Regional health department bending over backwards to get students properly immunized

element_healthservices-74x74By Staff
January 18th, 2016


The provincial Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) outlines which immunizations students must have in order to attend school.
Local health departments are responsible for confirming the immunization records of students to ensure they have either the legally required immunizations or required exemption form on file.


Students born in 1998 and 1999 who are not fully immunized can get their shots at school.

This year, students born in 1998 and 1999 who have not provided this information to the Health Department by February 24, 2016, are at risk of suspension starting in April.
Families with children born in 1998 and 1999 whose immunization records are incomplete, received notices from the Health Department in July and December of 2015.

Hamidah Meghani

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

“While the majority of families in Halton immunize their children to protect their health, many are unaware that they need to notify the Halton Region Health Department about any immunizations their children have or do not have,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “We don’t want anyone to miss school, so as we enforce provincial immunization legislation, we’re making sure it’s easy for students to get updated immunizations by holding clinics in their school.”

If families do not want to wait for the February in-school clinics, they can also receive all required vaccines through their family doctor and report these immunizations back to the Halton Region Health Department.

In February 2016, the Halton Region Health Department will be offering in-school immunization clinics for students born in 1998 and 1999 with incomplete immunizations who are at risk of school suspension.

Although the Halton Region Health Department is taking steps to ensure the immunizations of students born in 1998 and 1999 are up-to-date, all families are encouraged to review their children’s immunization history and make sure the Health Department has updated records either online at, by dialing 311 or by dropping off a copy of their child’s immunization record to the Halton Region Health Department at 1151 Bronte Road in Oakville.


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Outside of the hospital construction is coming along fine - teams are now focusing on how the place will work for patients.

jbhhealthBy Pepper Parr

January 15th, 2016


While the construction of the hospital is on schedule –concrete pours for levels 7 and 8 slabs of the tower are now done, and construction of the building envelope and structural steel work has started, the team that is going to run the place when it opens is gearing up to operate a hospital that will be a lot different than the one we have today.
More on the construction side before we get to the Readiness Team.


It will be up and opened before we know it.

The verticals from Level 7 to 8 are complete and the verticals from 8 to 9 are in progress and will be completed by the end of January. Levels 8 and 9 will be dedicated to mechanical and electrical equipment that will run the building.

Hospital cranes

Construction cranes loom over the hospital site 0 pouring of the slabs for the top floor expected to be done by the end of the month.

• There will be five concrete pours in total for Level 9. The final pour will happen by the end of January.
• The vertical from Level 9 to the roof of the hospital will begin at the end of January and will be completed by the beginning of February.
• The construction of 6 elevator shafts and 3 main stairways from Level 8 – 9 is underway and will be finished by mid-January. Construction of 1 stairway and 2 elevator shafts will continue from Level 9 to the roof throughout January/early February.
• Mechanical work, plumbing, electrical and duct work continues on the Main Level, Level 1 and Level 2 throughout January and February.
• Installation of drywall continues on the Main Level, Level 1 and Level 2.
• Masonry work on the Main Level, Level 2 and Level 4 is happening throughout January and early February.
• The construction of the Building Envelope (also known as curtain wall) continues on the Main Level and will begin on Level 1 soon. If you take a look at the site from the parking garage roof you will see some of the curtain wall panels.
• Structural steel work begins in the Ambulance Garage.
• In our existing hospital, the excavation for footings for the second section of our loading dock is complete and the pouring of concrete for the footings is done. Forming and pouring for the foundation wall has begun and will be completed by mid-January.

You can log into the web camera that runs 24×7 and watch the hospital being built – you get to be a sidewalk superintendent without getting cold.

Construction is on schedule – the people who will run the hospital have been organized into an Operational Readiness Team that will focus on ICAT (Information, Communications and Automation Technology).

“We want staff to feel excited, to be comfortable and confident to move into their new space in a seamless transition so they can operate out of that space on move day,” said Kate Traianopoulos, Project Manager, Operational Readiness.

Trish Hamilton JBH

Trish Hamilton Readiness Project coordinator

Trisha Hamilton, Operational Readiness Coordinator and Registered Nurse is working with 11 programs at the hospital including Emergency, ICU, Finance and Decision Support and IT to ensure staff are prepared to move and operate in our new hospital in 2017. Trisha describes her role: “I meet with my assigned programs and essentially we review every little task that needs to be completed so they can hit the ground running. Staff need to feel comfortable going into that space on opening day because we have patients to care for and we have a lot of safety concerns that we need to address so that everything is smooth right from opening day.”

“Once we move into this new building your entire processes change. It’s a big change and that’s why we need to start early, ” she said. For Hamilton the challenge is “getting right into the minutiae of that program, down to the meat and potatoes of what those programs do and the processes they need to accomplish and how they serve our patients is important.”

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Resident doesn't think Strategic plan public sessions are going to make any difference - gives them a poor mark.

opinionandcommentBy Vince Fiorito

January 13th, 2016


At the beginning of each new term, the City of Burlington Council develops a strategic plan, which reflects Council’s vision and strategic priorities for its term of office and beyond. A strategic plan is a document that provides a framework for future City of Burlington decision making and resource allocation. The result should be a document with specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound objectives and key performance indicators.

