Two Burlington corporations given repayable loans by the federal government - reporter thinks there was something for him as well

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 5th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We got a little bit behind on this one.

The federal government sent a pair of Cabinet Ministers to the city to do a short quick announcement on some funding that came out of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario – FedDev for short.

Burlington’s MP Karina Gould and Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario visited virtually to leave behind $2.9 million with two Burlington corporations.

Elaine Gerrie

Elaine Gerrie spoke for the company when the funding announcement was made.

The first, Gerrie Electric Wholesale Limited got $1.4 million as repayable contribution that will help the consolidation of its new distribution operations in the 76,000-square-foot facility that will open in late May.

Karie

The “Karie” a pharmaceutical dispensing device developed by Burlington’s AceAge

AceAge Inc., a healthcare technology company, has developed and commercialized the Karie™ in-home medical device that organizes and dispenses medication. The easy-to-use system allows patients to schedule medication refills and deliveries, which has become increasingly beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also reminds users to take their medication, which is dispensed with the push of a button, and uses smartphone technology to alert family or caregivers when a patient has missed a dosage. With a $1.5-million repayable contribution, AceAge Inc. will scale its operations to meet increasing demand in Canada and Europe by growing its development and support teams.

This investment will also help the company launch its technology in the United States.

These funding announcements are part of the political process; the politicians want the public to know all about the good news.

Jolie

Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario

Once the announcements were made the Zoom session was open for questions.  My name pops up on the screen and I ask my question – I get to ask a follow up question.  Then on to the next reporter.  Turns out that I was the only reporter on the call (typical of the Gazette) so I asked if I could get in another question.

Nope, said the facilitator and then Minister Joly brought her hand up to her mouth with the palm facing up and I swear she blew a kiss goodbye – given that I was the only reporter on the call it just had to be for me.

I was so surprised that I wasn’t able to move fast enough to grab a screen shot you’ll just have to believe me.

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Some good ideas came out of a virtual meeting that wasn't all that well attended

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

April 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Convinced that there is actually going to be a summer that doesn’t have us in some level of lockdown, city hall people held a virtual community meeting on what could and should be done with the Beachway that was flooded with a level of traffic last summer that had not been seen in decades.

With few places open for walking around and a requirement that we keep six feet apart and wear masks – and at the same time try to get outdoors for some exercise and a chance to upgrade our mental health, the city was open to new ideas.  The city hall types wanted to hear what people thought should be done.

Many of the people using the park are believed to be people who were not Burlingtonians which rubbed some the wrong way.

The virtual event was a bit like a workshop; staff from Transportation, traffic, parks and recreation and tourism were taking part to explain what they were doing, as well as what they were up against.

beachway web cast

The virtual meeting was designed to get public input on how to handle the problems – though public take-up was low, there were some very good ideas. The Beachway traffic is close to being out of control.

Parking and waste removal were top of mind for those who did call in. The take up by the public wasn’t as high as Mayor Meed Ward had hoped.

There was a note that spaces on the call were limited to 500 – nowhere near that number – yet there were some good ideas.

When it was suggested that the Beachway be limited to just people who lived in Burlington, Mayor Meed Ward pointed out that the Beachway was a Regional park operated by the city.

That means having to take in the “rabble” from everywhere.

Charging for parking is something we are likely to see come the summer. The rate mentioned was $20 a day – $2.50 an hour. How those amounts are going to be collected wasn’t talked about.

Beachway - two storey + roof deck

This house was torn down – just an empty plot of land. All part of the Region’s willing seller – willing buyer program designed to remove all of the homes in the Beachway. It could serve as a temporary parking lot.

One call had a really good idea: Use the spaces that used to have homes on them before the Region began buying them up – they are now just vacant lots. The suggestion was to turn them over to one of the service clubs who would handle the parking and split the income with the city.

Given that we are dealing with municipal administrations there were problems (the Region owns the land) – the grounds would have to be properly prepared which would cost and thee is no budget in place to cover that cost.

We did learn that there are conversations taking place with the Region.

There are plans to put Ambassadors in place who will travel in pairs and patrol both the Beachway and Spencer Smith Park explaining the rules to people. Parking bylaw officers will also be well represented.  They will be wearing uniforms – no hats or badges said the Mayor.

Beachway washrooms

The Pavilion, which was badly in need of an upgrade will reopen around Victoria Day. Washrooms will be available.

The Pavilion is undergoing upgrades – washrooms will be operational by summer time.

City Staff are looking into ways to get mobile food vendors in the space.

Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Glenn, apologetically explained that the “healthy food” mandate they had in place will give way to products that are more popular. The vendors can’t make a living selling kale with dressing on the side.

French fries and ice cream will do it.

There are a lot of unknowns including whatever the province and or the Public Health Unit decide to impose.

Parking - municipal cash grab

Parking tickets get handed out when people decide they can park wherever they wish. This was in the west end of the Beachway – some of those houses in the background were torn down.

The job on the public health side is to do everything possible to keep us all safe; parks and recreation needs to find ways for creating things people can do while traffic needs to exercise some control over the parking.

Staff are looking into pick up and drop off locations where people can be driven into the park and be dropped off at a location where they could put all their ”stuff” and get driven out of the Park when they are ready to go home. Cumbersome to even think about.

A number of people wanted to see much better maintenance – the grounds get to look pretty tacky at the end of a busy day. The suggestion was that roving maintenance people be on hand to do the clean up throughout the day.

Staff would like people to realize that when they bring waste into the park, they should be made responsible for taking it out with them.

A lot of educating to be done – and these things cost money.

Using electric carts to move people in and out was mentioned, shuttle buses brought out the fact that one of the bus routes runs from the John Street terminal right through the Beachway. Parking in the city is free on the weekends – could work.

Council will be getting a report on Tuesday – the option will be spelled out along with the costs.

The virtual event was to take the pulse of the community and see what they had to say.

Mayor-Meed-Ward-and--Galbraith

The Mayor monopolized the microphone – partly because the ward Councillor didn’t have much to say – the Beachway is in his ward – he should be THE champion for that part of the city.

The Beachway is in ward 1 and while Councillor Kelvin Galbraith could be seen – the public didn’t hear all that much from him.

For much of the webcast it sounded like the Mayor was the prime input person – she asked the questions, guided those who were calling in and passed things along to Staff.

The one really “hot potato” was finding a way to reserve the park for Burlingtonians – no one wanted to touch that one.

Sitting in the background is the work being done on a Master Plan for the Beachway that began in 2015. Council is scheduled to receive a report on that sometime in the fall.

Beachway - Full park

Almost every foot of the Beachway park will look differently if the Master Plan now in the works actually gets done.

What Meed Ward consistently calls the jewel in the city’s crown” is going to begin to look a lot different in five years.

Hopefully we are out of public health restrictions by then.

 

Related news story

The Master Plan for the Beachway

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Halton residents 60 years and older can book COVID-19 vaccination appointments starting Tuesday April 6th

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 2nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

UPDATE:  60 and plus cannot book an appointment until Tuesday. So they should wait to log in then.   65 + and others are currently being registered for appointments available in April. 

