ford and the Conservatives have been consistent in opposing any implementation of paid sick days with their most common excuse being that it would conflict with existing federal programs. However, despite this, paid sick days has been a key recommendation from many groups to fight the COVID pandemic. Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe; The Ontario Medical Association and the Ontario Hospital Association are among those beyond the NDP who have consistently called for this to be a primary measure in Ontario’s fight against COVID, and the lack of its implementation is a key reason Ontario has fallen behind in this fight.

As of April 18, there have been more than 21,000 COVID-19 cases directly attributable to workplace outbreaks according to the Ontario government’s data (Likely source of infection | COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario). That is in addition to the massive but difficult to quantify numbers of people who have been infected with COVID-19 from caretakers or other health employees.

Throughout this pandemic, workers have been going to work sick because they have no other reasonable choice. Until that is stopped, Ontario will still be at risk.

Canada sick benefits apr20The most common excuse the Ford government has given for why they won’t implement a paid sick leave policy is that is conflicts with the federal government’s Canada Sickness Recovery Benefit (CSRB). Ford has repeatedly referenced this program. “There’s paid sick leave from the federal government,” Ford said on April 7. However, there are many differences between the CSRB and a mandatory sick leave policy and showing the details of the limitations of CSRB, helps to understand why it hasn’t been enough to slow workplace outbreaks.

The first major limitation with CSRB is that it is only paid out if a person actually has COVID or is isolating because a close contact does. You do not get any payments if you were sick for any other reason. So, if you have a cough and are having trouble breathing, you need to get a COVID test. However, you also must still go to work in the meantime, and you are not eligible for CSRB unless that test comes back positive. This obviously doesn’t help people stay home the first day they are symptomatic, which will also be the time where they are most likely to communicate it to others. This limitation alone makes it unlikely that CSRB is doing anything to reduce the spread of COVID in Ontario.

The second major limitation is that CSRB doesn’t provide any job protection. If you are a worker in a factory or warehouse and you catch COVID, CSRB will give you 2 weeks of income. However, your employer can still fire you for not showing up to work. For anyone whose employment is precarious, this is an obvious dealbreaker. It doesn’t matter if that worker gets 2 weeks pay, they are still without a job in an economy that isn’t doing well. If a worker must choose between trying to hide their illness or losing their job, many will choose to try and save their job. In some of those cases, it leads the rest of the workplace to get sick.

The third limitation of CSRB is the logistics of receiving the credit. There are two major technical limitations. First, the benefit only pays out in full weeks. You cannot get the benefit for any part of a week (since all COVID cases would require multiple full week’s isolation). Secondly, a worker won’t receive any money until 4 weeks after they have applied as the government processes the claim. This means that anyone living paycheque to paycheque will have no ability to get the money they need for rent or food because their income would be delayed for 4 weeks. Another reason that precariously employed workers can’t take time off and depend on this program.

Ontario at one time was a province that had mandated sick leave for all workers. It was only 2 days per year, but it offered some protection. However, Ford’s government removed those days in 2018 when they took office. Since that time, the pandemic has made clear what a disastrous mistake that was. Hopefully with all the public pressure being put on the government by Andrea Horwath, the NDP, and various community and medical groups, Ford will relent to the expert’s advice and bring in a long overdue program to ensure that we reduce the number of workplace outbreaks in the future.

Andrew Drummond was the NDP candidate in the last provincial election.

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A health crisis and a confidence issue - how much can the public handle ?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are a lot of people very unhappy with the Premier.

Brown and Williams

Dr. Adelstein Brown, Chair of the Science Table , keeps a safe distance from Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Members of the Science table who advise the Chief Medical Officer of the province who then advises the Premier are talking about resigning.

They don’t think the Premier understands the gravity of the Covid19 situation and how close we are to being out of control.

Leader of the provincial Liberals want the Premier to resign – Stephen Del Duca said: ““Doug Ford is the worst Premier in Ontario history at a time when leadership matters the most. He should resign now before he makes things any worse. If he does, I will be the first to commend him, because it takes real guts to get out of the way when he’s screwed up this badly. But he won’t. Because he only cares about himself and his special friends.”

