City Council didn't exactly go out with much of a bang - it was pretty glum looking bunch.

By Pepper Parr

December 14th, 2023



Earlier this week City Council held its last meeting for 2023.

For those who love Rube Goldberg – this is how you turn on a light bulb. Council wasn’t as well coordinated when it met for the last time this year.

Getting the meeting “on the air” was a little like a Rube Goldberg effort – nothing seemed to work despite a council that has the words – “We do engaging real good” tattooed on their chests.

At the end of a Council meeting each member gets to make personal comments (limited to three minutes) – which usually amounts to a list of the things going on in their wards. Given the Season we are now in I expected to hear words about family and being together – that kind of stuff.

That is not what happened on Tuesday.

At least two of the Councillors didn’t have a word to say – overall it was sort of a glum way to close out a year. Before the end of the year we will look at what this Council did right and what they really screwed up.

Council during their last meeting of 2023 – Mayor still has a chance to call them out for a Special meeting. Not a lot of happy faces.

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Will Burlington’s 2024 Budget Improve Street Safety?

By Staff

December 14th, 2023



The following statement was released this morning by Safe Streets Halton

Burlington’s council has shown where their priorities lie regarding the safety of our residents via the 2024 Budget process. Despite the advocacy of groups like Safe Streets Halton, and the support of councillors Nisan and Stolte, it was a battle to get safety investments added to the budget. In the end, there were victories for road safety, but as was seen, there are still challenges that lie ahead.

Nick Morrison delegating at Council on Safe Streets Halton

While the city has said they’ll improve active transportation (walking, cycling) during resurfacing projects, there is no committed funding for these improvements. Projects like the Plains Road West Improvements show what the city can achieve if it is willing to invest resources. As Burlington densifies and grows, the availability of safe and reliable transportation options is vital to keeping the city moving. Should these options not be available, residents can expect gridlock and more deaths and injuries on our roads. Investments in active and public transportation will create more options for travel and help alleviate congestion. However, the city needs to put up the funding to enable this vision.

Council remains hesitant to invest in safe transportation infrastructure as exemplified during the 2024 budget deliberations. Safe Streets Halton provided a grave reminder that lives continue to be altered due to road violence in the city, with over 300 reported injuries and 2 deaths in 2023 according to data from Halton Regional Police. Despite this and the advocacy from Councillors Nisan and Stolte, there was hesitation around the council table regarding funding a Road Safety Coordinator position. Opposed councillors believed that this coordinator would not be needed if we weren’t growing as a city, instead of recognizing that it is needed because people are dying on our streets today.

During the first debate, Councillor Kearns took the time to tell the public that even if road safety funding isn’t committed, it does not mean the city does not care. She pointed to the Plains Road improvements as a positive example before the Mayor’s proposed growth infrastructure fund was cut in half, and the safety coordinator position was later rejected. At the very end of the final debate, council opted to further decrease funding towards safe infrastructure, and move it towards covering unrelated costs and paying for the Road Safety Coordinator position. The safety coordinator will ironically rely on the very funding that was reduced.

Councillor Kearns commented that “in the real world”

Before casting her vote, Councillor Kearns commented that “in the real world” people are adjusting their plans, that plans the city has should be put on hold, and that “sometimes the best-laid plans don’t come to fruition”. Comments like this are completely disrespectful to the memories of those we’ve lost to road violence, the loved ones they were taken from, and others whose lives will never be the same. “Real world” experiences should be framed around the members of our community who are injured or killed on our streets because of the decisions (or lack of decisions) made by our elected officials.

For this budget, it is understandable that Burlington City Council was in a difficult position. However, when cuts to necessary infrastructure investments are made, this short-term relief will result in long-term costs (in this case, up to $20 million in debt payments, and more injuries). When a position that is supposed to help save lives is considered last when reassessing the budget, that does not show the public that road safety is a priority.

While this council has made further progress than those before it, there is still work to be done. City council needs to recognize and address the need for sensible and sustainable investment in the safety of its residents.

Safe Streets Halton is a community-based organization dedicated to the elimination of all traffic-related deaths and serious injuries in Halton Region. We believe you should be able to travel safely, whether you decide to walk, cycle, or drive.





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What Are Online Casino Tournaments and Competitions?

By Nicky Allan

December 15th, 2023



Online casino tournaments and competitions offer players a chance to compete directly against other players for big cash prizes and rewards. They come in different formats, but generally involve entering for a buy-in fee and playing casino games like slots, blackjack, roulette and poker to accumulate points or winnings. The top performers at the end of the tournament win a share of the prize pool.

Tournaments and competitions add an extra layer of excitement and give players more ways to win.

Competitions run alongside regular casino play and require players to complete certain challenges or meet specific criteria to earn prizes and rewards. For example, a competition may reward the player who wagers the most money on slots during a given time frame.

Tournaments and competitions add an extra layer of excitement and give players more ways to win. They often attract high numbers of players, allowing prize pools to climb very high.

Why Enter Online Casino Tournaments?

Here are some of the key benefits of online casino tournaments in Canada:

Huge prize pools – With hundreds or even thousands of players entering, prize pools can easily climb into the tens of thousands of dollars or more. Even finishing mid-pack can result in nice payouts.

Fixed costs – Tournaments require a set buy-in fee to enter, so you know your maximum spending upfront. This allows you to better manage your bankroll

Thrill of competition – Going up against other players adds more excitement and makes winning even sweeter. Tournaments bring a fun competitive element.

Rewards skills – More skilled players gain an edge in tournaments, allowing them to leverage their abilities.

Beginners enjoy competitions that even the playing field.

Qualify for big events – Some tournaments offer seats to bigger live and online events as prizes, like the World Poker Tour.

Robust cybersecurity: Trusted gaming platforms prioritise player security with encryption, secure transactions, and anti-cheat measures, guarding against scams and ensuring a secure and enjoyable gaming experience.

Top Online Casinos in Canada for Tournaments

Sites like compile lists of the top rated casinos to help make your decision easier. Based on factors like tournament variety, prize pools, and overall quality, here are five of the best online casinos in Canada for exciting tournament action:

1. JackpotCity Casino

JackpotCity offers some of the most vibrant online casino tournaments you’ll find at any Canada facing site. Their slots tournaments are among the most popular. Players must pay a small entry fee and then they play with free credits. The top player will receive a cash prize.

2. Spin Casino

As part of The Palace Group, Spin Casino shares a player pool with other top Canada facing sites like JackpotCity, meaning their tournaments always attract huge numbers of players and massive prize pools. There is no buy in fee for Spin Casino tournaments. The top 30 players in each tournament are rewarded with a prize.  It should be noted, however, that because these tournaments are free to enter and play, the winnings cannot be withdrawn.

