Ontario Expanding Booster Eligibility: Will Expand Gradually Based on Age and Risk to Delta Varia

By Staff

November 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is expanding eligibility for booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to additional groups of high-risk individuals starting November 6, 2021, providing them with an extra layer of protection against the Delta variant. Over the coming months, Ontario is also prepared to gradually roll out booster doses to all Ontarians aged 12 and over.

While the province continues to report one of the lowest rates of active cases in the country and continues to make steady progress in vaccinating more individuals, offering the extra layer of protection provided by a booster dose will contribute to the fight against COVID-19.

“Keeping a low rate of infection in our communities and protecting our most vulnerable is how we can keep our schools, businesses and social settings as safe as possible while avoiding further lockdowns,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “To provide every individual the best protection while learning to live with the virus for the long-term, we are prepared to expand booster eligibility to all Ontarians pending clinical recommendations, with eligibility expanding this week to individuals who face a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.”

Based on the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and in alignment with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s (NACI) recent recommendation, the province will begin offering booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the following vulnerable populations if at least six months have passed since their last dose:

• Individuals aged 70 and over (born in 1951 or earlier);
• Health care workers and designated essential caregivers in congregate settings (including long-term care home and retirement home staff and designated caregivers);
• Individuals who received a complete series of a viral vector vaccine (two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine or one dose of the Janssen vaccine); and
• First Nation, Inuit and Métis adults and their non-Indigenous household members.

Booster doses are being offered to these groups based on evidence of gradual waning immunity six months after receiving their second dose and a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Starting on Saturday, November 6 at 8:00 a.m., eligible individuals will be able to book their booster dose appointment through the COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre, directly through public health units that use their own booking systems, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, select pharmacies, and primary care settings.

Eligible individuals can book appointments at a Halton Region Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic through Halton’s online booking system, starting Saturday, November 6, 2021.

Hospital-based health care workers are encouraged to reach out to their hospital employer to get vaccinated directly through their hospital’s vaccination program.

Locations and timing for booster doses may vary by public health unit based on local planning and considerations.

In addition, Ontario is once again supporting northern and remote fly in First Nation communities by launching Operation Remote Immunity 3.0, this time through the co-development of plans with Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, to support Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority and Weeneebayko Area Health Authority, First Nation health organizations, to administer booster doses in their communities with transportation and vaccine supply assistance from Ornge and local public health units.

While the COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, the province is prepared to expand eligibility for a booster dose to all Ontarians over time. Based on Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout for first and second doses, expansion of eligibility for booster doses will be based on age and risk, with an interval of six to eight months from the second dose.

“Ontario is continuing the success of our vaccine rollout by expanding eligibility for a booster shot based on age and risk,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “As we continue rolling out our Last Mile Strategy to vaccinate as many Ontarians as possible, providing an extra layer of protection starting with our most vulnerable is critical as we continue to safely reopen and manage COVID-19 for the long-term.”

During the height of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, a large population of Ontarians received their first and second doses at a longer interval than indicated on the product monograph. This longer interval has now been shown to improve duration of protection, and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization now recommends an optimal interval of eight weeks between first and second doses.

“The expansion of eligibility for booster shots is one more step that our government is taking to protect Ontarians and keep our communities safe,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “As with the initial administration of COVID-19 vaccines, the phased rollout of booster shots ensures that vulnerable groups are prioritized and can easily access booster shots through pharmacies, clinics and health care providers.”

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for children aged five to 11 is subject to Health Canada approval. Ontario is working with public health units across the province to prepare to vaccinate children aged five to 11. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 is a distinct formulation at a lower dose and supply of vaccine that will be rolled out in parallel to booster doses.

 

Return to the Front page

City of Burlington update on staff vaccination numbers: 88% fully vaccinated

By Staff

November 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington is providing an update on its staff vaccination numbers in accordance with the City’s COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Policy. This policy is applicable to all City staff, regardless of work location. All City staff are required to show proof of vaccination, with some exceptions for those who are legally entitled to accommodation.

As of Tuesday, Nov. 2:

• 97% of City staff have submitted their vaccination status as required by the City’s COVID-19 staff vaccination policy

• 88% of City’s total work force (includes full-time and part-time employees) are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

This percentage reflects how many staff in our total workforce are vaccinated and not the vaccine status of only those staff who have supplied their vaccination information.

There is additional work underway to collect outstanding vaccination status submissions and up to date information will continue to be gathered.

Quick facts
• City staff who are unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated are required to participate in regular Rapid Antigen Testing prior to entering the workplace.

• Starting Oct.4, required Rapid Antigen Testing was provided to unvaccinated individuals by the City. After Nov.26, the City will no longer provide Rapid Antigen Testing and an unvaccinated individual will be required to arrange and pay for their own

Rapid Antigen Testing.
• As part of the City’s commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace, employees are also required to complete an e-screening form prior to entering a City facility.
• There are 1500+ employees at the City.
• City Council has fully supported the City’s COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Policy. This policy also applies to members of City Council.

Tim Commisso, City Manager explains that: “The City, as an employer, has an obligation under Ontario law to take all necessary precautions to protect its workers. We continue to gather the vaccination status of staff to give us a clear and accurate picture of our total workforce and serve our community through this pandemic.”