Strategic Plan Workbook

Strategic Plans are usually four year plans prepared by a city council.

The process to develop the City of Burlington’s 9th Strategic Plan started in December 2014 and should have been completed by December 2015.

This document should take less than a year to consult all stakeholders for input, develop a draft version for consultation and feedback, before City Council ratifies the final version.

Here we are in 2016, and the city still has a few more public consultations to complete and a significant amount of stakeholder input to process before a final version can be put to a vote before city council. I suppose better late than never.

If you plan to attend one of the public sessions, don’t expect to have much time to add your ideas. The format is to divide the audience up into five groups and rotate through five stations, each with a topic to discuss and a communication facilitator. New ideas are welcome, but you will have to compete for time with other participants. I recommend being prepared to submit your ideas to the session moderator in a written format at the end of the session in case time constraints restrict your ability to share your ideas.

As much as I would like to feel warm and fuzzy about how good the City of Burlington is, we do not having a strategy to address invasive species, pollution, climate change and other problems which threaten our natural heritage system.

Sheldon Creek dump 2

Trash dumped into creek ravines.

The City of Burlington has about 20 urban creek valleys which run through the heart of our city. These areas are currently neglected, overrun with invasive species, littered with hundreds of tons of trash and contaminated with fertilizer and road salt residue.

Fish from Sheldon creek

Fish from Sheldon creek

Despite these serious problems, Burlington’s urban creek system act as wildlife corridors and support a wide diversity of native species including trout, salmon, mink and great blue heron.

Clearly the city could add the  Green Belt objectives and our urban creeks to the Strategic Plan, but, for whatever reason, has chosen to continue to neglect these urban green spaces within walking distance of most city residents.

Vince Fitorio

Conservation Halton made Vince Fiorito a watershed steward – Sheldon Creek is his territory.

I live on Sheldon Creek and founded the Friends of Sheldon Creek Stewardship organization. Ideally I’d like every resident and business adjacent to one of Burlington’s urban creeks to be considered waterfront property.  I am disappointed that the strategic plan has no plan to protect, conserve and restore these natural areas. It’s not like I haven’t tried to raise awareness. I’ve submitted the above information as a delegation to city council and to the Sustainable Development Committee. What does that say about Burlington as an Engaging City?

Another missing component in the Strategic Plan is Climate Change and a plan to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. The strategic plan states that by 2040 the “city’s operations are net carbon neutral”.

Hydro Cogen Hydro Sept 29-15

The hydro plans to increase micro-generation of electricity using natural gas, would increase the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the strategic plan lacks anything on how to achieve that objective. In fact, the city’s plans to increase micro-generation of electricity using natural gas, would increase the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Overall the draft of Burlington 2015-2040 Strategic report gets a C- in my opinion with an F on the environment.

The final public sessions for input to the Strategic Plan are:

Strategic Plan Open House
Jan 18, 2016 07:00 PM – 09:00 PM
LaSalle Park Pavillion

Strategic Plan Open House
Jan 18, 2016 07:00 PM – 09:00 PM
Mountainside Recreation Centre

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100 woman are going to gather at Emmas Back Porch four times a year - check them out.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 13th, 2016


The Gazette has written about the 100 Women Who Care Burlington. It is a simple concept whose impact is very powerful.

The goal is to raise $40,000 (or more) annually for local registered charities or their charitable programs that help Burlington residents live their lives to the fullest. This is done by gathering 100 women (or more) who commit to donating $100 (or more), four times per year. At each of their one hour meetings, nominations for charities and/or their programs are submitted by members for consideration of the group.

To expedite the process, of the nominations submitted, three are selected at random and of those, the nominators have an opportunity to pitch their cause to the members, after which a vote is taken, ballots counted and cheques written to the organization that receives the most votes.

Food4kids - bag + appleThe group is part of a grassroots movement that’s spreading rapidly across the globe. Men’s groups have also been formed (one is in the works for Burlington) and in some communities, the kids have been inspired to follow suit (with $10 donations).
Since their inaugural meeting in 2014, they have collectively donated in excess of $40,000 to:

Burlington Humane Society
– Halton Women’s Place
– Home Suite Hope
– Food4Kids
– Carpenter Hospice
– Alzheimer Society of Hamilton and Halton
– Community Living Burlington
– Friday Night Community (Wellington United Church)

Humane Society BurlingtonMore information about the group can be found at Their facebook page is
Meeting dates for 2016 are January 19, May 31, September 13 and November 29. All meetings this year will be held at Emma’s Back Porch at 2084 Old Lakeshore Rd.

Craig Kowalchuk and the team at Emmas Back Porch has a long history of giving back to the community and 100 Women Who Care Burlington are appreciative of their support in hosting our quarterly meetings this year.

Dermetics, a Burlington based business is sponsoring 10 of their staff as members. It’s been a fabulous way for their business to give back to the community, while involving their team as they contribute to the decisions on where the funds will be directed. Dermetics has also provided numerous door prizes and incentives to grow our membership.

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Dates for the public meetings on the Strategic Plan corrected

Strategic Plan WorkbookOooops!

It happens.
Mistakes get made.
Some of the dates for the public meetings on the Strategic Plan were changed – and we missed updating our data base.
Earlier today we published a list of dates that were incorrect.
Sorry – the correct dates are set out below.


Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016
Robert Bateman High School
5151 New St.
7 – 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016
Burlington Senior Centre
2285 New St.
Multi-purpose Room
7 – 9 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 18, 2016
LaSalle Park Pavilion
50 North Shore Blvd. E.
Main Hall (upper level)
7 – 9 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 18, 2016
Mountainside Recreation Centre
2205 Mount Forest Dr.
Community Room 2
7 – 9 p.m.

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Pedestrians being given more time to get to the other side of the road - how will the police enforce this one?

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 5th, 2016


Speeding and aggressive driving are the top complaints by residents in the Halton Region, according to the Regional Police.

Officers work diligently to educate drivers about the dangers of bad driving behaviour and conduct enforcement to ensure people are getting the message. The province’s Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act requires drivers to be more patient and alert when driving through busy pedestrian intersections.

On January 1, 2016, drivers in Ontario will have to wait until a pedestrian has reached the other side of a designated school crossing or designated pedestrian crossover, or face a fine between $150.00 and $500.00 and three demerit points.


The driver of this car would be subject to a stiff fine were the police to have been on hand. New rules are now in place.

Drivers will have to stop and yield the entire width of the road to the pedestrian, instead of half the road as was previously the case. Cyclists must follow the same rules as drivers under the Highway Traffic Act, and thereby must stop and wait or face the same fine.

These rules apply at pedestrian crossovers identified with specific signs, road markings and lights – the new rules do not apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, unless a school crossing guard is present.

It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure our roads are the safest they can be. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians must share the road and look out for each other. Make 2016 your safest driving year yet!

Good luck on getting the cyclists to adhere to this rule.

A number of months ago, perhaps it was last year, we recall hearing a police officer tell city Councillor’s that the people they stopped for speeding on a residential street were usually found to be people who lived on the street.

Human nature – it will eventually be the end of us.

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Region has issued an Extreme Cold Weather Alert starting the evening of Sunday, January 3

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 3rd, 2016


Christmas Day there were people in the city wearing shorts. Today the Region has issued an Extreme Cold Weather Alert starting the evening of Sunday, January 3, 2016.

Overnight temperatures are expected to remain in the extreme cold range until Tuesday, January 5. This alert is issued when temperatures are expected to fall below -15 degrees Celsius (without wind-chill), or when weather conditions are severe enough to warrant alerting the community to the risks involved with prolonged exposure.

The alert is intended to inform the general public and community agencies, while also recommending safety precautions. This alert is in effect until temperatures rise above -15 degrees Celsius (without wind-chill) or weather conditions improve and the risks involved with prolonged exposure are reduced.

Coldest night - boy with signAnyone can be affected by extreme cold-related weather conditions, depending on length of time of exposure to cold and exertion levels. Those especially at risk include: older adults (over the age of 65), infants and young children, outdoor workers, sport enthusiasts (hikers, skiers), homeless persons, and/or those lacking shelter, proper clothing or food. During extreme cold, call or visit friends and neighbours who may be at risk.

To keep yourself, your family and your home safe, you should know how to prevent cold-related health injuries, avoid frozen plumbing in your home when extreme cold temperatures hit and be prepared if there is a cold-weather emergency. You can avoid cold-related injuries by dressing appropriately and covering exposed skin. To protect your home, ensure good air circulation to all plumbing areas. Remember pipes can freeze when there is inadequate heat inside your home and the air temperature falls below zero. Open doorways to basement areas and crawl spaces enough to keep these areas warm.

Finally, it is also important, in preparation for winter driving conditions, that you keep a Car Survival Kit in your car at all times. This kit can include items such as: cell phone, blankets, booster cables, shovel, first aid supplies, flashlight and batteries, extra boots/socks, etc. A kit such as this can save your life or someone else’s. Plan ahead and listen to the weather forecast.

It is evident that we are all still in Canada. Now if the Canadian National Junior Hockey Team had managed to beat Finland instead of finding themselves on an airplane back to Canada, we would really know that this is Canada and we are enjoying the cold weather and our boys are winning at the game we own.

Hey, Montreal is still leading in the NHL  so all is still well in the world. Right?

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What happened the last three months of last year? Some pretty good stuff actually - and one more small pier story.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 31, 2015


The last quarter of the year – what mattered most?

There was some movement, finally, on the Strategic Plan; the school board finds itself taking a very hard look at the level French will be taught; intensification is getting good discussion. Many think we have already reached the intensification level the province will expect us to grow to  in terms of population increase the subject got a lot of public discussion.

Showtime AGB - poor lighting

Walt Rickli’s sculpture – Showtime at the AGB.

Rickli sculpture unveiled at the Art Gallery – donated by Dan Lawrie.

Active transportation: Never heard of it ? You will – a Burlington school board has some ideas she wants to see become policy.

Bylaw prohibits feeding of wild animals – including coyotes – does not go into effect for one year. City wants to educate people particularly around Fairchild Park.

Summer school enrollment increases in public secondary schools – grew by 15%

Tom Muir wants to know why the city missed a 180 day deadline on a major project opposed by almost everyone.

Geraldos at LaSalle Park and Spencers on the Waterfront asking for lease renewals – one of them wants to lock in parking spaces for 15 years.

