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Former school board trustee official challenges current trustees to do what is right or follow a 'lame duck' Premier

By Peggy Russell

March 13th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Public School Board Trustees in the Province of Ontario have less than a week to make a very big decision regarding their responsibility to the students and staff and, by extension, the welfare of their communities, with the responsibility they were charged with when elected.

Peggy Russell

Do they follow the direction of the Premier of this Province or do they follow the advice of the experts represented through the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition’s Statement of March 9, 2022?

The Ontario Children’s Health Coalition states: “Masks remain an important layer of protection as the pandemic continues and may be needed in communities with low vaccination rates and where there is a surge in cases. Masks also protect those most vulnerable, including high-risk, immunocompromised and fragile children.”

Trustees in the Province of Ontario have a definitive Role in which, “they must weigh what is in the best interests of the whole education system” which they are duly elected to represent.
This will be the true test of elected Trustees relevancy; there is no hedging around this one.

Either they listen to the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition or, if they do not, they should be prepared for the potential legal ramifications, not just as a Board, but as individuals who could be named in Legal Actions for not following the advice of the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition.

Currently Trustees have been advised that legally, they must abide by Public Health Orders. My question is: Are those Orders in the best interest of our collective society or that of special interest groups and some sectors of industry?

Then there is the moral obligation to the children, families/guardians, of the students they serve: to ensure that each and every student, no matter their health status, is provided the same opportunity to learn in a safe classroom environment.

Do Trustees understand that this indeed is their Alamo?

Either they listen to the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition and do what is right or they follow a “lame duck” Premier who is seeking re-election and the Orders of Ontario Public Health Units who serve at the pleasure of the Premier and their government. Which will it be?

Trustees in Ontario must be prepared to legally challenge the Province, Ministry of Education and, where applicable, Ontario Public Health Units. Trustees need to understand what is truly at stake at this moment or they risk becoming irrelevant.

 

Peggy Russell is a past Vice-Chair of the Halton District School Board. and was a Director of the Ontario Public School Board Association for eight years.

 

 

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Will Council meet in an Open Session on the 22nd - masks are no longer required - in person delegations should be permitted

By Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Will there be mayhem on the streets when masks can be off everywhere and almost anywhere on March 21st ?

What does that do to plans various organizations have to protect the people they care for ? The Hamilton-Wentworth School Board is reported to have told the province that they will require Masks in schools until April 15th.

With the Spring Break keeping schools closed, the concern that people travelling may bring the virus home with them; and the expected increase in social activity will bring together people who have not been together in the past increasing the opportunity for the virus to spread.

No masks in this picture: does that mean we will see every member of Council in their seats next week?

What will that do to our elected officials and the way they meet.

City Council is due to meet on the 22nd – will it be a virtual meeting, which appears to be the preference for most of the seven members on Council.

There is a bylaw in place calling for virtual council meetings – will that be the excuse that is used to require the meeting to be virtual?

The bylaw hasn’t prevented the Mayor from taking advantage of every possible photo-op.

The City Manager is reported to be working on the approach the city will take to opening things up and at the same time reporting on how many City Hall staff will work off-site and how many will work in city facilities.

There are some jobs that have to be performed at a city office; others that can be done by people working off site. The policy appears to be that a staff member is either an on-site or an offsite employee. They cannot switch from one to the other.

More clarity on just how this will be implemented and what the impact will be on the public can be expected soon given that the province has already started the process of getting to the point where there are no restrictions.

Why any of this is being done while we are still working with a pandemic befuddles us. When the World Health Organization moves Covid19 to an endemic – the restrictions can be moved.

What will we do if there is a sudden steep increase in infections ?

That appears to be a risk the politicians are ready to take.

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Waterfront study and the development application - no recent news on either.

By Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The deadline for responses to the survey put out after the Waterfront Study virtual meeting that took place on February 22nd, was March 1st the last date they would be accepted.

There are two things taking place with the area outlined in blue. The oldest activity is a study of the area outlined in blue which the city says has been ongoing since 2018 – it actually started way back in 2015 when the city had a Staff member doing some work on what would be possible and fit in with the Promenade and Spencer Smith Park when the owners of the Waterfront Hotel decided they were ready to redevelop the property. The area within the red boundary is the property owned by Darko Vranich . In August of 2021 he began the process of providing the City Planning department the information it would need to prepare a report for City Council which would decide to Approve the development, Not approve the development or approve a development with required changes. hotel site was ready. The report from the Planning department has to be before City Council and approved no later than April 17th of 2022

It was a very short survey; two questions – what did you think and where do you live.

The X’s mark the land the city would take as permitted park land allowance.

Shouldn’t have taken all that long to sift through the responses, pass them along to the consultants overseeing the study and share both the results of the survey and whatever the next step was going to be.

There was some interesting news shared during the DATE meeting – the most significant being that the city planned on taking a 20 metre wide piece of land from the west side of the site. The width would run from Lakeshore Road to the southern and of  the the property line.

There doesn’t appear to be any sense of urgency about a study that is intended to “inform” the long term development that will take place.  Wouldn’t the Hotel site development application, if approved, set the pattern for any development in the immediate area.  No?

 

Related news stories:

A time line that didn’t work for the citizens.

What about a land swap

The Statutory meeting

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Who is the writer - and why would they want to write under different names?

By Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Who do we hear from when a comment is made?

We put our name on everything we write – no fake names and we expect people who comment to do the same thing.

We recently came across a situation where there were two names, often saying basically the same thing.

