Province launching new supports for adoptive families

Province launching new supports for adoptive families

As Ontario enters Adoption Awareness Month, the province is launching new supports for adoptive families, including a grant program to help families cover the costs of post-secondary education for adopted children.

The new Living and Learning Grants will provide support to adoptive families with a child enrolled in a full-time post-secondary program, helping to remove financial barriers and give more youth the opportunity to pursue higher education.

In addition, 15 new adoption recruiters will start work across Ontario this November to help connect more Crown wards with adoptive families. The province is partnering with Wendy’s Wonderful Kids to support the new recruiters, who will work to build relationships with children and youth in care and develop recruitment plans specific to each child’s needs.

Ontario also offers additional supports to make life easier for families adopting Crown wards, including:

  • Support to pay for drug and dental benefits
  • Peer-to-peer supports through Adopt4Life, including mentorship and parent resources for adoptive families
  • Specialized training through the Adoption Council of Ontario for parents who adopt through children’s aid societies.

The province is also supporting greater use of customary care, a culturally appropriate placement option for First Nations children and youth, by providing one-time financial assistance to support First Nations families to welcome First Nations children in need of protection into their homes.

Helping children and youth find forever homes and access post-secondary education is part of the province’s plan to help all children and youth in Ontario reach their full potential to succeed.

QUICK FACTS

  • Crown wards are children and youth that are cared for by foster homes or group homes because they have been abused, neglected or because their family situation could have placed them at risk.
  • The Living and Learning Grant provides $500 per month, to support youth in full-time postsecondary education.
  • One-time funding of up to $5,000 is available for customary caregivers to provide a safe, secure and comfortable environment to children and youth, as well as to make home repairs or purchase furniture or other items needed to support the well-being of children.
  • Ontario is investing $24 million this year in these enhanced adoption services.
  • The new recruiters will be working with children’s aid societies across Ontario.
  • There are about 5,800 Ontario children and youth who are growing up in foster and group care as Crown wards.
  • About 1,000 Crown wards are adopted into permanent homes each year in Ontario.
  • The government serves as the guardian of all Crown wards.
  • There is no cost to adoptive parents to go through the public adoption process with a children’s aid society.

Grocery stores in Orillia and Innisfil added to authorized wine sellers list

Starting today, 67 new independent and large grocers in communities across Ontario are authorized to sell wine, beer and cider – the closest additions near Muskoka on the list are in Orillia and Innisfil.

The Province says criteria were set to ensure fairness and geographic distribution.

The location in Innisfil is the Sobeys located at 2080 Jans Blvd., while the one in Orillia is the Food Basics at 975 West Ridge Rd.

For the list click here

Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, was at Coppa’s Fresh Market in Toronto today to announce the 67 store locations, including 20 independent grocery stores and 47 stores owned by large grocers.

These stores are in addition to the 57 across the province already selling beer and cider.

Ultimately, beer and cider will be available in up to 450 grocery stores across Ontario, including 300 that also sell wine.

“Being able to make one stop to pick up wine alongside other groceries will help make everyday life easier for Ontarians. Opening up this new retail channel for wine producers will also help encourage business to thrive while delivering economic growth and job creation in Ontario’s beverage alcohol, agriculture and tourism sectors.”
— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance

Ontario maintains a strong commitment to social responsibility. By law, grocers selling beer or wine must have designated sales areas and standard hours of sale, abide by limitations on package size and alcohol content, and follow staffing and social responsibility training requirements. Ontario will develop a comprehensive alcohol strategy to promote the responsible sale and use of alcohol in moderation.