3. PlayOJO

PlayOJO takes a special approach by not just offering cash prizes but cool tech rewards as well.  Previous prizes have included MacBook Pros, robot vacuums and Bluetooth headphones, as well as thousands of free spins.

4. PlayAmo

PlayAmo offers one of the most extensive collections of daily online casino tournaments you’ll find, covering all the most popular games. Seven figure progressive prize pools are common across their many slots and card game tournaments.

5. Casumo

For innovation, Casumo stands out from the crowd. They consistently offer a huge variety of tournaments on live casino games – not just slots and cards. Play live roulette, blackjack and baccarat in tournaments against other players in real time against real dealers. Casumo also offer large slots tournaments throughout the year.  There’s no buy in fee, players enter simply by playing slots as they normally would.  Prize pools of up to $30,000 and payouts within 72 hours make Casumo a top choice.

Ready to Dive into the Action?

Canada’s top online casinos offer so many ways to win through exciting tournaments and competitions. With prize pools that can climb into the tens of thousands of dollars and beyond, these events give you the chance to turbo boost your bankroll. Consider factors like tournament variety, prize pools, and promotional value when choosing the best online casino for you.


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Rents Up 8% Annually in Canada Despite Slowdown in Vancouver and Toronto

By Staff

December 13th, 2023



The National Rent Report charts and analyzes monthly, quarterly and annual rates and trends in the rental market on a national, provincial, and municipal level.

Toronto finished third on the list of 35 cities for average monthly rent in November for a one-bedroom at $2,594 and for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $3,450.

Other Greater Toronto Area cities and areas include:

Oakville came in fourth on the list in November with an average monthly rent for a one-bedroom at $2,532 and $3,332 for a two-bedroom.

Mississauga came in fifth on the list of 35 cities for average monthly rent in November for a one-bedroom at $2,322 and $2,821 for a two-bedroom.

In Burlington, residents of a  9 or 10 storey apartment building owned by Sun Life Insurance have been advised that 1 bedroom unit will be priced at $2,400; a 2 bedroom unit at $2,800 and a 3 bedroom at $3,400.

Rents Up 8% Annually in Canada Despite Slowdown in Vancouver and Toronto

Asking rents for all residential property types in Canada averaged $2,174 in November, holding close to the record high in October ($2,178) with a 0.2% month-over-month decrease.

The annual rate of rent growth in Canada moderated for the third consecutive month. Asking rents increased 8.4% year-over-year in November, compared to annual growth rates of 9.9% in October and 11.1% in September.

“Rent inflation in Canada is slowly starting to moderate, a trend being led by a notable slowdown in rents in the country’s most expensive big cities of Vancouver and Toronto. Renters are adjusting to record high housing costs by shifting into less expensive markets,” said Shaun Hildebrand, president of Urbanation.

Studio apartment rents accelerated to an annual growth rate of 12.1% in November, while one-bedroom apartments maintained the strongest annual rent growth at 13.6%, although at a slower pace compared to previous months. Furthermore, Two-bedroom apartments saw a slowdown in annual rent growth from 11.8% in October to 11.2% in November.

Canada’s 25 most expensive small and medium-sized markets are concentrated in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, with Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto dominating the top rankings. Côte Saint-Luc in Quebec remained the fastest-growing market for apartment rents in October, with a remarkable 29.4% annual increase.

Average asking rents for shared accommodations in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec reached a record high of $960, growing by 16.2% over the past year. Quebec experienced the fastest growth in shared accommodation rents at 26.2%, with an average of $923, including Montreal’s average of $956.

The National Rent Report charts and analyzes monthly, quarterly and annual rates and trends in the rental market on national, provincial, and municipal levels across all listings on the Network for Canada. The data from the digital rental platform is incorporated into this report. Network data is analyzed and the report is written by Urbanation, a Toronto-based real estate research firm providing in-depth market analysis and consulting services since 1981.

*The data includes single-detached homes, semi-detached homes, townhouses, condominium apartments, rental apartments and basement apartments (outlier listings are removed, as are single-room rentals.) 



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Baker wins Mustang Mach-E Select car giveaway: all it took was a side order of wings

By Pepper Parr

December 13th, 2023


Donnie Beaumont, winner of the all new Electric Mustang Mach-E Select, celebrating his win of the ride of a lifetime! His enthusiasm made it electric!


On December 7th, Donnie Beaumont, a baker at a Burlington Loblaws emerged as the fortunate winner of the Gino’s Pizza 2024 Mustang Mach-E Select car giveaway, beating out 40 pre-qualifiers in a thrilling draw at Whiteoak Ford dealership in Mississauga.

The contest spanned six months, during which participants had the chance to qualify as pre-qualifiers by either adding a minimum of two drinks or wings to their online orders.

Additionally, customer appreciation days held at various locations provided another avenue for becoming a pre-qualifier. Donnie, in particular, qualified through one of our customer appreciation days, making his win all the more special.

But the surprises didn’t stop there! Not only did Donnie win the grand prize Mustang Mach-E Select, but he also received an extra bonus—an annual $500 gift card from Gino’s Pizza for the next five years! Donnie described the night as the best of his life, expressing sheer thrill and gratitude for winning such a grand prize.

In the spirit of generosity, all participants were winners too, receiving a $200 Gino’s Pizza gift card each and a bag of delightful goodies. We even took the opportunity to surprise and celebrate the birthday of one of the pre-qualifiers during the event.




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GO Transit will offer free all-night New Year’s Eve service for customers,

By Staff

December 13th, 2023



GO Transit will offer free all-night New Year’s Eve service for customers, courtesy of Forty Creek Whisky and Metrolinx.

Both train and bus services will be free to all customers on New Year’s Eve from 7 p.m. until 8 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2024.

In addition, GO Transit will run extra late evening trips into Union Station to help customers travelling downtown as well as a variety of special trains from Union Station after midnight to help them get home safely:

      • On the Lakeshore East and West GO Lines, trains will depart regularly from Union Station from 12:30 a.m. until 7:30 a.m.
      • On the Kitchener Line, trains will depart Union Station regularly from 12:35 a.m. until 5:35 a.m.
      • The Milton Line will have two additional trips heading westbound to Milton GO at 1:25 a.m. and 3:55 a.m.
      • On the Barrie Line, three special trains will depart between 12:55 a.m. and 4:10 a.m.
      • On the Stouffville Line, three special trains will depart between 12:40 a.m. and 4:25 a.m.
      • On the Richmond Hill Line, one special train will head northbound at 1:10 a.m.

Extra GO Bus service is also planned for New Year’s Eve, giving customers even more options to travel safely into 2024. UP Express service will be free after 7.p.m. with the last UP Express train departing Union at 11 p.m. and 11:27 p.m. at Pearson.

Customers are encouraged to continue tapping on and off their train or bus, but they will not be charged and will see $0 on the display.

Learn more HERE and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.



