A Message to Niagara’s Regional Council – Use the Ontario Ombudsman’s Findings as an Opportunity to Restore some Public Trust in Regional Government

A News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted November 14th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dube’s long anticipated report on all of the controversy surrounding the hiring of former Niagara Region CAO Carmen D’Angelo is now being reviewed by Niagara’s regional council, and may be only days away from being made public.

As I write this, Ontario’s Ombudsman Paul Dube has reportedly been in a closed meeting with Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley, Niagara’s 12 mayors and other members of the Region’s council where they were getting their first look at a report that Dube and his investigators prepared on conduct that, over the past three or four years, did a good deal to  shatter whatever  trust many area resident may have had  left in regional government.

The investigation and report – more than a year in the making – was largely sparked by information,  uncovered and reported in the local media, that the hiring three years ago of former Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority CAO Carmen D’Angelo to the position of CAO at the Region was carried out in ways that were highly questionable, to say the least.

Now former Niagara regional chair Al Caslin and the Region’s former CAO Carmen D’Angelo, overseeing a regional council meeting  two years ago. A File photo by Doug Draper

Allegations of wrongful conduct continued to surface over the past two or three years. More than a few of those allegations focused on members of former Niagara regional chair Al Caslin’s  staff, and on Caslin himself, including reports of him single-handedly or almost single-handedly brokering a three-year extension of D’Angelo’s CAO contract, without first  meeting with members of council to seek their approval. Continue reading

Centennial Construction and Contracting is Niagara’s Latest Certified Living Wage Employer

Glen Walker of the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network“We are very pleased to see so many local employers who recognize the value and benefits of paying atgro least a living wage. Paying a living wage takes direct action to tackle poverty and we are excited to see the wing number of Niagara businesses joining us in this work.”                         – Glen Walker, Chair of the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network.

A News Release from the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network

Posted November 14th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network is pleased to announce that Centennial Construction and Contracting (Niagara) Inc. has become a certified living wage employer at the Champion level. 

Centennial Construction is now a second generation family run business that was established in 1992. Originally just homebuilders, they eventually expanded into foundations, site servicing, concrete, and more.

Throughout the past five years, they have been putting in a lot of heart and effort towards new home builds across the Niagara Region with a modern style and design that differentiates them from others. Centennial Construction currently employs just over 60 employees in their construction, concrete and farm divisions. Continue reading

Impacts of the Extreme 2019 Great Lakes High Water Levels Felt Throughout Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River

“Significant damages and other impacts were experienced across the (Lake Ontario) system. Shoreline communities are seeking reliable ways to reduce property damages, protect critical infrastructure and maintain essential services.”

A wal of sandbags surround the base of the historic lighthouse at Port Dalhousie Harbour in St. Catharines, Ontario this spring of 2019 to protect it from near record high waters in Lake Ontario. File photo by Doug Draper

By Anthony M. “Tony” David

International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, Canada/U.S. International Joint Commission

Posted November 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Lakeside Park beach in St. Catharines is swamped with rising waters from Lake Ontario this spring of 2019. This was the second time in a span of three years that the beach area was not available to visitors until well into late June and July. File photo by Doug Draper

(A Brief Foreword Note from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

This report, originally circulated by the International Joint Commission via the internet this October 2019, is one of many like it that Niagara At Large will make more of a practice of posting in this age of more frequent and severe climate-related episodes impacting on our lives and communities.

We will post reports like this and we will continue to join as many of you as possible in urging politicians at all levels of government to take the actions necessary to address what experts around the world now agree is a climate emergency and an existential danger to people, property and the communities we live in.)

When water supplies exceed capacity in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system, water levels rise. When this happens, regulation is looked to as the solution.