Offering consumers more choice and convenience while improving opportunities for business is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their lives.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Social responsibility requirements:

Selling alcohol is a public trust the government takes very seriously. The following retail requirements apply to authorized grocers:

The sale of wine, beer and cider adheres to standard hours, which are: Monday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Limitations to alcohol by volume – maximum of 7.1 per cent for beer and cider, and 18 per cent for wine, beer and cider continue to be sold in a six-pack or less or up to 750 mL per container

Wine can be sold in maximum four-litre containers

Staff selling alcohol must be a minimum of 18 years of age and be trained on Ontario’s standards for social responsibility, including making sure customers under the age of 19 and intoxicated individuals do not purchase alcohol

Grocers will also be restricted to selling wines with a retail price of $10.95 (per 750 mL bottle) or higher
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will oversee these and other regulations.

Rural ratepayers to see electricity bills decrease by an average of $540 a year

Today Ontario passed legislation that will rebate the provincial portion of the HST from electricity bills as of January 1, 2017.

The Ontario Rebate for Electricity Consumers Act, 2016 will reduce electricity costs by 8 per cent on the amount before tax, an average savings of about $130 annually or $11 each month, for about five million residential consumers, farms and small businesses.

Rural electricity ratepayers will receive additional relief, decreasing total electricity bills by an average of $540 a year or $45 each month.

“The government recognizes the need to do more to ensure an affordable energy system for everyone and is committed to providing electricity rate relief that will benefit ratepayers in a meaningful way. Starting January 1, we will provide an 8 per cent rebate to provide extra relief for Ontario’s families, farms and small businesses.”
— Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Energy

Commercial, institutional and industrial ratepayers would also benefit from up to 34 per cent lower electricity costs through the expansion of the Industrial Conservation Initiative.

Making electricity more affordable is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

QUICK FACTS

The province is reducing costs for eligible rural ratepayers by providing additional funding to the Rural or Remote Rate Protection (RRRP) program.

The Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) provides a strong incentive for large electricity consumers to shift their electricity consumption to off-peak hours to reduce their bills by up to one-third. Ontario intends to expand ICI to help reduce cost pressures on the electricity system and enable more consumers to reduce their electricity bill by up to one third.

Ontario has removed the Debt Retirement Charge from residential electricity bills and introduced the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) to provide a monthly credit to low-income households who have applied and meet the eligibility requirements to help reduce electricity costs.

Since 2003, Ontario has invested more than $35 billion in over 16,000 megawatts (MW) of new and refurbished clean generation, including nuclear, natural gas and renewables – this represents about 40 per cent of our current supply.

Minimum wage increase takes effect in October

As part of its balanced plan to build Ontario up and help people in their everyday lives, Ontario is raising the general minimum wage from $11.25 to $11.40 on October 1, 2016 – the third consecutive year it has increased.

Minimum wage rates for liquor servers, students under the age of 18, hunting and fishing guides, and homeworkers will also increase at the same time.

In 2014, the government passed legislation to tie minimum wage increases to Ontario’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), providing annual, reliable increases to workers and predictability for businesses. As a result, full-time minimum wage earners in the province are making $2,392 per year more than they did three years ago.

This builds on progress the government is already making to support Ontario workers and help connect people with jobs including:

Modernizing the province’s employment and labour laws with the goal of improving the lives of vulnerable workers, while supporting business
Investing more than $1 billion a year in employment and training services

Helping low and middle income Ontario students with the cost of tuition in order to keep post-secondary education within the reach of all families, while building the best-educated workforce in the world

Investments of nearly $174 million in 2016-17 for programs that support apprentices, employers and training delivery agents

Improving access to labour market information and making it easier for job seekers to make informed decisions about their education, training and careers
Increasing the minimum wage in a fair and predictable manner is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs.

The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

QUICK FACTS

This is the 10th minimum wage increase since 2003.

Minimum wage increases are announced by April 1 each year, and are in effect on October 1 of the same year.

The primary sectors employing minimum wage earners are accommodation and food, retail trade and agriculture.

Province launches consultations to develop new dementia strategy

Ontario is launching consultations across the province to help develop a new dementia strategy, which will improve access to quality care for people living with dementia and boost support for those who care for them.