We did reach out to talk to one of them, Mary Hill, to get some clarification. We did ask for a phone number, didn’t get one but the answers she gave us to the questions we asked were satisfactory.

Using your real name is usually a good idea.

Then we noticed this:
Maggie Riley
margaret.riley070272@gmail.com

Mary Hill
maryhill25091962@gmail.com

What’s your problem? you might ask. When all the data we have is available we have the following:

Maggie Riley
margaret.riley070272@gmail.com
70.49.45.202

Mary Hill
maryhill25091962@gmail.com
70.49.45.202

The IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are the same – Maggie Riley and Mary Hill would appear to be the same person.

That’s not the way the game is played.

We will no longer publish comments from either name until there is clarification as to just who is the author of the comments.

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Burlington Transit partners with GO Transit to offer free co-fares

By Staff

March 11th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The free co-fare program begins Monday, March 14, 2022 and promotes using local transit, like Burlington Transit, as part of users’ GO Transit journey.

How to get the free/discounted co-fare

Tap on Burlington Transit and GO Transit using a PRESTO card and riders will automatically get the free co-fare.

When taking Burlington Transit first:

  1. Ride Burlington Transit and pay the fare.
  2. Get on GO Transit and your GO Transit fare will be discounted by the value of the Burlington Transit fare.

Will parking in the parking lots we leave our cars in remain free while we ride these trains?

When taking GO Transit first:

  1. Travel on GO Transit and pay the fare.
  2. Get on a Burlington Transit bus and it’s the same as a transfer—there are no extra fees

This program allows customers to ride Burlington Transit for free combining Burlington Transit with GO Transit.

For a Burlington adult that commutes every weekday using Burlington Transit and GO Transit, this could add up to savings of more than $200 a year. There are four GO Transit options in Burlington: Aldershot GO, Appleby GO, Burlington GO and the 407 Carpool lot (buses only).

 

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Social media causing serious harms; should be carefully regulated

By Connor Fraser

March 11th,, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that how we interact with the internet, and social media in particular, is disastrous from a health perspective.

Firstly, several studies have noted the link between social media use and depression. A 2018 study released in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking demonstrated that every one-point increase in passive social-media use was associated with a 33% increase in depressive symptoms.

Secondly, many have identified links between social media use and reduced memory and attention. Research published by the Gerontological Society of America reported that “on days when social media use was high, individuals reported more memory failures” and furthermore that “higher previous-day social media-use was associated with more memory failures on the subsequent day.” The researchers hypothesize that a key mechanism for memory failures is attentional disengagement, whereby “individuals using social media are less engaged in real-world activities…and may not encode these events and experiences as deeply as they would otherwise.”

Late in 2021, Facebook made headlines by announcing it would re-brand itself as ‘Meta’ signalling CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s intention to play a key role in developing the ‘Metaverse’: The next generation of the internet, enabled by technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Instead of clicking on webpages and newsfeeds, users will eventually navigate a digital world similar to the physical world, complete with their own avatars, and digital property such as clothing and land.

Imagine a world where a significant number of people live within a tightly controlled digital experience, rarely going outside or interacting with their neighbours. Companies such as Meta and Microsoft are betting big on people spending a lifetime online. But regardless of how scary this potential future looks like, many (particularly young people) are already living in a pseudo-metaverse.

For example, a 2019 article reported that children under age 14 spent nearly twice as long with their tech devices per day as they do with their families. These transformations are having profound impacts on our memories, and ability to pay attention and focus – which has serious implications for the future productivity of our economy, democracy and ability to confront life’s challenges. I argue that social media is already causing serious harms to society – and should be carefully regulated if we hope to prevent these harms and stop the ‘Metaverse’ from magnifying them to a terrifying level.

Consider that an incredible amount of resources have been dedicated towards designing social media and metaverse technologies to be maximally addictive. Former engineers at Google and Meta admit that their apps exploit the same psychological susceptibilities that makes gambling so compulsive, such as variable rewards. Faced to confront the latest techniques in psychology and advanced machine-learning algorithms, it’s no wonder why many find themselves continually attached to their phones – it’s not your fault!

Neither is it uniquely the fault of social media companies, who to my knowledge have not been accused of breaking government laws and regulations in any major way. The role of the firm has always been to generate profits for shareholders – and implicitly value for their customers. Contrastingly, it is the role of the government to identify activities that generate negative externalities and positive externalities – and regulate those activities which produce negative externalities (such as pollution) and fund those activities which produce positive externalities (such as public education).

The current relationship with social media is such that people receive an onslaught of messages from numerous platforms and numerous devices, and find themselves very quickly “toggling” between tasks, unable to consistently focus on any one task for greater than 3 minutes, on average. This toggling is rapidly eroding the capacity for long-term, strategic focus – precisely the tools that people need to set goals and achieve anything meaningful in life.

It is worth noting that social media is not entirely bad, and there are positive aspects to these technologies. For example, in a report commissioned by PEW research, many teens reported that access to social media played an important role in overcoming difficult life experiences. These benefits were magnified for vulnerable populations, such as youth from households with annual incomes less than $30,000 – suggesting that social media offered critical support group that wouldn’t have otherwise been available or affordable.

Moreover, the majority of teens responded that social media enables them to spend time with their friends on a daily basis, through free messaging and video chatting features. During the pandemic, these services have undeniably played an outsized role in enabling people to remain in touch while in-person opportunities were limited. Additionally, some have argued that powerful social media algorithms provide a great service by connecting people with products that are optimally tailored to their needs. To cite one example, last year I received a Spotify advertisement for the language program “Learn French by Podcast” which I subsequently subscribed to and got a huge amount of value from.