That’s just politics – Del Duca has yet to win a seat to even sit in the Legislature.k

It is becoming very clear that this government cannot seem to get ahead of the crisis. Paid sick leave for those people who have the crummy jobs, live with large families, often in congested space, work for a bit more than the minimum wage and having to use public transit doesn’t seem to be something the province is prepared to do.

Ford Doug with graph Apr 16

Premier Ford uses data provided by the Science Table as a prop during a media event – but doesn’t follow the recommendations that came with the data.

Money can’t be the issue – the Premier keeps saying “whatever it takes”. It takes taking care of the people who work in the hospitals who are approaching burn out, the single parent who works in the supermarket and now has to figure out how she is going to care for her children with schools closed.

The decision to give police the authority to stop people at random and have them justify why they are out of their homes was a stretch when the public was informed – then at least 30 police forces in the province declare they aren’t going to use the authority – the province backs off.

There is a health crisis that is barely under control.

There is a confidence problem as well.

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Rare Saturday council meeting - long on conversation - no decisions

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

state of emergency logoIt was a City Council meeting called by the Mayor for 10 am on a Saturday morning.  The first Saturday morning Council meeting  this reporter recalls in the ten years I have been covering council.

There were no desperate holiday weekend meetings in 2014 the parts of the city were flooded.

That State of Emergency means that an Emergency Control Group (ECG) runs the city but must defer to Council when there is a change to the level of service delivery or when there is a need for additional funds that were not part of the budget Council has approved.

mmw Apr 17

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

There was no agenda, other than the audio visual technician there was no one in the Council Chamber.  The Mayor, members of Council and city staff taking part were all working from their homes.

There was one item to be considered and that had to do with parking in the areas around the public parks and the use of public washrooms.

Three hours after the Mayor called the meeting to order and confirmed that there was a quorum they adjourned with the “matter to be considered” referred to a scheduled city council meeting to take place on Tuesday evening.

Mayor Meed Ward explained that the meeting was critical and was called because of the impact provincial orders were having on the city’s responsibility to provide services.

Executive Director Sheila Jones, who oversees any changes that are made to the level of service delivery, set out what the issues were and expecting that Council would go along with the following:

motion

 

The City was working on the understanding that the province had said parks were to be closed.  The province later modified that decision but council didn’t know this while it was meeting on Saturday.

People want and need to get out side for exercise and do something for their mental health.  Burlington has 130 parks – Council wants people to walk to the local park and have the children play in a local park rather than have everyone heading for the Beachway or Spencer Smith Park.

The people putting together a ACultural Action Plan for the city went to the community and asked people: What is culture to you and where do you look for it in Burlington. The group took a booth at the Children's Festival and had children make their mark on a choice list. Interesting approach.

Parents are going to want to be outside when the weather gets warmer.

Everyone, well almost everyone, understands that we are in a crisis – and yet for the people of  Burlington we are not seeing a crisis.  We don’t have the concentrations of populations that exist in the Peel Region, Brantford and Toronto.

The Parks and Recreation people are doing an admirable job at reacting to an ever-changing scenario.  They need time to make the changes and at the same time coping with a public that wants their children to be able to play out doors.

The provincial decision to forbid golf courses to operate had the parks people scrambling to get concrete barriers in place to prevent people from getting on the gold courses –  the Tayandaga course was sold out for Saturday.

The numbers are daunting – 1200 case levels being reported at the end of February – 4800 0n Saturday and 7500 at best in six weeks.

When the province makes  policy decisions – they are followed by very detailed regulations.  On Saturday all the city had were draft regulations – which City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol explained do get changed.

As a process that was understandable – the problem for senior staff was – how do we deal with real situations that are going to have to deal wit the next day.

City manager Tim Commisso said that city park use is going to have to be regulated adding that there is “no possible way to enforce rules in recreational parks”.  The focus will be on educating people.

Did he make it? If you were one of many at the Norton Skateboard PArk on Saturday you would have seen some impressive acrobatiocs going on.

Skate Park in the Alton community will be closed.

Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Glenn had to close down skate board facilities, basket ball courts and tennis courts.  And trying to figure out if the leash free parks could be kept open.

