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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Is that a Pot of Coffee or Pot in your Coffee? Rivers comes out for legalization of marijuana.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 4th, 2015


Imagine a ‘pot’ of coffee – made with real pot. In the late sixties we were encouraged to share a little ‘tea’ with Goldie, a popular feature of the late ’60’s Smother’s Brothers Comedy hour. Tom and Dick were fired by an uptight CBS, in part for that. But they cut the cloth of political comedy for Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Trevor Noah.


Halton Regional Police have a unit dedicated to tracking down drug dealers – columnist Ray Rivers feels they won’t be needed when marijuana is legalized.

A Canadian company has developed an alternative way to administer medical cannabis. You just drop a pod in your Keurig and bingo, you get a standardized dose of the heady stuff (THC) in your caffeinated brew. Orally ingesting marijuana has always been tricky because of the lag time, so this should make it all a little more reliable, predictable. But for many, it sure beats ‘smokin’ the shit’ – or using a vaporizer, something the Ontario government hasn’t quite figured out.

Marijuana seized in Ottawa

The manufacture, growing and distribution of illegal substances has created a criminal element that police cannot control. Will the legalization of relatively soft drugs drive the criminals out of the community?

What a great way to start your day. Mary Jane and Joe together to greet you at the breakfast table. Your morning beverage to wake you up and chill you down at the same time; getting you up and down, flying to the sun and back down to earth, all at the same time. And if you can mix the whacky-backy with tea and coffee, why not wine or whiskey, and make it available at your favourite LCBO?

In fact British Columbia liquor stores have jumped the gun and are already vying for that very franchise. And why not? Licensing existing liquor stores to sell pot makes a lot of sense, since all are provincially regulated and most are provincially run. As for B.C., where some liquor stores sell snacks as well as liquor and beer, we’d be able to buy our beer, weed and munchies all in one place – one stop shopping for body and the mind. And we can put all of that on the credit card. Have you ever known a drug dealer to accept credit?  Goddam the pusher man!

Canada’s new health minister is aware that the world is watching the Trudeau government as it proceeds to rid us of a stupid prohibition that has plagued us for generations. Uruguay has the distinction of being the first nation to legalize cannabis, though its success has been less than impressive. Even in the most progressive country in Latin America, old habits die hard. So organized crime is still mostly in charge of the drug trade and the police seem to have missed the memo – that it is legal now.

Mexican authorities, who went part way by decriminalizing all street drugs a while ago have also been disappointed with their results. Since the rules allow such tiny quantities, real ‘tokers’ turn to the drug gangs to buy in more volume. And the cops, always looking for another bribe, are still arresting people. It may just be too early to say how well this half-measure is really working, but half-way is sometimes no way at all.

Maijuana and police

Raid after raid to seize marijuana – columnist would like to see the product sold in the LCBO outlets and let the government tax the sale.

The US state of Colorado has had a different experience. Costs for drug related offences are down almost 90%, saving the state millions of dollars in enforcement and adjudication costs. There was some $40 million in new revenue in 2014, which was in part reallocated for health programs. Crime rates fell; violent crimes, property damage and burglaries were down by as much as 10%. Even traffic fatalities came down by about 3%, challenging the naysayers, who had speculated, incorrectly, about ‘stoners’ on the road.

Washington State, the other early US adopter of legalized weed has had a similar experience, though even better from a cost savings and revenue perspective. Most critically, marijuana use among youth has not increased, a frequent talking point among the opponents of legalization.

It was Justin’s father who commissioned the Le Dain Commission to look into the issue back in the ’70’s.. Way back then Le Dain recommended that we lift the prohibition on cannabis. And it is finally going to happen, some 40 years later. So, make mine a double-double.

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 with any political party.

Background links:

Coffee Pot      Share a little Tea      Pusher Man       Uruguay drugs       Mexico Decriminalization

Canada being Watched        Province Flip Flops

Another View      LSD 

B.C.     Colorado     Washington      Le Dain Commission

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What may well be toxic chemical waste in Sheldon Creek is being ignored claims a Burlington resident.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

November 16, 2015


Keeping the natives happy seems to be easier said than done.

Aldershot resident Tom Muir is still spinning his wheels over the answers he isn’t getting on the development application made by the ADI Group for a 26 storey building at the intersection of Martha and Lakeshore Road.

