General News

November:

January 3, 2019   ·   0 Comments

Sylvia Jones promoted as Solicitor General

Written by Mike Baker

Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones was one of the main beneficiaries as Ontario Premier Doug Ford carried out a major reshuffling of his cabinet this week. Promoted from her previous role as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Ms. Jones was officially handed the Community Safety and Correctional Services portfolio on Nov. 5, replacing Michael Tibollo, MPP for Vaughan-Woodbridge. Mr. Tibollo found himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons last month as he faces allegations of professional misconduct by his law firm and a failure to pay debts. He will take over the vacated Tourism, Culture and Sport file. Ms. Jones, who was elected for a fourth term in June’s provincial election with 53 percent of the local vote, took to social media following her appointment to show her appreciation for being trusted with what is a big promotion at Queen’s Park. “Honoured to be sworn in as Ontario’s Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. I look forward to my new role and continuing to deliver on our commitments for the people of Ontario,” Ms. Jones wrote. “Thank you (Premier Ford) for your confidence. I am humbled to serve the people of Ontario as Minister of (Community Safety and Correctional Services). It is an honour to work with our police, firefighters and correctional officers to make sure they have the tools they need to keep Ontario residents safe,” Ms. Jones added, in a separate post. Under the new portfolio, Ms. Jones will be responsible for ensuring that Ontario’s communities are supported and protected by law enforcement and public safety systems that are safe, secure, effective, efficient and accountable. The ministry’s responsibilities fall into three key categories – correctional services, public safety and security and policing services. The ministry establishes, maintains, operates and monitors Ontario’s adult correctional institutions and probation and parole offices, coordinates public safety initiatives among municipal fire and emergency services organizations, as well as overseeing the Ontario Provincial Police. In total, Premier Ford made as many as six changes to his cabinet in Tuesday’s announcement. The move was sparked by the abrupt resignation of Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson from his position as Minister of Economic Development on Nov. 2. It was also revealed that Mr. Wilson, a close confidant of the premier, was leaving the PC party, planning to serve as an independent member at Queen’s Park. The Premier’s Office addressed the departure in a brief release to media following the announcement, stating Mr. Wilson was stepping aside to seek treatment for addiction issues. It was then revealed on Monday (Nov. 5) that allegations of sexual misconduct were the reason for Mr. Wilson’s sudden resignation, although that has yet to be confirmed by Mr. Wilson or the Premier’s Office. 

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UPS to build $200 million warehouse in Caledon 

Written by Joshua Santos

UPS (United Parcel Service) announced plans to construct a $200 million, 850,000 square foot warehouse facility in Caledon. The building will feature advanced scanning and sorting technology integrated with data-driven tools to increase efficiency and reliability, according to a UPS news release. “I’m extremely pleased and proud to welcome the highly respected global logistics company United Parcel Service (UPS), to the town of Caledon,” said Mayor Allan Thompson. “This development will create jobs, bolster our local economy and at 850,000 square feet, will be the largest UPS facility in Canada.” UPS is a logistic company that transports packages and freight, facilitating international trade and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the business sector. Its headquarters are based in Atlanta and serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The release notes that the package operations hub will provide additional processing and service capacity to the Greater Toronto Area in order to meet growing business and residential customer demand. The fully automated Caledon facility will sort up to 35,000 packages per hour and house a fleet of more than 200 package cars. It will have close access to Highway 410 and Mayfield, according to a Town of Caledon news release. The facility is anticipated to open in late 2020. The Town news release states the area itself is currently undergoing a major expansion eastward to Airport Road. UPS is the second major logistics and distribution facility to locate in the area in recent years. Acklands Grainger, located on Dixie Road, opened a 535,000 square foot distribution centre in 2015. “Southern Ontario is an attractive hub for international trade and business,” says Christoph Atz, president of UPS Canada. “This new facility will serve the growing needs of businesses and consumers today and into the future.” UPS is not announcing specific job numbers at this time, according to UPS spokesperson Murssall Akramy. More information will be provided in the new year as the opening date gets closer. The news release states Ontario serves as a point of facilitation for the movement of goods, domestically and across the border. Strategically located, the new facility will increase resources and expand UPS’s smart logistics network to better serve customers in the region, both in Canada and the United States. UPS announce its plans to invest more than $500 million towards facility expansions and technological enhancements in Canada earlier in March. Construction of a $125 million, 180,000 square foot expansion to the company’s Montreal hub is almost complete. Companies such as Amazon, Canada Tire Agrocrop Exports Ltd. and Mars Canada have announced investments in the municipality. Caledon has added over 3.4 million square foot of industrial space, bringing over 1,900 jobs to the community, according to a Town release. The company also unveiled its new $15 million, $40,000 square foot facility in Kanata and has expanded its packaged centres in Brampton, London and Edmonton. The release states UPS employs approximately $6,000 people across Ontario and 12,000 across Canada. Those interested in applying for current vacancies can visit upsjobs.com. 

