Keith Braithwaite wants you to enjoy what he maintains are the best spaghetti and meatballs in town.

By Staff

March 20, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

St. Luke’s Church Annual Spaghetti Dinner!

In the Parish Hall 1382 Ontario Street, on Saturday April 5 with continuous servings of the best spaghetti & meat balls in town from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

Tickets Adults $10.00

Children 12 & under $5:00

They want you to reserve – call 905-634-4345.

Cash bar serving Wine, Beer & Soft Drinks  – these ARE Anglicans!

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Imagine That! – good idea. The hotel level service is a smart idea.

By Staff

March 9, 2013

BURLINGTON, ON.

Cute name, conveys the message, and it might meet the needs of busy people with significant parent and child care responsibilities.

Imagine That offers a service that includes back-up care when there is a temporary disruptions in child, adult, or elder care that prevents them from fulfilling work obligations.

The reality of bustling city life: the commute, the traffic, the long work day of meetings and juggling multiple projects, the cell phone calls, emails, texts, and then of course family needs are thrown into the mix.   Finding time for everything is a challenge, especially for those who have children, or are in need of adult or elder care.

 Imagine That, originally a child care services operation, has expanded to offer back up care for individuals of all ages – children, adults and seniors, under the umbrella of Imagine That Family Care Services. 

 The services, a first of its kind, means employers can now set up Imagine That Corporate Family Backup Care for their employees.

Managing that work life balance usually requires involving outsiders – where do you find the people who you can trust – and afford?

 “Our services offer employers and employees alike with that added piece of mind. Through the support of our professionally trained staff, employees now have the opportunity to utilize back-up care services like no other so that they can meet necessary work commitments.”

Anne Bonfigli, Director Sales & Marketing for Imagine That Family Care Services, explains it this way: our extensive services for family care are about supporting employees while helping keep work absenteeism to a minimum”.

“People out there want to excel in their careers and now have access to a support system that covers employees from all walks of life –from the trades and labour, to professionals, and all the way to Bay Street.”

The family care services are cost-effective and flexible and they are offered round the clock, 365 days per year. 

Imagine That Family Care is a division of Bartimaeus Inc.  Bartimaeus was founded in 1988.  It is a Canadian-owned and operated company, committed to providing the highest quality services to individuals of all ages.  The services of Imagine That were first offered in 2001.  The expansion into Imagine That Family Care Services is a result of the company’s dedication to the highest quality of services that are safe, engaging, and professional.

 Imagine That Family Care provides high quality child care, adult care and elder care to individuals, families and employers in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Their  Corporate Family Backup Care service is made available to employees, through their employer, often incorporated into their wellness programs. Their Hotel Family Care service is available to guests staying at premium Toronto hotels, whether they are visiting for leisure or business, and need a quality care for their child or senior who may be travelling with them. The  Direct Family Care service is available to family members of all ages. The care providers arrive to an individual’s home, prepared with age-appropriate activities.


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Mainway accident victim succumbs: 75 year old dies with family at his side.

By Staff

March 9, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

An accident on Mainway in Burlington earlier in the week was more than an Oakville resident’s body could handle; he died at the Hamilton General Hospital at around 3:30 pm yesterday.

Detective Constables from the Halton Regional Police Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) continue to investigate the matter.  Police have not released the name of the victim and to date no charges have been laid against the driver of the vehicle.

This is the second traffic fatality to be investigated by the CRU in 2014, and the first in Burlington.

Background links:

Evening accident sends Oakville resident to hospital.

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The making of a community activist: Emily Ferguson, all 5 feet 2 inches of her took on the big guys.

By Emily Ferguson

March 8, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

My name is Emily Ferguson and I am the sole individual  behind Line 9 Communities. (This is a blog Ferguson writes about the communities along the path of the Enbridge Pipe Line 9 that runs from Sarnia to Montreal.)

  I graduated from McMaster University with Honours BA Geography & Environmental Studies and a minor in Political Science.

Emily Ferguson mapped every yard of the pipeline so that communities along its path could know just what was beneath the ground.

I first heard about Line 9 at a climate conference in Ottawa in 2012. My interest led me to attend information sessions in Hamilton and surrounding area in early 2013. At one meeting in particular, I asked for a Line 9 information package which had been provided to Council. Although there were extra packages after the meeting, an Enbridge official denied my request and asked “Who are you working for”? The Enbridge team then proceeded to ask myself and a fellow community member for our driver’s licenses and said they would mail a package. Something about the encounter just didn’t feel right and we walked away without the information.

Emily Ferguson – National Energy Board intervener, geographer.

That was the turning point. I went home that night with so many questions. Why was I being denied access to information at a public meeting? What were they trying to hide? Why didn’t they want me to know where the pipeline was?

So I took it upon myself to map Line 9. Throughout an unimaginable number of late nights, I compiled satellite images, integrity data and publicly available information to create detailed maps of the 639 km pipeline.

I did it because they said no.

I did it because I felt the need to inform the public.

If Enbridge wasn’t going to adequately consult … who would?

For Burlington – this is where the pipeline was located.

I contacted multiple City Counselors along the line and sat down over coffee with many to discuss the proposal. The lack of information provided to municipalities shocked me. I proceeded to canvass neighbourhoods along the line to poll residents and provide details about open houses and how to get involved.

Line 9 Communities gained instant attraction. Although I blogged about the application, past spills, and changes to federal legislation, viewers wanted one thing … MAPS! Essentially they wanted to know, where is the pipeline and why don’t I know about it?

Emily Ferguson mapped ever foot of the pipeline from Hamilton to Montreal and learned that the thing ran underground right behind her elementary school – the pipeline had always been a part of her life – She didn’t even know it was there.

During the map creation, I found out that Line 9 crosses right through the small community where I grew up. The pipeline is located directly behind my public school playground in Glenburnie, ON, just north of Kingston. It also passes behind Seneca College in Toronto which I attended for three years. I had literally been living beside the line my entire life … and didn’t even know it existed. All of a sudden, things became very personal.

I felt compelled to learn everything I could about the project. My biggest supporter along the way was Eva Simkins – my Grandma. Although diagnosed with cancer in 2009, two weeks of radiation treatments gave us the gift of four extremely memorable years. We traveled, talked politics, did puzzles, celebrated, smiled and laughed. Through it all though, I knew there was that big question in her mind. Why me?

I wondered the same thing.