Return to the Front page

Grace period given for children under 12 yrs old who have not completed their vaccinations

By Staff

November 2nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Regional Municipality of Halton Medical Officer of Health amended Instructions that were issued on October 19th to include:a grace period of 12 weeks for children turning 12 years old, to allow a reasonable opportunity for their vaccination to be completed.

Fully vaccinated – please.

On October 19, 2021, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health (MOH), Dr. Hamidah Meghani, issued a letter of instructions to indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to implement vaccination policies that require all eligible individuals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in organized sports and recreational fitness activities in these settings.

The amended letter of instructions released today adds a grace period of 12 weeks for children turning 12 years old, to allow a reasonable opportunity for their vaccination to be completed.

Halton’s MOH, Dr. Meghani, reminds all residents that while Provincial regulations have recently changed to remove capacity limits and requirements for physical distancing in facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, other important public health requirements remain in place. These include requiring proof of vaccination, screening, masking, contact tracing, cleaning/disinfection and safety plans to describe the measures and procedures implemented to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Dr. Meghani also strongly encourages facilities (including facility operators and permit holders) to continue to implement physical distancing for all children 11 years and younger (who are not eligible for vaccination at this time) participating in organized sports and recreational fitness activities, or activities of any kind in which masking may be inconsistent.

To read Dr. Meghani’s amended instructions for businesses/organizations with indoor facilities used for Organized Sports and Recreational Fitness Activities or for additional public health information and guidance, please visit halton.ca/COVID19.

Return to the Front page

GO Vaxx bus to be at Mapleview Mall on Wednesday

By Staff

November 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If you haven’t been fully vaccinated yet, here’s your chance!

GO-VAXX bus coming to Burlington

The Go-VAXX bus will at Burlington’s Maple Park (750 Maple Avenue) in Burlington on Nov. 3, 11am to 7pm

No appointment is necessary and anyone born in 2009 and before is eligible to get vaccinated.

Which vaccine you will get

The GO-VAXX buses are administering the Pfizer vaccine.
What to bring with you

If you would like to get vaccinated at a GO-VAXX bus mobile clinic, remember to:

• bring your health card — if you do not have a health card or if it’s expired, bring another form of government-issued photo identification such as a driver’s license, passport, status card, or birth certificate
• eat and drink something before you arrive at your appointment to prevent feeling faint or dizzy while being vaccinated
• dress for the weather in case there is a line-up
• wear clothing that allows for easy access to your upper arm, such as a loose-fitting top or a t-shirt
• wear a mask that covers your nose, mouth and chin

Do not visit the GO-VAXX bus if you have symptoms of COVID-19covid 19.

Stay safe, stay healthy and be grateful.

Return to the Front page

Is normal creeping towards us? City loosens up gathering rules

By Staff

October 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Following the Province’s announcement to lift capacity limits in select settings where proof of vaccination is required, the City of Burlington will begin to move towards gradually increasing capacities for recreation facilities and programs. Visitors and participants are asked for patience as the City works toward returning to pre-pandemic capacity as programming is expanded where possible. To accommodate the changes, some programs may have to change times, dates or locations.

Some drop-in programs will see an immediate increase in capacity. Pre-registration is still required for all drop-in programs.

Capacities for registered programs and community rentals at rinks, pools, meeting rooms and community centres will also begin to increase gradually.

All current regulations around proof of vaccination, screening, masking and physical distancing remain.

For more information on what to expect when visiting City of Burlington recreation facilities and programs, visit burlington.ca/coronavirus.

City Hall
Service Burlington is open at City Hall. Residents can visit Service Burlington Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for:
• Parking permits and ticket payments
• Property tax payments
• Freedom of Information payments
• Garbage tag purchases
• Dog licenses
• Property information requests
• Recreation services payments

Marriage licenses and Commissioning services are also available at City Hall by appointment. Make your booking online at burlington.ca/marriagelicences or burlington.ca/commissioning.

To connect directly with a member of the Service Burlington team, call 905-335-7777 or email city@burlington.ca.

Hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Building and Bylaw Department Changes
The Building and Bylaw Department has seen a drastic increase in building permit and bylaw inquiries/complaints over the past 18 months. To help streamline the work, anyone looking for services regarding building permits, building inspections, licensing services or bylaw enforcement, can contact the City the following ways:

Service Area Contact them when…
Building Permits • Inquiries and complaints (e.g., permit application status, permit pickup, etc.)
• Telephone: 905-335-7731, ext. 7470
• Email: buildingpermits@burlington.ca

Building Inspections • Inquiries and complaints (e.g. illegal construction, construction sites, unsafe buildings, etc.)
• Telephone: 905-335-7731, ext. 7470
• Email: buildingpermits@burlington.ca

Licensing Services • Inquiries and complaints (e.g., business licenses, pool/sign permits, lottery/liquor licences)
• Telephone: 905-335-7731
• Email: bylaw@burlington.ca

Bylaw Enforcement • Inquiries and complaints (e.g., property standards, nuisance/noise, lot maintenance, etc.)
• Telephone: 905-335-7731
• Email: bylaw@burlington.ca

 

Return to the Front page

Caregivers and Support Persons Required in Joseph Brant Emergency Room NOW!