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The story of that $503,026.66 that went missing from a city account is finally complete

By Pepper Parr

December 13th, 2023


The story was about the fraudulent vendor payment and recovery matter; told from the City’s perspective.

That isn’t the whole story.

In a city media release on May 23, 2019 the City discovered it was a victim of a fraud where a single transaction in the amount of $503,026.66 was made to a falsified bank account in response to a complex phishing email requesting to change banking information for an established City vendor. The transaction was in the form of an electronic transfer of funds made to the vendor on May 16, 2019.

Later in 2019, the Gazette had a conversation with a member of Council who told us at that time that the city was going to recover some of the money that was taken.  We were surprised that a Council member chose to discuss a matter that was discussed in a CLOSED session of Council – but these things do happen.

Another report made mention of the recovery of $100,000.00 by the City in November of 2023. This brings the total recovery in this case to $422,641.67 which was seen as most likely to be final recovery.

The City’s strategy to recover the defrauded funds included making a claim against the City’s insurance Cyber Crime Policy, commencing civil litigation proceedings, and negotiating a restitution order as part of the criminal proceedings in this case.

The following methods of recovery were utilized in this case:

(a)  Insurance Recovery:

A claim was filed with the City’s insurers under its Cyber Crime Policy, which had the maximum policy limit of $250,000, and was subject to a $50,000 deductible. Through negotiations with the City’s Legal Services staff, the City’s insurers, ultimately agreed to waive the $50,000 deductible, and made a payment to the City in the full amount of the policy limit, being $250,000.

(b)  Civil Litigation:

The City also retained the services of external legal counsel to commence a Statement of Claim in the Superior Court of Justice and to freeze the bank accounts into which the City funds were deposited and subsequently transferred to. The City was ultimately able to secure the recovery of $72,671.67 of those funds. The details of this litigation will be reported on separately as part of the City’s tri-annual litigation report.

(c)  Criminal Proceedings:

Milton Court House where criminal proceedings took place.

Initially, Halton Region Police Service laid charges against three individuals in connection to the fraud perpetrated on the City. Criminal proceedings were pursued against only one of the three accused individuals, and charges against the others were withdrawn.

The Gazette took part in one of the criminal hearings which, at the time, were done virtually.  One of the issues during the hearing was if the lawyers had been fully retained.  One of the accused had not, at the time, fully retained his lawyer.

The City made a request of the Crown seeking a restitution order in its favour as part of the criminal proceeding resolution. As a result of this request and successful criminal plea negotiations between the accused and the Crown, in November of 2023 the City received a recovery of a further amount of $100,000.00 in the form of restitution.

The total financial impact to the City to date is $110,406.85 which includes the unrecoverable amount plus legal and investigative expenses related to the recovery of the funds to date.

Nothing was ever done about the disclosure of background information to the Gazette.






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New Lobbyist Registry ByLaw Effective Monday, January 1, 2024

By Pepper Parr

December 12th, 2023



The City will have a new lobbyist registry ByLaw effective Monday, Jan. 1, 2024. The new bylaw provides transparency about individuals and organizations who lobby City of Burlington public office holders.

The lobbyist registry was updated through a bylaw approved by City Council on July 11, 2023 and includes:

  • A move from volunteer to mandatory registration of applicable lobbying activities. All lobbyists must file a registration for each matter they intend to lobby prior to the lobbying, or within fifteen days of the initial communication.
  • An expanded definition of lobbying communication that includes a formal meeting, email, letter, phone call or meaningful dialogue or exchange that materially advances a matter that is defined as lobbying, whether in a formal or an informal setting.
  • The addition of the Burlington Leadership Team as a part of the lobbyist registry, along with City Council, as public office holders.
  • The appointment of the City Clerk as the Lobbyist Registrar to centralize and improve efficiency of registry administration.
  • Limited enforcement of the bylaw: Where a person has contravened any of the provisions in the bylaw, they will be prohibited from lobbying activities until an information and education meeting with the Lobbyist Registrar is held. For a second offense, lobbying activities will be prohibited for 60 days.

The City’s lobbyist registry is available online at A new registration form and webpage updates will be made to reflect the bylaw once it takes effect in January 2024.

Kevin Klingenberg, Deputy Clerk:  “The new Lobbyist Registry ByLaw will help ensure greater transparency in the local government decision-making process. Lobbying is a legitimate activity. It benefits lobbyists, public office holders and members of the public. This new registry ensures the process is transparent, centralized for cost-effectiveness, and easy to access by the public.”


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What's going on? Why are the bulk of the Council members not in the Council Chamber?

By Pepper Parr

December 12th, 2023


If Mayor Med Ward had been in Council Chamber she would have been wearing the Chain of Office.


The technical problem Council had this morning may be because most of the members of  Council were not actually in the Council Chamber.

Mayor Meed Ward, who does not appear to be in the Council Chamber, said the problem with the late start was because the members of Council were not able to talk to each other.

Based on what we can see Councillor’s Galbraith, Kearns, Nisan, Stolte, Sharman and Bentivegna are not in the Chamber.  Nor is the Mayor.  In the photograph taken at the start of the Council meeting, she is not wearing the Chain of Office.

The glaring question is: Why aren’t these people not at their desks?

Councillors Stolte and Kearns appear to be in the same room.

Not sure where the City Manager is.

Was there a problem with using Council Chamber – and if there was – let the public know.

There was a delegation that appeared to be in the Council Chamber – we have reached out to them – maybe they know what’s going on.


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City webcast service on the fritz - public broadcast start is more than 45 minutes late

By Pepper Parr

December 12th, 2023


Problems was a technical one – system wouldn’t allow the members of Council to talk to each other.

The audio visual service that make it possible to broadcast Council meetings has been stumbling for more than six months.

Today, the last council meeting for the year, unless the Mayor calls a Special meeting of Council, the system appears to have fallen apart.

Two notices have appeared on the screen,

The above went up when the meeting was 15 minutes late; that was followed by:

The above appeared when the meeting start was half an hour late.

City Manager Tim Commisso – time to rethink the technology being used to webcast council meetings.

The Council Agenda has 21 items on it and close to a dozen CLOSED session items.  They are going to be in Council Cambers for a long time.

There would appear to be some fundamental problems with what the audio visual team have to work with.

Time for some comment from the City Manager on just what the problem is and what he is doing to fix it.

We don’t see anything like this from Oakville or Milton or the Regional web cast.

Meeting start is now 45 minutes late.  No word back from Communications when we asked – what’s up people?


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Lots of Confidential items that will be heard in a CLOSED session of Council

By Pepper Parr
December 12th, 2023
The City has a lot in the way of property matters that more often than not have to be discussed in a CLOSED session of Council
The following is a list of what they will be going through today.
There is one that deserves a closer look.

Instruct the Manager of Realty Services to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report L-46-53 and L-56-23 and Instruct the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report L-56-23.