She held my hand as she peacefully passed away at sunrise on Earth Day of this year … just three days after I applied to be an NEB Intervener.

In my opinion, we accept the status quo far too often. At a Line 9 open house, an Enbridge official told me, “if we say it’s safe, it’s safe”. But I must question the safety of this pipeline. At almost 40 years old and only meeting the engineering standards of 1971, why is the NEB even considering the application? Enbridge has cited over 400 integrity digs (cracks, corrosion, dents) along the line in 2013 alone! They have also acknowledged that their in-line inspection tools do not detect all defects and that their Edmonton control center cannot sense pin hole leaks. With the current application before the Board, Enbridge is proposing to ship Bakken crude and diluted bitumen laced with drag reducing agent (DRA) chemicals – which include known carcinogens such as benzene – through our communities.

I have never had any malicious intent towards Enbridge. As a citizen of Canada and student of environmental politics, I have always been interested in energy issues, climate change, and a sustainable future for our planet. I believe in the strength of communities working together to achieve great things.

My mission through this entire process has been to raise awareness and promote a community discussion. We are living in a critical time. Will we continue to accept the status quo, or will we start asking the tough questions and demand a better future?

Editor’s note:  I had an opportunity to interview Emily while she was thinking about applying to be an intervener at the National energy Board hearing.  She wasn’t sure what she was going to do then and she needed quite a bit of encouragement to send in her application, which was an experience in itself.  But on October 16th, 2013, Emily Ferguson, all 5’ 2” of her stood before one of the most powerful regulators in the country and gave “the best speech of my life”

Background links:

Burlington doesn’t take to the idea of a change in the flow of the Enbridge pipeline

National Energy Board give Enbridge a green light – with 30 conditions.

The Emily Ferguson maps.

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Garbage removal supervisor sent to jail for 45 days for not properly supervising safety of workers.

By Staff

March 7, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

A company engaged in garbage removal and hauling, and a supervisor have been found guilty of failing to ensure the safety of a worker who fell off a roof. The company was fined $75,000 and the supervisor has been sentenced to 45 days in jail. A company representative has also been fined $2,000 for obstructing a Ministry of Labour investigation.

The incidence took place in October of  2008, when workers were sent to an address to remove shingles from a one-storey bungalow. One of the workers was tossing loose shingles from the roof toward a bin and stepped back, then slipped. The worker rolled off the roof of the house and landed on a walkway. The injury resulted in permanent paralysis of the lower body. A Ministry of Labour investigation followed the incident.

No safety harness for these workers. You can get sent to jail for that in Ontario.

The injured worker testified to not being trained in the use of fall protection equipment, nor was any such equipment provided in the company-supplied truck used for transportation to and from the job site. As well, the worker indicated that the practice for payment for work was cash and that work was provided on an on-call basis. The worker identified J.R. Contracting Property Services as the employer and Teisha (Tina) Lootawan as the supervisor.

The court determined that the worker was an employee under the definition of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and that J.R. Contracting Property Services was the employer. The court also determined that Lootawan was a supervisor under the OHSA. As such, she failed as a supervisor to ensure that a worker wore protective devices as required by law, and failed as a supervisor to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that an adequate form of fall protection was provided where a worker is exposed to a fall hazard of more than three metres.

As the Ministry of Labour investigation proceeded, the company was requested to provide documentation that included employment and telephone records. A company representative, Andrew Joshua Haniff – who accepted the call from the Meadowvale Road homeowner requesting the company’s services – attended a meeting on December 23, 2008, but refused to answer any of the inspector’s questions. He was convicted by the court of obstructing an inspector.

The jail sentence and fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Mary A. Ross Hendriks. The court heard seven days of testimony over 2011 and 2012; judgment was passed April 18, 2013.

The investigation, the court case and the decision point to the responsibility corporations and their senior staff have for the safety of their workers.

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Enbridge Line 9 decision to be released in Calgary late Thursday afternoon. Pipeline runs through Burlington north of Sideroad #1

By Staff

March 6, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

The National Energy Board will release its decision in Calgary Thursday on Enbridge’s controversial plan to increase flows in Line 9 that runs between Sarnia and Montreal and across the top of Burlington, to  ship bitumen from the Alberta tar sands through the 39-year old pipeline.

The NEB decision is expected to respond to demands from the Ontario government and cities like Hamilton that the proposal be subjected to an independent engineering assessment and that Enbridge be forced to conduct hydrostatic testing.

The pipeline that Enbridge wants to use to ship bitumen to Montreal runs right through the top of the city.

Other issues raised in the hearings conducted last fall included Enbridge’s request for maximum operating pressures 50 percent greater than at any point in the last decade.  The company has admitted  that nearly a third of Line 9 leaks.   There is  widespread concern about the difficulties in cleaning up a spill of bitumen and the toxic diluents released when a rupture occurs.

Since the hearings concluded media investigations have revealed multiple spills that Enbridge failed to report to affected municipalities, and hundreds of Line 9 defects that have been found by the company since it filed its application. It’s unclear if these revelations will be considered by the NEB.

The route of the pipeline is clearly marked.

One wonders what the severe weather is going to have when the frozen ground north of Sideroad # 1 begins to thaw and the ground starts to heave.

Hamilton 350, an advocacy group said in a statement that:  “It is clear that we must wean our society off fossil fuels. The minimum first step is stop making things worse. When you find yourself in a hole, the first rule is to stop digging. Therefore, at minimum, no increase in the extraction or transportation of fossil fuels should be contemplated.”

Hamilton 350 also questions the fairness of the NEB process that required detailed application forms from anyone wishing to even submit a written comment to the Board. And they suggest that the credibility of the board’s independence is undermined by its failure to require notification to even the city government for flow expansion last year in another pipeline running parallel to Line 9.

Burlington filed a submission expressing its opposition to any changes to the line.  Sometime after the letter of opposition the Burlington Fire department accepted a donation from Enbridge for the development of a simulation lab.

Background links:

Burlington opposes any change in direction of pipeline flow.

City opposes change to pipeline flow then its fire department accepts a $7500 donation.

Burlington tells NEB a pipeline leak would be a disaster for the city.

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How’s your GDP? Turns out we may be measuring the wrong thing. Does it matter? Suzuki thinks it does.