By Tamara De Dominicis

October 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON’

 

When you go to the emergency room of the hospital, you are at your most vulnerable. No matter the reason that you need to see a doctor, something prompted you to seek out medical attention and you need help. At Joseph Brant Hospital, current rules state that patients visiting the emergency department may only have a caregiver or support person under “special circumstances, such as for patients with cognitive, mobility or language difficulties” (Joseph Brant Hospital). This is unacceptable for numerous reasons, which I will outline below.

The necessity of a support person in emergency should not be limited by Covid 19 protocols says resident.

Let us first review the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Burlington, Ontario at the end of October 2021. At present, there are 5 active cases of COVID at the hospital, with 120 cases reported in the entire City of Burlington in the last 30 days (Joseph Brant Hospital) (Halton Region). Vaccination rate is 84% for the eligible population in Halton and with the system of vaccine passports in place, it is possible to access nonessential services (Hennessey and Rosella). That is, one can eat indoors at restaurants, go to movies, concerts, or games, use sports and recreation facilities, and even go to nightclubs (Ministry of Health).

If you decide to go to a restaurant, all you must do is provide your name and information for contact tracing to the host, then show your proof of vaccination and identification. But if you try and go to the hospital to support your spouse, family member or child, you are not permitted to do so unless that person isn’t able to advocate for themselves at that moment, regardless of whether you are vaccinated or inhabit the same household as the patient in question.

I understand the need to limit the spread of COVID-19; however, the pandemic is not the only medical concern that affects Burlington citizens. A year and a half into the pandemic medical professionals are busy, overworked, and exhausted (Science Table COVID-19 Advisory for Ontario). Wait times in the emergency room are long and the waiting area is unattended by medical personnel (Joseph Brant Hospital). Arriving at emergency, the person who determines the patient’s capacity to communicate their medical needs is not a medical practitioner at all but rather a volunteer. I do not believe that a person who possesses no medical training or licensing should be permitted to give medical advice that must be followed. Furthermore, a critical medical situation can change rapidly, with a patient perhaps being able to advocate for themselves when they first enter emergency, and their health changing so that they are no longer able to do so.

Burlington MP Karina Gould, centre, with Minister of Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan looking through a scrapbook with a veteran at the hospital.

I have personally witnessed several situations that illustrate the necessity of a support person in emergency. One patient insisted they did not need a caregiver; the person who accompanied them then informed the volunteer their parent had dementia. A father brought his teenage son for care after a concussion who was also told to leave; he refused, the patient’s symptoms worsened, and he was not able to explain his medical history without his father’s help. An elderly woman fell in the washroom and spent 15 minutes on the floor despite her daughter calling repeatedly for help. How much worse would these situations have become without a person present to advocate for the patient?

Other hospitals in the Halton and surrounding area have recognized the need for caregivers to attend their loved ones in the emergency room. At the hospitals included in the Halton Healthcare Network, emergency room patients are permitted two support people (Halton Healthcare). It is time for Burlington’s hospital to support both its staff and its citizens by allowing caregivers and support people in the emergency room.

Works Cited

Halton Healthcare. Emergency Department. 2020. Web. 23 October 2021.

Halton Region. Halton Cases By Neighbourhood. 22 October 2021. Web. 23 October 2021.
Hennessey, Melanie and Louie Rosella. Tracking the COVID vaccine rollout in Halton.

23 October 2021. Web. 23 October 2021.

Joseph Brant Hospital. COVID-19. n.d. Web. 23 October 2021.

—. Emergency Department. n.d. Web. 23 October 2021.

Ministry of Health. Proof of Vaccination. 15 October 2021. Web. 23 October 2021. Science Table COVID-19 Advisory for Ontario. “Burnout in Hospital-Based Healthcare
Workers during COVID-19.” Science Briefs (2021): 1-24. Web.

Tamara De Dominicis (she/her) is a poet in ceaseless conversation with the natural landscape. Her two poetry collections, “Where the landscape listens” and “wayward weeds” communicate the parallel and sympathetic concerns of people and the natural world while excavating the connections of memory and place. She is the founder and editor of Wildflower Press, a small digital press with the aim of giving voice and distribution to local talent. Her pandemic project, The Window Zine, brought together art and artists of different mediums to convert creativity into funds for community organizations. She lives in Burlington, Ontario with her spouse and their pets.

 

Return to the Front page

PUBLIC ALERT - Overnight Cluster of Overdoses

By Staff

October 22nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton Regional Police Service is issuing a Public Alert after responding to five non-fatal, unintentional overdoses overnight (October 21-22, 2021).

This is the largest cluster of suspected overdose-related calls since the beginning of the pandemic. In the month of October, HRPS has attended 33 overdoses; 13 in the past week alone.

Locations
Four of the drug poisonings occurred in Oakville and one occurred in Burlington.

Substances
Fentanyl is believed/known to have been involved in three of the five overdoses. More specifically, purple fentanyl contributed to two of the overnight drug poisonings.

Response
Naloxone and CPR were administered by police and/or bystanders to revive two of the victims. As a result of these lifesaving efforts, including those provided by our EMS and Fire first responder partners, these victims were successfully revived. Every life saved today is an opportunity for recovery tomorrow.