September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day, and starting today, the province is inviting Ontarians to share their views on the new strategy through an online survey and will hold in-person consultations this fall.

Public input is being sought on key issues, including:

Providing supports to help people with dementia live well

Ensuring access to the right information and services at the right time

Coordinating care between health care and other service providers

Supporting care partners with their caregiving responsibilities

Having a well-trained workforce to provide dementia care

Raising awareness and reducing stigma about brain health and dementia.

There are approximately 228,000 people in Ontario currently living with dementia, with the number expected to grow as the population ages.

To support the consultations, the province has released Developing Ontario’s Dementia Strategy: A Discussion Paper, which is based on feedback from health care providers, people living with dementia and care partners from across Ontario.

The development of a comprehensive dementia strategy builds on Ontario’s current investments in improving the lives of people living with dementia and their families. This includes $31 million to strengthen Alzheimer Society chapters across Ontario and $54 million in annual funding to Behavioural Supports Ontario, as well as support for the Finding Your Way initiative that helps people living with dementia live more safely in their community.

Developing Ontario’s dementia strategy is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to live healthy and a health care system that’s sustainable for generations to come. It is also part of Ontario’s Patients First: Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care, which is the government’s plan to improve and expand home and community care over the next three years.

QUICK FACTS

Dementia describes a group of conditions that affect the brain and cause problems with memory, thinking, speaking or performing familiar tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

The dementia strategy public consultation will build on discussions Ontario has held over the last year with people living with dementia and care partners who shared their personal experiences, as well as health care professionals and other experts.

New measures will transform political fundraising in Ontario

Ontario is reintroducing measures to change the way political parties raise and spend money after hearing from the public, experts and opposition parties.

The government’s proposed Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act would make the province’s election financing system among the strongest and most transparent in Canada. Key reforms include:

Barring corporations, unions and other groups not affiliated with political parties from making political donations,

Creating new restrictions on fundraising for politicians and political parties

Limiting third-party spending on political advertising.

The proposed legislation builds on a similar bill introduced in May 2016 and includes a broader range of legislative measures that would go even further to ensure greater transparency and accountability of parties and candidates to the public.

“With our government’s proposed reforms, Ontario’s electoral financing system would be the strongest and most transparent in Canada. These proposed measures strengthen our commitment to modernizing electoral financing and build on meaningful engagement with the general public, experts and opposition parties. I look forward to further measures to improve Ontarians’ engagement in the electoral process and to continue to increase public confidence.”
Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

The new bill would transform the province’s election financing rules by:

Reducing the total amount individuals can donate by almost 90 per cent (from $33,250 to $3,600 per year) — to a maximum of $1,200 to a political party, $1,200 to its candidates and $1,200 to its constituency associations or nomination contestants in an election year

Strengthening the rules to address coordination between political actors and third parties

Expanding the definition of a political contribution to include paid labour

Promoting greater transparency in political fundraising events by requiring political parties to post event details to their public websites, including information such as the fees charged to attendees and the intended recipients of those funds.

Later this fall, Ontario will also propose a further amendment to ban MPPs, candidates, party leaders, nomination contestants and leadership contestants from attending political fundraising events. In addition to these legislative measures, the government has committed to working with opposition party members to develop a code of conduct that would set out fair, balanced rules for all elected officials.

“We’re changing the way politics is done in Ontario. Through dialogue and collaboration with stakeholders, experts, the public and our colleagues of all political stripes, these transformative measures will — if passed — not only build Ontarians’ confidence in the electoral process, but will make our province’s election financing system among the strongest and most transparent in Canada.”
Yasir Naqvi (Above), Attorney General and Government House Leader

The new proposed Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act is part of Ontario’s commitment to reintroduce all government bills that were before the legislature in spring 2016, so that debate on important issues may continue.

QUICK FACTS

This bill includes all of the amendments that were made to the original Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act in committee.

The legislation proposes that the measures take effect on January 1, 2017, in order to have these reforms in place by the next general election.