 

Starting Tuesday, April 6, Halton residents who are 60 years of age and older (born in or before 1961) can book an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. Appointments are available in April.

To book an appointment CLICK here

“This is another great step forward in our plan to get priority populations vaccinated,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “Our six clinics are operating seven days a week to serve our community.    We continue to follow Provincial direction on prioritization and our ability to keep vaccinating at this pace relies on ongoing supply from the Federal and Provincial Governments.”

needle and vaccineHalton Region continues to follow Provincial direction on prioritization and is reminding residents that Public Health does not have the authority to make any exceptions; only those who are eligible can book appointments.

The following groups are currently eligible for vaccination in Halton:

• all Halton residents 60 years of age and older (born in 1961 or earlier);
• Indigenous adults (including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations) 55 years of age or older;
• staff and essential caregivers from long-term care or retirement homes in Halton who have not received their first dose;
• health care workers identified as highest priority, very high priority and high priority (providing direct, non-virtual care at least once a week) who live OR work in Halton; and
• adults receiving chronic home care through a Local Health Integration Network or a home care agency.

“While we continue to make progress, vaccine coverage is not yet widespread and many are still susceptible to experiencing severe illness from COVID-19, including the variants of concern,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “As cases continue to rise, we all need to stay focused on protecting our own health, the health of our loved ones, and that of our community. Even if you or someone you know has been partially or fully vaccinated, public health measures like wearing a mask, physical distancing and limiting your close contacts to people you live with are still critical.”

Important information & instructions:

• In addition to the groups that are currently eligible, on Tuesday, April 6, Halton residents who are 60 years of age and older (born in 1961 or earlier) will also be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment through Halton’s online booking system.

• While booking online is the fastest way to schedule an appointment, residents can also call 311 if they require booking support. Residents who are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine are asked not to call 311 or visit the online booking system to ensure eligible residents have access.

• Vaccinations are by appointment only (no walk-ins) and must be booked through Halton Region’s online system or through 311. Please do not contact clinics directly. Bookings for Halton residents are not available through the Provincial booking system; residents who access the Provincial booking system will be redirected back to Halton’s system.

• Residents who have already scheduled an appointment for vaccination through Halton Region can now verify their appointment details online, including appointment time, date and location.

• Eligible residents can book appointments at any one of Halton’s six COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics located in Burlington (including Joseph Brant Hospital), Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville (including Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital). Residents are reminded that parking is free at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and Joseph Brant Hospital for those with scheduled appointments at these clinics.

• Halton Region continues to offer transportation services to and from appointments for residents who require support, free of charge, including residents 60 years of age and older.

• All appointments are contingent on the availability of vaccine supply.

• To maintain physical distancing and safety measures, please arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment (not earlier) and remember to wear a non-medical mask.

 

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'If we fail to stop the spread of the variant viruses that are now rampant in the community we could lose the summer'

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Later today, Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce that the province will be put in a lock down mode for as much as 28 days.

This has been done before and the science community is of the belief that lockdowns work.

Brown and Williams

Dr Adelstein on the left and Dr.David Williams on the right at a technical briefing this morning.

This morning Dr. David Williams and Dr. Adelstein Brown took part in a video conference in which mush of the science behind the decisions that get made was discussed with media taking part in a short media question and answer session.

The news was not good.

Dr. Brown said that if the province did not go into a lock down now there “was very strong chance that we will lose the summer”.

Brown is part of a community of 120 scientists across the province who collaborate on collecting data and analyzing that data to determine the best preventive action to take.
The scientists advise – the politicians have to make the decisions.

Brown referred to data that had been collected showing that the people who need vaccinations the most are the people not getting the vaccinations.

vaxcination chart

Column 1 represents the people who are most at risk; the people in column 10 are at the least risk. The people who need vaccinations are the people who are not getting them. The race is to find a way to get those at the highest risk vaccinated as soon as possible.

Along with that fact is the perplexing problem of far too many people who qualify for a vaccination but not getting to the vaccination centres.

The province is in a third wave where the predominant virus is one the Covid19 variants which are proving to be more infectious and resulting in more deaths of people who are below the 80 year and 70 years cohorts.

field hospital - long look

The field hospital set up outside the Joseph Brant Hospital at a cost of several million was a wise decision.

The pressure on the hospitals is immense. Brown and Williams said that should the number of people in hospital ICU’s rise above 800 a tipping point will be reached where a triage approach has to be taken as to who gets treatment and who doesn’t.

This third wave is real” said Brown and “it is very dangerous because of the variants that are now rampant in the community with 67% of the cases reported being variant.

Williams referred to people meeting with people that are not part of their home group is “dangerous behaviour. The science community wants to see stay at home orders issued which does not appeal to the politicians who have to deal with the backlash from people who vote.
The province has yet to succeed in getting a strong message out to the public that we are very very close to a crisis.

Brown said the politicians have to be “more decisive’ and that we are in a “ground game” now.

Brown brought up another matter – the closing of schools saying that schools should be the last to close and the first to open.
He pointed out that students reflect the community they live in and the hard reality is that the students bring what they reflect into the classrooms.

Closing schools however also has serious long term impacts on mental health. If students miss too much classroom time their earnings potential as adults will be impacted.

The education one gets in grade three is not something you can go back and get when the student is moving on to grade four.

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Ammonia notice seen as a bit of a scare by some people who were notified by mail of the new procedure for alerting the public IF there is a problem.

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 30th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

It was a shock to many of the people who got the letter from Sofina – better known as Fearmans – the pork processing plant at the intersection of Appleby Line and Harvester Road.

Ward 6 Councillor Paul Sharman said “First time I knew about the ammonia project was when Sofina called me to say they were sending the letter in accordance with Fed regulations. It was going to 1000’s of homes 2.kms around it. That was it. They did not mention the sign to me.

March 2021

Dear Neighbour,
As a partner in the community, we are sharing some information with you. Sofina Foods Inc. operates in Burlington at Appleby Line and Harvester Road. This facility is one of the largest employers in Burlington, and we have proudly done business in Burlington for 60 years.
Keeping You Informed: Ammonia Safety at the Burlington Plant Why are we sharing this information with you?
As a partner in the community, we are informing all neighbouring residents and businesses about
the use of ammonia at our facility.

What is ammonia?
Ammonia can take several forms including a colourless gas, a liquid or a white vapour. Ammonia, like most chemicals, when properly managed, is very safe.

How does Sofina use ammonia?
Like many other companies, we use ammonia at our facility as a refrigerant to keep our products cold. As required, it is stored in pressure vessels located in an engine room and transported from those vessels through a closed piping system, to cooling units in our production areas, storage rooms, coolers, and freezers.

Sofina’s ammonia system is maintained by highly trained Sofina personnel and third-party specialists through a rigorous preventive maintenance process and schedule. Further, our cooling system has monitoring systems in our engine rooms to alert our team of any possible issue related to a potential release.

A 150 year old corporation that plays a significant role in the Burlington economy. Should a slughterhiuse be in this location?

A 150 year old corporation that plays a significant role in the Burlington economy. Should a slaughterhouse be in this location?  It is not about to go anywhere – if anything they want to increase the size of the location.