Parking to get a serious review: what do we have – what do we need? Consultants being hired.

Mary Lou Tanner

Mary Lou Tanner – city’s new Director o Planning.

City snags a planner from the Niagara Region: Mary Lou Tanner to head up Planning for the city.

Council finds the city manager’s Work Plan a little on the ambitious side and lacking prioritization.

The province wants to put more money into off road bike paths where would Burlingtonians like to see those paths built?

Public meeting to learn what the board thinks it should do with the French and English programs at the elementary levels.

Planning department creates drawings to show what parts of the city could look like with intensification in specific locations.

Public hears what the HDSB thinks could be done to manage the trend to increased interest in French immersion.

Grade 9 math test scores for Burlington public high schools release: Robinson and Pearson don’t rank all that well. Why?

First glimpse of the draft Strategic Plan for the balance of this term of office – some rash deliverable dates were put on the table.

Burlington is now represented by three women in Ottawa: Gould, Damoff and Raitt

Public school board posts policy documents on its web site – not that easy to find – Gazette provides instructions.

Henrys pier #1

A smaller pier.

The pier – a footnote.

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Influenza Outbreak Reported in Burlington Long-term Care Home

News 100 blackBy Staff

January 1, 2016



The Halton Region Health Department is reporting the region’s first confirmed Influenza A outbreak at a long-term care home in Burlington. The outbreak is contained and all patients are responding positively to treatment.

“While influenza outbreaks are not uncommon in long-term care homes, they present a real challenge for residents and caregivers,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “Elderly patients are especially vulnerable to the acute impacts of influenza and must be closely monitored to ensure their health does not deteriorate.”

The Region did not identify which long term care home experienced the outbreak.

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2015 in review - July, August and September - some significant appointments made.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 29, 2015


The year in review – July, August and September – how did the city do?

July 2015
Union wage settlements of 4.25% and 6.95% negotiated by CUPE.

Burlington Transit asking its riders what they want

HOV lanesWe get to use HOV lanes with two occupants in the vehicle – as we prepare for the day when we have to pay to use that lane with just a single occupant in the car.

Burlington’s federal Liberals launch their campaign; they sense a victory in the air.

Changing the culture at city hall; bringing in the department leadership needed – and getting a Code of Conduct in place for the politicians.

Federal government decides the CN Milton Logistics hub needs to benefit from the eyes of an independent panel. Truck traffic impact on Burlington roads worrisome.

Messy council debate refers the Code of Conduct to the city manager.

Flood Fairview plazaCommunity Foundation closes it books on the Disaster Relief Fund – $2.72 million distributed.

Is the Food Truck a fad, a new phenomenon or the shape of things to come?

Is there a future for the oldest farmhouse in the downtown core? Could be if the city planners and the developer get creative.

Premier plans to make room for more politicians in the legislature.

An electric vehicle charging station will be installed in downtown Burlington at the parking garage on Locust Street.

The Flood – It was small in area and it hovered in the one place and just kept pouring – dropping almost as much rain as Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

August 2015

Can we pull it off? The potential is significant and it will certainly change the city in a rather positive way.

Premier tells Ontario Mayors they will get a better deal next time there is a localized disaster.

Suzanne HainesBurlington imports a new executive director for the Performing Arts Centre from Richmond BC; Susan Haines starts September 1st

Rebuild of the Freeman station is coming along nicely – they still need help with a lot of the work. Get in on it now – when this thing is done it will be something to be able to say you were a part of.

Where do we put 35,000 people in the next 25 years? And what will the city have in place in the way of roads and transit to move these people around?

September 2015
Hydro cuts the ribbon on a micro co-generation turbine that has the potential to contribute significantly to the city’s Community Energy Plan

Is there an Arts Council in the city’s future? Should there be one? Does anyone care?

Stuart_Miller___GalleryStuart Miller appointed Director of Education for the Halton District School Board

A fourth GO station for Burlington? It is in the works.

City Clerk opens the kimono just a little and lets you see how Council voted on recorded votes.

Most of the community and corporate affairs discussion at council was be behind closed doors – six confidential items on the list.

City challenges residents to Think Outside the Car – the process of changing the car culture has begun

Transportation Minister explains what the provincial government is going to do with rail transit – catch up and keep up!

Harper in Burlington sept 1 - 2015Prime Minister in town with a promise to build an Advanced Manufacturing hub – if he is re-elected.

The full year:

Ist quarter – January, February and March

2nd quarter – April, May and June.

4th quarter – October November and December.  To follow.

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This storm is over as far as the snow removal people are concerned.

notices100x100By Staff

December 29, 2015



Snow Update

Primary and secondary sidewalks continue to be plowed this evening.

Bus stops will be cleared overnight.

Minor clean up work continues.

This will be the last update for this storm.

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Joseph Brant hospital rebuild is changing the city skyline; scheduled to open in 2018

jbhhealthBy Staff

December 23, 2015



Each day the re-developed Joseph Brant Hospital takes its final shape.

The last pouring of concrete for the Level 7 slab is almost complete and the vertical from Levels 7 to 8 continues to progress until the New Year.

Pouring for Level 8 has begun and there will be 5 pours in total for this Level. The last pour will be done in early January.

Hospital cranes

A long distance view of the cranes in the sky on the hospital construction site with the Festival of Lights in Spencer Smith Park in the foreground.