By Pepper Parr

February 28, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

My friend Amy Schnurr, Chief Cheese over at Burlington Green, sent me a piece by David Suzuki that made enough sense for me to pass it along.  When we great people, we usually ask them how they are doing.  Ask a business person how they are doing and they might tell you THE GDP is up and that they are part of it.

Suzuki suggests that measuring progress with GDP is a gross mistake

Governments, media and much of the public are preoccupied with the economy. That means demands such as those for recognition of First Nations treaty rights and environmental protection are often seen as impediments to the goal of maintaining economic growth. The gross domestic product has become a sacred indicator of well-being. Ask corporate CEOs and politicians how they did last year and they’ll refer to the rise or fall of the GDP.

It’s a strange way to measure either economic or social well-being. The GDP was developed as a way to estimate economic activity by measuring the value of all transactions for goods and services. But even Simon Kuznets, an American economist and pioneer of national income measurement, warned in 1934 that such measurements say little about the welfare of a nation. He understood there’s more to life than the benefits that come from spending money.

The GDP: It’s complex, it’s seen as a standard – and it might be totally useless.

My wife’s parents have shared our home for 35 years. If we had put them in a care home, the GDP would have grown. In caring for them ourselves we didn’t contribute as much. When my wife left her teaching job at Harvard University to be a full-time volunteer for the David Suzuki Foundation, her GDP contribution fell. Each time we repair and reuse something considered disposable we fail to contribute to the GDP.

To illustrate the GDP’s limitations as an indicator of well-being, suppose a fire breaks out at the Darlington nuclear facility near Toronto and issues a cloud of radioactivity that blows over the city, causing hundreds of cases of radiation sickness. All the ambulances, doctors, medicines and hospital beds will jack up the GDP. And if people die, funeral services, hearses, flowers, gravediggers and lawyers will stimulate GDP growth. In the end, cleaning up the Darlington mess would cost billions and produce a spike in the GDP.

Extreme weather-related events, such as flooding and storms, can also contribute to increases in GDP, as resources are brought in to deal with the mess. Damage done by Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico added tens of billions to the GDP. If GDP growth is our highest aspiration, we should be praying for more weather catastrophes and oil spills.

The GDP replaced gross national product, which was similar but included international expenditures. In a 1968 speech at the University of Kansas, Robert Kennedy said, Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things …Gross national product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities … and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

“Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

We deserve better indicators of societal well-being that extend beyond mere economic growth. Many economists and social scientists are proposing such indicators. Some argue we need a “genuine progress indicator”, which would include environmental and social factors as well as economic wealth. A number of groups, including Friends of the Earth, have suggested an Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, which would take into account “income inequality, environmental damage, and depletion of environmental assets.” The Kingdom of Bhutan has suggested measuring gross national happiness.

Whatever we come up with, it has to be better than GDP with its absurd emphasis on endless growth on a finite planet.

Thanks for that Amy.

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Seedy business at St. Christophers Anglican church; hope springs eternal for the gardeners – winter will end.

By Staff

February 25, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

If you are one of those who believes that there is an end to this winter and that Spring will arrive and the flowers will bloom and you are thinking about the work to be done to get your garden ready – there is a place you want to be:  Saturday, March 1, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church 662 Guelph Line for the Halton Seedy Saturday.

A large variety of garden seeds will be for sale at the Halton Seedy Saturday.

A $2 entrance fee will give you access to a day full of swapping seeds at community seed exchange tables, buying from heirloom and organic seed vendors, learning from garden experts, and garden craft fun for kids. You can also discover community garden opportunities in Burlington and Halton. Food and drink from Family First Organic Meals will be available for purchase.

Featured guest speakers: at 11:15 a.m., Karen Walsh, a Halton Master Gardener, will discuss starting vegetables indoors; at 12:15 p.m., Fran Freeman, an Urban Beekeeper, will present urban beekeeping and attracting pollinators; at 1:15 p.m., Linda Crago, an heirloom vegetable farmer from Tree & Twig will discuss exciting vegetable varieties for your garden; and at 2:15 p.m. Sarah Hemingway from Sarah’s Kitchen Garden, will present growing, cooking and preserving herbs.

Confirmed vendors and exhibitors thus far include: BurlingtonGreen, Greening Sacred Spaces, Oakville Sustainable Food Partnership-Growing & Sharing Food in Halton, Burlington Horticulture Society, Urban Harvest Seeds, Days to Harvest, The Plant Lady, Matchbox Garden & Seed Co., Sarah’s Kitchen Garden, Tree & Twig, Urban Beekeeper, and Halton Master Gardeners.

Additional information can be found at Burlingtongreen.  Event proceeds will support Halton community gardens. Non-perishable food items will also be accepted for food bank donation.

Halton Seedy Saturday is brought to you by BurlingtonGreen, Greening Sacred Spaces (Halton-Peel), and Growing & Sharing Food in Halton, with funding support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Background links:

Burlington opens its community garden.

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If you thought snow was a problem – wait until you have a flood. Rise im temperature to 4C has the potential to bring on floods.

By Staff

February 20, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

We can’t win.  Week upon week of snow and now we are to get rain and need to watch for flooding! The city has 12 crews clearing snow and ice from catch basins and culverts throughout the city,” said Cathy Robertson, director of the roads and parks maintenance department. “They will keep at it until later this evening and then continue again on Thursday.”

Temperatures are predicted to rise to 4 C.  How many days ago was it when there were snow plows driving up and down our streets putting piles of snow at the end of our driveways

Residents are asked to assist by checking and clearing storm drains and culverts in front of their homes if they are able to do so.

If there is flooding please call 905-333-6166 between 8:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or email rpm@burlington.ca.

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Clearing the snow off sidewalks is a city responsibility. Citizens eases her walker right outside city hall.

By Pepper Parr

February 14, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

While city council meeting as a Standing Committee, was listening to delegations on everything from culture, to economic develop and the removal of snow – older people who need walkers, pushed their devices through slush and snow on the sidewalk outside city hall.

Sidewalk clearing outside city hall a little on the patchy side. Sidewalk across the street, outside a commercial location didn’t have as much as as snowflake on the ground.

While at the same time, on the other side of the street, directly across from city hall, outside a commercial establishment there wasn’t as much as a snow flake on the sidewalk.

The yakety, yak, yak, yak puts pay cheques in the bank account of the more than 25 city hall bureaucrats who were in council chambers – but for some reason no one was able to find or direct even one of the 1000+ employees to get a shovel and clear the side-walk.