Next to Québec, Ontario already has the lowest spending limit per voter for political parties during an election period in Canada.

Ontario also plans to move forward with a number of other legislative measures later this fall, including changing the fixed election date from fall to spring, allowing provisional registration of 16- and 17-year-olds and integrating, simplifying and modernizing a range of election processes, based on the advice of the Chief Electoral Officer.

 

Throne speech promises include $540 a year in electricity savings for eligible rural ratepayers

As part of its balanced plan to build Ontario up and help people in their everyday lives, the Ontario government intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, would rebate an amount equal to the provincial portion of the HST on residential, farm and small business electricity bills as of January 1, 2017.

Rural electricity ratepayers would receive additional relief and commercial, institutional and industrial ratepayers would also benefit from lower electricity costs.

The government also announced that it will create an additional 100,000 licensed infant to preschool child care spaces within the next five years, starting in 2017.

The government’s plan was outlined in the Speech from the Throne delivered today by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor. The speech opened the second session of the province’s 41st parliament.

The plan will continue to create economic growth and good jobs — the government’s number-one priority. The government will also balance the budget next year, in 2017-18, and Ontario’s debt-to-GDP ratio will decline — a sign of economic strength and fiscal responsibility.

The government’s plan will help people in their everyday lives by:

Delivering electricity cost relief through legislation to rebate an amount equal to the provincial portion of the HST on electricity bills — a saving of about $130 annually for the typical Ontario household; eligible rural ratepayers would receive additional relief, resulting in average savings of about $45 a month or $540 a year. Eligible small businesses would also benefit from the rebate and eligible larger businesses would also benefit from the plan through the expansion of the Industrial Conservation Initiative

Starting in 2017, creating an additional 100,000 licensed child care spaces for 0- to 4-year-olds within the next five years, bringing the number of spaces created since 2013 to 156,000 and doubling the current capacity for the 0-4 age group

Putting a new emphasis on math skills, expanding experiential learning, implementing free tuition for thousands of low- and middle-income students and encouraging more young people to turn their good ideas into start-up companies

Investing in skills training that aligns with the job market of today and tomorrow

Continuing to increase nursing care hours to enhance home care, reducing wait times for specialists, and connecting a family doctor or nurse practitioner to every Ontarian who wants one

Continuing to make historic infrastructure investments in schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and transit

Building a competitive business environment driven by innovative, low-carbon industries, including attracting international investment, continuing to cut red tape and implementing a cap and trade program to help people and businesses fight climate change

Continuing to work with its federal and provincial partners to enhance the Canada Pension Plan

The Throne Speech outlines the next steps in the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by making a high-quality college and university education more affordable. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is building a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
QUICK FACTS

Over the last two years, Ontario’s economy has grown by 6.1 per cent

In the first quarter of this year, Ontario’s real GDP growth was higher than that of the United States and all other G7 countries

Ontario unemployment this year has reached an eight-year low

In September 2014, the Premier’s mandate letters to ministers — 30 in total — were made available to the public for the first time. Mandate letters outline the specific priorities for each member of cabinet and their ministry. The Premier will be releasing new mandate letters to ministers in the coming weeks.

Wine available on grocery store shelves starting Oct 28th

Ontario has selected the first grocers that could sell both domestic and imported wine inside up to 70 grocery stores across the province, increasing convenience and choice for consumers.

The winning grocers from across Ontario were selected via a competitive bidding process held by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).

The sale of wine in grocery stores is scheduled to begin October 28, 2016.

Reflecting a mix of independent and large grocers and geographic representation to ensure fairness, the successful grocers are:

Canex Canadian Forces Exchange System
Coppa’s Fresh Market
Farm Boy 2012 Inc.
Fresh Market Foods
Highland Farms Inc.
Loblaws Inc.
Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc.
Metro Ontario Inc.
Sobeys Capital Inc.
Starsky’s Fine Foods Hamilton Inc.
Uxbridge Foods Inc.
Wal-mart Canada Corp.
Yummy Market Inc.