What do you need to know?
In the highly unlikely event that there is an ammonia-related release, we have measures in place similar to other companies that use ammonia.

It is important that you are aware of the following:

• You may hear a loud siren. This means there is an ammonia-related release at our Burlington plant.
• Sofina will send out a text message to everyone who has opted into our text notification system. Instructions for opting in are below and this is your best way to stay informed.
• You must “Shelter-in-Place”. This means you should stay where you are and not go outside. If you are outside, you should get indoors immediately.
• If you are “Sheltering-in-Place” and you are at home, close your windows and doors and shut down your ventilation and/or air conditioning. Staying inside is the best way to protect yourself.

• If you are “Sheltering-in-Place” and you are in your car, remain in your car, park in a safe spot and turn the engine off.

Obviously a major hydro user and also a company that is well funded and in a postion to grow their operation if the market demand is there.

Obviously a major hydro user and also a company that is well funded and in a position to grow their operation if the market demand is there.

• Once the Fire Department assesses the situation, they will collaborate with Halton Region Police and Paramedic Services to determine appropriate next steps.
• Throughout the emergency, the public will be informed regarding the status of the emergency response and the actions being taken to resolve the situation.
• The team at Sofina will work closely with the Burlington Fire Department and Halton Region Police and Paramedic Service. You can check our website at www.sofinafoods.com for updates and visit the City of Burlington’s social media platforms: Twitter @cityburlington @burlingtonfire and www.burlington.ca/en/

Symptoms of exposure to ammonia can include a burning sensation in your eyes, nose or throat and in extreme cases, difficulty breathing. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should cover your ears, nose or mouth with a towel or some type of fabric and move to an area inside. You should keep your doors and windows closed and if necessary, place towels at the base of the door. If you believe you have been exposed to ammonia, you should see a medical practitioner
– either your family physician or emergency care as needed.

For more information Text Alerts:
The text alert system will be the fastest way to receive information and stay informed. Please sign up today. You will only receive these in the event of an emergency. Please text
1-888-217-6557 and the word ‘ADD’ to be added to our contact list. We do not collect any personal information from this service, and you can opt out at anytime.

Contact Us:
emergencyresponse@sofinafoods.com I 905-637-2301

Other languages:
To view this document in other languages please visit: www.sofinafoods.com/info

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Premier Ford: Don't make plans for Easter - sounds like a lock down will be announced

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 3oth, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

He does it almost every day of the week.

Stands before a teleprompter and does his best to tell people to stay at home until we have the COVID19 virus beaten.

He always has several people with him; Minister of Health, Minister of Finance – whoever can amplify the point he is making.

Hiller and the Premier

Hillier speaking fluidly and directly said if the vaccines were available everyone would get a vaccination. What he couldn’t do was say that he didn’t know when the vaccines would be delivered.

Today he was at the Humber River Hospital vaccination clinic.  Retired Army General Rick Hillier, wearing a smart looking black suit – no medals, and not much in the way of a smile on his face either.

The Premier ranted about the province being ready to put needles in arms but he didn’t have the vaccines needed. He ranted about the delays – each time laying another critical comment on the shoulders of the Prime Minister but not before saying the federal government was a good partner.

Problems galore on getting what the public told was promised.

When Hillier told the Premier he was quitting – saying his job was done – he didn’t elaborate.  The Gazette had picked up a number of comments on how bad things were between the General and the Premier but nothing we could get a quote on.

The General spoke for a few minutes assuring people that he believed every person who was eligable for a vaccine shot would get one by summer June 2oth.

Hiller walking away

Hillier leaves the podium – does not look at the Premier. They never did make eye contact during the period of time they were walking to and from the podium.

When Huller approached the podium to speak he didn’t use a teleprompter not did he flash a smile at the Premeir.  They did not make eye contact.

Same thing when Hillier left the podium – no eye contact with the General.  No handshake either but an elbow bump would have made the point.

The new infection numbers are higher than they have ever been.  The deaths are higher and the variant version of the virus seems to be making a tough situation worse.

Many of the people who know what they are talking about have urged the Premier to invoke a three week shut down.

The best the Premier could do today was say to the public:  Don’t make plans for Easter.

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Halton residents 65 years and older can book COVID-19 vaccination appointments starting Wednesday

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Starting Wednesday, March 31, Halton residents who are 65 years of age and older (born in or before 1956) can book an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. Appointments are available in April.

needle and vaccine“We are continuing to make good progress to vaccinate our most vulnerable populations through our community clinics and mobile teams,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “Our ability to keep vaccinating at this pace remains contingent on ongoing vaccine supply from the Federal and Provincial Governments. While the vaccine program progresses, our incredible public health team is also working tirelessly to quickly identify and manage COVID-19 cases to help keep our residents safe. In addition to getting your vaccine when it is your turn, please continue following all public health direction to protect yourself and others.”

Halton Region continues to follow Provincial direction on prioritization and is reminding residents that Public Health does not have the authority to make any exceptions; only those who are eligible can book appointments. The following groups are currently eligible for vaccination in Halton:

  • all Halton residents 65 and older (born in 1956 or earlier);
  • Indigenous adults (including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations) aged 55 years of age or older;
  • staff and essential caregivers from long-term care or retirement homes in Halton who have not received their first dose;
  • health care workers identified as highest priority, very high priority and high priority (providing direct, non-virtual care at least once a week) who live OR work in Halton; and
  • adults receiving chronic home care through a Local Health Integration Network or a home care agency.

“Although we have made significant progress in our vaccine rollout, we are seeing an increase in cases, particularly among variants of concern, and are firmly in a third wave of COVID-19,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “While our quick and steady rollout of vaccines is critical, it is only one important way we can protect each other and stop COVID-19. As we approach the long weekend, I urge residents to remain vigilant and not gather with individuals outside of your household. Please continue to follow all public health measures including wearing a mask and physical distancing from anyone you do not live with even if you or others have been vaccinated.”

Important information & instructions:

  • In addition to the groups that are currently eligible, on Wednesday March 31, Halton residents who are 65 years of age and older (born in 1956 or earlier) will also be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment through Halton’s online booking system.
  • While booking online is the fastest way to schedule an appointment, residents can also call 311 if they require booking support. Residents who are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine are asked not to call 311 or visit the online booking system to ensure eligible residents have access.
  • Vaccinations are by appointment only (no walk-ins) and must be booked through Halton Region’s online system or through 311. Please do not contact clinics directly. Bookings for Halton residents are not available through the Provincial booking system; residents who access the Provincial booking system will be guided back to Halton’s system.
  • Residents who have already scheduled an appointment for vaccination through Halton Region can now verify their appointment details directly online, including appointment time, date and location.
  • Eligible residents can book appointments at any one of Halton’s six COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics located in Burlington (including Joseph Brant Hospital), Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville (including Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital). Residents are reminded that parking is free at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and Joseph Brant Hospital for those with scheduled appointments at these clinics.
  • Halton Region continues to offer transportation services to and from appointments for residents who require support, free of charge, including residents 65 years of age and older.
  • All appointments are contingent on the availability of vaccine supply.
  • To maintain physical distancing and safety measures, please arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment (not earlier) and remember to wear a non-medical mask.