Advice for People Who Use Drugs
Never use alone. Use one at a time. Don’t use drugs alone, and don’t let those around you use alone either. If you are using with someone else, don’t use at the same time. If an overdose occurs, having another person nearby can save your life. If you must use alone, we encourage you to download the Brave App. The Brave App is designed to connect people at risk of overdose with help they need: an ally you can talk to, a human supporter to help you stay safe, and digital monitoring technology to help you when you’re in danger. The Brave App is not a substitute for calling 911.

Know your tolerance and always use a small amount of a drug first to check the strength. Remember that any drug can be cut with, or contaminated by, other agents or drugs (e.g. fentanyl), which in very small amounts can be harmful or fatal.

Carry naloxone, a drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available free-of-charge in Halton at Halton Region clinics (in Acton, Burlington, Georgetown, Milton and Oakville), Halton Region Needle Exchange Program (Exchange Works), and some local pharmacies. To find a pharmacy that distributes naloxone, visit the Ontario government’s web page.

Don’t run. Call 9-1-1. An overdose is a medical emergency. Know the signs of an overdose and call 9-1-1 right away. Our frontline officers, and other first responders in Halton, carry naloxone and we want to assist. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides broad legal protections for anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose. This means citizens, including youth, will not be charged for offences such as simple possession for calling 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Return to the Front page

City of Burlington recreational facilities and vaccine status

By Staff

October 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington will continue to follow the Provincial mandate and require proof of vaccination in City recreational facilities for all who are eligible for the vaccines.

City-operated services and facilities not impacted include:

  • City Hall at 426 Brant St.
  • Outdoor sports fields
  • Diamonds, parks and playgrounds
  • Burlington Transit
  • Halton Court Services

Parents can watch – but they must show their proof of vaccination papers.

To enter a City facility, visitors will need to show a piece of identification with their name and date of birth and either:

• Show their vaccine certificate with QR code (paper or electronic), or
• Show their vaccination receipt (paper or electronic)

Parents and/or guardians may enter a facility for a maximum of 15 minutes to drop off and pick-up a participant for a program, without showing proof of vaccination. Parents who are required to stay in the facility for the duration of the program must be fully vaccinated.

All current regulations around screening, masking and physical distancing will not change based vaccine status.
To download your vaccine certificate, go to ontario.ca/get-proof.

Return to the Front page

Burlington Residents Can Now Enjoy an Interactive Exhibition on Artwork at the Royal Botanical Gardens

By Mark Maycock

October 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If you weren’t yet aware, many things are going on in the area these days, and many residents are enjoying the autumn season.

Those who have been raring to go out can do so with more enjoyment if they visit the Royal Botanical Gardens – where there is an ongoing interactive exhibition on artwork.

Seeing the Invisible at Royal Botanical Gardens

The exhibition, entitled ‘Seeing the Invisible,’ is arguably the most expansive and ambitious exhibition the Gardens has to date. It features a range of contemporary and modern artwork complemented by AR or augmented reality technology.

What it is

We can’t deny the significance of this exhibition, especially since it uses AR technology, which is astounding in many ways. But what exactly is AR? AR or augmented reality is a technology that can add or augment any viewer’s perception of their environment. In most cases, the digital info is superimposed on a real-life setting, but this is fixed in a specific place. At the same time, the user or viewer moves around the environment or moves their gadget around the environment.

The exhibit itself was developed in partnership with other botanical gardens worldwide, and Seeing the Invisible was first launched on September 23 as a participating botanical garden among a total of 12 in various countries. It’s worth noting, however, that it’s the only participating botanical garden in Canada.

What you can expect

The exhibition features work from over a dozen global artists. Its theme expounds on the wonders of nature, sustainability, and the environment, delivering an exploration of connections and boundaries between nature, technology, and art.

Hendrie Gardens at the Royal Botanical Gardens – a world class location

You can engage with the exhibition once you download an app, and it fosters brilliant collaboration between audiences, institutions, and artists. It’s a great way to emphasize and showcase how art can bring people together. Once you’re in the app, you will come across 13 interactive and unique artworks, and these are all spread around the landscape of Hendrie Gardens.   You can even take photos with the larger-than-life artwork, and you can essentially walk around the exhibit and listen to an audio plugin that makes your experience even more artistic and memorable.

The exhibit is now at Hendrie Gardens, and anyone can visit it from Thursday to Sunday. Seeing the Invisible runs until the 6th of November, and it operates between the hours of 10 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon.

The details

To attend, you can pre-register and buy a ticket, and when you purchase your ticket, you will have to choose your preferred time and date. There are six slots; namely, 10 am, 11 am, 12 noon, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 in the afternoon.

Tickets cost $24.50 for general admission and only $21.50 for senior citizens and students/youth, with ticket prices at $16.50 for kids aged 4 to 12 and only $2 for members of the Royal Botanical Gardens.

It’s good news for those who are still spending a lot of time at home during the pandemic. But if you want to make more of your time at home, you can also play in an online casino in Canada – who knows, luck may be on your side after you’ve been inspired by the gorgeous interactive technology and the artwork you’ve just experienced.