While offering consumers more convenience and choice, Ontario maintains a strong commitment to social responsibility. By law, these grocers will have to abide by the requirements for the safe sale of alcohol overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), including designated sales areas and standard hours of sale, limitations on package sizes and alcohol content and staffing and social responsibility training requirements. Ontario is also developing a comprehensive alcohol policy to promote the responsible sale and use of alcohol.

Supporting more choice and convenience for consumers is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

QUICK FACTS

Eventually, up to 450 grocery stores will be authorized to sell beer and cider and, of these, up to 300 may also sell wine.

Up to 70 existing winery retail stores that operate just outside a grocery store’s checkout will also be permitted to operate inside the store and share the checkout. These “wine boutiques” will broaden their assortment to sell wines made by other Ontario producers, and will be located at grocery stores that sell beer. These wine boutiques will be permitted to begin operating this fall, at the same time as wine is introduced to grocery stores.

Sales of beer in grocery stores started in December 2015. Between December 2015 and the second week of August 2016, grocers received more than 532,000 cases of beer from the LCBO, amounting to net sales of approximately $24 million.

Allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores across the province follows the final recommendations made by the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets. Other recent changes to beverage alcohol retailing in Ontario include the sale of beer in grocery stores last December, cider this June, and online shopping at LCBO.com.

New driver license fee comes into effect September 1st

Driver licence fee increases come into effect this September to help maintain Ontario’s transportation infrastructure. Additional fees for reinstatements, replacements and commercial permits will follow effective January 1st, 2017.

As of September 1, 2016:

The Driver’s Licence Original and Renewal Fee, including the driver licensing fee as part of the Enhanced Driver Licence, will change from $81.50 to $90

Vehicle Licence Validation in Northern Ontario will change from $54 to $60

Vehicle Licence Validation in Southern Ontario will change from $108 to $120.

New fee changes effective January 1, 2017:

The Driver’s Licence Reinstatement Fee after Suspensions and Administrative Monetary Penalty will change from $180 to $198

Driving Instructors Licence Replacement will change from $28 to $31

Oversize/Overweight (O/O) Permit Replacement will change from $28 to $31

Original and Replacement Plate/Permit Fee for Manufacturer motor vehicle and motorcycle and dealer plate will change from $20 to $25

Original and Replacement Plate/Permit Fee for Manufacturer motor vehicle and motorcycle and dealer permit will change from $10 to $32.

Updated fees help maintain the province’s transportation infrastructure and provide resources to help keep Ontario’s roads safe and are consistent with recommendations from the Auditor General of Ontario to achieve full cost recovery for delivery of services.

QUICK FACTS

Since 2003, Ontario has committed over $25 billion to design, repair and expand provincial highways and bridges across Ontario.

There are more than 12 million vehicles registered in Ontario.

Ontario is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history — about $160 billion over 12 years, which is supporting 110,000 jobs each year across the province, with projects such as hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit.

Ontario to license home inspectors

Today, Ontario’s Minister of Government and Consumer Services Marie-France Lalonde announced the Province’s intent to introduce legislation this fall that would, if passed, regulate the province’s home inspection industry in order to better protect consumers.

If passed, the proposed changes would:

* Require home inspectors to be licensed with proper qualifications
* Set minimum standards for contracts, home inspection reports, disclosures, and the performance of home inspections
* Establish an independent Administrative Authority to administer and enforce the home inspection licensing legislation and associated regulations

“Our government is committed to protecting consumers, which is why introducing this proposed legislation remains a top priority for my ministry. If passed, this proposed legislation will help to build a stronger foundation for the industry and even better protect consumers throughout the home-buying process.”
 — Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Government and Consumer Services

These changes would ensure consumers benefit from quality advice, are protected from surprise costs and aware of safety issues before buying a home. This will also create a level playing field for the home inspection industry, preventing inspectors with little or no training from competing with qualified professionals by offering lower rates.