To learn more about Halton Region’s COVID-19 Vaccine Program, including who is currently eligible and how to book an appointment, please visit halton.ca/COVIDvaccines.

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HDSB hosting Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions for Parents

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

March 29th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The strain from the restrictions on what we can and cannot do while we weather ourselves through this pandemic are beginning to show.

The warm weather is going to attract all kinds of outside activity – and dinner at an outdoor patio – but only with people in your household – who are probably the last people you want to dine with – you’ve been cooped up with them for months.

The Halton District School Board is hosting two Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions for Parents/Guardians on Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30 at 7 p.m. at www.hdsb.ca.

talk to hs student

Tuesday, March 30 session will be for families with high school students

Discussion will include parent, child and youth mental health and well-being, ways in which parents/guardians can support their children, and resources available for youth and families. Each session will feature four panelists (parents, mental health experts, HDSB school social workers and community partners) who will share their experiences of parenting during COVID-19 and provide helpful information and resources.

The information session on Monday, March 29 will include information for parents/guardians of elementary students (Kindergarten – Grade 8) and the session on Tuesday, March 30 will include information for parents/guardians of secondary students (Grade 9 – 12).

These sessions will help parents/guardians learn about:

• How the pandemic may be impacting their, child’s, mental health and well-being
• Coping and well-being strategies for them and their children to support better mental health and well-being
• Resources and support available through their child’s school and within the community

Elementary Session: Monday, March 29 from 7 – 8:15 p.m. at www.hdsb.ca

Presenters:
• Noorie Soni, HDSB parent and PIC member
• Kim Menezes-Francispillai, School Social Worker, HDSB
• Shivani Patel, Lead, Access and System Navigation, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK)
• Nathan Pillai, Clinical Psychologist, Bayridge Counselling Centre

Secondary Session: Tuesday, March 30 from 7 – 8:15 p.m. at www.hdsb.ca

Presenters:
• Darlene Wierski-Devoe, Parent and Program Supervisor, Halton Families for Families
• Melinda Dougan, School Social Worker, HDSB
• Shivani Patel, Lead, Access and System Navigation, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK)
• Nicole Callander RSSW, Therapist, Bayridge Counselling Centre

Parent tlk to young

Session will have information for parents/guardians of elementary students (Kindergarten – Grade 8) and the session on Monday March 29th.

The sessions will be livestreamed through the HDSB YouTube channel. Parents/guardians can visit www.hdsb.ca at 7 p.m. on March 29 and/or March 30 to tune in. Registration is not required.

The HDSB is planning additional information sessions for parents/guardians on specific mental health & well-being topics to take place in the spring. 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.

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Great Activities during COVID-19 Lockdown

graphic community 3By Rupert Walters

March 26th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In recent times, we have seen the world being ravaged by a global pandemic which was as a result of the novel coronavirus called Covid-19. This pandemic not only disrupted what used to appear “normal” for many across the globe, it has also created a new normal.

This new normal is seeing many people work from home and others making use of technology to carry out virtual meeting and learning. While there has been several measures put in place by the Canadian government and medical organizations across the globe, there has been questions as to whether or not we would ever return back to the way things used to be.

Vacine- Milton

Vaccination supplies being delivered to the Milton location, one of six in the Region.

Talking about measures, the Canadian government while waiting for an approved vaccination mechanism has mandated the use of masks and demanded that everyone engage in social distancing. However, this was not enough as the cases of Covid-19 were rising. This necessitated a lockdown that has kept many in their homes for a long while.

With this, there are those who cannot go to work or school like they would always do. To avoid the effect this shift in activity can have on the mental and physical health, many individuals have resulted into different activities to keep themselves busy.

Here, we shall be examining some of the best activities you can engage in during Covid-19.

Read a book
The complexities of our everyday lives sometimes mean we may not have time to read some of the books we have always wanted to read. However, with the lockdown in place, there is no better time to read that book you have always wanted to read than now. There are two ways to have a big picture of life – to read books and to go places.

Every time you pick up a book to read, you are journey into places and imagination of the writer that you ordinarily may not have the privilege to get to perhaps. Reading makes you a more versatile, rounded, and knowledgeable person and there is no better time to get at it than during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Playing online casino in Canada
online-casino-ledeIf you love to play games but school or work has not permitted you, then the Covid-19 lockdown period is a good one to play online casino in Canada. Since the start of the lockdown, we have seen a rise in the number of online casinos that are available. Not only are these casinos available, many of them come with mouthwatering offers that you are sure going to like. You can access the many games on the best online casino top list from your mobile devices or personal computers.

In choosing the best casino to play on, you will need to research several casinos, compare their features and offers together to come up with the most suitable option for you. You will also need to familiarize yourself with the best playing strategy so you can always win at it. You’ve always wanted to play online casino games in Canada but you’ve not had the time. The lockdown presents a good opportunity to play, make sure to maximize it.

Rest and sleep
While this may sound quite weird as an activity to do during the Covid-19 lockdown, it is a very important one. Before the lockdown, there are many people who don’t create a time to rest. You are either trying to keep up with classes or running multiple jobs. The stress from this can affect your mental or physical health and cause you to breakdown. To avoid this, it is best that you maximize this Covid-19 lockdown period to rest and sleep as much as you can.

There are no assurances anywhere how long the lockdown will last, but make sure when it is all over, you have prepared your body, mind, and soul for what is to come after.

Connect with your loved ones
cooking togetherIf during the lockdown you are at home, you can use the opportunity to connect with your family and create that bond you have not had the time to create because of your busy daily schedule. As a family, you can play games, cook together, or have deep conversations. Whatever it is that you are doing with your family during this period make sure it is something that helps to either create a bond or strengthen an already existing one.

If there is anything worth taking away from the Covid-19 pandemic it is that we should learn to value people when we have them with us. You can maximize this Covid-19 lockdown to show to your loved ones how much they mean to you by spending time with them.

Other than sit and complain about the many things you cannot do as a result of the lockdown, why not focus on the things that you can do? You can read a book from your favorite author, play online casinos in Canada, rest as much as you can, and spend time with the people who truly matter in your life.

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There are things to look forward to - once the majority is vaccinated and safe distances have been maintained

eventspink 100x100By Tom Geens

March 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Lift your eyes to the future – and the all-Canadian pursuits we can look forward to over the coming months.

By anyone’s standards, the last year has been extremely tough. Leaving aside the direct human suffering inflicted by COVID-19, the pandemic has also ground society to a halt, with lockdown measures meaning that so many of our favourite pastimes have either been put on hold altogether or severely curtailed.

Things are going to stay tough for a little while yet. But at least now, with the prospect of a vaccine-led recovery strengthening every day, it feels like we can finally lift our eyes to the future and the promise of a return to normality.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of Ontarians’ favourite all-Canadian pursuits – the things that we’ve been missing dearly, and that enrich our local and national life so much. Something to whet the appetite as we look forward to brighter days ahead.

PAID hockey Toronto

Hockey is the national sport – watched at both the professional and local levels.