While it is clear that social media has benefits to offer when used appropriately, I think it is important to recognize that certain use patterns can be incredibly destructive – especially when people turn to aimless scrolling and passive searching for instant validation. To prevent harms from further accumulating amongst young people, and also to prevent these harms from accelerating as the metaverse becomes more potent, the government must develop an action plan to leave people in control of their relationship with social media.

Any action plan should focus on increasing healthy behaviour and preventing harmful behaviour. One strategy might include imposing regulations on tech giants that make it mandatory for all apps to periodically (i.e. once per month) provide users with a “time-spent” report, remind them about healthy-use habits, and remind them of in-app features that exist to turn-off notifications and block content. Another strategy might include devoting greater government resources to educate citizens about the circumstances under which social media use is harmful. Integrating compulsory modules into the elementary and high-school curriculum about healthy social media practices would be a good start.

Two final points to add. In order to proceed with meaningful action, more academic research of much greater rigour, needs to be conducted. The study cited above from the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking made use of an online survey where participants answered subjective questions about their experience with social media and any subsequent feelings of depression. This is hardly sufficient evidence, nor the type of decisive evidence I would want to have in my arsenal to push back against big tech. The calibre of academic scholarship in this field needs to improve dramatically in order to provide a clear rational for action that will find sustainable support amongst the majority of citizens.

Finally, I wonder if there is an appetite to explore different business models. One of my professors at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, Daniel Breznitz, once commented that “if you’re not paying for a service, you’re a product, not the customer.” In the world of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, users pay no subscription fees and should therefore think of themselves as “products”.

In order to generate revenues, these business models must create value for their actual customers (i.e. advertisers) by keeping us online for as long as possible. Altering the model by introducing a subscription fee could allow companies to generate value for users as their primary customers, and perhaps abandon the need to aggressively target us with manipulative techniques.

Regardless of what action the government decides to take, this file requires some movement, and I’m shocked that Canadians have received limited leadership from elected officials until now. With continued complacency we are sleepwalking into a future health and economic crisis of titanic proportions.

Born in Hamilton, raised in Aldershot, Connor Fraser attended Waterdown Montessori School, Glenview Public School, Burlington Christian Academy and Aldershot High School. He earned a BASc. in Engineering Science and a major in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto.  He then  worked as a member of the technology development team at Microchip Corporation (North San Jose, California) where he contributed to the design of computer memory for FPGA chips.

Connor volunteered for the U of T Human Powered Vehicles Design Team as a machinist and led the design of a rollover detection system for high-speed tricycles. During the summer of 2013, 2015 and 2017, Connor lived in Quebec thanks to support from the YMCA Student Work Summer Exchange, and the Explore Program & is decently proficient in spoken French. 

He is currently enrolled in the dual Master of Global Affairs and Master of Business Administration program and is concurrently a CFA Level 2 candidate. He is a Senior Producer with “Beyond the Headlines”, a weekly public affairs radio show that airs on CIUT 89.5FM

 

 

 

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To meet in public or to not meet in public: that is the question

By Pepper Parr

March 11th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Here are the facts.

The province lifts the face mask requirement effective March 21st.

Burlington’s City Council will meet on March 22nd.

Since the beginning of the pandemic City Council has been meeting virtually.

Council has been meeting virtually. Will this end on March 22nd?

Will Council meet in public on March 22nd?

Probably not because there is a masking by law in place that they have to revoke first.

However, the municipalities in Ontario deeply resent the fact that they are the creatures of the province and have to do what the province says they have to do.

Will the public actually be able to finally see their elected council waiting to do the public’s business?

Now the question:  What are the odds that Council will meet in public on March 22nd with senior staff in the room?

 

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15 bus shelters in Burlington have been vandalized.

By Staff

March 10th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In the past the damage was graffiti. It isn’t public art by any stretch of the imagination. It’s kids with too much free time on their hands and parents not fully aware of what their children are doing.

15 bus shelters in Burlington have been vandalized.

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is investigating an ongoing string of damage targeting bus shelters.

Between February 23 and March 7, 2022, 15 bus shelters in Burlington have been vandalized. On several occasions, the city completed repairs only to have the glass on the same shelter smashed again overnight.

The majority of the shelters targeted were on New Street however police are also investigating occurrences on Lakeshore Road, Harvester Road, Brant Street and Guelph Line.

The HRPS is conducting extra patrols in these areas and request residents report any suspicious activity to police. Police have not made any arrests and do not have any suspect descriptions to provide.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4777 ext. 2316

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

 

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Jefferson Salamander and his need to mate closes King Road until April 15th

By Pepper Parr

March 10th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is this a love story – or just a story about a bunch of randy creatures looking for some action?

It’s Salamander mating season and they are migrating across King Road

He isn’t exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment. Comes in different colours as well.

Spring is around the corner and the annual passage of the endangered Jefferson salamanders during their breeding migration will begin soon. King Road, near the base of the Niagara Escarpment to Mountain Brow Road, continues to be closed for construction of a nearby subdivision. The base of King Road will reopen to local traffic on April 15, once the salamanders are expected to finish their annual crossing.

Since 2012, the City of Burlington has closed the same section of road for the salamanders which are a nationally and provincially protected endangered species.

Expect to see this guy crossing King Road late at night – road is closed to protect him

About the Jefferson Salamander
In Canada, the Jefferson salamander is found in Southern Ontario in select areas of deciduous forest, mostly along the Niagara Escarpment.