Protecting Ontario’s consumers is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education.

The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing  in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

QUICK FACTS

* Home inspectors are one of the only professionals involved in a real estate transaction who are not provincially regulated.
* Approximately 65 per cent of resale homes sold annually receive a home inspection.
* There are approximately 1,500 home inspectors in Ontario.
* The proposed legislation the government intends to introduce was based on 35 recommendations made by a 16-member expert panel which were then supported by both industry and consumers.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
* Learn more about consumer protection and your home.

(Photo Muskoka News Watch)

Orillia to host 2018 Ontario Winter Games

Ontario has awarded provincial multi-sport games events to three cities in 2018 and is providing over $2 million to support the events.

Mississauga will host the Ontario 55+ Summer Games, London will host the Ontario Summer Games, and Orillia will host the Ontario Winter Games.

The Ontario 55+ Games showcase the best participants 55 years of age and older from across the province, and the Ontario Summer and Winter Games are for top young athletes between 12 and 20 years old. The games provide an opportunity for amateur athletes to develop their skills and prepare to advance to national and international competitions. They also encourage volunteerism, contribute to local tourism and economic activity, and help communities build their experience and resources to host large-scale events.

“Our government’s investment in sport is driven by a commitment to support communities and help them grow and prosper through events like the Ontario Games. Multi-sport events of this nature can unite our communities through healthy, active living and provide new opportunities for our coaches, volunteers, officials and athletes. Ontario is home to a diverse range of athletes with different backgrounds and skillsets and I look forward to supporting them by delivering memorable events in London, Orillia and Mississauga.”
Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

The Ontario Games program is part of Game ON – The Ontario Government’s Sport Plan to help more Ontarians participate and excel in sport. Game ON recognizes the many ways organized sport can be good for people and communities, from the health benefits of physical activity to the economic benefits of hosting major events. Game ON is one of the many legacies of the 2015 Toronto Pan Am / Parapan Am Games that also include world-class newly built and improved sport and recreation infrastructure and the new Canary District community in the former Athlete’s Village.

Supporting sport is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
QUICK FACTS:

Mississauga was announced as the host of the 2018 Ontario 55+ Summer Games at the Opening Ceremony for the 2016 Ontario 55+ Summer Games in Midland.

The province is investing $235,000 for the Ontario 55+ Games, $1 million for the Ontario Winter Games and $1 million for the Ontario Summer Games.

Ontario also holds two other multi-sport Games: the Ontario 55+ Winter Games will be held in February 2017 in Cobourg and the Ontario ParaSport Games will be held in February 2017 in Brantford/County of Brant.

Ontario has tripled its support for amateur sport from $8.78 million in 2003 to more than $27 million in 2015–16.

The sport industry contributes an estimated $2.1 billion to Ontario’s GDP and supports 43,730 jobs.

Photo via Ontariowintergames.com

Liberal Education Minister announces ban on child care wait list fees

Ontario has filed a regulation to end fees for child care wait lists to improve the accessibility of child care and make life easier for families.

The ban will take effect September 1, 2016, and will prevent licensed child care centres and home child care agencies from charging fees or requiring deposits to join child care wait lists.

The regulatory amendments also require licensed child care providers to:

Develop a public wait list policy that clearly explains how children on a wait list are offered admission.

Ensure wait list status is made available to families, in a manner that protects the confidentiality of their personal information.

The regulation was developed with feedback from public consultations and from the Ontario Regulatory website, with strong support for a ban on wait list fees from parents, child care providers and municipalities. The consultation period was open from May 17 to July 4, 2016.

“We listened to parents and heard their concerns about wait list fees. That’s why we are stopping this unfair practice. No family should have to pay to simply be on a waiting list for child care. We will continue working with our partners to build a high-quality and accessible child care and early years system that better serves Ontario’s children and families.”
Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education

Giving Ontario’s children the best possible start in life is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

QUICK FACTS

Ontario is the first province in Canada to ban child care wait list fees.