Watching hockey

Our biggest national sport, over 1.3 million Canadians actively participate in recreational hockey games, and as much as 68% of the population watched the 2018 NHL playoffs. This is a sport deeply ingrained in our national psyche.

Yet in recent months, there have been COVID-19 outbreaks traced to hockey arenas all over the US and Canada, meaning that spectators are not being allowed into stadiums to watch their favourite pro teams play. However, a vaccine-led recovery raises the prospect of Ontarians returning to the stands in the not-too-distant future, watching their favourite players while gobbling down hotdogs, ice cream and beer.

Playing rugby again with our friends

We might not be the world’s most famous rugby nation – that accolade probably goes to New Zealand – but we still love the sport.

wer

In Burlington the local Rugby Clubs take part in events, including the annual Christmas parade.

It was introduced to this country by the Royal Navy back in 1823, and we now have domestic tournaments such as the Canadian Rugby Championship and we participate in continental matches such as the Americas Rugby Championship.

With Rugby Ontario announcing that rugby clubs in certain parts of the province are allowed to start playing again, it feels exciting to be returning to the rucks and scrums of this fiercely competitive sport and using up some of that excess energy that we’ve all been storing up from months spent indoors.

Enjoying galleries and our world-beating culture

What have you been doing to pass the time during stay-at-home measures? A decent novel always helps. Netflix may offer some entertainment. There’s also the world of online casinos – sites such as this one offer plenty of online games, chances to win money, and safety measures to ensure that you can keep track of what it is you’re spending. For as long as the economy remains at least partially closed, indoor pursuits like this may help to keep you sane.

AGB live auction - closer look

Patron looking at painting being auctioned.

However, we’re all craving a bit of culture – Canada is famous for it, after all – and our very own Burlington Art Gallery has re-opened its doors.  With its range of exhibits, including a prominent collection of Canadian ceramics, and free access for visitors, this is definitely a great day out for the family.

Further afield, in the cultural mecca of Toronto, just over 40 minutes’ drive away, the Art Gallery of Ontario also remains closed – though an excellent array of virtual courses and activities remain available. For example, artist instructor Amanda Arcuri is running an online series called ‘Drawing Larger Than Life’.

Elsewhere, the world-famous Toronto Symphony Orchestra has posted an update on its website saying that it hopes to be able to share further details about its 2021/22 schedule by late spring or early summer.

Running your model boats at Centennial Pond

Skating at the Centennial Pond is over the for season.  Soon the water will be ready for those model boats that scoot around at a feverish clip.

Everyone is looking forward to the point where the majority of people will have been vaccinated and we will be able to get out to wine and dine and maybe event get to a movie.  Too early to tell – but that is the hope – assuming we all maintain that two metre safe distance and wear masks.

Drinking craft beer in our enviable array of bars

The humble glass of beer. In a bar. With your friends. Surely, few simple pleasures are being missed quite as much as this one, with venues across Ontario still shuttered due to the pandemic.

However, we can find solace in the fact that our enviable craft beer culture will come back with a bang when lockdown does finally end – and Toronto’s craft scene and brewers, in particular, give us hope that one day soon, we’ll be experimenting with all manner of flavorful ales.

Places such as Bandit Brewery, with its devilishly good bar snacks and quirky beer selection, is just one of the establishments that we’ll be hoping to get back into soon.

beer guy

The Beer Guy will deliver the suds to your door while you watch the hockey game.

Until then, be sure to check out companies such as The Beer Guy in Burlington, and the range of local breweries offering deliveries of kegs and bottles to people’s front doors.

We’re so lucky to live in Ontario – our proximity to big cities, big culture and world-beating nature means that we’re well-placed to enjoy the economic and social recovery from COVID-19 when it finally sets in.

Until then, we’ll have to make the most of the activities that we’re still allowed to do under restrictions and meditate on the prospect of better days ahead.

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If you are over 70 - log in and register for your vaccination

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The next cohort – those 70 and over – step up and register for your vaccination

The system the Regional Public Heath Unit has put in place is superb – there is no other word for it.

vaccination sign

Don’t show up more than ten minutes ahead of your appointment.

Well organized with all kinds of people on hand to step you through the process.

One little thing to keep in mind – don’t show up too early – 10 minutes before your slotted time is enough.

If you are over 70 – here’s the drill.

Starting Friday, March 26, Halton residents who are 70 years of age and older (born in or before 1951) can book an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. Appointments are available in March and April.

To book an appointment CLICK HERE    Have your OHIP card in front of you when you book.

sder

Gary Carr when he was Speaker of the Provincial Legislature.

“We are making great progress with our vaccination program and we are continuing to book and vaccinate eligible residents as quickly as possible,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “Our six vaccination clinics across Halton are running smoothly thanks to the commitment of Regional staff and our partners at Joseph Brant Hospital and Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. We will keep moving forward with our program, dependent on vaccine supply from the Federal and Provincial governments.”
Halton’s six clinics are by appointment only and are located in Burlington (including Joseph Brant Hospital), Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville (including Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital).

Additional locations will continue to be identified as required. Residents are reminded that appointments must be booked through Halton’s online booking system or if you require assistance call 311.

Bookings for Halton’s clinics are not available through the Provincial booking system; residents who access the Provincial booking system will be redirected to Halton’s system.

Hamidah Meghani

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health.

“While we have made significant strides, it is important to remember that vaccine coverage is not yet widespread and we must continue to follow public health measures,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “COVID-19 can spread easily if we let it and our individual actions are critical to limiting transmission. Please continue to stay home as much as possible, limit trips to essential outings only, keep a distance and wear a mask around anyone you do not live with. As always, please stay home if you are not well, even if your symptoms are mild.”

 

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Almost everything you want to know about the vaccines that are being used.

graphic thinkpiece 5By Staff

March 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Millions of Canadians want to know — of the four COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada — which one is the best one? Numbers and statistics are flying around and it’s fair to have a lot of other questions.

Are the Moderna and Pfizer shots really the ‘Cadillac’ of vaccines? Is the AstraZeneca shot effective? Does it matter which vaccine you get? We explain what vaccine efficacy really means and why comparing them is like comparing “apples to oranges”, the real differences between the ‘jabs’ and why out of all the numbers, 100% is the big one to focus on.

CLICK HERE for an excellent report on just what all that medical means.  (When you get to the link, scroll down for the podcast.) It runs for 15 minutes but you will leave knowing a lot more and have fewer questions.

needle and vaccine

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Spring break and PA Day programs open for registration on March 26

eventspink 100x100By Staff

March 23rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City’s spring break programming, which includes Youth Camp and Student Theatre Camp, and PA Day programming will be open for registration at burlington.ca/schoolbreaks on March 26, 2021, at 11 a.m.

Programs are available for viewing now.

students distant standing

Students will be able to be outside but programs will be much different this Spring Break.

Youth Camp and PA Day programming will take place at Tansley Woods Community Centre, 1996 Itabashi Way.

Student Theatre Camp will take place at Burlington Student Theatre, 2131 Prospect St.