The vertical from Level 8 to 9 has started and will continue from now until early January.

The first pour for Level 9 will happen by the end of December. There will be 5 pours in total for this floor and the work will continue throughout January.

The construction of 6 elevator shafts and 3 main stairways from Levels 7 to 8 and 8 to 9 is underway.

Mechanical work, plumbing, electrical and duct work continues on the Main Level, Level 1 and Level 2 throughout the rest of December and the first couple of weeks in January.

Installation of drywall has begun on the Main Level and Level 1

The Building Envelope (also known as curtain wall) has started on the Main Level.

If you would like to be a sidewalk superintendent CLICK HERE and watch a live feed of the construction site.

Demolition of the second section of the loading dock is complete. The construction of micro piles is also complete and excavation for footings will happen at the end of December/Early January.

The new Engineering department is in the final stages of completion with equipment set-up and painting almost complete. The department will be open in early January.

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The Fire Chief wants you to make sure you have both a fire alarm and a Co2 detector in your residence.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 22, 2105


The sound of a fire engine is something we recognize instantly and we look towards the sound that dulls the heart and brings prayers to the lips of those who hear the sound.

This little girl got out of the house - the tragedies are when people don't make it out during a fire. Plan an escape on FAmily Day

This little girl got out of the house – the tragedies are when people don’t make it out during a fire.

The sound of a fire engine on Christmas Day terrifies.

Many fires are preventable – simple care and sensible precautions PLUS the use of both fire alarms and Co2 alarms, which are now required – you can b fined for not having a Co2 alarm in your residence.

Families are together during the holidays, children and pets are in the house – when a fire starts people scramble to get out of the house and stand in the yard or the street while fire fighters haul in their equipment.

Bavota and Wendy - fire station C02 fire alarm

The Fire Chief doesn’t sell these devices but he sure want you to make sure you buy one.

Fire Chief Tony Bavota spends hour after hour telling people – make sure your fire alarm has fresh batteries (change them once a year) and install a Co2 detector.  “Combined” said the Fire Chief, “both can be had for less than $50.” He adds that it is one of the best personal safety investments you will ever make.

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Public Board of Education prepares for Ombudsman who will have the authority to review and investigate any complaints in January.

News 100 blueBy Walter Byj

December 21, 2015


It looked like a pre Christmas agenda, relatively short with a quick adjournment so that one could finish their holiday shopping. Alas, meetings have a way of stretching – -the thought of last minute shopping quickly vanished.

ombudsman logoThe first major discussion point was in regard to the Ombudsman of Ontario who now, through legislation, has the authority to review and investigate any complaints dealing with the educational sector and is not required to inform or include the local board in the investigation of any complaints. This would run parallel with the board’s own investigative procedure, “Process for public Concerns” which is their internal process for resolving concerns.

A. Collard (Burlington) presented the following recommendation so that there would be a more collaborative policy with the provincial Ombudsman.

“Be it resolved that Halton District School Board trustees and staff collaboratively develop a policy and an administrative procedure regarding our internal process for complaints made via the office of the Ombudsman and report back to the Board by the second meeting in March 2016.”

After some give and take by the trustees, it was resolved that the motion would require some rework and would be presented again in the first meeting in January.

Student trustee S. Schneider and Director Miller spoke of the recent presentation that Miller did to the Student Senate in regard to the Program Viability study. Both said that the students had some positive feedback and this would be made available in an upcoming report in January.

After reviewing a number of policies that have been posted to the web for public input:

• Program and Accommodation Review Policy
• Director’s Performance Review Policy
• Board Recognition Policy

The board turned its attention to a presentation and interim report on” Active and Sustainable School Travel” by S. Burwell(Environmental Sustainability Co-ordinator).

The Halton school board has committed itself to increase active school travel (students travelling to and from school under their own power) as the most recent data shows that Halton has one of the highest automobile mode of transportation in Ontario.

Hoops - exercise - students

Getting the early teenagers off the couch and onto a playing field.

Active transportation has decreased by 13% for 11-13 year age group and 14% for 14-17 year age group over the years of 1986 and 2011. Citing studies that show where physical activity in the morning contributes mental and physical well being, the board will continue collecting data and prepare a number of recommendations that will encourage more active school travel. In a give and tack with the trustees, it was mentioned that some students who are constantly transported by automobile, do not have a strong sense of their communities physical layout; not knowing the streets around them.

Director Miller started his Director’s report by stating that there will be no glossy annual this year as it will be modified and will be online only. This will cut done on costs and it will be available quicker and will be more accessible. The assumption is that this will go hand in hand with an enhanced website.

He then stated that the board will be seeking to hire an additional 35 Education Assistants for next year. This will be on the agenda in January. Associate Director Boag will provide in January an update of the community consultation and input to the Program Viability Committee. Miller also thanked the trustees for their participation in a meeting with local Muslim meetings. There was no elaboration of the discussions that took place.

This was followed by a slide presentation by Superintendent Eatough that highlighted the visit of two privately sponsored Syrian families to the Board’s Welcome Centre and presented what was done within the Halton board to help the students/families. This was followed up by a show and tell by Chair Amos where she filled a backpack with all the utensils each student would need and then challenged all those in attendance to do the same. Hopefully all of our students have the same type of backpack.