Now Vince Fiorito is wondering why his discovery of what he thinks is toxic material discovered in Sheldon Creek is not being looked into.

Sheldon Creek - vince in high water

Vince Fiorito on a tour of the Sheldon Creek when the waters were high.

Fiorito wrote MPP’s Eleanor McMahon (Burlington) and Indira Naidoo-Harris, (Halton) and Mayor Rick Goldring.

Fiorito had strong environmental credentials – he was named the Steward for Sheldon Creek by the Halton Conservation Authority. In his most recent email to the above named he said:

“This is a status update, regarding a dump site that I discovered in the Sheldon Creek flood plain adjacent to a residential neighborhood near 1829 Creek Way, Burlington, Ontario”

Fiorito had taken his concern to the provincial Ministry of the Environment. When he followed up with them he was told “the MOE considers this case to be closed even though as far as I know nothing has been done about this site and nothing is planned to be done.”

Fiorito, who documents rather well, provided pictures of the material he discovered and said he “estimates the site covers 1000+ square meters. The depth of material buried at this site is unknown. What is buried at this site is unknown. This site is also full of sharp metal objects and broken glass.

Bags of something Sheldon Creek

A Burlington resident doesn’t know what these chemicals are – no one seems to be concerned.

This site is next to a residential neighborhood full of children and apparently near the residence of McMahon the Burlington MPP.

Fiorito discovered this site in the Sheldon Creek flood plain next to a residential neighborhood about a year ago. At the time, he considered this site to be yet another dump site, like many others that Friends of Sheldon Creek has discovered and cleaned up.

He organized a volunteer clean-up of this site on June 27, 2015; David Hulsman from the Field and Stream Rescue Team showed up to help. The two of us started cleaning up the site and dragging trash to the curb.

rusted barells sheldon creek

Rusted out drums and some equipment were found in Sheldon Creek – Burlington resident Vince Fiorito wants to know how it got there and what is being done to remove it. so far he claims nothing is being done.

They halted their activities out of concern for their personal safety, when Hulsman found two pesticide containers indicating that the site could be a toxic waste dump.

Fiorito immediately contacted the MOE spill hot line to report this site. The MOE opened a file (case # 2784-9XVMEM) and contacted the city for follow up. City staff couldn’t find the site and they contacted Fiorito.

barel in Sheldon creek

Vince Fiorito, the Steward for Sheldon Creek discovered what he fears are toxic chemicals in the Sheldon Creek flood plain and cannot understand why neither the province, the local MPP or the Mayor have not moved on this – they were alerted five months ago.

On Monday June 29th, 2015, Fiorito guided Gary Glenn of the City of Burlington to the site. He agreed that this site appeared to be a problem. The two agreed that the site appeared to be decades old and that it looked like someone dug a big hole, dumped suspicious looking barrels, drums and containers into it, and then buried it. We were unable to determine the scale of the problem, because when we lifted up a barrel or sheet of metal, we could only see more barrels and metal underneath, indicating that this could be a deep hole.

“I expected the government would follow this problem up until it was resolved and keep me informed. But after four months of silence and no sign of activity at this site, I decided to follow this case up.

“I went to the MOE website for information about case # 2784-9XVMEM. As far as I can tell, the MOE has no way for the public to search for information on a reported spill by case number.

“I tried to file a request for information but got an error message.  Finally I called the spill hot line, where I was able to get help. The operator told me that according to the file:

• I reported the site with contact information
• The MOE contacted the city
• The city couldn’t find the site and was going to contact me.
• The file had been closed by Karen Wassink, Senior Environmental Officer – HALTON-PEEL DISTRICT (I looked up her contact information: Phone: 905-319-3149 Email:

“I contacted Gary Glenn of the City of Burlington ( ) for a status update. In his email reply he informed that the City of Burlington does not own that property and that it is owned by Paletta International. I have been directed to contact that Company for follow up.

Fiorito said he is “dissatisfied with the process and lack of results. I reported this problem nearly five months and absolutely nothing has been done.
“At a minimum, this site should be tested immediately to see if it is leaking dangerous chemicals. I’d like to know the results of that test as soon as they are available. If it is leaking dangerous chemicals then the public needs to be informed immediately.”

Fish from Sheldon creek

A fish caught in the Sheldon Creek is believed to have been dinner for a local family.