City Manger Tim Commisso has the City looking to acquire as much property as possible.  He has focused on school properties that might become available.  In the item above reference is made to the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture which suggest this might be a parkland opportunity

  • Instruct the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel, or his designate, to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report L-67-23.

  • Instruct the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel, or his designate, to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report L-66-23.

  • Instruct the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel, or his designate, to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report L-65-23.

Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report.

Confidential legal update on a litigation matter regarding 265 North Shore Blvd. E. (L-64-23)

  • Instruct the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel, or his designate, to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report L-64-23.

  • Receive and file confidential Legal department report L-61-23 providing an update on a litigation matter regarding 2020 Lakeshore Road.

  • Receive and file confidential Legal department report L-62-23 providing an update on a litigation matter regarding Millcroft Greens Corporation.

  • Receive and file the confidential verbal update regarding a human resources matter.

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Gould in the House of Commons: 'That is irresponsible. That is reckless.'

By Pepper Parr

December 12th, 2023



That nice lady that represents Burlington in Parliament got very tough yesterday.

A very pregnant Karina Gould who serves as the Liberal House Leader get the government message out.

At the end of a tortuous week when members of parliament finally ended a session that ran for days Karina Gould, who is the Liberal House leader had this to say:

“Mr. Speaker, speaking of Montreal, it is nice to see the Leader of the Opposition show up for work today. I guess there was not a fundraiser that he could attend.

“However, if we want to talk about last week, what Canadians saw on display was the Leader of the Opposition bringing right-wing Republican tactics to try and shut down the government.

“Canadians do not want the kind of chaos they see in Washington. They want responsible leadership in Canada, and that is not what we witnessed from the Leader of the Opposition last week.

“On this side of the House, we will continue to stand up for Canadians and stand up to bullies.”

Ten minutes later she stood up and said:

“Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we are proud to stand up for Canadians.

“Last week, what the Conservatives did is that they voted consistently against measures that not only make life more affordable for Canadians, but help them in their time of need.

“On the issue of suicide prevention, what did the Conservatives do? They voted against it. When it came to supporting victims of gender-based violence, what did the Conservatives do?

“They voted against it. The list goes on.

“That is irresponsible. That is reckless. Quite frankly, these are right-wing extreme politics from the United States that we do not want here in Canada.”


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Will Short: 'We made it clear - we cannot accept girls being discriminated against when it comes to equity and allocation of space in city arenas'

By Pepper Parr

December 12th, 2023



Will Short, president of the Burlington Girls Hockey Club was delegating on ice time allocation.

The release of the city’s Life Plan report, that included a section on facility prioritization criteria, brought Short to the Council Chamber podium.

“Preliminary facility criteria has been identified to assist with prioritizing investment and reinvestment to address needs for parks, recreation and cultural assets” said Short who went on to say:

Will Short, president of the Burlington Girls Hockey Club

“The timing on this comes when we’re entering into our ice allocation commitments for August of 2025; these have been in place since 2009. What we have learned throughout this process is that there is a massive gender inequality between boys and girls hockey ice allocation.

“An example: we represent 850 girls; the Eagles represent 650 Boys. The Eagles have 800 hours more ice than we do annually.

“Our assumption when we were entering into this was the struggles to provide the level of programming that other girl hockey organizations in Oakville, Milton and Stony Creek was due to the lack of ice pads in Burlington. What we have come to realize is that it’s more of the disparity and gender inequality between ice hours within the girls and boys organizations.

“We discovered that Burlington had adopted a policy in 2007 called the gender equity in the allocation of public recreational spaces. The key principles of this policy were applying a continually and up to apply and continually update the allocation policy and the allocation procedures to effectively respond to community needs while allocating facilities in a fair and balanced manner.

“On paper, the gender equity policies seem to be a triumph for female sport in the city of Burlington and was touted by many news articles on getting gender equity in sport right.

“In March of 2020. The gender equity policy was rescinded to be replaced by a framework for community recreation which in our opinion does not contain specific protections for females in sport.”

Jr Cudas : the 2023/24 season team photo

“The allocation of facilities in our last ice allocation meeting in December of 2023 city staff acknowledged that there is a severe gender equity issue and that it needs to be addressed  at some point. In our last correspondence on the matter with the City of Burlington, we made it clear that we cannot accept girls being discriminated against when it comes to equity  and the allocation of exclusive spaces when within the city of Burlington arenas.

“We don’t have time within our 10 minutes today. But another issue that we have when it comes to exclusive spaces. Our U22 Junior team, which would be the equivalent of the Burlington Cougars and the OG HL, currently gets a dressing room that is significantly smaller. And if you look at what other city councils have done in the past, or recently in Brampton, where they gave $200,000 to the u 22 Junior team and provided a brand new dressing room within an arena that they provided for exclusive use for that team. We’re not getting the same allocation of exclusive places within the city of Burlington arenas.

“In our opinion, the Live Play and Plan consultation did very little in way of specifically invested in investigating gender equity, and therefore does very little to address the gender inequality when it comes to facilities allocation. It was very obvious that there were equity issues in 2007 when the gender equity policy was adopted, and it has continued to be an issue not only for our organization, but others.

“You can look at the Burlington Youth Soccer decision that was made in 2011. On a similar issue with soccer facilities within the city. On our end, we meet several criteria that the Live the Life Play Plan adopts. As its priorities, equity, access to participation rates and enhancing social well-being and community engagement.”

Kristy Braun, Director of Communications

Kristy Braun, Director of Communications with the BGHC explained “the City adopted a policy titled gender equity in the allocation of public recreational spaces. One of the key policies, was to apply and continually update the allocation policy and the allocation procedures to effectively respond to community needs.

“When it comes to hockey during the 2018 19 season, girls made up 21% of registration in Ontario, which is a 5% increase from just four seasons earlier. However, the ice allocation of the BJHC did not change in the four years, nor has it changed in the past 13 years. Very strange since the gender equity in the allocation of public recreational spaces policy was in effect from 2007 to 2020.

Now it’s a possibility that the allocations haven’t changed in the past three years, because in 2020, the gender equity policy was rescinded and replaced by the Burlington framework for community recreation, which contains no specific protections for females in sport or gender equity.

“And allocation of facilities. As you will have also read in the report growth in girls hockey is driven by many factors, one being promotion of sport participation among girls. The BGHC has embarked on a huge initiative this year, called Grow the Game.  We have removed all socio-economic barriers for girls four to six in age to play hockey. This was accomplished through our organizations funds as well as generous sponsors.

Kristy Braun continued “When the city of Burlington was approached to come alongside the BGHC  and assist with this initiative they declined. They’ve had zero involvement with introducing girls to our sport, including declining our most recent grant application. Because of the dedication of our volunteers and sponsors, most of the barriers for these girls to participate have been removed. In fact, the only barrier that these four, five and six year old girls are facing is the ability to access the ice for more than 35 minutes per week, while the boys organizations in the same age bracket are on the ice for 120 to 180 minutes per week.