This was followed by the board reconvening to a private session and back to a public session where they resolved that the board ratify the Memorandum of Settlement with the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario-Elementary Occasional Teachers the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Both were carried unanimously and are subject to ratification by the unions.

And they all went home for their holiday!

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If you love this planet - begin changing the way you use it. Rivers and his Dad's big honking Plymouth.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 18th, 2015


There are only a few days left to buy something to put under the tree for my wife. But what I really need is another car. My beloved decade-old Prius has found a new home with my daughter. I bought the car after reading “The Weather Makers” by Australian paleontologist and climate scientist, Tim Flannery. He was so persuasive I even wrote a song about him.

Front three quarter view of a

A Prius – best car Rivers ever bought – he’s in the market for a new one.

According to Flannery the single best thing we can do to reduce our carbon footprint is stop driving gas guzzlers. So, I bought a hybrid. And after 200,000 kms at 4.9 l/100 kms (60 mpg), I figure half of my mileage (100,000 kms) was virtually costless and free from emissions, when compared to a conventional auto.

Last week almost 200 national leaders signed up to the Paris (climate) Agreement. But that was the easy part. We’ve been this road before with the Kyoto Protocol, back in 1997, only to find a change in politics killed the deal. Climate deniers GW Bush and our own Stephen Harper did their best to scuttle any attempts at restraining global warming.

And thanks in some small part to them, 2015 will be the warmest year on record. Greenland’s vast glaciers are now melting twice as fast as predicted by climate scientists. And that means that rising sea levels combined with declining polar ice packs will shift the earth’s mass towards the equator slowing down the planet’s rotation and shifting it on its axis – scary stuff.

Greenland iceberg melting

Ice fields in Greenland melting faster than anyone predicted – water flows towards the equator impacting the way the earth rotates – and some still don’t see climate change as a problem.

Mr. Trudeau has committed to meet with the premiers and come up with a feasible plan of action early in the New Year. A major component of any plan will be a smorgasbord of carrots and sticks to help Canadians get out of old habits. For example, since almost half of all Canadian homes are heated with natural gas, we should expect some financial help with home insulation and alternate heating. And a carbon tax on heating fuels would make sense to help fund these kinds of incentives.

Transportation accounts for about a third of our greenhouse gas emissions and the private motor car makes up about half of that, so expect more incentives to get us onto the new public transportation they keep promising, and into more efficient automobiles. Ontario already offers rebates of up to $8500 for full battery-electric vehicles (BEV) and $5000 for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHV). But the uptake hasn’t been huge and good luck trying to find them at the car dealer. And even better luck finding a salesperson who knows anything about electric vehicles (EV), PHVs or even hybrids – or understands why you should buy one.

Electric car charging station

Get used to see more signs like this – Mayor has one where he normally parks his car.

But that’s pretty much it – the rest is stuff we individuals can’t do. The oil sands will require a massive clean-up one way or the other, given where oil prices are going. Some provinces in the prairies and Maritimes will need help converting their electricity generation, as Ontario did recently. Then there is the need for increased reforestation and the development of green technologies.

Fighting wars requires massive amounts of energy and results in all kinds of emission releases, especially when oil-tank cars are being hit by bombs. Yet there has been no discussion of finding better ways to resolve conflicts among nations – especially as the world enters a new era of global tension.

International trade, well that is all about moving goods great distances and burning lots of fuel. It is pure hypocrisy when governments which support more free trade simultaneously sponsor those buy-local campaigns. And speaking of goods transport, trucks now release almost as much greenhouse gas emissions as cars. There was a time when most goods were transported around the country efficiently by rail. Today the rail cars are all busy carrying oil to refineries so it can be burned by the trucks which have now replaced them.

Some folks are saying we need to change the foods we eat as well. According to one researcher lettuce has a greater GHG footprint than pork production. But I don’t believe it. Still other researchers claim that meat production accounts for 15% of all GHG emissions. To that end New Zealand has implemented a cow ‘fart tax’. And beef is the worst of the meats apparently, being labelled the ‘SUV of food’. Which gets us back to motor vehicles.

Plymouth with big fins

Gas was cheap and the highways were seldom clogged – the drivers felt like Kings – those were the days!

I confess that I have always been a car buff. I was just a tadpole when my dad brought home a new Plymouth with those monstrous fins. He wintered his beautiful baby in our barn and I’d occasionally climb in behind the odd-shaped steering wheel and stare at the push button transmission, pretending I was actually driving the big V8 powered behemoth.

My dream car today is the Tesla, named after Nikola Tesla the brilliant Serbian inventor. The car was developed by Elon Musk, a Canadian/American South African guy who invented PayPal and runs Space X as well. A friend of mine has one of these electrically powered beauties and it can go over 300 kms on a charge and move like a cat on catnip. But it costs a bomb and is the only EV with the kind of range I’d be comfortable with, given where I live.

So, unless my publisher pays me a lot more money to write these columns, I’d have to sell my farm and move to the city in order to be able to afford one. But if I did that, one of those more modest EV would do the job – or I could just use environmentally friendly public transportation instead. I hope you’re having better luck with your Christmas shopping than I am.

Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray 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 as a Liberal against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. Rivers is no longer active  politically.