“Downstream, Sheldon Creek flows through a nature area, parkland and eventually into Lake Ontario, where it becomes our drinking water. This young person in my neighborhood caught a rainbow trout in Sheldon Creek. I believe he took the fish home and ate it with his family.

Fiorito who certainly knows how to jump on a high horse when he sees one said: “I feel that more than one person has behaved irresponsibly and possibly illegally. I feel that government officials have not done their duty. Their inaction after knowledge of the facts could be endangering public safety.

Fiorito continues: “If city staff have determined that Paletta International is responsible for this site, then I feel they are still responsible for following the problem up as well as keeping the MOE and myself informed. Just because I found and reported this problem, should not mean that I am responsible for ensuring its resolution. I will try to clean it up if I can, but first I need to know if the site is safe or contains toxic chemicals. We will happily remove trash, including sharp objects (Field and Stream Rescue Team has insurance, so our activities do not create any liabilities), but we are not qualified to clean up toxic chemicals.”

Fiorito is a strong believer in accountability and responsibility and points to the people he holds accountable:

Rick Goldring puts the city before himself - he wants what he thinks it is to remain the same and at the same time would like to see good growth.

Mayor Goldring positions himself as a strong environmentalist – but so far he hasn’t delivered in the eyes of Vince Fiorito – who walks his talk.

This site is in our City Mayor Rick Goldring. You should be aware of the action and inaction of city staff. I am concerned, that if this case is typical of how city staff handles environmental problems, then I have to wonder, “How many other problems like this have been reported and ignored, rather than cleaned up?”

He takes the same approach to MPP McMahon: “This site is in your neighborhood Ms McMahon. You should inform your neighbors about this problem. You should tell them that you are aware of the problem and following its progress towards resolution closely.

Bed race McMahon - Rosie the Riveter

Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon hasn’t made the grade in the eyes of Vince Fiorito who points out that what he believes could be very toxic chemicals dumped in Shelden Creek close to the home of the MPP has not been given any attention.

Fiorito finds himself feeling “that if I do nothing in this case, then nothing will be done. How is it possible he asks “that after I reported a problem to the responsible government agency and guided city staff to the location, where we both agreed I identified a problem, that this problem can then be ignored?

Fiorito does acknowledge that he did get an acknowledgement from the Office of the Mayor. Tom Muir, the Aldershot resident looking for detailed information on just why the city missed that 180 day deadline’ got the promise of a “meaningful response” – so far he feels all he has gotten is a lot of bafflegab.

Two effective, involved, concerned citizens spinning their wheels. Is there a trend here – is this the way the city does business.?

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By registration only family flue shot appointments available at the Regional office in Oakville.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 2, 2015


The best way to protect young children from getting infected with influenza (flu) is for all family members to receive the seasonal flu immunization. To make it easier for families with young children to receive the flu shot, the Halton Region Health Department is hosting two appointment-based family flu clinics for families with young children aged six months through five years of age who are most vulnerable to the virus.

This is the first year Halton Region has offered appointment-based flu clinics. Families can register for their 15-minute appointments at or by dialing 311.

flu-shot child

It doesn’t always happen this easily – does it?

“We know that sometimes it can be challenging for families with young children to attend a drop-in clinic, so this year we’re offering two appointment-only flu clinics to meet the needs of Halton’s young families,” said Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hamidah Meghani.

“These new clinics will give young families more opportunities to get the vaccine as pharmacists are unable to immunize children under five. By making it easier for families with young children to receive their influenza immunizations, we’re not only working towards achieving the best possible health and well-being for children, but also for the entire community.”

The two appointment only family flu clinics are located at the Halton Regional Centre at 1151 Bronte Road in Oakville, from 3:00 to 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 and Tuesday, December 15, 2015 and are in addition to other flu clinics being offered by the Halton Region Health Department.

To register for an appointment at one of the family flu clinics or to learn about Halton’s 12 drop-in flu clinics, please visit or dial 311.
This is a really good idea but the clinics have to be closer to the people who pay the tax bills – at the very least in schools during the late afternoon or evenings.
It is easier to just go to a local pharmacy where they will give you your flu shot at no expense – I didn’t have to wait more than the time it took to roll up my sleeve.

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It will be the Mother of all photo ops - can the Mayor get to them all?

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 29, 2015


This was clearly the Mother of all photo ops.