 

Return to the Front page

Covid19 rules for sports situations are tightened up by Medical Officer of Health

By Staff

October 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health (MOH), Dr. Hamidah Meghani, has issued a letter of instructions to indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to implement vaccination policies that require all eligible individuals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in organized sports and recreational fitness activities in these settings.

For businesses and organizations, this means establishing, implementing and ensuring compliance with a COVID-19 vaccination policy by no later than November 26, 2021 for all persons 12 years and older who attend an indoor area of the indoor sport or recreational facility for the purpose of actively participating, coaching, training, instructing, officiating or having similar involvement in organized sports and recreational fitness activities.

These instructions are being introduced to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and outbreaks, further protecting the health of all participants, coaches, officials, volunteers, spectators and others including those with weaker immune systems or who cannot be vaccinated because of their age or for medical reasons.

Robust compliance with masking, physical distancing and other public health measures in all facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities in Halton Region also remains essential to protect our community.

To read Dr. Meghani’s instructions for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities or for additional public health information and guidance, please visit halton.ca/COVID19.

 

Return to the Front page

Is the province about to end the State of Emergency it put the municipal world into?

By Pepper Parr

October 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

From a source that has been reliable in the past there is word that the current Emergency State put in place across the province that has the day to day operation of the city in the hands of the administration

All the municipalities have been in that state since March 17th, 2019, less than a month later Mayor Meed Ward declared a State of Emergency for the city.

Municipalities created Emergency Coordinating Groups that meet regularly and can meet in minutes if they have to should there be an emergency.

The City Manager keeps the Mayor up to date and the Mayor takes part in meetings but is not believed to be a member of the ECG.

The Mayor does have one on one meetings with the City Manager on a regular basis.

From the left: City Manager, Tim Commisso; Treasurer Joan Ford and Executive Director Sheila Jones kept it all together as the city weathered a pandemic.

At least once a month, usually during the week Standing Committee meetings take place, Sheila Jones, one of the Executive Directors, takes Council through everything the city staff plan to do or change in the way city services are delivered.

There is also an update on where things stand financially as well as updates on anything that pertains to the administrative functioning of the city.

With an ECG handling changes in the way services are delivered municipalities had access to funds which city manager Tim Commisso at the time said was a good position to be in.

The city’s financial picture has benefited significantly as the result of the tens of millions that have flowed from the province to the city.

It is not clear at this time if the city will revise the way Council meetings are held if the Emergency is lifted. At this point in time they are all virtual – the sentiment apparently being that members of Council like it that way, see it as an alternate version of real engagement.

Kudos to Kearns for holding ward meetings that were both live and virtual.

Ward 2 Council member Lisa Kearns has been holding ward meetings that are both live and virtual. Kudos to her for breaking the barrier that most members of council are quite happy to keep in place.

The Mayor has said that she prefers the “virtual approach” – the city “gets more work from me when I can work from home”. We also get to hear the dog yelping.

A benefit that might not be recognized or appreciated right away is just how well many senior staff members have performed.  Executive Director Sheila Jones has come into her own; rallying the troops and delivering all kinds of support and positive feed back every chance she gets.

City treasurer Joan Ford, always reliable – proved to be a rock that both Jones and the City Manager Tim Commisso could rely on.

There were a couple of staff members who, Amber Rushton in particular, who served the city manager in a way that certainly impressed him.

Related news article:

Province declares State of Emergency March 17, 2019

Mayor declares State of Emergency

City Manager gets close to a blank cheque

Return to the Front page

City sets out vaccination rules for its employees

By Pepper Parr

October 7th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

While the vast majority are choosing to be vaccinated – there are holdouts.

City Hall is getting to the point where they want to take a stronger position and insist that people be vaccinated in order to be able to go to work.

City manager Tim Commisso talked to a Standing Committee yesterday on what has been learned to date on the status of staff vaccinations: Who has and who hasn’t?

The surveying work being done is not yet complete and Commisso was a little hesitant in putting out numbers that were not as complete as he wanted them to be – so he offered no data. He did say there was a metric – comes out as kind of the percentage that is vaccinated.

The city deadline for responses from Staff of what their vaccination status is was last Friday. Data was collected in a very private, kind of confidential way.

Commisso wants to be able to provide the percentage of staff that fall into the three options.

“One of the things that we’re finding is the level of non declaration or however it’s positioned because obviously it’s the first thing that we asked.

“A real number for us is, what is the percentage of our total staff that are vaccinated? That’s where we’re focusing on right now.

“The survey work is being done by a security company under contract.  Boyd reported that they are spending eight hours a day, inputting all of our staffs status in a spreadsheet for us.  We should expect to have kind of a good realistic solid number by mid next week which would make it October 13th or so.”

The reporting options are: vaccination; Testing and exemptions

Commisso wants to know : What are the percentages for each category?

Executive Director Human Resources Laura Boyd

The federal government has taken the approach that you get vaccinated by a certain day – if you’re not, you’re on unpaid leave. And then if you’re still not by the end of the unpaid leave you’re terminated.

There are consequences for those who choose not to be vaccinated.

“At the city what we’ve said to our employees is, if you’re not going to be vaccinated then you have to be tested regularly.  And if the tests are negative they can continue to come to work, we won’t have to terminate we won’t have to put them on unpaid leave.”