But during periods of extreme water supply, the ability of regulated outflows to influence Lake Ontario levels is greatly diminished. In practical terms, no regulation plan can eliminate high water events on Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence River.   Continue reading

Environmental Racism Experts to speak at Brock University

On Friday, November on Friday, November 15th from 2 to 4 p.m. on the Brock campus’s Charles A. Sankey Chamber in St. Catharines, Ontario

An Invite to All form Brock University
Posted November 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Where is federal and provincial government action on cleaning up mercury pollution left over from old industrial operations in the English River watershed at the Grassy Narrows First Nation community in northern Ontario?

St. Catharines, Ontario – This Friday, November. 15th, Charlotte Henay, Lecturer at Brock’s Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies, will be joined by two external experts in a panel presentation titled “Climate Justice, Gender, and Environmental Racism.”

Margot Francis, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and co-organizer of the event, explains that the panel will highlight the ways in which “minoritized communities suffer disproportionate harm from environmental toxification.”

“The impact of environmental devastation is not currently and has never been felt equally by everyone,” says Francis. “Communities in the global south who have been least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions are being harder hit, and in Canada, Indigenous and black communities have always been more vulnerable to environmental racism.” Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Taking Next Steps to Integrate Health Care System

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

“In order to bring our world-class health care system into the 21st century, we need to get rid of the inefficiencies and back office duplication. This is how we are continuing to put patients first and ensure sustainability for future generations.”                   – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

News from Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Conservative Government

Posted November 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Changes will Protect Uninterrupted Access to Patient Care

TORONTO — Ontario is taking the next steps in its plan to better integrate the province’s health care system to help end hallway health care.

On December 2, 2019, five provincial agencies will begin transferring into Ontario Health while the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) have been clustered into five interim and transitional geographic regions.

The Hamilton, Niagara, Hadlimand, Brant LHIN (Local Health Integration Network), still outlined with thin black border lines on this map, is now being clustered with other LHINs to form an interim West region stretching west to Windsor and northward along the shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Map courtesy of Ontario government

This is an administrative step only and not a merger of the LHIN boundaries. Further, there will be no impact to patients’ access to home and community care or long-term care placement as Ontarians continue to receive the care they need from the care providers they have built relationships with at the 14 LHINs. Continue reading

Transforming Transportation in Neighbouring Western New York – A Roundtable Discussion

The Sierra Club Writers Group of Western New York Encourages You to Participate, on Monday, November 18th, 2019 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the University of Buffalo South Campus Hayes Hall in Buffalo, New York

A Call-Out from the Sierra Club and the Citizens Regional Transit Corporation in the Buffalo/Western New York area

Posted November 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

We are reaching out to invite you to a local roundtable discussion regarding Sierra Club’s Transforming Transportation (https://my-geo.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=35f78c77c3fbd6dbbeeebe6ac&id=bd3902bba7&e=1e416ef83d) report on November 18th from 10:30am – 12:30pm at UB Hayes Hall 402. 

This year, New York passed the nation’s most ambitious climate legislation which will phase out fossil fuels in our economy by 2050. Over 1/3rd of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. Continue reading

Niagara College Ranks Number One in Canada for Applied Research Activity

News from Niagara College

Posted November 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara College will mark its 20th year of applied research activity with the honour of earning the number one spot in all of Canada for research.

In its annual report “Top 50 Research Colleges,” Research Infosource Inc. has announced that Niagara College has secured the top place in the country, based on total research funding numbers for 2018. The listing also demonstrates NC’s steady standing as a leader in research in Canada, as this represents the fifth year in a row of being in the Top 10.

On November 12, Niagara College announces its number one ranking in Research Infosource Inc.’s Top 50 Research Colleges.  President Dan Patterson (front right) and VP Research, Innovation & Strategic Initiatives Marc Nantel (front left) hold up a banner announcing the good news as they gather with staff members from NC’s  Research & Innovation division.

“A great year for Niagara College research,” said Ron Freedman, CEO, Research Infosource Inc. “Not only in terms of research income – number one in the country – but research partnerships, where Niagara ranks number three among large colleges.” Continue reading