“This inequity is due to the lack of ice allocated to girls hockey. The data from the City reflects the inequity of ice allocation and the staff at the city are aware of these issues. So far there have been no remedies to rectify this discrimination. We know that when girls have a positive sport experience, they are more likely to reap the benefits of sport participation and grow into confident and motivated leaders. By not updating the allocation procedures and fairly distributing ice allocations to the girls in Burlington they are being discriminated against by the city. If the City of Burlington wants to ensure that all residents have the right to play, foster individual well-being and create a sense of belonging which is set out in the the framework for community recreation. Girls need to be provided the same opportunity as boys.”

Mayor Meed Ward: There’s just too much demand and not enough ice.

Mayor Meed Ward commented: “this is an eye opener. You mentioned that the city declined a grant application. Can you give us more details on what that was about?”

Braun: “You can apply for up to $30,000 in funding.  Our Grow the Game program actually met all of the criteria. We had a great meeting with the city staff, who were a part of that grant process. There was a lot of confusion as to just how funds could be made available.”

The issue from the city’s end was that if we were to be provided the $29,000 in grant money, we wouldn’t meet our ice allocation requirements. Conversations on that issue are continuing

Meed Ward: “I’m guessing we’re going to hear is that there’s just too much demand and not enough ice. Would you say that that is part of the issue ?

Braun: Yeah, we just need more ice.

So as a good example, with the Grow the Game program, we opened up registration and within four days we hit 250 applicants for the program. We were willing to take 350 as part of the programming but we weren’t able to provide the existing 600 members of organization with the programming needs that they had while also providing the 250 applicants.

A good example – one program which is predominantly five year olds are getting 35 minutes a week. Other organizations are getting two to three hours.

Angelo Bentivegna: Your numbers are comparable to both the other boys leagues ?

Councillor Bentivegna added: This has come full circle; I thought the problems were solved back then. Can you remind me again, how many members are in your organization? Our registration was capped at 850 we could have had 950

“We are hoping to run the Grow the Game program for the next five years. And if the numbers returned like they did this year, you would have 50% of that program returning and you’d have 50% new to the sport. So approximately 100 to 150 people based on the trends that we had this year with the application; so next year we would be in and around 950 The year after we would be above 1000. But right now we don’t have the ability to grow at that pace because we wouldn’t have any ice to put them on.

Bentivegna: “So your numbers are comparable to both the other boys leagues I guess. So my understanding is BOMA has a significantly larger house league program. The Eagles, our only  rep program, are in around 650.”

Clearly more ice time is needed – which means more ice pads and a different approach to creating new ice pads.



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The City is considering using the Hamilton Spectator to communicate with you when they have to

By Pepper Parr

December 11th, 2023



Home for you is Burlington but City Hall just might decide that  when it comes  to getting important “Public Notice”  information to you they will publish it in the Hamilton Spectator.

City Council was given a Recommendation to::

Approve the amendments to the Public Notice Policy to remove print media notices, and instead use the City’s website or online publications, where the Municipal Act, 2001, does not prescribe that a newspaper must be used for public notice.

The Municipal Act, provides that “a municipality shall adopt and maintain a policy with respect to the circumstances in which the municipality shall provide notice to the public, and if notice is to be provided, the form, manner and times notice shall be given.”  The City’s current Public Notice Policy was approved by Council on June 22, 2021, demonstrating the City’s commitment to ensuring residents are aware of when City business occurs.

There is a policy that outlines the form, manner and time that notices shall be given, unless specifically set out in the Act. The Municipal Act, 2001 has changed over the years, giving municipalities flexibility in terms of the form and manner in which notice is provided. The use of newspapers is only prescribed in limited circumstances in the Municipal Act.

When Metroland Media Group ceased the print publication of the Burlington Post, with much haste, residents were left with an online version that isn’t working all that well at this point.

The death of the print version of the Post has multi-faceted impacts on how the City provides public notice.

The Municipal Act, 2001 allows municipalities for more flexibility, other legislation is very specific as to the manner in which notice is given.

Some sections of the Public Notice Policy Schedule A provide for a publication in a newspaper, however that requirement is not legislated under the Municipal Act, 2001, but instead a requirement determined by the City.

In light of the Metroland Media Group decision, staff have undertaken a review of the City’s Public Notice Policy and are seeking to make amendments where publication in a newspaper is not a prescribed requirement under the Municipal Act, 2001. Amendments to the Public Notice Policy are based on the findings summarized below:

That’s a lot of legal baffle-gab to absorb.  What it comes down to is this:  The city is looking for a way to cut back on costs and is prepared to limit the ways in which they advise you about changes that impact you financially.

In a link set out below there is a spending matter that makes one wonder about what this city Council’s values are and where they are displayed.

Examples of public information situations:

Public notices are required to advise of the holding of a public meeting by the Standing Committee designated by Council to consider the matter prior to Council’s consideration of changes to the composition of Council.

Within 15 days after a by-law is passed, the City must give notice of the passing of the by- law to the public specifying the last date for filing a notice of appeal.

There is no prescribed manner of form of how public notice is to be provided.

Notice of both the public meeting and Council’s intention to pass a by-law in a newspaper 14 days prior to the public meeting; and on the website 14 days prior to the public meeting.

Notice to be published in the newspaper 15 days of passing of bylaw. Website posting within 15 days of passing by-law.

Seizure of Personal Property – Public Auction (Section 351(8), Municipal Act, 2001)

Subject to certain conditions, the Treasurer or their agent may seize personal property to recover taxes and costs of the seizure. The Treasurer or their agent is required to give the public notice of the time and place of public auction and of the name of the person whose personal property is to be sold.

There is no prescribed manner or form of how public notice is to be provided.

Notice of auction to be published in a newspaper once every 7 days for 14 days prior to the auction, and Notice posted on the website 14 days prior to the auction.

Newspaper notice requirement to be removed from the policy.

Local Improvement Charges (Section 400, Municipal Act, 2001)

In accordance with Section 6 of Ontario Regulation 586/06

Public notice of Council’s intention to pass the by-law imposing fees and charges to the public and to the owners of the lots liable to be specially charged.

There is no prescribed manner or form of how public notice is to be provided.

Notice shall be given by mail to those owners of lots liable to the special charge, and

Notice in a newspaper 14 days prior to the Council meeting at which the by- law will be considered, and

Notice posted on the website 7 days prior to the Council meeting at which the by-law will be considered.

Newspaper notice requirement to be removed from policy.