Jefferson salamanders spend most of their lives underground. As the weather warms up and the spring rains begin, the salamanders emerge and migrate to breed in temporary ponds formed by run-off, laying their eggs in clumps attached to underwater vegetation. Adults leave the ponds after breeding. By late summer, the larvae lose their gills, become air-breathing juveniles and leave the pond to head into the surrounding forests.

Adult salamanders migrate to their breeding ponds during wet rainy nights. They show a strong affinity for the pond in which they hatched and can be very determined to reach it, sometimes causing them to cross busy roads.

The Jefferson Salamander was the largest part of the decision to not permit an expansion of the quarry in 2012

In the years the Gazette has been covering the story of the Jefferson Salamander – they were a critical part of the decision in 2012 to not permit an expansion of the Nelson Quarry – one would have thought they would get more recognition and respect.

Someone should begin a movement to have the Jefferson Salamander the official mascot of the city – heck they deserve hero status for what they have achieved.

Quick Facts
• The Jefferson salamander is protected at both the provincial and national levels. It was added to Ontario’s endangered species list in 2011.
• Jefferson salamanders have a grey or brown-coloured back, with lighter under-parts. Blue flecks may be present on the sides and limbs.
• Adult Jefferson salamanders are 12 to 20 cm long. The long tail makes up half this length.
• Unlike most small animals, Jefferson salamanders can live a very long time; up to 30 years of age.

Burlington Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith does his bit to protect the Salamander explaining that: “Not only do the residents of Ward 1 do their part to protect the Jefferson Salamander every spring, the whole community embraces this road closure to help preserve this endangered species. Over the past decade, these conservation efforts have helped to ensure the Jefferson Salamander population is given a chance to survive and thrive in the years to come. Thank you to everyone who takes this short inconvenience in stride to protect our beloved ‘Jeffy’.”

Hassaan Basit, President and CEO, Conservation Halton who is perhaps best seen as God Father to the creatures add that ““The decade-long partnership between Conservation Halton and the City of Burlington has resulted in the preservation of the Jefferson Salamander population. We are pleased to share that since the first King Road closure in 2012, we have observed no Jefferson Salamander road mortality in that area during the migration period.”

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Burlington Councillor Paul Sharman along with several Oakville Council members bark back at Metrolinx: 'Meet your commitment build the grade separations'

By Staff

March10th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When Metrolinx advised the Town of Oakville and the city of Burlington that they would  not be able to proceed with the planned construction of grade separations  – they surely didn’t think that was going to be the end of it.

Burlington ward 5 Councillor took the lead on this and, working with Oakville council member issued a statement making it clear that a delay was not on for their communities.

The Town of Oakville and City of Burlington received updates from Metrolinx (the Province’s Agency for coordinating and integration transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area) on the Burloak and Kerr Street Grade Separations.

Life today at the Burloak crossing.

 

 

This was the promise – when the price ballooned Metrolinx wanted to back out. The local municipal Councillors aren’t on for that decision.

Metrolinx indicated it could no longer meet its commitment to the costs agreed to by all parties involved for both the Burloak and Kerr Separations and that the Kerr Street underpass would be deferred with no future timeline. ” These changes to our agreements with the Provincial agency are unacceptable to us.”

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman – isn’t prepared to accept the Metrolinx decision.

Grade separations not only ease congestion, they are pivotal to the health and safety of our community for vehicles and pedestrians and ensure rail transportation moves unimpeded across the Lakeshore West Line.  As representatives in areas directly impacted by these railway crossings, we hear daily about delays, safety issues and concerns from our residents.  We are determined to ensure the Province and Metrolinx fulfill their commitments to the residents in our neighbourhoods and the Halton community at large.

The Metrolinx LAkeshore West line is schedule to offer 15 minute service – vehicles will never get to cross the tracks under those conditions.

“We are calling on all Halton MPPs to work to ensure the government’s commitments to the construction of both grade separations move forward and that they do so immediately and at the costs agreed to with the Municipalities in 2018.  Now is not the time to put critical infrastructure on the back burner.  With the Province mandating growth throughout our communities, we in good conscious cannot continue to fulfill the Province’s demands of added population without safety being put firs.” said Sharman

“Movement throughout our Region relies on critically integrated corridors and the infrastructure to move those vehicles, pedestrians and transit safely and quickly.  This is more than a step backwards; the Government has slammed the car in reverse.  We are calling on all residents who have a stake in this infrastructure getting built to contact your MPP and let them know that these delays, deferrals and cost overruns are unacceptable.”

Provincial members:

Stephen Crawford (Oakville) – stephen.crawford@pc.ola.org

Parm Gill (Milton) – parm.gill@pc.ola.org

Jane McKenna (Burlington) – jane.mckenna@pc.ola.org

Effie Triantafilopoulos (Oakville North-Burlington) – effie.triantafilopoulos@pc.ola.org

 

Signed:

Sean O’Meara                                                                                           Beth Robertson

Regional & Town Councillor Ward 1                                                         Town Councillor Ward 1

Cathy Duddeck                                                                                         Ray Chisholm

Regional & Town Councillor Ward 2                                                         Town Councillor Ward 2

Paul Sharman

City of Burlington Council Ward 5

There is an interesting omission: Burlington’s Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is not a signatore to the statement.  She was all over television reports in the decision

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Significant changes to science, mathematics and technology curriculum become effective in September

By Staff

March 9th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The provincial Ministry of Education has seen the light and announced decisions to significantly revise the science and technology curriculums.

The Grade 9 science course will be de-streamed for the upcoming 2022-23 school year.