This citizen isn’t smiling. Was she one of the hundreds that were basically locked in their homes during the five days of heavy winter weather because streets were not cleared?

It would be nice to say that words are cheap – they actually cost us quite a bit.  The action was so easy but you see most of the senior bureaucrats, and the politicians for that matter go out a different door, the back door and they don`t see the state of Brant Street  because their cars are parked right outside the building.  The bureaucrats have to walk across the road to the indoor parking lot.

We heard during the delegations that clearing of the sidewalks is a city responsibility.  Yeah right!

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Some Tory’s still spooked by innovative approaches to eliminating poverty; having difficulty with a 75 cents an hour wage increase.

By Ray Rivers

 February 6, 2014

 BURLINGTON,ON.

There is at least one academic study which claims that increasing the minimum wage would make poverty worse – but the authors note that the result is not statistically significant.   And the study is so full-up of assumptions that changing any of them might flip the result.  Nevertheless, those opposed to minimum wages hold this up as proof that minimum wages kill jobs and increase poverty, rather than reduce it.

A raise in the minimum wage of 75 cents an hour isn’t going to produce much – $30 a week at best.

Those who support increasing minimum wages disagree and produce their own studies to show a host of benefits.   The President of the United States is apparently in that camp and so is Ontario’s Premier.  Taking her cue from the Ontario Minimum Wage Advisory Panel, which she appointed last year, she has raised the provincial minimum wage and tied its future to the cost of living.  And, she has credibility on her side, since the provincial Liberals’ poverty reduction strategy claims to have lifted almost 50,000 children out of poverty between 2008 and 2011. 

Less than ten percent of Ontario’s labour force work for a minimum wage, about half a million workers. Still, less than ten percent of Ontario’s labour force work for a minimum wage, about half a million workers.  And not all those living below the poverty line are employed, so it will take more than raising minimum wages, if solving the poverty problem is our end goal.  Raising the income and dignity of those whose only choice is to accept a low-paid job is an important outcome, however, for a government which cares about all residents and not just the well-off.  However, eliminating poverty would require a more substantial initiative, including revamping our tax system and some leadership by the federal government.  

In the 1970‘s both Canada and US ran pilot projects testing something called a ‘negative income tax’ or ‘guaranteed annual income (GAI)’.  The idea was to ensure  everyone received a livable income from their work, or would be matched with a government grant if they didn’t.  Don’t be alarmed, this concept is somewhat comparable to the existing HST rebate, which goes to lower-income households.  The Canadian pilot projects were aborted before the results could be fully evaluated, victims of unusually high unemployment rates, high budgetary deficits and newly elected Conservative governments eager to uproot socialism. 

 Some of the early results indicated that there would be only a modest impact on labour markets but significant changes to how people use their time – mothers doing more child  care, greater family leisure time and enhanced educational activity.  Demographics have changed considerably since the 70‘s so the results may not be very useful for implementation today, even were today’s conservatives willing to overlook their oft-recited Protestant creed – ‘the Lord helps them who help themselves’.  

But not all conservatives are spooked by innovative approaches to eliminating poverty. But not all conservatives are spooked by innovative approaches to eliminating poverty.  Senator Hugh Segal is a proponent for GAI and argues that such a plan could be funded entirely from the resources being poured into the existing patchwork of poverty reduction programs.  In addition, existing welfare programs perversely discourage recipients from looking for work, while GAI would encourage them to top-up their incomes by accepting low paid work – at least until better opportunities come available. 

 Hugh Segal has spent most of his working life as a Progressive Conservative in some capacity or other, including senior aide and chief of staff for Premier Bill Davis and PM Brian Mulroney, and seeking public office himself.  He was appointed to the Senate by Liberal PM Paul Martin in a rare moment of non-partisanship, as if Martin was somehow anticipating Justin Trudeau’s recently articulated appointment policy.    

 But Senator Segal is very much a voice in the wilderness on this issue among the political movers and shakers.  Though he may not be too far ahead of the general public, which recent polling shows is becoming interested in, and supportive of, the concept of a guaranteed annual income.  Still no political leader seems to have made this a priority.  In the meantime I guess we’ll have to settle for Premier Wynne’s inflation-proof minimum wage.

While on this topic I don’t understand why today’s wait-staff (liquor servers) get treated like something out of a Dickens novel.  Their minimum wages are set conservatively at about a dollar less than that of other eligible workers, making them reliant on the archaic practice of begging for tips -‘To Insure Prompt Service’.   In New Zealand, for example, tipping is infrequent and unexpected because the restaurants there pay their staff decent wages up-front.  Even here, some restaurants slap on a mandatory service charge, which presumably goes to the wait-staff and avoids that annoying tipping. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if the next time that attractive person waiting on your table flashes those big brown eyes, you know it’s because he, or she, is interested in something other than what’s in your wallet.

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

 

Background links:

Minimum Wages Study

  Policy Alternatives Study

Forbes View

Globe and Mail View

Financial Post View

US Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage Advisory

Canada’s Minimum Wages

Star View

 Ontario’s Poverty Reduction

 Canada’s Poverty

 Guaranteed Annual Income

 Poll on GAI

 Wait Staff

  Hugh Segal

 

 

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Connecting the dots and keeping people on their feet – a challenge in parking lot 4 yesterday.

By Pepper Parr

February 5, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

I like his idea of service based accountability.  I take it to mean that the person responsible for the service is the person accountable – to me.  Have I got that right?

So how would this work?

Anyone having to walk along this stretch of sidewalk to put coins in the parking meter is a brave soul.  This view looks north to the meter.

Let’s try snow removal – specifically the removal of snow from the city parking lots where we pay directly to use the parking spots – the pieces of which went up 25 cents an hour in January.  I can live with that.

Now I know there are people in the parking lot every couple of hours checking the meters because on occasion I have found a piece of paper under the windshield wiper inviting me to have an up close and personal with the cashier at city hall who is going to smile as I remove some cash or a credit card from my wallet.

The view looking south in lot 4 off John Street – notice how they managed to clear the sidewalk in front of the meter but not for the path to the meter.

The meter man will certainly know how icy the lot and the little sidewalk is – but he isn’t accountable for the salting and removal of snow.  But could he not put in a call to which over department is responsible and say: “Hey guys – the pathway in lot 4 is iced over”.