Background links

Cool Video     Tim Flannery        Flannery Song       Paris Agreement

Ignorant Car Dealers        Tesla       What People Can Do       The Hard Work Begins

Earth Slowing Down        Electric VehiclesRoad Transport

Trade and Climate        Household Energy Use        Unattainable

Cow Farts       Electric Vehicles        EV Rebates

Meat is the New SUV

Car and Truck Emissions         Greenland Melting         Lettuce Causes Climate Change


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MPP gets her flu shot - have you gotten yours? Available now at many local pharmacies.

element_healthservicesBy Pepper Parr

December 17th, 2015

Flu season – time to get your flu shot which is now a lot easier. Many pharmacies in the city offer the service. I got my flu shot at the supermarket – took just a few minutes – no line up, no appointment necessary.

McMahon getting flu shot Dec 16-15

James Morrison, Walmart pharmacist give Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon her flu shot

Burlington’s Member of the provincial legislature, Eleanor McMahon, got her flu shot at Walmart yesterday – took it like the trooper she is.
James Morrison, pharmacist manager for Walmart said they have given about 250 shots “basically the same number as last year”. The government pays Walmart $7.50 for each shot they administer.

McMahon flu shot grimmace

Waiting for the flu shot.

“We have been doing both nasally applied flu shot and those given by needle said Morrison.

The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association surveyed people who got their flu shots at local pharmacy – the 1,610 people surveyed said that for the most part they were happy with getting this kind of service at a local pharmacy.

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Beer will be sold in supermarkets - but not in Burlington supermarkets - not yet. Does the city have a temperance society?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 15th, 2015


The government is delivering on its promise to allow beer sales in grocery stores by announcing the first 58 locations across the province where Ontarians will be able to buy beer.
There won’t be one in Burlington this time around – the closest will be in Oakville and Hamilton – Longos will have the Oakville location. Their Fairview location in Burlington happens to be in a plaza that already has an LCBO and a Beer Store.

Beer - locations mapPremier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Finance Charles Sousa announced the 13 independent grocery stores and 45 stores owned by large grocers that are now authorized to sell beer.

This is the first round of Ontario’s commitment to make it more convenient for people to buy beer. Ultimately, beer will be available at up to 450 grocery stores province wide — roughly the same number of locations The Beer Store currently operates in Ontario. Beer in grocery stores is part of the biggest shakeup to beverage alcohol retailing in the province since prohibition was ended in 1927.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which visited all 58 locations as part of the authorization process, will now monitor them to ensure that they adhere to laws on the safe retail of alcohol. These include designated sales areas and hours of sale, limitations to package sizes and alcohol content by volume, and rigorous social responsibility training for staff.

Premier Wynne’s comment that LCBO locations would be ideal for the sale of marijuana is a testament as to just how far Ontario has come. There was a time when the then Premier of the province would not allow news photographers to take his picture if there was a glass of beer in his hand.

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Barber shop gets issued a written order to stop re-using single-use/disposable razor blades.

notices100x100By Staff

December 14th, 2015


This is more of an Oakville story but in the off chance that someone in Burlington happened to have their hair cut in Oakville at a particular barber shop – listen up

Barber head shaveHalton Region is asking clients of Bronte Barber Shop located at 2290 Lakeshore Road W. (Bronte Plaza) in Oakville to contact the Halton Region Health Department as part of an investigation into potential exposure to blood-borne infections through the reuse of single-use/disposable razor blades.

“On December 11, The Halton Region Health Department issued a written Order under Section 13 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) to Bronte Barber Shop, to eliminate the practice of reusing disposable razor blades on clients,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region. “At this time, there is no evidence of the transmission of infectious disease, but we need to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety, health and well-being of our residents.”

“The operator of Bronte Barber Shop is unable to provide the Health Department with a list of clients, so we are asking those who may have received services using razor blades at the Oakville location to contact the Halton Region Health Department as soon as possible, by dialing 311 or 905-825-6000,” said Dr. Meghani. “The Halton Region Health Department will provide information on the recommended tests to rule out any potential blood-borne infection.”

barber shaving beardTo reduce the risk of infection and disease outbreaks, Halton’s public health inspectors routinely perform inspections of personal service settings (including barber shops), restaurants, long-term care homes, childcare centres and throughout the community. The Halton Region Health Department works to promote high standards of infection prevention and control to protect the health and well-being of all Halton residents.

For information about infection prevention and control in personal service settings, visit or dial 311.

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Too many church hats - and a trip to the airport to greet Syrian refugees arriving in Canada.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

December 10th, 2015


“I really have too many church hats” said Mary Carey, the woman at Port Nelson United Church who stood up at the public meeting held at the Mainway Recreation Centre held to share information about the refugees that were coming to Canada

The Gazette wanted to follow up on what she learned and was trying to arrange an interview. “I will be out this evening working the sound system for our Women’s Christmas Communion. I might be able to speak with you tomorrow early afternoon if I have some time between my Acclaim Health palliative visit and going to the airport to meet the refugees.

Dec 2 meting crowd

An attentive Burlington audience listening to how they could help refugees wanting to come to Canada.

A week before the public meeting the Gazette got a call from a regular reader who said she had a three bedroom house she was going to be moving out of and had planned on selling. “I think I want to make the house available to a refugee family but I’m not quite sure who to talk to – any ideas” she asked.