The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1 to 8: Science and Technology, 2022, and the planned changes to the new de-streamed Grade 9 science course, are part of the government’s plan to align curriculum changes with the province’s economic needs and place an emphasis on critical life and job skills, including the fast-growing skilled trades.

Ontario’s elementary science and technology curriculum was last updated in 2007 and the Grade 9 course was last updated in 2008.

Since then, significant scientific and technological innovations such as the advancement of smartphones, everyday use of 3D printing and genomic vaccines have emerged, and the global economy has changed. The updated curriculum responds to these changes with the goal of positioning Ontario as a leading jurisdiction in STEM, helping to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.

The new curriculum will be implemented in September 2022, in time for the 2022-23 school year as part of the government’s plan to ensure that all students have the foundational, transferable and entrepreneurial skills they need to compete in a rapidly changing world.

Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.

“Ontario has transformed the curriculum to now emphasize STEM education across all grades, embedding life and job skills that will support the next generation of scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “From finding new cures for cancer, to space robotics that reach new planets, and the development of artificial intelligence and technologies that are changing the economy, Ontario’s new science and technology curriculum is focused on giving young people the skills to think critically, dream boldly and chart new pathways forward for our economy.”

Writing code will become part of regular classroom assignments in September.

For the first time in Ontario history, the revised curriculum includes required learning on real-world connections between science, technology, engineering and mathematics. New expectations include:

Basic computer coding will become a part of the daily classroom work.

Coding: mandatory learning on coding from Grades 1 to 9, consistent with the math curriculum, to further enshrine Ontario as a STEM leader. For example, in Grade 3, students can learn how to program a small robot.

  • Connecting STEM Learning: for the first time, Ontario has dedicated learning expectations from Grades 1 to 9 which explicitly connects science, technology, engineering and mathematics to real-world issues.
  • Emerging technology: students will learn about the rise and application of advanced research, robotics and the development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Students can learn about the impact and application of AI in their daily lives, including facial recognition, autonomous vehicles, drones and search engines.
  • Skilled trades: mandatory learning from Grades 4 to 9 on the relationship between how advancements in science and emerging technologies are enhancing the skilled trades and providing exciting career opportunities.
  • Food literacy: learning related to food literacy in every grade that empowers students to make decisions that affect physical and mental health, consider local food production, and the scientific processes involved in agriculture.

 

The previous curricula did not contain required learning related to the skilled trades. Students will now explore how science relates to careers in the skilled trades and how emerging and new technologies impact these careers. These new learning expectations within the curriculum will ensure Ontario’s students are at the forefront of emerging innovation, thought and able to compete in the global economy.

To support the continuum of learning in mathematics, the ministry is also issuing an addendum for each of the Grade 10 Academic and Applied Mathematics courses, to be implemented for the 2022-23 school year. The addenda outline additional learning expectations to support students in their learning as they transition from the new de-streamed Grade 9 Mathematics course to the current Grade 10 Mathematics courses.

 

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Diane Murray: First woman to be placed on the Development Hall of Fame

Diane Murray being presented her Hall of Fame award by Vince Molinaro.

When the members of the Home Builders Association met as people all in the same room – it was something they had not done for two years.

To make it a memorable occasion they had the Minister of Municipal AffaIrs and Housing in as the speaker – he did not let them down, said everything they wanted to hear.

They did something else that was a first for the development/construction industry that now has 330+ member in the West End Home Builders Association.  They made a woman a member of the Hall of Fame.

Diane Murray was not only the first woman to be added to the Hall of Fame but she was also the first person who did not come from the industry.  All of Murray’s career was with Union Gas (now Enbridge) where she worked with developers getting them through some of the regulatory issues and putting pipes in the ground to move gas.

Diane Murray – centre rear row – with a Union Gas (new Enbridge) crew on a construction site.

Now retired Diane Murray will tell you that it is a much different industry now then it was the day she first put on a hard hat 30 years ago.

“The developers are different, the size of developments are much bigger and the make-up of the work force has changed.  It was a tough go for women in an industry that was very male dominated.  None of us had executive level jobs.”

Now there are women who are the daughters of developers and they didn’t join the family firm to take dictation.

Are they there yet?  Not yet, claims Diane, but on this the day that women pause to celebrate the positive changes that have taken place, Diane Murray looks back on an industry, of which she was part, and is content with the changes that have been made knowing that it isn’t over yet – that a better day is not too far ahead.

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Call from Alert Resident Leads to Arrest and Charges

By Staff

March 8th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier today, at approximately 3:50 am, Halton Regional Police Service officers responded to the area of Bluegrass Lane and Dryden Avenue in Burlington, for reports of a male trying to break into vehicles.

An alert resident was able to notify police and provide a description of the male.

Police attended the area and located the suspect, who was found to be in possession of break in tools and items believed to have been stolen from area vehicles (currency, perfume, sunglasses, purses, etc.).

Shad Atkin (33) of no fixed address was arrested and has been charged with:

  • Possession of Break-In Instruments
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
  • Mischief Under $5000
  • Trespass at Night
  • Fail to Comply with Release Order

Atkin was held in custody pending a bail hearing.

Police would like to remind residents of the value of reporting suspicious activity to police.  In this case, one phone call likely prevented further break-ins to area vehicles and lead to the arrest of a suspect.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4777 ext. 2316.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

 

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iGaming with Smart Phones has grown at a phenomenal rate - sites are safe and secure.

By Jasmine Jones 

March 10th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In the past two years, when we were stunned by global news, with cities being locked down and people being compelled to stay at home to comply with health regulations and social distancing measures, some companies and services providers were forced to suspend their physical operations. Gambling, one of Canada’s favorite pastimes, was also severely affected by this scenario, as land-based casinos and gambling facilities were forced to close.