How do I as a citizen know who is accountable and knowing who that person is – what do I do?  Is the city going to give us the telephone numbers for all these people?   A couple of years back General Manager Kim Phillips made it very clear the public would not be given names or phone numbers.  Let’s not have the riff raff getting in the way of all the civil servants beavering away on our behalf.

So – just how is accountability going to work itself down to my level and my concerns?  It is one thing to say that we have an acronym that makes it all very clear;   I just want to know what I can do without having to be on the phone for ten minutes – tying up one of those civil servants working so hard for me.

Call your ward councillor – and if you live in ward 2 – that works; Marianne Meed Ward has been known to slip out of her house on Christmas Day to pick up some garbage left on a street.  Many have found that they don’t actually have to live in the ward to get service from her.  Ticks off the other council members no end when she crosses those ward boundaries.

The service based approach to budgeting makes sense – what isn’t clear is how to connect that service dot and that budget dot to me.

And when that’s done give me some value for the coins I put in that meter.

To be fair, and a more balanced, as some suggest, the Roads and Parks Maintenance people are swamped and there are a lot of roads and sidewalks to be covered.  Do they not have contingency plans for situations like this?  This is Canada, this in Ontario – we do snow!

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A single citizen, a single voice: a major change with perhaps lives saved.

By Pepper Parr

February 1, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

In April 2013 Burlington resident Denise Davy spoke as a delegation at the city’s Community Services Committee, urging the city to take responsibility for the safety of pedestrians at railway crossings. City Council directed staff to consult with community stakeholders to research rail safety.

This was the situation in Burlington before Denise Davey delegated to city council for a change.

A rail line safety and awareness stakeholder committee was formed to bring the various groups together to review the issue and develop strategies to prevent rail line deaths. The committee included representatives fromGO Transit, CN, VIA Rail, CPCOAST, ROCK, Canadian Mental Health Association, theNorth Halton Mental Health Clinic, Halton Police, Region of Halton Public Works, Transport Canada and theTransportation Safety Board.  The review resulted in a number of short-term strategies and long-term opportunities.

Today there is appropriate fencing and protocols in place to ensure that the city tells the GO people and other authorities that the fence has been breached.

It was not quite this easy when Denise Davey first took on the task of making the railway tracks safer by blocking crossing that were not properly secured.  Davey’s son, Ryan, was 18 when he was killed by a train in March of 1998.  Here is how she tells her story:

“Many more people have been killed by trains going through Halton since then and the numbers over the last year have increased at an alarming rate. In a six-month period, from August 2012 to February 2013, six people were killed, including a 23-year-old Hamilton man.

“That’s a huge increase from previous years and it speaks to the need for better safety measures to prevent further deaths. The area of major concern is along Fairview and Cumberland where many people have been killed by trains.

“It’s wide open and also extremely close to one of the busiest shopping plazas in Burlington. Although there are “Danger” signs posted, the well-worn footpath is a testament to how few people heed them. The same problem exists with the tracks that run between Appleby Line and Burloak, by Sherwood Forest Park.

“Not only are there openings in the fence by the park, but in many areas the bottom part of the fence has been pulled up where people have obviously crawled under. Finding out who is responsible for safety along the tracks was so difficult, however, that even after several calls to rail officials, I’m not completely clear on it.

“Indeed, it seemed even rail officials weren’t clear on it. Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board were quick to deflect all blame for any deaths or injuries and talk about the public’s responsibility.

“And there is truth in that. The public needs to be responsible around the tracks. But at some point, the people who run the trains also need to take some responsibility. I can think of several stories I’ve covered as a reporter in which a person was killed crossing the street illegally but a stoplight was later put in place to prevent further deaths or injuries.

“Not only are rail officials quick to deflect blame, they’re tight-lipped when it comes to statistics on train-related fatalities and injuries. After several calls to the GO media folks I was told they don’t have statistics on the number of people who have been killed by GO trains along the Halton tracks.

“How can it be?” I asked the GO spokesperson, “You’re telling me that you don’t know how many people have been killed by the service you run?” I was quickly put on hold then told I needed to talk to someone else. I never got the number from GO.

“I was eventually told by Halton police (who told me earlier they didn’t have the numbers) that five of the six recent deaths in Halton were a result of GO trains.

“I will be talking to members of Burlington city council about changes I think need to be made to areas along the tracks. They include fencing, surveillance cameras, motion sensitive lighting and noise barriers, the same type you see along the QEW in Grimsby.

“I figure if they’re deemed important enough to buffer noise for residents who live close to the highway, they should be considered important enough to save a life.”

Will the sign make a difference? If it doesn’t – well we tried. But if it does – that is a victory. Denise Davey deserves great credit for her efforts. Keep her in mind when it comes to selecting Burlington`s Best.

It was an uphill fight for a long period of time but at a city council meeting in January Bruce Zvaniga, director of transportation services said: “The various stakeholders came to the table prepared to discuss and make changes,” said Zvaniga, and  “I would like to thank them for their responsiveness, action and commitment to safety.”

The committee has already put in place a number of short-term strategies, including:

A communication protocol where city staff share information with rail operators regarding fence damage and footpaths near the rail line. Rail operators are also to share information with roads and parks maintenance staff regarding fence damage on city-owned properties

Rail operator “high rail” reviews that exchange information about identified outcomes

City fencing improvements in five different locations where chain fences will be installed

Rail line safety and awareness in 11 public schools and seven catholic schools as part of the schools’  safety awareness programs and under the leadership of Operation Lifesaver

Site specific strategies have been implemented by GO Transit and the Canadian Mental Health Association

“I am very proud of the work done by the stakeholder committee,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “ The committee has created a set of best practices for the entire country. If what we have set in motion can save one life, than it has well be worth it.”

An annual stakeholder review process is now in place. The stakeholder group will meet each year to look at the outcomes of previous strategies, identify possible new strategies and discuss long-term opportunities. In 2014, the committee will invite the Catholic and public school boards to participate.

Somewhere along the way the woman who had lost a child to a rail line accident got forgotten as all the bureaucrats who should have been on top of this issue from the beginning did nothing until Denise Davey delegated.

The power of one person with a voice and the courage of their convictions is immense and magnificent.

Background links:

City staff directed to start asking questions.

Three deaths in seven months.

Parent wants better rail line safety – death level intolerable.

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Burlington neighbourhoods – eclectic, chaotic and cannot be constrained but they can’t thrive without funding.