As part of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge Burlington Community Launch – Chalk It Up event Thursday, October 29, 2015 the beavers in the Parks and Recreation department have designed a challenge designed to create and adapt healthy behaviours for children aged zero to 12 years through healthy eating and physical activity.

Beard - hoola hoope - run jump play

Tax dollars at work – all part of a program that is designed to get the under 12 set out to run, jump and play

The first theme of the challenge is “Run. Jump. Play. Every Day.” This theme encourages physical activity through active play, sports, active transportation and structured activities. Chalk It Up events will be taking place at YMCA after school programs and at city recreation centres from Thursday, Oct. 29 until Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015.

The Burlington YMCA After School Care program is participating in the Chalk It Up event as are four school sites after school on Thursday, Oct. 29:

Central Public School, 638 Brant St.
Sir Ernest MacMillan Public School, 1350 Headon Rd.
St. Mark Elementary School, 2145 Upper Middle Rd.
Tom Thomson Public School,2171 Prospect St.

Not to be outdone city facilities are also participating in the Community Launch, including:

Goldring + Tina 4 run jump play

Mayor Rick Goldring gets an approving glance form a four year old during the kick off of the Run Jump Play initiative the province has put $1.1 million into.

Aldershot Pool, 50 Fairwood Pl. W.
Angela Coughlan Pool, 2425 Upper Middle Rd.
Brant Hills Community Centre, 2255 Brant St.
Centennial Pool, 5151 New St.
Haber Recreation Centre, 3040 Tim Dobbie Dr.
The Burlington Music Centre, 2311 New St.
Student Theatre, 2131 Prospect St.
Tansley Woods Community Centre, 1996 Itabashi Way

What the Gazette really wants to know is – will the Mayor find a way to be at ever one of the locations?

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Hospital construction now at level four - with pillars for the bridge from the garage in place. Watch the construction live.

element_healthservicesBy Staff

October 26, 2015


Every couple of days one can see the re-developed Joseph Brant Hospital reach higher and higher. They are at the point now where the bridge that will lead people from their cars to the hospital is now having its pillars put in place – 2018 is not that far off.

JBH Oct 23-15 Park gar bridge

Pillars are not in place to hold the bridge that will lead from the garage to the hospital.

The photo above shows a view of construction from the roof of our parking garage. If you take a look in front of Level 1 of the new patient tower there are 6 large columns leading to the garage. These columns will one day support the bridge connecting Level 1 of the parking garage to Level 1 of the new tower.

The construction of the Level 4 deck will continue over the next couple of weeks. You might be wondering why there is no Level 3. To facilitate the needs of the operating rooms, which will be located on Level 2, high ceilings are required for lights and an extensive amount of mechanical work. There is however, a small Level 3 section for an elevator bank that will connect the existing hospital to the new patient tower.

The columns from Level 2 to Level 4 are complete.
The pouring of concrete for the first half of Level 4 is complete. The second half will be completed by November 6.
Construction of columns and the pouring of concrete for Level 5 continues.
8 elevator shafts and 3 main stairways from Level 4 to 5 are currently being built.
The loading dock is nearing completion.

In our existing hospital, demolition, mechanical and electrical decommissioning has started to make way for the new engineering department. The department will be located in the basement of the hospital where the finance department was once located.

The Operational Readiness team has formed five Integrated Working Groups; these are subject matter experts from across the hospital working together to achieve specified goals around defined issues, and to ensure alignment with the hospital’s objectives for Opening Day View.

Opening Day View identifies the major changes that will be in place at Joseph Brant on the opening day of our new hospital. As the project progresses there will be 15 groups in total; the five formed so far are:

Alcove Management – new, starting in December 2015
Transition Budget – ongoing
Bed Mapping & Bed Management – ongoing
Move Planning – ongoing
Medication Management – new, starting in December 2015

The Gazette was not able to reach anyone at the hospital re-development office to learn just what Alcove management is all about.

Brant hospital - part of 4th floor

A portion of the fourth floor of the hospital be swung into position by a crane and lowered into place where construction crews secure it. This is better than side walk superintending.

To see the pace of construction day by day – CLICK HERE and watch the crews build your hospital.

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Violence against women to get special attention during November: a cultural change is needed and it is the men in the community who have to change their behaviour.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 23, 2015


November is Woman Abuse Awareness Month

Violence against woman is not a women’s issue – it is a men’s issue – they have to change their behaviour and find other ways to resolve their differences with the women in their life. It is really that simple.