Statistics released by certain industry studies, on the other hand, indicated that iGaming was one of the few business sectors that thrived during this span, with large revenue growth. The recent push the iGaming sector made into mobile functionality, including the deployment of upgraded mobile-friendly websites and even the launch of unique mobile casino applications, is undoubtedly behind this rapid success.

Given the high use of Smart Phones – using them to gambles anywhere and at any time, in entirely secure virtual settings.

With the advancements in mobile technology over the last decade, the mobile market has become one of the most significant sectors in the gaming industry, particularly because 87.6 percent of Canadians have a smartphone, up from 14 percent in 2009. Therefore, iGaming operators and software providers quickly realized the potential of mobile gaming and started investing in mobile responsiveness and mobile-friendly games.

When online casinos were initially conceived, there weren’t many trustworthy operators, and these platforms were shunned since most players were afraid of being scammed or deceived. However, as technology advanced, these websites got considerably safer, and today Canadian bettors and punters from all over the world can enjoy classic games on the palm of their hands, anywhere and at any time, in entirely secure virtual settings.

It is now obvious that the adoption of mobile technologies by the iGaming market resulted in several benefits for both players and operators. And in this article, we’ll take a brief look at the advantages that this has brought to iGaming, as well as some of the features that players may enjoy on these platforms.

Total availability

Smartphones have become an indispensable part of our life, with the majority of our internet activity taking place on them. There’s always something new to look forward to in the mobile app stores, from watching movies to taking gym classes. So it was only a matter of time until the iGaming sector embraced these technologies.

Currently, most iGaming operators, including companies that have just entered the Canadian market such as STS Bet Canada, provide mobile-friendly websites and mobile applications, allowing players to enjoy their favorite games 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Despite the modest screen size of smartphones, these platforms offer a realistic casino experience to both casual and high-roller punters.

Smart phone, desk top and tablets – you can gamble from any location

The majority of casino websites and mobile applications work well on every portable device accessible today, from smartphones to tablets. These platforms are remarkably easy to browse and function the same way as if we were playing on a powerful gaming PC or laptop, thanks to HTML5 technologies that have been introduced in recent years.

Players may get these applications from the iOS and Android app stores and make use of mobile gaming’s full potential. With these applications, you can play any game available from the operator, enjoy special bonuses and promotions, make deposits and withdrawals, and even contact customer service.

A multitude of game options

Hundreds – perhaps thousands of reliable gambling web site are now available.

One of the most appealing aspects of online and mobile casinos is the wide range of games offered, which includes classics such as roulette, blackjack, and slot games.

Slots are perhaps the most popular games on these websites, and the selection of online slots is vast. Some of the industry’s most well-known software suppliers, such as Playtech, Microgaming, and Evolution Gaming, release new slots nearly every month, including branded licensed games from popular movies and TV shows like Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park, and Vikings.

Table games are also highly available, and players can choose from many variants of blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and even craps, including novelty games like Perfect Blackjack, Blackjack Switch, and Multiball Roulette.

However, some of the industry’s biggest innovations in the past couple of years, live dealer games and live game shows are also offered at iGaming platforms. Live dealer games, as opposed to traditional online casino games that rely on random number generators, employ professional croupiers who manage games in real-time. And live game shows bring the excitement of TV game shows like Deal or no Deal, Jeopardy, and Monopoly Live to punters playing from the comfort of their homes.

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Top five ways to prepare for a safe and healthy March Break

By Staff

March 8th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As provinces lift restrictions, many Canadians are itching to travel. With March Break upon us, the team at COVIDdetect has pulled together top five ways to help remain as safe as possible during these times of excitement, and a little trepidation.

Premier Ford was masked when he got his vaccination. The rest of us can do it

#1 Get vaccinated – get boosted

Getting vaccinated ensures you are adequately protected against the virus. It lowers your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. With over 80% of Canadians with at least two doses, many provinces and territories are loosening restrictions and mandates. A booster shot can increase your efficacy to hold off severe infection from COVID-19.

#2 Wear a mask, wash your hands

Wearing a mask and washing your hands are additional precautions to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. These sustainable and effective measures can cut the risk of transmission of not only COVID-19 but also other viruses and illness.

#3 Be prepared – have rapid antigen test on hand

Forget the hassle of having to find a rapid antigen test while you’re away or the worry of not being sure if you should gather with friends and family. Carry rapid antigen tests with you to test before and after social gatherings, travel on planes, trains, and automobiles (and on public transit). Taking a rapid antigen test is quick, easy, and convenient. It allows you to get the results within 15 minutes without leaving the house. It is the perfect way to have peace of mind and enjoy yourself.

#4 Plan your trip carefully

Have a plan. Planning ensures smooth sailing for a trip and helps calm nerves, especially if this is your first time traveling in a long time. Look for activities with smaller crowds and gatherings or scheduling the activity at off-peak hours. Understand local restrictions and public health guidelines so you know what to expect. Reduce your risk by choosing outdoor activities. Check local travel blogs and community websites for a list of possible activities.

Get tested

#5 If you’re not feeling great, take a test

If you are not feeling well take the time to investigate. Using rapid antigen tests and common sense will limit exposing your friends and loved ones to whatever ailment you may have. With a rapid antigen test, you can better understand your symptoms and make informed decisions on taking care of yourself and when to seek treatment if necessary.

If you’re still worried about COVID-19, plan activities that are close to home, have a backup plan if activities become too busy and be creative! Additional resources are available on the Government of Canada travel and tourism website.