Could picnic tables be used, boats can apparently be put in the water but people couldn’t take the boats out on the water – figure that one out!

Community gardens were thought to be Ok.

The recreational space at schools is a school responsibility.

The Bylaw enforcement people have seen a 200% rise in complaints – their challenge is to keep problems from becoming confrontational.

The city is having some difficulty with the form of communication with the Public Health Unit.  Local doctors are giving advice that the city likes but would like to see that advice confirmed by the Public Health people.  Council Sharman has the Mayor talking to the doctors at Joseph Brant asking if they would put their advice in writing.

Mayor Meed Ward said she was just not hearing from the Health people at the Region.

Commisso Apr 17

City manager Tim Commisso – the public needs directions.

City Manager Commisso said the “public is waiting to be told and if the are not told what they can do  – they will do what they think is best for them if they do not get clear instructions from the elected leadership”.

The pressure is being felt by everyone at every level.

There were a lot of comments – but the issue in front of Staff was what do we do with public washrooms and parking lots at the public parks.  Of the 130 parks – 35 have parking lots.  Do we board up those parking lots and do we open the public washrooms?

washrooms

Park use – how to manage a situation where the rules are not clear.

If the decision is to implement the closure of parks (which is now not going to happen) – the province changed their minds) there was a priority list created.

park parking lots

Council agreed that there were risks in deferring a decision to Tuesday – but there just wasn’t enough information – and the concern was that the province would change some of the decisions they had made.

Commisso said the “fear is that the parks situation will only get busier and that means the risks will get higher making it difficult to manage when the weather gets warmer.”

After a two hour and fifty minute meeting the decision was to:

Refer the closure of the park parking lots and park washrooms to the Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry and the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to report back to the April 20, 2021 council meeting with a recommendation.

Before getting away Sheila Jones reminded Council that street parking rules have been lifted (for now) and transit has not changed.

parking and transit

These decisions get recommended by the city leadership team and approved by the Emergency Coordinating Group who then inform council

With that the the Mayor moved into an Emergency Control Group meeting – the rest waived their hands for the camera and went back to figuring our what had actually been achieved.

bye wavw Apr 17

Waving goodbye after a three hour meeting.

Stay tuned

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Halton Region offering emergency child care to health care and frontline workers during remote learning

News 100 redBy Staff

April 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When the Ministry of Education announced that students would return to on-line learning when the Spring Break ended on April 19th, thousands of parents who are part of the front line that keeps the wheels moving suddenly had to find support in finding some way to care for their children and keep them in school at the same time.

child care

In today’s environment these children would be wearing masks. The Region is working at getting the help needed by the frontline workers.

In response to the Province’s announcement and decision to move all Ontario students to remote learning following the April break, Halton Region has partnered with the Ministry of Education and select operators in Burlington, Georgetown, Milton and Oakville to provide emergency child care services.

The spaces will be available full day starting Monday, April 19 for eligible health care and frontline workers with children aged four to 12 who are registered for school in Halton.

“Our health care and frontline workers continue to make significant sacrifices to respond to the pandemic and keep our community safe, “said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We will keep doing whatever it takes to make sure that these critical workers are supported throughout this time. I want to thank our Children Services team, the Province and all of our partners for working to ensure that these workers have access to child care services while elementary schools are closed to in-person learning.”

The targeted emergency child care spaces are fully funded by the Province to eligible health care and frontline workers who may not be able to support their child(ren)’s learning/care at home and who have no other child care alternatives. Child care for infants up to four years of age will remain open.

supermarket worker

The people working retail and those working in the medical sector need help. The Region is supplying whatever space they can find. Will it b enough?

To apply for emergency child care, eligible workers are asked to contact one of the approved emergency child care operators directly. If you have previously applied for targeted emergency child care you will need to reapply. Spaces are limited and will be filled in order of the applications received.

Halton Region Public Health is working closely with the Ministry of Education to open these child care spaces and are taking extra measures to maintain a safe and healthy environment, including daily screening of children and staff and regular cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For more details on targeted emergency child care, eligibility criteria and to view the list of approved emergency child care operators in Halton, please visit our Child care Services webpage or call 311.

The link to that page on the Regional web site is HERE

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