By Pepper Parr

January 28, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

It started as a pilot project in North Burlington during 20131 that proved to be a remarkable success.  At that time the city gave Community Development Halton (CDH) $86,000 to strengthen community at the neighbourhood level by actively engaging community members and agencies and to continue increasing access to recreation and culture within neighbourhood spaces.

The measurables are remarkable.  CDH took the money and leveraged it to bring in $40,000 in kind and recorded 3130 in volunteer hours.  Few organization can talk in terms of that number of volunteer time.

The pilot did more than that – it brought out a response from the faith communities who have opened their doors and their arms and hosted events.  One of the early offerings was community dinners which irked some because they felt city money was being used to feed people dinner – that’s not where the dollars went.

How does a social planner explain what they do?  Listen to Riva

The dollars went to fund a community social planner who managed to convince a sports team from Hayden High in Alton to prepare and serve one of those dinners.  The socioeconomic differences between these two groups – North Burlington residents and Hayden high students creates an understanding, a tolerance and an appreciation of each other.

Community Development HAlton Executive Director Joey Edwardh at an AGM

Joey Edwardh, CDH Executive Director, explains that neighbourhood development is not a social service.  Vibrant neighborhoods is a formative pillar in the city’s Strategic Plan.  The social planner that was hired is on the ground working with people in the community to “connect the dots”.  A city is more than bike paths and roads that are in good repair – the city is its people says Edwardh with some gusto.

The pilot project now has many of its dis-advantaged people serving lunches to seniors in faith community settings.

Neighbourhoods are the first point of contact for members of council – and this city has neighbourhoods that are not visible – much the way it took city council some time to become aware of the vibrant art and culture groups in the city – few knew they were even there.

One of the harder realizations for people who work in disadvantaged communities is spotting the lack of aspirations on the part of these young people.  Their parents cannot afford to put their children into hockey programs, they can’t pay for tickets to Performing Arts events – lunch money is a stretch most of the time.  Joining the Burlington Teen Tour Band is totally out of the question.

Each of these would be said to be what defines Burlington and that wouldn’t be a false statement – but for many, far more than most of us realize, being part of these defining groups is a hard reality for the disadvantage.

Is community development a city responsibility?  If the city is to be “vibrant” development has to be done at the community level and that is easier to do in some communities that it is in others.

Some feel this kind of service gets done by the Regional government.  The Region delivers and over sees services mandated by the province and includes services that are more effectively and economically delivered by the Region.

Community Development Halton has a rich history in the field of community development.  It grew out of social councils that were operational back when Roly Bird Walter Mulkewich were Mayors and current provincial Minister of Community Services Ted McMeekin was employed as the Executive Director of the original social council in Burlington.

Some ground breaking reports came out of CDH and some now very successful community organizations were incubated at went on to become a part of the fabric that keeps the city together.  Food for Thought – a program that ensures students who are not being fed properly get the meals and the nutrition they need.  Today we wouldn’t think of not having Food for Thought.

What do you get for $86,000 – what do you think of this for a process. Can you see your city in there?

Shuffling the papers as she prepares to speak Community Development HAlton Executive Director Joey Edwardh delivers the message

With the funding Edwardh is seeking for 2014  community development at the neighbourhood level could begin in  South East and Central Burlington.

The business case submitted to council’s budget review process  fits well with the city’s Leisure Services Policy and Community Development Policy. It is similar to the approach taken regarding Community Gardens. This business case is based on a 1% increase over the city’s investment in the pilot project in 2013. Mid year and end of year reporting to the City of Burlington will be expected.

There is some additional work to be done at the city/Regional level  clarifying a “place based” neighbourhood strategy that meets the needs of the City of Burlington and the Region of Halton, considering each level of government’s service responsibilities. The City will have completed service business plans and will be ready for service based budgets in the 2015 budget.

Community is eclectic, chaotic and doesn’t grow with constraints.  Community is people – they come in all sizes shapes and colours.

The argument for funding this program will be delegated on February 4th – the decision will say a lot about the kind of city we really are.

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Hospital and the province now begin to negotiate with consortiums for the construction of the redeveloped and expanded hospital.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.

January 20, 2014

Progress: actual, real, certifiable progress – the Joseph Brant Hospital nudged forward a couple of inches last week when the province and the hospital announced a short list of three groups that are going to bid on the hospital redevelopment and expansion.

weIf you were near the hospital in December and had a coat on – you got to sign the beam that is part of the Family Medical facility now under construction.   Parking garage will be part of the Centre with a direct link to the hospital when the redevelopment and expansion is completed in 2018

A few weeks ago everyone with a coat slipped out of the hospital to the western side of the site to sign a beam that was hoisted into place for the Family Medical Clinic and the three storey parking garage that is currently under construction.

Don’t confuse the hospital redevelopment and expansion with the Family Clinic which is an offshoot of the McMaster operation that has the Region’s name attached to it.

The hospital itself is a bigger and a much-anticipated development. It is a sort of joint venture with the hospital corporation and the provinces Infrastructure Ontario working together to get the hospital into the 21st century.

The three short listed teams will design, build and finance the Hospital’s Redevelopment and Expansion Project. The new hospital construction is expected to start in early 2015 and the hospital is expected to be open in winter 2018/19.

  innovaCARE Partners

  • Kasian Architecture Ontario Inc.
  • Graham Walsh Joint Venture
  • Scotiabank

 Integrated Team Solutions

  • Parkin Architects Limited
  • EllisDon Corporation
  • Fengate Capital Management Ltd.

 PCL Partnerships

  • HDR Architecture Associates, Inc.
  • PCL Canada Inc.
  • TD Securities Inc.

Assuming all the paper work gets done – construction of the redevelopment and expansion of the Joseph Brant Hospital should begin early in 2015.

The project includes the construction of a new seven-storey patient-care tower, modern Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit and significant renovations to the existing space. This will provide the growing community with improved access to a larger, more modern hospital and a hospital-wide average of 70 per cent single patient rooms to meet the highest standards for infection prevention and control and quality of care.

The hospital recently announced a settlement with the families that lost members to the c-difficile outbreak that resulted in more than 90 deaths at the hospital – the highest number of death from the virus anywhere in the country.