Boyd was then asked to clarify: ” Am I recalling correctly from the last time we had this conversation that we are supporting staff who are unable or choose not to get vaccinated by allowing the repetition and testing, which is great.

“And my understanding was is that the city was going to cover the cost of that for a certain period of time and then the cost would be transferred to the employee. Am I understanding that correctly?”

Boyd replied.  “Yes, Absolutely we are covering the cost of the rapid testing up until November 26;  after November 26 If they continue to choose not to be vaccinated they will have to arrange to pay for the testing themselves and submit the data to us.”

 

Return to the Front page

Regional MoH has yet to determine if RAT will be used in schools.

By Pepper Parr

October 6th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The provincial Medical Officer of Health announced earlier this week that Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) would be used at the school level but only in areas where the level of new infections was high.

It is a painless process – takes just seconds and the results are available in just minutes.

Halton Region Public Health is reviewing the information received today from the Chief Medical Officer of Health  and will work with school boards should the need arise for RAT distribution at a local school.

In its announcement the Halton Region MoH said: “We will continue to work closely with our school board partners to prevent COVID-19 transmission in schools through multiple strategies.

Rapid COVID-19 antigen tests can detect COVID-19 in a preliminary fashion, providing results faster than a traditional PCR test. The trade-off is rapid tests do not provide a definitive result or diagnosis.

As a reminder, it is important to continue with the current strategies that have been working effectively in our community including masking, cohorting, daily screening and vaccination for all those eligible in the school environment.

Covid19 data for Burlington as of October 5th.

Return to the Front page

Blood donors in Burlington provide a reason for patients to be thankful

By Staff

October 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As Canadians prepare to celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Canadian Blood Services is encouraging residents of Burlington to keep patients in need of blood products in mind. Hospital patients are grateful for Canadians who take the time to donate blood, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We manage the national supply of blood products for all the provinces and territories (excluding Quebec). Many variables can impact our inventory such as weather, holidays or tragic events. Below is an overview of our inventory levels across all blood types.

Donations often decrease during long weekends. Travel and family activities make it challenging for people to find time to donate but the demand for blood never stops. Blood donations before and during Thanksgiving will help ensure that ongoing patient needs are met.

At 1250 Brant St. in Burlington, there are many open appointments to fill at the donation event on Monday, Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Donors who make an appointment are encouraged to keep it as missed or cancelled appointments are difficult to fill. If you’re unable to make it to your appointment, please cancel it so someone else can take your place and consider re-booking in coming months.

In compliance with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s direction to enable physical distancing, at this time, we can only welcome people with appointments.

If you’re in general good health, please book and honour your appointment to help patients. Download the GiveBlood app and join Canada’s Lifeline. Please call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at blood.ca.

Return to the Front page

The two Michaels - when will the Governor General name them as Members of the Order of Canada ?

By Pepper Parr

September 27th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Many in Burlington have been patiently waiting for the federal government to announce that Terry Fox will be on the next version of the five dollar $5.00 bill.  They aren’t ready to announce yet.  The wheels turn slowly.

Hopefully they will not be as slow when the Office of the Governor General, where the Order of Canada awards and announcements are made, decide that the two Michael’s are to be made Members of the Order of Canada.

There is a process of course and it has to be followed – but is this not a very special situation ?

Michael Kovrig on the left, Michael Spavor on the right

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor spent more than 1000 days in wretched jail cells,  cooped up with others because the Chinese government wanted to force the Canadian government to let one of their citizens return to China.  We are not going to name the Chinese citizen – enough attention has been wasted on her.

All she had to do was admit what she eventually did admit she had done.

The Michaels are different – they stood strong during a very hard situation.  Now they have to adjust and learn about all the things they missed.  Their credit cards have to be renewed; do they have places to live?  Do they have jobs?  Is their mental health good?

Both men are going to need time to adjust – they will need as much privacy as media and the public in general can give them.  In the immediate future though, there is an opportunity for their government to formally recognize their contribution to making this country what it is.

 

Return to the Front page

It was Casey's evening - friends gathered at Cosgrove field to celebrate # 19

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is said that having empathy for others is a very common trait in most people, but very often the virtue of true selflessness is something that most of us lose as we get older. There are very few who throughout adulthood can maintain the purity of heart until the very end. Two people come to mind:  Terry Fox and Casey Cosgrove.

Dozens of people went to Nelson Park baseball diamond in order to play rounds of soft ball, enjoy burgers, hotdogs and drinks and remember Casey.

Bryna Cosgrove

“Genuine, he was known for being genuine, he was known for a special gift for people and making anybody he was talking to feel special and the only person in the room,” said widow Bryna Cosgrove.

Family, friends, students, and many more came out to the diamond wearing commemorative team Casey T-shirts with the saying: “This disease will not take away my disability and wish to inspire,” Casey, 2017.

When I asked about who Casey was, everyone said almost the exact same thing: that he was a man who wanted to be involved, that he could connect with ANYONE in a way that no one else could and was unapologetically funny and would be the first person to make fun of himself.

The undisputed biggest trait being said about Casey was he was a man who wanted to be involved. Being involved can mean so many things but in Casey’s view there wasn’t any kind of involvement that was in bad taste. It means doing the girly things with his young daughter such as trying on nail polish or taking her to a Justin Bieber concert, both wearing pink sweaters.