On May 16, 2016 Arthur Potts, MPP for Beaches – East York introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the Ontario legislature that would restrict licensees to charge non-refundable fees for child care wait lists.

In August 2015 the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, was proclaimed to strengthen oversight of the province’s unlicensed child care sector and increase access to licensed child care options, including before and after school programs where there is sufficient demand.

The province announced $120 million over three years in new funding in April 2015 dedicated to building more than 4,000 safe, high-quality, licensed child care spaces in schools across the province.

Since 2003–04, the government has doubled child care funding to more than $1 billion annually, and the number of licensed child care spaces in Ontario has grown to nearly 351,000 – an increase of 87 per cent.

Ontario is investing $269 million over three years to support a wage increase for early childhood educators and other child care professionals in licensed child care settings.

Breastfeeding supports available to Ontarians

Resources Include Phone Support and Local Services

During World Breastfeeding Week, new mothers and mothers-to-be in Ontario are reminded that there are provincial supports available to help them breastfeed.

“The majority of moms in Ontario want to breastfeed. It’s convenient, healthy and a great way for moms and babies to bond. World Breastfeeding Week is an important time to encourage moms to make use of the many services available in this province to help them continue breastfeeding.”
— Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

The World Health Organization recommends infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their lives. This means that the baby receives no food or drink other than breast milk. But it can take time and practice for both moms and their babies to learn how to breastfeed. That’s why Ontario has invested in support programs across the province, including:

Telephone support: Ontarians can get confidential breastfeeding support, advice and referrals from registered nurses with specialized breastfeeding training 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One-to-one coaching and referrals to local community services are provided. Call toll-free at 1-866-797-0000.

Local supports: Ontarians can find local breastfeeding support service through a searchable online list. This list includes breastfeeding services located in local Community Health Centres, Public Health Units, Aboriginal Health Access Centres, and other community based organizations.

Investing in breastfeeding supports is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.

QUICK FACTS

Breastfeeding has many benefits for babies, including: better overall health, protection from illness and infections, healthy brain development, maintaining a healthy body weight and proper jaw and tooth growth.
Breastfeeding also has benefits for mothers including: controlling bleeding after baby’s birth, reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis
The Baby-Friendly Initiative is a globally recognized standard for infant feeding and breastfeeding promotion, and supports exclusive breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact within the first hour of birth.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

World Breastfeeding Week 2016
Learn more about breastfeeding
Ontariobreastfeeds.ca
Healthy Kids Strategy
Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care

Ontarians reminded to lower risk of getting Lyme Disease

Ontarians are being reminded to protect themselves from tick bites while enjoying or working outdoors this summer.

Lyme disease can be serious. If not identified early, infection can lead to recurring arthritis, neurological problems, numbness, and paralysis. Lyme disease is spread to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick.

Tick populations are established in known risk areas throughout the province. In addition, multiple factors are allowing ticks to potentially establish populations in new areas throughout the province.

These factors include climate change, warmer winter temperatures and ticks’ ability to “hitch-hike” on suitable hosts, like birds or deer. Ticks live near the ground in woodlands, tall grasses and bushes, and thrive in moist environments, like those found underneath old leaves on the forest floor.

The best way to prevent tick bites include:

* Wearing closed-toe shoes, long-sleeved shirts and pants
* Pulling your socks over your pant legs to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs
* Wearing light-coloured clothing to spot ticks more easily
* Using insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin on clothing as well as on exposed skin, following the product instructions carefully
* Showering or bathing within two hours of being outdoors to remove ticks that can be on your skin but not yet attached
* Doing a daily full body check for ticks. Young blacklegged ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, so look carefully. Check children and pets for ticks as well.
* Placing outdoor clothing through the dryer cycle for 60 minutes on high heat before washing to kill any ticks that may be hard to see.
If you or a family member are experiencing serious symptoms and health effects, or have concerns about any symptoms, please contact your health care provider.