 

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Current and Former Youth in Care Now Eligible for Tuition Bursary at Sheridan

By Staff

March 8th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Sheridan College has announced a bursary program that will enable up to 20 eligible students to pursue post secondary studies this September.

The program is for youth currently or formerly in the care of child welfare, and is available to students of all ages pursuing their first post secondary credential and who meet the eligibility requirements.

This is a partnership with the Child Welfare Political Action Committee (PAC), and the Sheridan Bursary for Ontario Youth

“Post secondary education transforms lives and facilitating access to it is foundational to Sheridan’s mission as a leading educational institution and a responsible community partner,” said Dr. Janet Morrison, President and Vice Chancellor. “Sheridan is committed to delivering on this promise through an investment in thoughtful, long-term and systemic solutions, like this bursary.”

Sheridan has worked collaboratively for several years with local Peel and Halton Children’s Aid Societies and the Peel-Dufferin-Halton Ontario Education Championship Team to help youth currently or formerly in extended society care reach their post secondary and career goals.

Getting disadvantaged youth into a line like this becomes possible with the right financial support.

“This bursary is a significant milestone in Sheridan’s ongoing commitment to supporting vulnerable young community members by removing barriers to education,” added Sheldon Pereira, Vice Provost Student Experience and Enrolment Management. “We are delighted to join the Child Welfare PAC on their mission to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to work towards a bright and promising future.”

According to the Child Welfare PAC, there are approximately 12,000 young people currently in care in Ontario, and another 100,000 who have recently transitioned out of care. From age 18 to 21, those in care receive an allowance of approximately $875 a month. When this support ends, pursuing a post secondary education becomes more difficult.

Prospective students can learn more about Sheridan’s available scholarships and bursaries online HERE.

 

 

 

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Developers celebrate 80 years of growth and promise to be part of the solution to the housing crisis

By Staff

March 8th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The West End Home Builders’ Association (WE HBA) held its Annual Industry Luncheon at the Carmen’s Banquet Centre. With more than 320 attendees from the homebuilding and construction industries, WE HBA successfully held its first Industry Luncheon in two years.

This is the event the Mayor skipped out of a council meeting to attend.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clarke

The event’s Keynote Speaker, The Honourable Steve Clark Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, delivered strong remarks about all levels of government needing to take coordinated action to address the housing crisis.

We need to make it easier and less expensive to build all types of housing faster, so that hard-working Ontarians can find a home that meets their needs and budget ” said Steve Clark. It’s crucial that all levels of government take coordinated, pro-housing action to make it easier for all Ontarians to find the home that’s right for them.” Minister Clark also talked about the urgent need to identify and implement additional measures to address the housing supply crisis.

While addressing the assembly, WE HBA President, Bianca Bruzzese updated the members on the Association’s growth and transformation over the past two years. Our membership has thrived. Corporate support from our partners is greater than ever. And we have seen significant growth and diversification within our builder member group, providing an excellent representation of the homes that our members build for this Community and the homes that buyers aspire to purchase.” said WE HBA President Bianca Bruzzese.

The Association’s President also discussed the housing supply crisis and the importance of providing a safe and accessible community for our children and generations to come. “We, as an Association, want to collaborate with all stakeholders and all levels of government to provide attainable housing options for home buyers today and for generations to come. We need to build 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years. So, let’s work together to get it done.” said President Bianca Bruzzese.

This year the West End Home Builders’ Association is also celebrating the 80th anniversary of its founding in 1942. WE HBA was formed in a time period when new home growth in the Hamilton-Halton region exploded and the need for a professional association that would establish high standards for new home building was prominent. “It was fantastic to be back in person with our city builders at the WE HBA Industry Luncheon.” said Mike Collins-Williams, CEO, West End Home Builders’ Association. “Our keynote speaker, the Honourable Steve Clark, carried a strong message to the industry and our municipal partners that we need to tackle this housing crisis by making it easier to build all types of housing in communities across Ontario. WE HBA was also proud to recognize Diane Murray as this years Hall of Fame inductee for her years of dedication to the industry.”

320 builders packed the meeting

The West End Home Builders’ Association (WE HBA) is the voice of the land development, new housing and professional renovation industries in Hamilton and Halton Region. The WE HBA represents nearly 300 member companies made up of all disciplines involved in land development and residential construction, including: builders, developers, professional renovators, trade contractors, consultants, and suppliers. The residential construction industry employed over 21,000 people, paying $1.3 billion in wages, and contributed over $2.3 billion in investment value within the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area in 2019.

 

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Keeping Your Dog Safe in Ontario During the Winter

By James Hunt

March 8th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Winters in Ontario can be extremely harsh, with temperatures often dropping well below freezing for weeks on end. While it’s important to keep yourself safe during the winter in Ontario, what you might not know how to do is keep your pets safe. Here are four things you need to keep an eye out for.

Ice-melting Salt and Chemicals

Often, individuals use rock salt and chemicals on ice in their driveways and sidewalks to melt that ice, allowing them to drive and walk on it more easily. While these chemicals and salt aren’t typically dangerous to humans, they can hurt your pet’s paws and can cause them problems if consumed. When you take your pets outside, consider putting booties on their feet, and washing their paws when you bring them back inside.

Walking During Snowstorms

If visibility is poor when walking your dog, like in a snowstorm, it’s important to keep your dog leashed at all times, ideally with a very short leash. Dogs can get easily distracted by all sorts of things during a snowstorm, and the last thing you want is to lose track of your dog during the storm. A traffic leash, which is an extra loop on a leash near the dog’s collar, can be a great tool during a snowstorm, especially if you’re walking near traffic.