The name says it all.

He way so caring, he just wanted to be involved,” said friend, Amy.

The Terry Fox Run was a mission for Casey Cosgrove.  The Fox Foundation pumped millions into cancer research that paid for the many drug trials Casey took part in.  When he was first given the diagnosis, his doctors thought he had 18 months: he had a full seven years and accomplished a lot.

Casey was a person who only wanted positive energy around him – he would always manage to turn any negative situation into a positive outcome. A man who was so self-deprecating that during a treatment he would post a blog while playing “Knockin’ on heaven’s door.”

Casey was a driving force behind getting this Marker Monument to Terry Fox in place.

One of the main events that made Casey who he was occurred when at thirteen he ran down the street with his hero Terry Fox.

Years after Terry had passed, he was instrumental in getting Terry’s Marker Monument put up in Spencer Smith Park.  Casey raised more money than anyone else.

It’s hard to imagine one man being able to accomplish so much from being a husband and father while coaching several baseball teams at once, with the ability to plunk down on the couch or the Lazy Boy and watch endless Seinfeld episodes in order to create more self-deprecating jokes and drinking everlasting amounts of coffee that always seemed to end up on his shirt.

A man who went to Starbucks so many many times – when he passed away Starbucks sent a floral bouquet. It’s hard to imagine one person having that much of an effect on you, let alone a business.

More people at the BBQ stand than at the T-shirt stand.

Among Casey’s many interests was politics. He ran as an independent for several Burlington positions: both as a Councillor and gave a lot of thought about running for Mayor.

An interest in politics was passed on to his son Jack who believes it is time to see changes in politics as well as not keeping it a quiet conversation; he sees the election taking place to day as a good place to start but had no comment on what the outcome might be – just hoping change will come soon.

When Casey passed away in 2017 the whole community came together to help his family. According to his son Jack they did it by “being involved” just like Casey used to be and to communicate with one another.

Hanging around the bullpen with a pickup game in progress.

Everyone at the park on Sunday, whether you were close to him or not, can say that when you walked away from him you felt like he had made a real connection.

“His parents always had an open door policy (for anyone who wanted help),” said childhood friend, Lisa Rodwin.

The family continues to be honored by Casey’s memory not only with last night’s event but with the baseball diamond being named after him as well as the Casey Cosgrove Memorial golf tournament held at Hidden Lake in 2018.

 

Return to the Front page

Region Community Investment Fund: Applications due November 1st.

By Staff

September 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Community organizations can now submit applications to the Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF) for non-profit human service programs and initiatives that enhance the health, safety and well-being of Halton residents.

It’s a Region wide program.

Applicants must describe how they will incorporate the latest COVID-19 public health guidance and how their program or initiative aligns with Halton’s overall approach to community safety and well-being.

“We are pleased to support the important work of local non-profits through the Halton Region Community Investment Fund,” said Regional Chair Gary Carr. “I would like to thank these organizations for delivering vital services to some of our most vulnerable residents and working alongside us to keep Halton a safe and healthy community.”

Funding is available in single year and multi-year grants through two categories:

  • Category One: Provides up to one year of funding, to a maximum of $30,000. Non-profit, charitable or unincorporated community organizations can apply to fund short-term, small capital and/or innovative projects.
  • Category Two: Provides up to three years of funding to registered charities for programs and initiatives.

Organizations that meet eligibility criteria may submit one application in each funding category. The initial application deadline for both categories is Monday, November 1, 2021 at 2 p.m.

Additional opportunities to apply for HRCIF funding will be available in 2022 for programs and initiatives that help respond to emerging community needs.

The Region will host three virtual information sessions to help community organizations learn about the HRCIF and the application process:

  • Friday, September 24 from 10 a.m. to noon
  • Wednesday, September 29 from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.

For more information about HRCIF guidelines, upcoming virtual information sessions and the application process, please visit the HRCIF webpage on halton.ca or call 311.

 

Return to the Front page

Give the Liberals a minority - and hope the Liberal Party will find the leadership needed when Justin resigns.

By Pepper Parr

September 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Many of us have already voted – hopefully a really significant number of Canadians will turn out to cast a ballot in this very important election.

There was no reason for this election to even take place and it is our belief that we will end up with basically the same thing when all the ballots are counted: A minority Liberal government.

Justin Trudeau does not deserve to be given the majority he wants.

There is hard work to be done: Covid19, the economy, housing – do we need a list longer than that?

The current problems aside – there is still the SNC Lavalin issue and the loss of a two female members of the Liberal caucus.

The embarrassing trip to India

The embarrassing trip to India

The WE matter

Two pronouncements from the Ethics Commissioner.

The hopes were high

The hopes were high when Justin Trudeau first ran for the leadership– another Trudeau was going to lead the country – but it hasn’t worked out that way.

That happens in politics. Let Justin Trudeau work with whatever the public gives him on Monday.

Politics being the blood sport it is – the knives will be coming out and the Liberals will begin to look for a new leader – expect to see that in 18 to 24 months.

There is a shift taking place in the way different segments of society expect their political leadership to perform.  The People’s Party of Canada is growing at a disturbing rate; the Greens are failing to grow at a disturbing rate and both the Liberal and Conservative party leaders are learning that they aren’t really as in touch with the members as they should be.