The aircraft are on their way to Canada with more than 150 refugees who will land in Toronto this evening. Getting them through the process and into homes before the end of the day is going to be confusing, tiring and exhilarating.

But come Friday morning – they will be among us and the beginning a new life.

The refugee crisis became more real for Canadians when the picture of the boy on a beach, dead of drowning. At the time it didn’t look as if the Canadian government was going to be doing very much for those refugees.

A federal election; a new government and then the decision to bring 25,000 refugees to this country and the mood of most Canadians changed.
And now we have hundreds of people in Burlington involved.

Drowned boy on a beach

The family may make it to Canada – this boy didn’t – the boat he was in capsized and he was drown as they fled their war torn country.

One couple who are always seen at public events became part of a group of 18 that were going to sponsor a family.  “We found a family” said the man “and they will be joining with people they know who happen to live in Hamilton. It didn’t matter to us where they lived – we just wanted to help some people.”

Most of the people who are putting up the $30,000 that has to be in place before a private sponsorship is approved do not want their names published. “This isn’t about us” explained another sponsoring family,  “this is about doing what Canadians are always doing – helping.”

The public meting that started it all in this city.

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Joseph Brant Hospital close to final concrete pour - on target for the 2018 opening.

jbhhealthBy Staff

December 5th, 2015


The people at the Joseph Brant Hospital re-build and re-development site are getting almost giddy – the last concrete pour is due to take place very soon.

In 2017, there will be nine modern operating rooms on Level 2 of the new Joseph Brant Hospital with capacity for an additional 1,770 inpatient and day surgery cases. The design of each operating room accommodates innovative surgical technology and a modern ventilation and power infrastructure.
he Level six slab is done!

Here is what has been done to date:

Forming and pouring for the Level seven slab is underway and the vertical from Levels 7 to 8 is also being built.

The Level eight slab will be done by mid-December.

JBH aerial rendering

Architectural model of the hospital site – opening of the new section scheduled for 2018

Six elevator shafts and 3 main stairways from Levels six to seven are done. Construction continues for elevator shafts and stairways from Levels seven to eight and eight to nine.
Mechanical work and plumbing continues on the Main Level and on Level 1.

In our existing hospital, demolition of the second section of the loading dock is almost complete. The construction of micro piles and excavation for footings will happen over the next couple of weeks. Loading dock construction will continue until the end of February.

JBH earth cam Dec 4-15

Construction status on December 5th, 2015

Masonry work and most of the mechanical work is complete in our new Engineering Department. The department is now undergoing the finishing stages of construction, which includes painting, installation of fixtures and floor and ceiling. The department will be move-in ready for our Engineering team in January 2016.

Excavation, forming and pouring for the last set of footings for the bridge that will connect the parking garage to the main hospital building is done!

The first panels for our curtain wall (also known as building envelope) will be arriving in mid-December.
Quite an achievement – and so far there hasn’t been even a small industrial accident.

With construction going so well – the team at the hospital have moved into what they call their “readiness stage”.

You can view the construction site at any time – just CLICK HERE.

Pouring concrete and having the structure reach up into the sky is apparently the easy part – now they have to begin preparing for what the hospital is being built to do – take care of people.

Lina K at JBH

Lina Kiskunas coordinates operational readiness.

Lina Kiskunas, is the Operational Readiness Coordinator. She works with a wide portfolio of programs in preparing for operations in our future hospital. Laboratory, Diagnostic Imaging, Pharmacy, Allied Health, Professional Practice, Rehab, Complex Care, Inpatient Medical Surgical and Maternal Child are things that keep her busy.

Each member of the Operational Readiness team plays an important role in achieving the targeted Opening Day vision and outcomes as they transition to the new hospital.

Lina Kiskunas is a nurse by background. “I spent time in many critical care roles” she said and comes to Burlington from Oakville where she did a very similar role in Operational Readiness for the new Oakville hospital

“The work is a mix of project management and strategy and melding that into the medical environment. I gained a lot of interesting experiences from the project that I’m excited to bring here.

“I moved to Burlington two years ago. Having worked on many redevelopment projects at different hospitals I think it’s nice to be part of such a big project at my own community hospital. This is where my family and I will receive care. Bringing Joseph Brant Hospital into their future is exciting.”

“I think in trying to understand Operational Readiness the best way I can explain it is if you want a new home, the construction company builds it and operational readiness makes this house a home. We will bring patients and families a sense of home at the new Joseph Brant Hospital” she said.

Lakeshore Road will be the new entrance to the hospital – and the setting will be be very nice.  A concern has been expressed about the adequacy of Lakeshore Road as it cuts south to the lake.  Lakeshore Road is going to be raised by as much as a metre which will impact the entrance to the Joseph Brant Museum.

JBH Lakeshore Road coming in

Road leading to the new hospital entrance from the Maple Street intersection.

Will there be just the one lane leading past the museum to the hospital as shown in the picture above ?  Not much room for an ambulance rushing towards the emergency entrance.

The plans for a massive expansion of the museum – the Museum Foundation has more than $2 million dedicated to making the museum more relevant to the community.

Is it possible that too much is being crammed into too small a space?

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