Frostbite and Other Cold-weather Health Issues

The cold weather can have a negative impact on the health of your pets, and it’s important to keep an eye out. Dr. Sarah Machell, the Medical Director for Vetster, says, “Always watch for signs of frostbite, which include skin that appears white or blue, especially on earflaps.” While a pet’s body might be warm enough to protect from frostbite on average, their extremities, just like humans, can be at a much higher risk of frostbite.

Chapped Paws and Skin

The cold may chap paws and skin on your pet. Even if your pet doesn’t spend enough time outside that they get frostbite, they can still end up with chapped paws and skin because of how dry the air might be when it’s this cold. You can combat this by having a humidifier in your home and by using pet-safe lotion on your pet’s paws and exposed skin. If you’re noticing very extreme chapping and itchy skin, you can talk to a veterinarian about other options for keeping your dog’s skin moisturized.

Keep Your Dog Safe in the Winter

The process of keeping your pet safe is an important element of living in Ontario with a dog. It’s important that you talk to a veterinarian in Ontario if you start to notice any health concerns during the winter. A veterinarian can help you understand what you need to do to keep your dog as safe as possible, even if you’re not able to take your dog out on walks due to the cold. This way, you and your dog can stay safe and healthy during the winter.

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City Seeking Members – Urban Design Advisory Panel

By Staff

March 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was a good idea when it was created.

What would help make it a great service is to add some bite to the comments the Advisory Panel makes.

There was a BUD report on the Beaujolais development at Pearl and Lakeshore.

The City  is looking for three design professionals to serve as volunteer members for its next two-year term starting in April 2022.

More specifically, the City would like to see applications from urban designers, architects, landscape architects, heritage professionals, green technologies specialists and planners.

The mandate of the Burlington Urban Design Advisory Panel (BUD) is to provide independent, objective and professional urban design advice to the Community Planning Department on tall and mid-rise buildings, five storeys or greater, and public development projects, studies and policy initiatives to help achieve design excellence in the city.

Background

The City of Burlington is at a unique time in its history. With very little greenfield left for development of suburban-type neighbourhoods, the city can no longer grow out. Instead, it must grow from within its existing urban area.

Eligibility

Candidates will be highly qualified design professionals and currently possess full membership for a minimum of ten years in at least one of the following professional associations:

      1. a) Ontario Association of Architects (OAA);
      2. b) Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA);
      3. c) Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA);
      4. d) Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP); or the
      5. e) Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI).

Candidates will also have a broad range of professional design experience such as:

      1. a) A domestic and international work portfolio;
      2. b) Project expertise with a variety of building scales and types including tall, mid-, and low-rise buildings;
      3. c) Demonstrated leadership in city building;
      4. d) Construction techniques, financial management and feasibility;
      5. e) Application of sustainable design methods.

Some feel that the BUD report on the two towers was almost ignored by the developer.

Panel Meetings

The Panel meets once a month during regular business hours. Each meeting will be approximately four hours long with a maximum of three projects reviewed per meeting.

For more information on the Burlington Urban Design Advisory Panel please visit www.burlington.ca/UDP

Application

Candidates should submit:

  1. a) A cover letter and CV summarizing their qualifications, experience and interest in participating on Burlington’s Urban Design Advisory Panel;
  2. b) Confirmation to be able to attend all meetings during their term; and
  3. c) The ability to provide independent, objective, professional urban design advice to the City of Burlington Community Planning Department.

Submissions should be emailed with the subject heading ‘Urban Design Advisory Panel’ by Friday, March 25, 2022 to:

Todd Evershed, MCIP, RPP, Coordinator of Urban Design & Special Projects, City of Burlington at todd.evershed@burlington.ca Todd can be reached at 905-335-7600, ext. 7870

Selected candidates will be contacted in early April to arrange an interview with City staff, if necessary.

The issue with the Urban Design Advisory panel is that they don’t have any clout.  The city will react responsibly to the suggestions they make – the developers see the comments as just another hurdle to get over.

To get a sense as to what a BUD report looks like CLICK HERE for the report on the two towers proposed for Lakeshore Road and Brant Street.

 

 

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Why were access fees waived - the public didn't see a dime of the savings - money went to telephone company

By Staff

March 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On March 3 a city Standing Committee approved a report that  waived permit fees in the amount of $33,800. for improved internet services for north Burlington.

This is basically how accessible internet access will be.

The improved service in north Burlington is a very important need to those residents. These improvements are being funded by the federal and provincial governments. They did not request municipal assistance or funding.

A Burlington resident has a problem with the decision pointing out that on January 25 2022 the city held an information session for this work. I attended.

The two contractors (Bell Canada and Internet Access Solutions) have not formally requested any financial assistance from the city. The contractors have been working to obtain permits from the City, Region, and Conservation Halton.

Fibre optic cable is being laid all over north Burlington giving the residents much needed internet access.

A  Burlington resident who asks not to be identified thinks “the Mayor/council appear to want some credit for the improved internet access. Must be an election  year.”

“The $33,800 given away is monies that we the taxpayer will have to make up in the 2023 current budget from tax dollars. ( Sounds like Rob Ford and the license plates) This expenditure should have been accounted for in the 2022 current budget if council wanted to participate.

“Sounds like bonusing to me.

“Do not blame the contractors for…. getting something for nothing.”

The question here is:  Why are the taxpayers waiving fees that would have been paid by Bell Canada and Internet Access Solutions, the two companies installing hi-speed broadband service in rural Burlington.

 

 

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