The Liberal Party polls higher than the leader of the Party and the Conservative leader is not able to impress upon his own membership that getting everyone vaccinated is critical if we are ever going to get ourselves from a pandemic to an endemic state with Covid19.

We will be watching closely Monday evening – we might be up very late or we might know as soon as the pools open in the Prairies.

The mess in Alberta – it’s actually a tragedy, that could have been avoided.  Hundreds will die unnecessary death because of decisions Jason Kenny made.

Return to the Front page

Someone will call out Play Ball and those that knew Casey well will be gulping and trying to hold back the tears

By Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This was not an easy story to write.

It’s about a guy I knew quite well; watched him struggle with his cancer but never heard a word from him about any fear.

I once went door to door with Casey, Bryana, and the three kids putting flyers in mail boxes announcing the Terry Fox Run at which Team Casey people were going to be there for the first time.

And be there they were – a remarkable sense of community that supported Casey when he was with us and support his family when he isn’t.

He comes to mind frequently and I wonder how he is doing and how the kids are.  How is Bryana doing – where is life taking her?

Then I saw the notice on the Caring Bridge web site – there was going to be a baseball game for the Team Casey people – if you wanted to play all you had to do was sign up.

It is billed as the Team Casey’s Terry Fox Event – 2021

Here is how Bryana tells us about the event:

The Cosgrove family

It’s rapidly approaching that time of year again…Terry Fox Run time!  Team Casey has been participating in the Terry Fox Run event since 2011, so this will be our 10th year anniversary!  In that time, Team Casey has raised almost $65,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation in support of cancer research….and I wanted to thank EVERYONE who has participated, donated, and supported us these last several years!  Together, we have made such a difference in both raising needed funds and raising awareness (with our awesome presence we have brought to the event!) about the need for finding a cure.

This year’s event, given our continued unusual circumstances, will be a separate event from the usual run we have done in the past.  This year’s event with be a baseball game and a BBQ at Casey Cosgrove Field!  Here are the details:

Date/Time:  Sunday, September 19th at 6:00pm

Location:  Casey Cosgrove Baseball Field (the ball diamond right behind Nelson High School)

BBQ:  There will be a BBQ with hamburgers and hot dogs, drinks, and chips with all proceeds going towards the team donations

What to Do/Bring:

  • They filled each other’s lives

    If you would like to play baseball, please send me an email at teamcasey19@gmail.com by September 16th to guarantee your spot…otherwise, you may still be able to play but there will be no guarantees (but it will be very likely)

  • Bring any baseball equipment you may have if you want to play
  • One remarkable human being.

    Bring a chair to sit in while you watch if you don’t want to sit in the bleachers

  • Bring your appetite…all proceeds from the BBQ will be going towards the team donations
  • Consider donating to Team Casey at www.terryfox.ca/teamcasey
  • Most importantly….Bring your smile!

Even if you don’t want to play, please come out and watch some ball and have some dinner….we would love to see you!

Play ball!

Return to the Front page

Ward 2 Councillor doesn't let a conflict get in the way of meeting with her people

By Pepper Parr

September 16eth, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns is going to hold her next ward meeting on September 22nd at the Art Gallery.
It conflicts with the COVID19 Town Hall. Attend Lisa’s event –when she is on a roll she’s the best show in town.

That is the short story.

Here is the long story.

When Councillor Kearns has the microphone – look out – or better still – duck.

On September 9th the Ward 2 Community meeting was circulated in the Burlington Downtown Newsletter for the September 22nd date.

On September 9th, the city released this

On August 12th, my office confirmed an in-person hybrid zoom meeting reservation with Art Gallery Burlington to host a Ward 2 Community Meeting, subject to health directives in place at the future date. Due to limited use and demand for bookings, it was quite difficult to reserve a September date, as observed by the Wednesday date instead of the usual Thursday.

On August 26th, my office received an “optional” (as all Council was noted as ‘optional’) internal invitation from the Mayor’s Office to attend the COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. External panelists were included in this email.

On August 27th, my office released a pre-scheduled newsletter titled “Your Voice Matters” which set out a number of upcoming engagement opportunities in Ward 2 and citywide surveys and initiatives.

On September 1st, my office released the September Newsletter which included an invitation to attend the Ward 2 Community Meeting on September 22nd.

Following this newsletter release, I was advised by the Manager of Engagement and Volunteers that “September 22 is the evening of the COVID telephone town hall 6:30-7:30 which overlaps with your meeting.” On verbal discussion, with the Manager it was further encouraged that the Town Hall meetings are recorded and archived, and additionally there is a half hour window to hear the beginning of the Town Hall, then return to the recording to hear any remaining Q&A’s should any residents wish to have information from both. I also expressed the clear difference in topics and would mention that if additional information was needed by any attendees related to COVID-19 that the Town Hall would be an additional resource.

You may also note that the City Town Hall was not included in the Ward 2 newsletter as the public notice had not been released until September 9th, Cllr. Galbraith also did not include in his summer edition newsletter on September 1st.

All those words – all that scurrying back and forth. Is this the way city hall really works> Looks like a major work project to me.

 

 

Return to the Front page