Providing notice where the manner of notice is prescribed

To eliminate any risk of non-compliance where there exists the legislative requirement to post notices in a newspaper, staff explored other available newspaper options for these notices under the Municipal Act, 2001 as well as any other legislation, including the Planning Act. Section 87 of the Legislation Act, 2006 defines newspaper as follows:

“newspaper”, in a provision requiring publication, means a document that, is printed in sheet form, published at regular intervals of a week or less and circulated to the general public, and consists primarily of news of current events of general interest; (“journal”)

Based on the above definition and the definition included in the policy, The Hamilton Spectator has been determined as the paper of record for the City of Burlington in the absence of a local newspaper such as The Burlington Post. The Hamilton Spectator is a daily newspaper with 4,673 subscribers in Burlington compared to The Toronto Star at 1,152 subscribers.

The Public Notice Policy provides minimum notice standards and encourages the public notice authors to consult with Corporate Communications & Engagement staff to ensure all appropriate tactics are used when providing notice to the public. The City has a dedicated News and Notices section with 1,065 current subscribers, where all City notices are posted in one centralized location.

By removing the requirement for printed media notices, where not statutorily required, the policy provides more flexibility while ensuring legislative requirements are met. In instances where newspaper notices are required, such as the Publication of Financial Statements, election notices, or notices required under other legislation including the Planning Act, the City will use The Hamilton Spectator based on the general circulation requirement, in addition to notices posted to the City’s website and digital publications. Many other municipalities have moved towards the publication of notices on their websites either exclusively or with a hybrid approach given the changing media landscape.

What is all this going to cost.
Costs will be incurred depending on the type and frequency of notice. If a legislative requirement to post notice in print media exists, the associated cost is unavoidable. Below is a cost comparison for comparable ads in The Hamilton Spectator versus The Burlington Post.  These are the preferred rates for the City as provided by Communications staff. This price list is not extensive and meant to show cost differences.

Whereas the cost to post notices in the Hamilton Spectator are nearly triple than The Burlington Post, the frequency of the required notices under the Municipal Act, 2001 can be expected to decrease. In some instances of notices required under the Planning Act, those costs are forwarded onto the applicants.

On average, there have been 250 ads placed throughout the year, but that number does fluctuate. In 2022 the print costs totalled $131,103 with the Burlington Post. Staff will monitor the increased advertising costs closely in 2024 and mitigate the financial impact where possible. Should an increase to the City’s advertising budget be required, staff will identify the need as part of the 2025 Financial needs and Multi-year Forecast for the Mayor to consider for inclusion in the 2025 Proposed Budget.

Engagement Matters:

The City’s Legal team provided advice on this issue to ensure that the manner in which notice is provided meets the legislative requirements. The recommended amendments to the policy allow flexibility to ensure that residents are provided notice of City business while balancing the legislative requirements.

So much for public engagement.

This item was on the Consent agenda, meaning it was seen as matters of a routine nature, which are not expected to require discussion and/or debate.  That City hall would take this approach to something as important as public notices is suprising.

Jim Thomson did delegate virtually – his point was that the item was on the Consent list which is contrary to the Procedural bylaw which requires that an item cannot be on the Consent list if there is a delegation.

The Town Crier might reach more people in a single day when he is working than the Hamilton Spectator.

Burlington is in a unique position where it has an option of utilizing an adjacent municipality’s local paper that has a general circulation in the city. However, the media landscape is constantly changing. This could be an opportunity for the City to advocate for changes to the legislation that would allow digital notices in the absence of a printed newspaper.

It also offers the city an opportunity to use the Town Crier more often – it could become a full time job for NAME who could ring his bell and inform the public.

Additionally, the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasures of Ontario (AMCTO) has reached out to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing seeking clarification on whether publishing notices in a digital publication, that are required by law to be published in a local printed newspaper, satisfy the legislative requirement. A response has not yet been received as of the writing of this report.

Where to from here?
The City of Burlington is committed to providing notice to the public when required by legislation or otherwise deemed necessary.

The Public Notice Policy provides a standard for the form, manner and time notice should be given. In the absence of a local printed publication, the amendments ensure that legislated requirements are met while providing flexibility to the municipality as to the most effective and efficient way to provide notice.




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Where is the risk in putting an item on a public agenda; which begs the question – what’s going on here?

By Pepper Parr

December 11th, 2023


We did a short piece earlier in the day on the way the city and Chairs of Standing Committees manage items that are on the Consent items part of an agenda.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan

Councillor Rory Nisan said “it’s pretty clear that items placed on the consent agenda include but are not limited to those with no delegation.”

We wondered just who it is that determines what should be on the Consent agenda and put that question to the Communications department.

The response:

section 26.3 (a) of the procedure by-law:

26.3 During the Agenda Review, the Mayor/Chair with the support of City Manager/SRT members in attendance may: a) move any item under the Consent Agenda section of the Agenda.

Report authors can also select to place the report on the agenda if they feel their report matches the procedure by-law definition of a Consent Agenda:

“Consent Agenda” means a listing of items that include, but are not limited to, those with no delegations, where no discussion is anticipated, informational items, and routine matters.

A report author approver could also move the report off the consent agenda during agenda review if they feel it does not meet the consent agenda definition.

The sense one gets it that a group of people determine what is going to get debate and discussion time.

The reference to “SRT members in attendance” confused us; we weren’t familiar with the acronym SRT.

Turns out it is the Strategy & Risk Team. Where is the risk in putting an item on a public agenda; which begs the question – what’s going on here?

Marianne Meed Ward made transparency a mantra that she used to become a member of City Council.

The Council speaks about being transparent and accountable.  Marianne Meed Ward  made it a mantra for her when she was first running for a city Council seat; those who voted for her expected her to deliver on that mantra.

Burlington is fortunate in having a number of people (not nearly enough of them) who check the Consent Agenda and if they feel it needs time they will delegate to speak to the matter.

Related news story:

Councillor Nisan explains his ruling on Consent items



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Feds want deputy ministers to shake conventional thinking on policy making and develop fresh perspectives on key issues

By Kathryn May

December 11th, 2023


Canada’s top bureaucrat has assembled a dozen teams of deputy ministers to shake conventional thinking on policymaking and develop fresh perspectives on key issues the country will face over the next decade.

Privy council clerk John Hannaford assembled the teams, which have been meeting over the fall, on topics that include health and aging, confidence in institutions, reconciliation, artificial intelligence, productivity and economic growth, foreign affairs, combatting disinformation and misinformation, Canada and the US, and the future of the public service.

The policy exercise is said to be one of the broadest and most forward-looking in years. It is aimed at cross-pollinating ideas by involving all 80 deputy ministers and associate deputy ministers. They will be working in small groups on topics, often  outside their usual expertise and departmental portfolios.

The policy exercise is said to be one of the broadest and most forward-looking in years. It is aimed at cross-pollinating ideas by involving all 80 deputy ministers and associate deputy ministers. They will be working in small groups on topics, often  outside their usual expertise and departmental portfolios.