If residents have questions about programs or need help with registering, contact the City by email at liveandplay@burlington.ca, or if you need to speak to someone, call 905-335-7738, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekends.

Recreation Fee Assistance

Recreation is for all, regardless of financial situation. Recreation Fee Assistance is funding made available to resident individuals or families who need help to pay for City of Burlington recreation programs.

For more information or to apply, visit burlington.ca/feeassistance. You can also leave a confidential voicemail message at 905-335-7738, ext. 8501 and staff will return your call to assist you.

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation, Community and Culture explains that while: “Programs may look different we have designed them to still offer the highest quality programming, staff and participant safety and a wide range of fun and exciting activities.

“Kids will love the programs and parents can feel confident their child is not only safe, but having fun, too.”

Links and Resources
www.burlington.ca/schoolbreaks

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Were we asked to leave? Or did they just forget the best mid sized city in Canada to live in.

graphic community 3By Staff Burlington missing

March 23rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Where did Burlington go?

Were we asked to leave the Region or did they kick us out?

Halton Health seems to have forgotten us.

A sharp eyed reader explains:

“Halton Healthcare” is a hospital corporation with hospital sites in Georgetown, Milton, and Oakville. Jo Brant Hospital is a separate hospital organization in Burlington and has never been part of Halton Healthcare.

This is different from Halton Public Health, which is regional and includes Burlington.

 

 

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Seven confirmed variant infections at an area steak house where 200 dined

News 100 redBy Staff

March 23rd, 2021

BURLINGTON,  ON

 

The Regional Medical Officer of Health issues instructions for food & drink establishments a few days after the public learns of the spread of a variant Covid19 at an area steak house that is reported to have served 200 people.  Seven have been found to have been infected with the variant.

On March 20, 2021, the Province announced adjustments to dining capacity limits at restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments for regions in the Grey/Lockdown, Red/Control, Orange/Restrict and Yellow/Protect levels of the COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open.

For Halton in the Red/Control level, changes include allowing up to 50 per cent capacity of the indoor dining area, to a maximum of 50 patrons, so long as physical distancing requirements are met.

As an added measure to protect the safety of staff, patrons and the broader community, Dr. Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health has issued instructions to owners, operators and other persons responsible for restaurants, bars, food trucks, concession stands and other indoor and outdoor food or drink establishments.

These instructions are being issued as we continue to see cases of COVID-19 in Halton region and have experienced outbreaks and community transmission of Variants of Concern (VOCs). These instructions take effect at 12:01 a.m. March 23, 2021, and are in addition to Provincial measures identified in the Framework.

Olivers steakhouse

Regional Health Unit contacting 200 people who dined at Oliver’s

Oliver’s Steak House

Further to our investigation, Halton Region Public Health has confirmed two additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of staff infected to seven. As a result, Halton Region Public Health is extending the exposure period to up to and including Thursday, March 18. We are asking all patrons who dined at Oliver’s Steakhouse between March 8 and March 18 to self-isolate for 14 days after their visit, and to get tested for COVID-19.

All seven confirmed cases are of a variant of concern. The  Halton Region Public Health’s investigation and case and contact management is ongoing, it is estimated that the total number of people exposed during this time is more than 200.

Let me see if I have this right.  The Public Health Unit loosens up the restrictions on dining out while the units investigation, case and contact management teams are scrambling to get in touch with the people who dined at the restaurant.

Sometime in April we will learn how many people were infected and if there were any deaths as a result

 

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Toxicity in the public square ... tears at the social fabric of communities.

graphic thinkpiece 5By DIANE KALEN-SUKRA

March 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A concurrent path towards systemically addressing toxicity in the public square and fostering a culture of civility, respect, mutual care and wellbeing includes efforts to enhance the skills of both citizens and civic leaders in civil discourse, critical thinking, social emotional regulation, secular ethics and the centrality and importance of human well-being and compassion in a healthy society.

Toxicity in the public square causes harm to individuals and organizations, results in a loss of diversity, lost productivity, costly lawsuits, and tears at the social fabric of communities. Ultimately, it undermines our democracy and the ability for governments to work collaboratively and effectively with the public to solve the many complex problems communities face. COVID has only exacerbated these challenges, threatening local economies, main streets, and downtowns as well as the further deepening of systemic urban inequalities and local government funding shortfalls.

In short, we need each other. A notable global effort to improve the quality of civic participation and social trust is called Citizen Discourse, which promotes the practice of healthy civil discourse skills. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to voluntarily sign a Compassion Contract – a type of social contract committing them to a set of shared values that inform a community’s norms for engagement.

They are centred on a few principles—namely, be respectful; listen to understand; act with good intentions; support ideas with evidence and experience; disagree without being disagreeable; critique the idea, not the person; invite wonder.

Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue recently published the results of a two-year survey in which they found that 60 percent of Canadians want improved civic education and 44 percent would like more avenues for democratic participation.

Then there are the 450 cities that have adopted and signed the Charter for Compassion – a public commitment to foster safe, inclusive, and resilient communities for all that are rooted in ethical conduct and compassionate integrity.

One such Charter Compassionate City, the District of Sooke, British Columbia was already well-positioned to adapt to pandemic-exacerbated social and economic challenges. In 2019, Council adopted the Sooke Compassionate Action Plan that committed the District to partner with the community to address homelessness, the affordability crisis, social isolation, inadequate health services, and enhance public communication and collaboration. In July of this year, new homeless shelter space was quickly secured as multiple agencies rapidly banded together in the district to meet evolving community needs.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait says part of embracing ‘the new normal’ during the pandemic is thinking outside the box, forging new relationships with community partners, and finding solutions that work for everyone. “I am grateful, but not surprised, that community partners came together under tight timelines, and found a better way to help our most vulnerable residents.”

“Our lives have been disrupted [by COVID] at local and global levels. Inequities have surfaced into full view. While our situation could be frustrating, frightening and even depressing, signs of potential for positive change and community growth have also emerged. We are all being urged to display creativity, compassion in these trying times. To become anything of true worth requires commitment and learning.

Where do we begin? I began with myself and my office. We were some of the first to take Compassionate Integrity Training. Even though compassion may sound like a soft skill set, it has very hard outcomes. Research shows that businesses that practice compassion increase their bottom line, that compassion decreases bullying in schools and increases the body’s immune system and other healing properties. We need compassion now more than ever.”

As this column goes to press, the first such training tailored uniquely for civic leaders, called Resilient Civic Leadership: Compassionate Integrity Training for Civic Leaders will be graduating its first cohort representing elected officials, Chief Administrative Officers, and other senior civic leaders from 16 different municipalities across Canada. Graduates receive a university certificate from the Centre for Compassion Integrity and Secular Ethics, Life University.

COVID has laid bare our interconnectedness as people, communities, and nations. As we work together to protect and heal ourselves physically from the ravages of COVID, we can also heal the fabric and soul of our communities, democracy, and planet. For better or for worse, we really are in this together.

Diane Sukra Toxic civic squareDIANE KALEN-SUKRA, MA, CMC is PSD’s Civic Resilience columnist. She is an author, speaker, educator, coach and certified culture change consultant with the Barrett Values Centre. Diane’s firm Kalen Consulting inspires and equips leaders to build resilient communities through good governance, asset management, servant leadership, compassionate culture, and civic education.