QUICK FACTS

* Dogs and cats can carry the ticks into your home and place families at risk of being bitten. Check your pets for ticks daily and talk with your vet about keeping your pet protected from ticks.
* The most commonly known symptom of Lyme disease is an expanding, non-itchy to mildly-itchy skin rash. The rash can begin at the site of the tick bite between three and 30 days after exposure and usually grows in size for several days. Although many people never get or see a rash.
* When doing a full body check for ticks, pay close attention to areas such as your scalp, ankles, armpits, groin, naval and behind your ears and knees. Use a mirror to check the back of your body or having someone else check for you.
* Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics if diagnosed and treated early. The earlier treatment is received the better.

Port Carling man charged with stunt driving after vehicle was clocked going 209km/hr

A Port Carling man has been charged with stunt driving after police say the vehicle he was driving was clocked going 209km an hour.

On Sunday at 12:29 am, an officer from the Barrie Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) was conducting radar enforcement on Highway 11 northbound when a Red Hyundai Genesis was seen travelling at a high rate of speed.

Police say the officer determined the speed to be 209 km/hr in a posted 90 km/hr zone.

As a result, 53-year-old John Emmons from Port Carling was charged with Racing a Motor Vehicle.

The vehicle was impounded for seven days and his driver’s licence was suspended for a period of 7 days as a result of the stunt driving charge.

Police remind motorists that an essential part of the enforcement job is to save lives and reduce injuries on the roadways. Educating the public about safe driving practices is a priority.

Local Hospital Foundations gain from Lakeland Holding donation

Lakeland Donates $10,000 to the Huntsville and South Muskoka Hospital Foundations

Published October 18, 10pm: The South Muskoka Hospital Foundation and Huntsville Hospital Foundation received a $10,000 donation Thursday from Huntsville-based Lakeland Holding Ltd.

“It is important that our company contributes to the communities that we serve,” says Tom Peppiatt, Chair of the Board.

Feature photo (submitted), from left to right: John Crocket, Board Chair Huntsville Hospital Foundation; Tom Peppiatt, Chair Lakeland Holding Ltd.; Gerry Dearing, Executive Director Huntsville Hospital Foundation; Colin Miller, Executive Director South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Foundation; Margaret Maw, Chief Financial Officer Lakeland Holding Ltd.; Paul Hammond, Board Chair South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Foundation; and Chris Litschko, Chief Executive Officer Lakeland Holding Ltd.

“We are extremely grateful,” says Paul Hammond, South Muskoka Hospital Foundation Chairman, “to have community partners like Lakeland Holding supporting our hospitals.  They value health care initiatives and are willing to step forward and encourage others to do so as well.”  Hammond added that their $5,000 would be applied to the Foundation’s diagnostic imaging project which includes replacement of the hospital’s CT scanner and mammography machines as well as upgrades to the hospital’s x-ray suites.

“On behalf of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, Board Chair John Crockett joined Hammond in expressing his thanks.  “Community and local business support from a great partner like Lakeland Holding truly makes a difference in supporting the hospital and patient care,” he says. The $5,000 will be used to support the Diagnostic Imaging CT Scanner in Huntsville and for other priorities such as upgrades to the Chemo suite and digital communications stated Crockett.

“Due to our continued growth, I am pleased to report that our company has increased annual contributions to $50,000 within our local communities. These consist of financial donations and in-kind contributions to assist a variety of charities, events and organizations,” adds Chris Litschko, Chief Executive Officer of Lakeland Holding.

Lakeland Holding Ltd. is comprised of subsidiary companies: Lakeland Power, Bracebridge Generation and Lakeland Energy.

Related Articles:

About Muskoka News Watch – consider donating to keep your Muskoka info flowing: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you like being informed, please toss a few dollars our way using the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page (you can use Credit Cards or Debit). Your support is needed and appreciated. Thank you!