Each group is headed by an associate deputy minister who is free to organize discussions with no formal work plan from the Privy Council Office.

They have been meeting with the goal of delivering preliminary reports to the clerk in December which will feed into an agenda for a deputy ministers’ retreat in January.

Avoid rounding up the usual suspects

In a statement, PCO (Privy Council Office) said “a premium has been placed on engaging experts with diverse perspectives – not the ‘usual suspects.’” The teams are exploring multiple sides of the issues, including social, economic and global security implications, which form “our increasingly complex policy landscape.”

They will “assess gaps, blind spots, what are we missing” as well as possible opportunities for efficiency and innovation.

This policy exercise is separate from the deputy minister task team that Hannaford put together to lead a government-wide “dialogue” about values and ethics.

One associate deputy minister said daily issues, an ever-shortening news cycle, the pressure of delivering on the government’s platform promises means policymakers don’t get a chance to think enough about medium and long-term policy planning.

“Every day, it’s always a shiny new object to manage that becomes a challenge,” he said.

The exercise is a recognition that policymakers live in an age of upheaval with global, economic, social or environmental crises looming around every corner.

It also comes as departments begin transition planning for whatever government wins the next election and as the parties are putting together election platforms.

In an era of such uncertainty, “adaptive policymaking” are the new buzzwords for designing policies that respond to changing conditions. Policymakers are used to make decisions based on current realities – such as today’s demographics or GDP.

Daniel Quan-Watson, who spent nearly 15 years as a deputy minister until retiring last month, said that doesn’t work anymore. “It’s critical not to take as a given that the world will play out as it always has,” said Quan-Watson.

“This is about asking questions. What are we missing here? Are we seeing things the right way? Are we as equipped as we should be to engage with the things coming at us in the future?” he said.

The global polycrisis

Hannaford told a recent conference of policymakers he expects crises coming at governments, one after another, and at the same time, will continue in the coming decade. He predicts more geopolitical uncertainty, major technological change and climate disasters.

“How do we manage against a backdrop where there are multiple demands on us and each demand is really, really important. How do you figure out what needs to be at the top of the pile,” Hannaford said.

He said policymakers need to be flexible, adjust to problems as they arise and “not be thrown off if things do not follow precisely the plan that we thought.”

“We won’t solve things if we are rigid and simply approach things precisely the way we have always done,” said Hannaford.

The last time the public service took on a review of values and ethics was nearly thirty years ago. That’s when then clerk Jocelyne Bourgon created nine deputy minister task forces to look at big issues for the public service in the aftermath of Chrétien government’s sweeping program review to slay the deficit, which downsized the size of government and re-defined its role.

The task force on values and ethics produced the Tait report, the foundation of today’s code governing public service behaviour.

Bourgon also had a task force on the future of the public service and another on “Strengthening Our Policy Capacity,” which led to the creation of the Policy Research Initiative, a think-tank for medium-term research. It later became Policy Horizons Canada.

Diverse public service, diverse views

The latest exercise includes up to 80 deputy ministers and associate deputy ministers. Watson, the first deputy minister of Chinese-Canadian descent, said the leaders are among the most diverse in the bureaucracy’s history. They should deliver more insight than a group of deputies from the same background sitting at the table.

But some senior officials are frustrated and anxious to get on with tackling issues.

“We know the issues. I think we need to be really bold and get very good at execution. We know what to do, we just have to get on with it.”

Policy goes hand in hand with delivery – poor delivery sinks good policy and excellent delivery won’t save bad policy.

A deputy’s job is to deliver the government’s decisions and offer advice to help the government make those decisions. Figuring out what issues could come at you out of the blue will help in offering that advice,” said one deputy minister.

But the public service is hard-wired to work in certain ways when it comes to hiring and purchasing and a host of other issues. These ways of doing things don’t always work in a rapidly changing world.

Over the decades, the public service underwent a build-up of rules and faced a growing posse of watchdogs to police their work, which stifled innovation and risk-taking. On top of that, public servants face a new layer of political control with the growth of political and ministerial staff.

Kathryn May is the Accenture Fellow on the Future of the Public Service, providing coverage and analysis of the complex issues facing Canada’s federal public service for Policy Options. She has spent 25 years writing about the public service – the country’s largest workforce.  The winner of a National Newspaper Award, she has also researched and written about public service issues for the federal government and research institutes. Follow Kathryn on Twitter: @kathryn_may.
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Delegating at city hall: Rules of that game need some changes

By Pepper Parr

December 11th, 2023



People who delegate at city council have frequently had a concern with the way agenda items are placed on the Consent list.

Jim Thomson, a frequent delegator upset the Chair of a meeting and was escorted out of the Council Chamber. He is limited now to delegating virtually during which they at times have to cut his mike.

On a number of occasions recently the issue has been brought up.

Last week at the Env Standing Committee Chair Rory Nisan (Councillor for ward 3 – who lives in ward 2 said he “wanted to address the question about consent items with respect to delegations. Section 35.1 of the Procedural bylaw, which is the Bible Council has to direct how they conduct the business of the city.

Nisan has taken the position that 35.1 says:”Items that will be placed on the consent agenda include, but are not limited to those with no delegations where no discussion is anticipated, I informational items and routine matters.

Councillor Rory Nisan

Nisan then said: “As chair the way I read that, although it could be more elegantly worded, and we can revise, but it’s pretty clear that items placed on the consent agenda include but are not limited to those with no delegation. The fact that a delegation occurs does not mean it must be put on the taken off the consent agenda.

“That’s how I interpreted it. That’s how we’ll be interpreting it today. Committee always has the opportunity to overrule the chair.”

Nisan got the concern out into the open.  Sometime in the New Year we might see a change in the Procedural Bylaw; something that needs more than a few cosmetic changes.




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Provincial goal of building 1.5 million homes will not be realized without adequate land supply

By Pepper Parr

December 11, 2023



A report released last week said: the Provincial goal of building 1.5 million homes will not be realized without adequate land supply

That doesn’t come as a surprise.  How the province is going to react and what can, in reality, be done is the very pressing issue.

Is this where new housing should be built?

The study by Malone Given Parsons Ltd. (MGP), commissioned for the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) and supported by the West End Home Builders’ Association (WE HBA), identifies that there is insufficient land within municipal official plans in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) and Greater Toronto Area to meet mid- and long-term population growth. This will jeopardize the provincial objective of building 1.5 million new homes and undermine efforts to address housing supply and affordability.

“The need for additional land supply has been clearly identified by planning experts as necessary to accommodate population growth and limit the continued displacement of residents,” said Mike Collins-Williams, WE HBA CEO. “Local political opposition and disruptions in our planning system make it increasingly difficult to bring new ground-oriented housing online.”