 

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The Race is On and We’re Losing

 

“You have a variant (B.1.1.7) that’s 50 per cent more transmissible and you’re using the same tool box and control efforts that barely worked against the previous variant…So of course the prevalence will increase. It might be a bit more or a bit less but if you’re reopening and you have a more transmissible variant, cases will increase. It’s not even really rocket science.” (Chris Bauch, University Research Chair in the Department of Applied Mathematics,  University of Waterloo).

Rivers 100x100

By Ray Rivers

March 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

That vaccines are rolling out across the province is comforting, except that we’ve hardly made a dent in getting to herd immunity. About a million doses have been administered and we need more like 20 times that amount to allow us to get back to some kind of normal. And now we hear that there is a third wave of infections on our doorstep, driven by the variants which are as much as 50% more contagious, demand more hospitalization and are more deadly. So, we are in trouble.

sunnybrook field hospital

A field hospital set up by the Army in a parking lot at Sunnybook hospital

For over a year now we’ve been in some kind of tiresome on-again-off-again series of restrictions against interpersonal contact. But Ontario’s premier has an itchy trigger finger and can’t break the habit of jumping the gun. He’s done this before. Despite predictions of a second wave last autumn, Ford relaxed public health restrictions resulting in record breaking infection numbers, nearly full hospitals and about 1000 more fatalities. And then Ford refused to re-impose further restrictions until the end of the year, again despite medical advice, and after the virus had firmly embedded itself in our community.

And now, even as Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table has told him that we are headed for an ever greater third wave of infections, Mr. Ford is threatening to lessen restrictions on congregate activity rather than tighten them. Having rescinded the stay at home order he has just recently authorized more establishments to reopen. Despite all the impressive compassion he delivers at his media briefings, he clearly doesn’t get it – doesn’t understand the dynamics in play – or it’s all just an act.

Covid variants

The image on the right is what scientists think the spike portion of a variant virus looks like.

Right now we are in the midst of a race between the new virus variants galloping at full speed to infect and kill more people versus protecting enough folks from the virus through vaccination. And the virus is winning. We know this virus continuously mutates, and it’s pure math that the more virus present, the greater the probability of mutation. Just look at the UK, South Africa, Brazil and more recently California. Who knows, there may be an even more powerful variant around the corner?

We have been told that by September everyone in the country should have been administered the vaccine. In as little as six months, then, we might be in a position where the viral contagion no longer will keep our businesses shut and our families and friends distant from their loved ones. It’s a long time but not as long as what the Premier’s failed public health policy has put us through so far. We either choke the virus by locking down or we face the potential consequences of a viral epidemic largely left unchecked.

So Mr. Premier. It’s time to stop gambling with our health and declare a proper lockdown. This province needs a new game plan to check the virus while we get the rest of our population protected with vaccines.

We need a complete province-wide shut down of all congregate activities which are not completely essential, and some kind of compensation for those people whose incomes will be lost in the process. We need another stay at home order and possibly a Quebec styled curfew. We need to close the Ontario border to interprovincial travel, as Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces have done. And we need to keep it that way for at least three weeks, from what the experts are telling us.

It’s not an impossible task. China, where the virus originated, did this last year. The country has had an occasional outbreak since, imported from outside the country, but has been able to trace and isolate all contacts. And life is pretty much back to normal there now. It is the same story with Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. There are no Chinese or New Zealand variants being created. And their communities have not had to experience second, let alone third waves of infection.

We only need to look at the Atlantic provinces which are Canada’s star performers in fighting the epidemic. History will show that those jurisdictions which dealt effectively with the epidemic have come out of it relatively unscathed. Meanwhile those which failed, like Ontario, have seen their small businesses devastated by the on-again-off-again restrictions; witnessed increases in inequality, mental illness, government debt; and, sadly, unforgivable loss of human lives.

New Zealanders went back to normal last year after only a few weeks in total lockdown. Today, the only way the virus enters there, as it did everywhere else, is by international travel. But even a single new case warrants a total lockdown there, including area roadblocks and severe penalties for those flaunting the rules. Had Mr. Trudeau followed the lead of his friend, Jacinda Ardern, we would have had an effective quarantine system in place over a year ago, holding those foreign variants in check.

New Zealand Jacinda

New Zealand Premier Jacinda Ardern, won re-election based on her leadership during the Covid 19 crisis in her country. Will Ontario re-election Doug Ford based on his performance.

Prime Minster Ardern is a hero in her country for leading the people in their fight to eliminate the epidemic. She won an overwhelming parliamentary majority in her last election, something rare for any country with a proportional representative electoral system, and the first such win in New Zealand’s history. She is so well regarded that NZ scientists recently named a newly discovered subspecies of the weta, a giant flightless cricket after her – the Hemiandrus jacinda.

We also recently uncovered a new species here in Canada, identified first in the west end of Toronto. It has been tentatively named the the Etobicoke slug. Still, I doubt anyone would suggest renaming it after our premier, despite the sluggish way he has been dealing with the epidemic. And besides wasn’t there a 70’s Canadian pop group with that moniker?

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

 

Background links”

Third Wave –    Variants      The COVID Story –      Australians –     Atlantic Success

Jacinda –    The Etobicoke Slug –   Doug and the Slugs

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Good news: those 75 and older can register on line for vaccination

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Starting Friday, March 19, Halton residents who are 75 years of age and older and Indigenous adults (including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations) 55 years of age and older who live in Halton can book an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. Appointments are available to book in March and April.

“This is another important step in our plan to get our most vulnerable Halton residents vaccinated as quickly as possible, as supplies are available,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “I would like to thank Halton Region, Joseph Brant Hospital and Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital staff who have been working tirelessly to open our vaccination clinics in each of our municipalities, and our teams who have been doing a tremendous job administering vaccinations.”

Halton Region continues to follow Provincial directions on eligibility, including vaccinating vulnerable populations as part of the Province’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan. To ensure Indigenous voices were included in decision-making for Halton’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program, the Region initiated engagement with Indigenous communities and organizations in and around Halton, including the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Credit River Métis Council, Indigenous Affairs Ontario, Urban Indigenous Organizations servicing the GTHA and highly regarded Indigenous healthcare professionals. These engagements will continue to ensure that Halton’s clinics are respectful of both the priority given to vaccinating this population and Indigenous cultures.

vaccination signHalton has opened COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics in Burlington, Halton Hills, Oakville and Milton. Eligible Halton residents 75 years of age and older and Indigenous adults 55 years of age and older can book their vaccination appointment at any one of the clinics, including the COVID-19 Vaccination Centre at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital starting March 19. Additional locations will continue to be identified as required. Residents are reminded that appointments must be booked through Halton’s online booking system or through 311. Bookings for Halton’s clinics are not available through the Provincial booking system; residents who access the Provincial booking system will be guided back to Halton’s system.