 Highlights of the project include: additional acute inpatient beds, nine modern operating rooms, expanded diagnostic services, a modern post-anaesthetic care unit, expanded ambulatory care programs, an expanded Cancer Clinic, renovated Special Care Nursery, a new main entrance and  expanded medical, surgical and outpatient services

While the province is all over this project – we need their money, the facility, which will remain publicly owned, publicly controlled and publicly accountable.

Infrastructure Ontario is a crown agency of the Province of Ontario that delivers large, complex infrastructure renewal projects.  They have the expertise that in the recent past has been applied to 83 major projects valued at approximately $38 billion.

Burlington citizens were told by the province in 2011 that they had to come up with $120 million to pay for the redevelopment and expansion.  Citizens are providing $60 million by way of a levy on their tax bills and the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation is raisin the other $60 million by way of public fund raising.  To date the Foundation has raised in excess of $16 million.

Background links:

How the hospital Foundation got to $16 million.

Getting that first cheque from the province was not easy.

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Incidence of flu high in Quebec, Alberta and BC – the stuff travels – still time to get a free flu shot.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.

January 8th, 2014

The Province, the Region, the city and even the local drug store – all want you to get your flu shot – and do it now.  While the incidence of flu in Ontario is not high – it is surprisingly high in Alberta and British Columbia, and the stuff travels.

The flu shot is free – and it doesn’t hurt THAT much.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, Dr. Arlene King, is reminding Ontarians to protect themselves from influenza by getting the flu shot.  She stresses the importance of getting immunized – particularly with an increased proportion of laboratory confirmed cases of the 2009 H1N1 flu virus in the province and across the country this year.

This strain of influenza affects people of all ages, but children under five and those age 20 to 64 years old appear to be most susceptible.  To date, children under five appear to be most at risk of hospitalization.  Deaths have been reported in adults and the elderly.

The flu vaccine is safe and the best way to keep you and the people around you healthy during the flu season.

The Region announced today that that the last two regularly scheduled influenza (flu) immunization clinics will be held on Wednesday, January 8 and Wednesday January 15, both from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the auditorium at the Halton Regional Centre in Oakville.

The H1N1 influenza virus is currently circulating in Halton and this strain of virus is included in this season’s vaccine. It is not too late to get your flu shot to protect yourself and to prevent spreading the virus. Residents can still get their flu immunization from many pharmacies, clinics and doctors’ offices.

The free flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and is also available for those five and older through specially trained pharmacists at close to 2,000 pharmacies across Ontario – three times as many pharmacies as last year.  Rexall pharmacies in Burlington offer the service as well as others.

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Skating pond at Spencer Smith Park opens this Friday afternoon.

December 12, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. All that cold weather we have been experiencing will begin to pay off for us Friday afternoon.

The pond at Spencer Smith Park will open at 4:00 pm where the skating is free to everyone.

Pond opens to the public Friday afternoon.

The pond is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with patrollers working on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on weekdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The holiday schedule includes:

Christmas Eve, December 24th : 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

CLOSED Christmas day

New Year’s Eve December 31st  10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

New Year’s Day January 1st  10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

 Please remember that you must wear skates to be on the ice and children 6 years of age and under must wear a helmet.

 You can call the Pond hot line for  ice conditions –  905-634-7263 or visit the web site   for temporary closure information, updates on pond conditions.

 

 

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Joseph Brant hospital tops off Family Medical Centre; announces schedule for hospital construction.

December 8, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It has been a good year for the Joseph Brant Hospital. Not as good a year for old Jo Brant himself – the Pooh-Bahs at the hospital decided to drop the word Memorial from the official name and came up with a spiffy new corporate logo as well.  Times change.

The hospital did a topping off ceremony for the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre (there’s a name screaming for something shorter) and announced how well the fund raising program has been doing.  Incredibly well is the best way to describe the $16.5 million that has been raised.  The target is $60 million the hospital foundation has been tasked to find.

In the world of fund raising “seven digits” is what you go looking for – it’s sort of like the single malt of the fund raising world – and these are not easily come by.  Romancing seven digits calls for a skill set few can bring to the table.  Anissa Hilborn, president of Burlington’s  Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation has done a remarkable job.  The rate of donations is “unheard of”,  which is a testament to both the Foundation and the generosity of the community.

Today there is $16.5 million in campaign commitments – achieved in less than two years’ time.

The Molinaro family brought $1 million to the table, the Hogarth clan followed with an additional million.  The Sante/Peller family added $500,000.  Before any of this happened the Boards and Senior leadership at the hospital put their names down for $23.5 million.

Burlington’s four Rotary Clubs put themselves down for $1 million.  Before anyone got out a cheque book however the hospital auxiliary committed to $3.5 million

Ambassador Giving Societies and Circles were launched in January of this year. The Crystal Ball Gala will be held on September 14 of 2014.  It is all rolling out rather well.

The public phase of the campaign will be launched when $45 million of the $60 million goal has been reached.  All of this is no small achievement and is a significant credit to the Campaign Cabinet made up of 20 community and business leaders.

The Family Medical Centre will be in the structure under construction on the left – with the parking garage on the right.  There will be a passageway from the parking garage right into the hospital.  No word yet on the parking prices.

With the fund raising well in hand – hospital CEO Eric J. Vandewall  talked about the progress and the construction schedule.  First piece of good news was that the provincial government put a little more money on the table.

Next: the hospital has settled on three consortiums who are going to bid on the construction of the building which will be an additional story higher than originally planned:  seven floors instead of the six in the original thinking – however the building is going to look a lot bigger than just seven floors of space for people to get better in. 

They have a timeline in place – now to keep everyone fully informed.

There will be an additional two floors above the actual hospital which will house all the electrical and mechanical equipment making the building look like a nine story structure which will be a couple of hundred yards from the edge of the lake and will dominate the western side of the city.

In the very near future Burlington’s sky line is going to experience a radical change with the Bridgewater condominium/hotel in the middle of town soaring to a height of 22 storeys and the hospital reaching up nine storeys.

The hospital site will take on a campus like setting with the buildings oriented to the lake.

The project is being headed up by Infrastructure Ontario – they work hand in glove with the hospital scoping out just what is needed, where value engineering can be used to get the best for the dollars being spent.  It is at this level that Vandewall  shines.  The work he did in Mississauga  prepared him for the Joseph Brant challenge.

What was originally going to be the renovation of an aging hospital that was well past its best before date, and carrying a nasty reputation as well, has morphed into basically a rebuild with a brand new facility set off to the western side.