Regional Chair Gary Carr and Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner and community leaders will join members of Halton Violence Prevention Council to mark the beginning of Woman Abuse Awareness Month.

Our language gas to change – “slapping someone around” is not acceptable language.

The Halton Violence Prevention Council will be hanging “Act Against Violence” banners throughout the Region for the month of November.

Violence agaainst womenThe Council’s mission is to end violence against women and their children in our community. It is a coordinating committee working to improve services for women and children experiencing abuse, in order to achieve a healthy, safe and inclusive community.

HVPC members consist of more than 20 agencies in the Halton community, including representatives from legal and police services; counselling and sexual assault agencies; women’s shelters; child protection; addictions, housing and mental health sectors; health-based services and survivor-informed agencies.

The Council has been busy with many initiatives this year, including developing and facilitating training aimed at strengthening service provider responses to victims of violence who are also experiencing co-occurring issues, such as addiction and/or active mental health; supporting collaborative practices between the Violence Against Women sector and our Children’s Aid Society; and fostering survivor-informed initiatives, including our Speakers’ Bureau.

The launch this year will feature a member of our Speakers’ Bureau, who’s keynote address, “Life in the Shadows”, will focus on her experience of being stalked by her ex-partner.

In addition to these newer initiatives, the council continues to be engaged in the Neighbours. Friends and Families Campaign – a provincial strategy to raise awareness of the signs of woman abuse, so people who are close to an at-risk woman or a man who uses abusive behaviours can provide information, support and resources.

Hurt+Family1The Council will use the launch to invite community members, businesses and organizations to engage in the “Purple Thursdays” campaign – a movement to draw attention to the issue of woman abuse and gendered violence throughout the month of November by wearing purple every Thursday as a way to start conversations, raise awareness and support.

Are you currently involved in an abusive relationship? You and your family can get help! Call the 24-hour crisis line of Halton Women’s Place (south 905-332-7892, north 905-878-8555) or the Assaulted Women’s Helpline (toll free: 1-866-863-0511).

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

News 100 redBy Staff

October 23, 2014


The province wants to help cities become more bike-friendly – that perked up the ears of council members as they worked through a draft of the Strategic Plan that is going to set a direction for the balance of the current term of office.

McMahon with a bike

MPP Eleanor McMahon is a strong and consistent cyclist.

Burlington has an MPP, Eleanor McMahon who is a champion of sharing the road.  The city has hundreds of kilometres of bike trails and a rural area that offers some of the most challenging terrain for the truly committed.

McMahon said: “Ontarians want to spend less time in their cars and more time travelling by active transportation. The number one reason Ontarians don’t ride their bike is because they don’t feel safe to do so. In addition to recent changes to the Highway Traffic act, the amendments support the development of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure by simplifying the process for municipalities to plan and build off-road multi-use pathways.”

Burlington could be the poster boy for community cycling.  So when the province announces funding for more bike use – we are in.

Ontario is helping cities become more sustainable and environmentally friendly by making it easier to build off-road bike paths and large-scale recreational trails.  The province will invest $25 million in #CycleON: Ontario’s Cycling Strategy to create a more cycling-friendly the province.

The province has created a new streamlined process for municipalities to submit proposals for environmental assessment on new paths and trails. The new process will be easier and quicker, saving municipalities considerable time, money and effort.

The amendments were proposed by the Municipal Engineers Association and received significant public feedback during the province’s public consultation. The new environmental assessment process also supports CycleON, the province’s long-term strategy to help make Ontario the number one province for cycling in Canada,


Cycling enthusiast Rob Narejko keeps a couple of bikes in his garage and can often be seen on the rural roads.

Supporting cycling and helping Ontarians reduce their carbon footprints is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.

Great wording – now where would Burlingtonians like to see “off road bike paths” built?

Leave your ideas in the comments section.


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Region announces flu shot clinic dates for Burlington

element_healthservicesBy Staff

October 22, 2015


The Halton Region Health Department has started the influenza (flu) immunization clinics for the 2015-2016 flu season with community influenza clinics for all residents aged six months and older beginning this week. Flu immunizations are also available at many pharmacies (for those aged five years and older), as well as in doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics and at some workplaces.

Getting the flu vaccine every year is the most important way to protect against the flu. It also helps to prevent the spread of the virus to those who are vulnerable to complications of the flu. The flu immunization is recommended for all those six months of age and older.