“As our vaccination program ramps up, I want to remind residents that the COVID-19 virus and the transmission of the variants is still very concerning,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “Vaccines are just one important tool to help stop the spread of the virus and we must remain vigilant – please continue to stay home as much as possible, limit close contact to people you live with and go out for essentials only. These everyday decisions are critical over the next few weeks and months to prevent the severity of a third wave and will help to get us back to normal sooner.”

Important information & instructions:

In addition to groups currently eligible, on Friday, March 19, the following groups (or someone booking on their behalf) will also be able to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment through Halton’s online booking system:

o Halton residents who are 75 years of age and older (born in 1946 or earlier); and,

o Indigenous adults (including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations) living in Halton who are 55 years of age and older.

• While booking online is the fastest way to schedule an appointment, residents can also call 311 if they require booking support. Residents who are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine are asked to please not call 311 or visit the online booking system to ensure eligible residents have access.

• Vaccinations are by appointment only (no walk-ins) and must be booked through Halton Region’s online system or through 311. Please do not contact clinics directly. Bookings are not available through the Provincial booking system; residents who access the Provincial booking system will be guided back to Halton’s system.

• All appointments are contingent on the availability of vaccine supply.

• Halton Region continues to offer transportation services to and from appointments for residents who require support, free of charge.

• To maintain physical distancing and safety measures, please arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment (not earlier) and remember to wear a mask/face covering.

To learn more about Halton Region’s COVID-19 Vaccine Program, including who is currently eligible, transportation options and how to book an appointment, please visit halton.ca/COVIDvaccines.

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Clean Up Green Up weekend April 22nd - Register now

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is that time of year again – and there isn’t much the pandemic can do about it.

It is Clean Up Green Up time and registration is now open CLICK HERE to REGISTER.

clean up world logoSign up your family, friends, social bubble, colleagues or community group for this safe and impactful, eco-action opportunity. Give back to the planet by participating in an Earth Week Clean Up starting on April 22nd!

FREE clean-up supplies will be available for pick-up at two locations, and we’ve got some great prizes available this year too! Visit our website to learn more and to register your participation.

Great for families, friends, social bubbles and small community groups!
Spend quality time with your loved ones taking eco-action that not only helps the environment but also supports the local community. This safe outdoor activity is a great way to connect outside in nature and get some exercise too.

Great for businesses!
This is a great opportunity to gather your team or coworkers for a safe outdoor team-building activity that helps both the environment and the community. Are you currently working remotely? No problem! You can still be physically apart AND work collectively to clean up – have team members complete their own clean-ups at home on behalf of your workplace, team or business. Amalgamate photos from everyone’s clean up and see just how BIG your impact can be!

Great for the classroom!
Whether you are in a classroom or virtual classroom, this is a great opportunity to have students safely get outside, get some exercise and help the local environment too. Organize a clean-up with your class, or encourage parents to organize a family clean-up at home. Make it an exciting class project and encourage students to take photos of the litter they collect. We have a great complement of resources to support related curriculum – check out our Eco-Educators page for more.

How It Works:

1. Determine a location in Burlington that your family, friends, coworkers, community group or classroom would like to clean up.

 Location ideas include parks, trails, plazas, hydro fields, bike paths, the beach, creeks, roadsides, etc. You can also visit Friends of Sheldon Creek Watershed Facebook page to discover opportunities to help them out.

Visit this space regularly, we will be posting litter hot spots and some popular locations around the city that have already been cleaned up.

We encourage you to use your own clean up supplies, however, you can request free clean up supplies for your group. Supplies will be available for pick-up (while quantities last) at our supply depots;

2019 Community Clean Up Participants

Perks of registering:

  • We have FREE clean up supplies including disposable gloves, garbage and recycling bags available for pick up, by request, while quantities last.
  • When you register your Clean Up your group will be entered into a draw for a chance to win a $50 gift card to the Burlington Centre! We will be drawing for 2 gift cards for groups that register before May 2nd, and 2 more for groups that register between May 2nd and October 31st.
  • We’ve got extra prizes for groups that share their photos with us – so take photos of your Clean Up and tag us on social media or e-mail them to us for EXTRA chances to win! (Note: Submission of photos provides permission to BurlingtonGreen to use your photos in print, or in digital materials including social media platforms with permission to edit, alter, copy, or distribute the photos for media advertising and marketing)

3. Have a fun and safe Clean Up! Remember to:

  • Review our 2021 Clean Up Green Up Tip Sheet (PDF) for important safety and waste collection information.
  • Review our Volunteer Activity Waiver Informed Consent to Participate form.
  • Follow the most up-to-date Halton COVID-19 safety guidelines.
  • Count the number of full bags of litter you collected, take a photo of your (physically distanced) group with your collected litter and tag us on social media or send us an email!
  • Let us know about any larger waste items or “hot spots” with lots of litter that you encountered during your clean up, so we can flag it for further attention.
  • Bring ALL collected waste home with you and dispose of it through your residential curbside collection. Please do not leave collected waste at any parks, trails, businesses or green spaces, as city waste collection services are limited during the pandemic.

That’s it!  By participating,  you are contributing to a city-wide effort for a cleaner, beautiful Burlington.

Thank you to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the City of Burlington, Cogeco, YourTV and our growing list of supporters for helping to make this impactful opportunity possible. Interested in sponsoring this impactful event? Contact us today!

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Resident has nothing but good words for vaccination process

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Here is how it works.

A resident from the Tyandaga area had a vaccination appointment. When it comes to being critical and direct – he is amongst the best.

His experience in getting vaccinated follows…

Vax 1 change

A change in the second dose appointment date is handed out.

I arrived at the vaccination station and security asked my name and designated vaccination time. They checked a list for validation.

I was 30 minutes early and was asked to return in 15 minutes (they did ask if I came by car and could wait in it) since it appeared that there was no real waiting area available inside the building (probably to avoid ‘crowding’).

After Security at the front door, I was then asked by Halton Staff to show my health card.

They then led me to the vaccination hall. Here there were three rows (A, B, C) each row containing 10 chairs (5 chairs side-by-side) in the row – all the chairs were separated by at least 6 feet.

On each chair was the literature that I have attached.

Each row of 5 was serviced by a Vaccination giver and an assistant. They went from client to client in their designated row (back and forth).

Before the vaccination, a number of questions were asked mostly to do with medication currently taken and any allergic reactions to specific medication.

If all was OK, then they gave you the shot of Phizer mRNA vaccine (make sure you have a short-sleeved shirt / vest on!).

After the vaccination, you were given a time that you could leave the vaccination area – 15 minutes from the time of the vaccination.

On leaving you were directed to the exit and again met by Halton staff who presented you with a Ministry of Heath certification of your vaccination and also the time and date of your second dose (note: this has been extended from 3 weeks to 4 months in order to give more people their first dose.)

Note: NO photos were permitted in the vaccination hall and this was strictly yet politely enforced. There also seemed to be security cameras scanning the whole operation

This was a very well organized operation with pleasant and helpful staff and the whole procedure from start to finish took approximately 30 minutes.

In fact, in my experience, from the initial registration phone call to the actual Pfizer ‘jab’ Halton should be complimented at their efficiency of delivery.

Vax 3 correct

Vax 2 what to do

 

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