Vandewall does remarkable work – he is unfortunately not as well served on the communications side.  The hospital is filled with great good news stories that don’t get told.  Their media relations are terrible.

Entrance to the hospital will be from either the parking garage which will be on the west side of the hospital connected by a passageway or from the street level entrance that will front onto Lakeshore Road.

The new tower will have 172 new beds; there will be a new Emergency department; a new intensive care unit, a renovated Special Care Nursery.

While the focus is on the hospital, contractors have been working away at the Halton McMaster Family Health Care Centre that will attract ten new family practice doctors.  Attached to the Health Care Centre will be a three level parking garage with capacity to have an additional two floors of parking added.

The hospital site will take on the look and feel of a campus – it will be a much different site than the collection of services out there now.  All the construction work gets done while the care givers and the surgeons continue to go about their daily work.

Background on hospital development:

Paying the CEO

Parking garage – how it got paid for.

Getting the Family Medical Centre

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Province decides to add another floor to the hospital along with more beds and operating rooms.

November 26, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  The way Mayor Goldring saw it – Burlington is basically getting a new hospital.  The provincial government announced today that funding increases will amount to “hundreds of millions” more for the rebuild of the hospital

Health Minister Deb Matthews was in Burlington to announce major changes to Joseph Brant Hospital’s expansion project, but wouldn’t talk money or exactly how much the province will contribute to help fund those changes.  What was a $312 million project is being re-scoped – up.

While the real number of beds being added along with the number of operating rooms wasn’t clear Mayor Goldring reported that beds were going to be 172 up from the previously planned 92 and nine new operating rooms.

Architects rendering of what the re-build of the Joseph Brant Hospital will look like. The angle is looking east into the city. The structure has had an additional floor added.

$60 million of that $312 is coming directly out of the taxpayers’ pockets – it shows up on your tax bill with another $60 million being raised by the hospital foundation that has done rather well in the recent past.

Matthews and hospital officials said they can’t be specific about how much more money the province is giving the hospital expansion because it would tip the hands of the construction companies bidding for the work.  That’s a bit of a stretch – the major contractors are a lot closer to the people who determine those numbers than the taxpayers whose pockets the money comes out of

The hospital announced the plan’s major upgrades mean adding another storey to what was originally a six-storey newly constructed tower, adding beds although it was unclear how many are additional rather than revamped or what the hospital called “renovated” beds. The changes will also mean the emergency department and three floors of current surgical beds will move to the tower now.

Matthews and hospital officials said the changes essentially allow parts of the project that were to consist of renovations to now be built brand new, such as in the case of the emergency department.

An architects rendering of the new entrance to the Joseph Brant Hospital which will now face the lake. The entrance will be off LAkeshore Road with the new parking lot just to the west of the hospital.

“As planning got underway, the hospital realized it would get better value to build new rather than renovate,” Matthews said. The new emergency department for example, will be state of the art in meeting the needs of the community”, she said.

“The emergency department is the public face of the hospital…It’s better value (to build new) and it will better meet the needs of the community,” she added.

Jo Brant CEO Eric Vandewal said the main benefit of a new emergency department will be reduced waiting times — the same benefit mentioned when emergency renovations were talked of as part of this major expansion, and again in 2001 during a $12.6 million expansion and enhancement of the emergency department and cancer clinic.  Clearly saying that wait times will be reduced is what the public wants to hear.

Joseph  Brant Hospital CEO Eric Vandewal

Vandewal, who has an earned reputation as a hospital builder, did very good work in Mississauga before he came to Burlington.  One could almost imagine the arguments he took to Queen’s Park telling them he could deliver much better value if he was to build new rather than upgrade an older facility.

The hospital will hold a “topping off” event very early in December to mark the completion of the first phase of the Halton McMaster  Family Medicine  Centre structure, which is to have medical facilities on the ground floor with three parking levels above.  The structure is being built to allow for an additional level of parking at a later date.

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Burlington MPP rolls up her sleeve to lead by example: flu season is approaching, McKenna prepares.

November 1, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. Doctors will tell you that children under five are at the highest risk for serious illness from influenza. With the weather cooling off and a new flu season fast approaching, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Arlene King is asking parents to make sure their children get the flu shot.

The highest numbers of flu cases are in the one to four-year old age group. Dr. King stresses that the sooner kids get the flu shot the better since it takes about two weeks to become fully effective.

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna gets her annual flu shot from Anita Sahu at the Rexall Pharmacy on Guelph Line.

Children between the ages of six months and four years old can get their flu shot at doctors’ offices and at public health or community flu immunization clinics.

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna gets her annual flu shot from Anita Sahu at the Rexall Pharmacy on Guelph Line.

For parents, caregivers and children aged five and up, thousands of Ontario pharmacists will also be offering free flu shots as part of the Ontario government’s Universal Influenza Immunization Program, designed to make it more convenient for people to protect themselves and others from the spread of influenza.

This year, pharmacists at almost 2,000 drug stores across Ontario will be fully trained and ready to deliver free flu shots – roughly triple the number of pharmacy locations as last year.

Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington, and one of the healthiest people we know, got herself over to the Rexall pharmacy on Guelph Line where pharmacists Anita Sahu did the deed and ensured that the MPP will be able to continue standing in the provincial Legislature barking away at what the government isn’t doing to make the province economically healthy.

McKenna, a first term parliamentarian, quickly became an ideologue and bought into every word the provincial Tories wrote in the Change Book. .

How Blue is Jane McKenna? As she was filling in the forms to get her flue shot she asked aloud – “What’s the date today? November 1st replied her daughter Taylor who was with her. “Oh – today is Tim Hudak’s birthday”replied McKenna.

McKenna is now the Progressive Conservative critic for Economic Development, Trade & Employment; one of the weightier portfolios that usually has an experienced parliamentarian with some depth in business. McKenna plans on holding a Round Table on the Economy sometime in the New Year.

The flu shot is now available in Ontario and Rexall is one of the pharmacies that has made it easy and convenient for Ontarians to receive the vaccine by offering it at any store, at any time, any day – no appointment necessary.

Last year was the first year pharmacists were able to administer immunizations in Ontario and, and according to Rexall, 80% of flu shots given by pharmacists were at a Rexall.

According to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the flu and its complications result in up to 1,000 hospitalizations and 1,600 deaths in Ontario each year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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