Most healthy people recover from the flu within a few days; however, influenza infection can lead to pneumonia and hospitalization, and can even be fatal, especially in the elderly, those under five years of age and those with certain chronic health conditions.

Caucasian woman washing her hands

Washing your hands frequently when you are not well prevents the communication of viruses.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you can take everyday precautions against influenza by washing your hands with soap frequently, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (when soap and water is not available) and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

If you are sick, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading your illness to others and see your doctor if your illness worsens or doesn’t begin to improve after a few days.

Clinic dates for Burlington are:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 Burlington Seniors’ Centre 2285 New Street 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Monday, October 26, 2015 L.B. Pearson High School 1433 Headon Road 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015 Robert Bateman High School 5151 New Street 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
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Burlington techies take to the internet and raise enough food contributions to provide 1500 Thanksgiving meals.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 9, 2015


A company involved in determining what kind of advertising shows up on your computer screen when you are online decided it wanted to do something to help people during the Thanksgiving weekend – a time of year when the Salvation Army holds a major food drive.
Direct Access Digital, a twenty eight employee firm in the east end of the city divided the staff into four teams that then competed with each other to see who could raise the most in the way of food contributions.

They raised enough food to provide 1500 Thanksgiving meals.

DAD Vanessa

Vanessa Mateus and “Captain Alpha with some of the food that was raised by employees at Digital Direct Access

Vanessa Mateus came up with the idea of giving back to the community, and the competitive nature that of the technology industry was all that was needed to result in 3000 items being purchased

In true digital fashion, Team Three, lead by “Captain Alpha”, quickly got online and ordered over 1200 items of canned goods to be delivered to the office and then taunted the other teams on the company’s blog to match that effort.

Digital Access Data (DAD) Director of Performance, Rob T. Case, has an affinity with the Food Bank. His family had used food banks for five years. After turning his life around, he became a successful digital marketer, worked at Google and joined the Direct Access Digital team this year.

Case said the food banks ” were there when his family of four needed them and it is important to give back, to show gratitude, especially at Thanksgiving.”

Another member of the team also claimed to have used the Food Bank in the past. She says, “Sometimes you find yourself in a place you never expected. You get help and drive forward.”

DAD co-founder, Eric Rodgers say that “When Vanessa Mateus, suggested we do something for The Salvation Army’s Food Drive it was absolutely something we wanted to support; we are always happy to help the community. There were challenges posted on our company blog from one team to another. It was pretty heated, but a competition worth winning.”

The team plans to do something for the holiday season, but they are not talking about their ideas yet.

Direct Access Digital, an award-winning digital-performance marketing agency based in Burlington is the two-time winner of The Google Search Excellence Award.

Founded in 2011, DAD has evolved into one of Canada’s leading boutique agencies, and now serve mid-sized businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike. Known for their expertise in all digital marketing verticals, from search engine marketing (SEM) to search engine optimization (SEO), local search, social media marketing and more, their true hallmark is building strong partnerships with their clients and working diligently to deliver the tools, data and strategies that drive customer conversions and sales while aiding brand awareness.

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Region sets up on line immunization reporting service.

News 100 redBy Staff

October 7, 2015


The Regional Health office is making it easier for parents to advise the health office that their children have been properly immunized.

The online immunization reporting form makes it more convenient way to report required immunizations. The form is available at
While the majority of families in Halton Region immunize their children to protect their health, many are unaware of their legal requirement to notify the Halton Region Health Department about any required immunizations their children have, especially those the province requires for school attendance.
Parents can update their child’s immunization records by going online at, dialing 311 or dropping off an up-to-date record at 1151 Bronte Road in Oakville.

flu-shot child

Advising the regional health office that your child has been properly immunized is a requirement. That can now be done on line.

“Halton Region’s Health Department is responsible for enforcing the provincial Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), which outlines the immunizations students need to attend classes, in order to keep our schools and students healthy,” said Halton’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hamidah Meghani. “Since students without up-to-date immunization records can face school suspension, it’s critical that parents make sure the Halton Region Health Department has their child’s most recent immunization records on file.”

Immunizations are available through family doctors or at one of Halton Region’s immunization clinics. If children are unable to get immunized, they must have a notarized exemption on file with the Health Department in order to meet school attendance requirements.

To learn more about which immunizations are required to attend school and how to report immunizations, please visit

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