In what way is the WE HBA using the phrase “new ground-oriented housing”?  Are they talking about just single or semi- detached homes? Because that is not the kind of development the policy people seem to be talking about.

WE HBA represents the interests of the home building community that has a lot of land that housing can be built on.  There financial interests are best served through the construction of ground-oriented housing where the return on their land investments is significant.

The  Malone Given Parsons report adds that there are “challenges in adding supply within cities, meaning we are nearly 80,000 housing units short (2006-2021) of where we should be in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Without an aggressive approach to building, we can anticipate this shortfall to increase.”

This is the kind of housing that is being built – a different kind of community and we need to get it right the first time – not something planners have a lot of experience with.

The report identifies that even before the province reversed the approval of municipal official plans, the housing shortfall would increase to an estimated 97,000 grade-related housing units (including singles, semis and all forms of townhouses). Following the reduction of land supply by the 2023 provincial “reversal” of local official plans, the housing shortfall could increase to 206,800 grade-related homes (10,400 ha) plus any shortfall in apartment growth.

MGP’s study further identifies that in absence of expanding municipal boundaries to add land for grade-related homes, the redevelopment of vast quantities of existing neighbourhoods would be required to accommodate growth. Based on the municipally adopted official plans, to be “reset” by the province that include little to no additional land for new settlement area boundary expansion areas, the shortfall in grade-related housing units would require 10 per cent of all existing low-density neighbourhoods to be redeveloped to accommodate growth to the year 2051.

“Given that the GTHA accommodates over 30 per cent of Canada’s immigration each year, because immigration is the primary driver of population growth in Canada, a shortfall of housing has national implications,” said Neil Rodgers, OHBA Interim Chief Executive Officer. “The province has a policy statement to guide development for future growth. It commissioned extensive growth and housing requirement projections to help plan to 2051. This study demonstrates that by ignoring its own policies and projections, decisions made today are going to have far-reaching implications and show that we will be in a demand/supply imbalance for decades to come – continuously pushing prices up. If we’re to address the affordability crisis now, we need solutions that increase supply, support transit-supported infrastructure and housing choices on shorter timelines.”

“WE HBA along with our partners at BILD and the OHBA are calling on the Ontario Government and municipal governments across the province to ensure that housing affordability and supply are addressed by making sufficient lands available for a market-based supply of housing to meet forecasted growth needs to the planning horizon of 2051. In addition, they are calling on the government to establish a transparent, modern and stable planning system, which is required to realize the forecasted growth in the GGH.”

It was the need for additional land that led to the Greenbelt fiasco that is now under investigation by the RCMP.  Besides the possibility that some people might be charged criminally, the really stupid decisions made, and the even stupider way Cabinet handled the matter has spoiled the trust that was necessary between a government and the people who vote.




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Real Estate Rule Changes now Allow Option for Sellers to use an Open Bidding Process

By Pepper Parr

December 10th,2023



New rules for Ontario real estate are coming into force that are meant to provide more clarity and choice for buyers and sellers.

The rules, which took effect Friday, include the option for sellers to use an open bidding process, improvements to broker and brokerage disclosures, and ways to avoid conflicts on multiple representation.

The open bidding option gives the seller the choice to disclose submitted bid prices to potential buyers, something they were previously banned from doing.

Open bidding has been advocated by some as a way to reduce rampant overbidding in real estate and help reduce prices.

There are those that believe a consistently transparent bidding process will help bring down the skyrocketing price of houses.

The federal Liberals also promised in their 2021 election campaign to end blind bidding because it said not knowing other bids ultimately drives up home prices.

Joseph Richer, registrar at the Real Estate Council of Ontario, said there’s little research on how blind bidding affects prices, adding there are some indications that open auctions in Australia put upward pressure on prices.

He also said mandating open bidding could lead to negative effects for sellers.

“Keep in mind that in every transaction, there’s a buyer and a seller, and that whatever you mandate for one, might be, and probably is at the detriment of the other.”

Making it optional gives more options to sellers, Richer said.

“We don’t anticipate a big market swing. It might help some parties in some transactions.”

Sellers who are having trouble finding buyers might want to allow their agent to disclose bids to attract more, he pointed out as an example.

The option doesn’t look that appealing to most sellers in the current market, but real estate agents will likely find some uses, said Randy Oickle, president of Innovation Realty Ltd. in Kanata, Ont.

“(There’s) likely going to be some new business models that come along to try to take advantage of new possibilities.”

He said he would have liked to see some rules around the process of using open bidding.

“The fact that there’s no sort of framework for using it, I think potentially creates challenges.”

Oickle said, overall, he sees the changes in the act as quite significant.

Other notable parts of the law include the ability to choose a designated representative.

Previously, if the buyer and sellers’ agents worked at the same brokerage, then, given the potential conflict of interest, they would fall under a multiple representation scenario. In these cases, agents were generally only able to act as facilitators, and were limited on how much they could advise clients, including on what is a good price.

By designating specific agents, the buyer and seller under the new rules would free themselves from multiple representation, and agents could advocate more actively on their behalf, said Richer.

“It allows you, if I hire you, you now are free to continue to advocate for me and to offer the services and all your experience that you can bring to bear on my behalf, which you were prohibited from doing under multiple representation.”

The updates, Phase 2 of changes under the act, also include an amended code of ethics, new enforcement tools for RECO, and an information guide from the agency that prospective clients are to receive before they agree to having an agent represent them.

As for the federal promise of open bidding, Housing Minister Spokesperson Micaal Ahmed said that since real estate generally falls under provincial and territorial jurisdictions, the federal government continues to consult with stakeholders to make a home buyers’ bill of rights.

The work is well underway and nearing completion, he said.


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Ontario has partnered with some Staples retail locations to make it easier to access government services

By Staff

December 10th, 2023


Ontario has partnered with some Staples retail locations to make it easier to access government services

The Ontario government has partnered with some Staples retail locations that make it easier and more convenient for families and businesses to access vital government services such as driver’s licences and health cards.

Beginning in early 2024, Service Ontario is opening new centres in select Staples Canada stores with additional locations expected to open throughout the year.

Service Ontario location: 59 million transactions annually.

Examples of the new reach out in providing services:

The Township of Pickle Lake partnership provides a Service Ontario and municipal services hub for local residents as well as those travelling from communities further north.

For eligible residents who may find it difficult to visit Service Ontario to renew their health card, a live virtual appointment offers the same level of service as the in-person experience, right from the comfort of home.

To help meet increasing demand, eight of the busiest Service Ontario centres in the Greater Toronto Area now offer health card services for work permit holders and their accompanying family.

In partnership with Service Ontario, North Shore Tribal Council reaches several communities in the Robinson-Huron Treaty area with its mobile service unit, in addition to the Service Ontario centre operating in Cutler.

Service Ontario completes 59 million transactions annually, connecting people, families, and businesses with government services in person, online and by phone.

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