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Ontario government to allow firefighters to ‘double hat’

Written by Joshua Santos

Municipalities may soon be able to employ full-time firefighters who work for one department and also volunteer in their communities. It’s the practice of ‘double hatting.’ The provincial government said it will propose amendments to the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 (Bill 57) in its 2018 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review on Nov. 15. Sylvia Jones, MPP for Dufferin and Caledon said she has been working on this file for a long time and is thrilled that they are moving forward to protect people who want to volunteer for their local fire department when they are off duty. “I have served as the MPP for Dufferin and Caledon since 2007 and the very first question I asked in question period was for the government of the day to protect firefighters who choose to volunteer in their home community,” said Jones. Proposed changes address about availability of firefighters and streamlining the arbitration process “This is great news for the Caledon Fire Service and for Volunteer Fire Fighters across Ontario” said Mayor Allan Thompson. “I want to thank the Provincial Government for listening and responding to the needs of rural municipalities who rely on volunteers to help keep their communities safe” Mandy Gould is a Brampton firefighter who lives in Caledon and volunteers in Inglewood on her time off. She has volunteered in Caledon for 14 years. Her father also volunteered in Caledon and served 25 years. “He dedicated his life to his community, said Gould. I grew up in the fire culture and watched him leave our birthdays, Christmas and family gatherings at the sound of a pager to help a neighbour, friend or complete stranger. This community raised me and I too wanted to give back and do as my father did.” She has been at the forefront of a battle with five other double-hatters in Caledon found in violation of rules by the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 1068 (Brampton), according to Citizen archive articles. A union tribunal in June found that the seven have been in violation of the union construction and bylaws by volunteering their firefighting services while being employed full-time with the fire department in Brampton. Double-hatters lost a ruling that included a $500 monthly fine for six months if they did not forfeit their volunteer positions. It would increase to $2,000 per month if the violation continues after 18 months. Gould hopes this recent decision is the light the end of the tunnel in the challenge against double hatters. “At this point we are cautiously optimistic,” said Gould. “It would be great if we could put all the charges, pressures and fines behind us, as this hasn’t been easy. I hope this is the end of it but we will keep up the fight if we have to. We are all determined to volunteer in Caledon, and we know the community is behind us. That has made the real difference for us. Paul Lecompte, president of the Brampton Professional Fire Fighters Association said they are disappointed in the decision. He wished they have an opportunity to explain to the government the impacts of double hatting. The association is part of IAFF Local 1068. “We’re disappointed in the decision, said Lecompte. We understand what the government is doing but we just wished there was more consultation from the government. This is an internal matter based on our union and rules.” He said the association is going to continue to work with the government, educate them and have an opinion dialogue. “We have our own members that are full-time firefighters in Brampton and they’re volunteering part time in Caledon and the Caledon Local itself is trying to advance it’s service.,” said Lecompte. Caledon is big geographically, I understand there’s smaller little centres but they’re trying to grow the force as they become bigger and having full time members volunteer there impedes that and it’s internally why it’s a violation of our constitution. We don’t want another member that is affecting another full time local which is Caledon.” The Town has been vocal in their support to double-hatters pledging financial support and lobbying government officials to challenge the issue. “Protecting our double hatters is just the right thing to do, said Thompson. They should be thanked, not be fined for volunteering in their home communities and the Provincial Government listened and responded by closing the loop in the legislation that allowed them to be penalized” Jones said she firmly and unequivocally supports volunteer firefighters. “The fact that some of these individuals were being fined and targeted by their association speaks to why we as a government needed to bring some protection in to make sure that this stopped happening,” said Jones. Thompson said the issue of double hatters is important to the Town of Caledon as they depend on over 200 volunteer firefighters to provide service to the rural communities. Jones reiterated his sentiments saying there are many individuals that are willing to serve their local fire halls throughout Caledon. It can also spark careers for young people. “You can name them all, said Jones. Alton, Mono Mills, Caledon East, Inglewood, Cheltenham, Snelgrove; they are all, staffed by volunteer firefighters. The willingness that those individuals have to continue to protect their friends and neighbours, if there is a fire emergency is laudable and we should not be making their life more challenging. “On the flip side, young people who seek to start a career in fire protection and fire safety often begin their careers as volunteer firefighters. Allowing them to serve as a volunteer firefighter while they are seeking full time employment, it makes them a more valuable candidate for consideration of a full-time department.” Gould hopes this recent new is the light the end of the tunnel in the challenge against double hatters. “At this point we are cautiously optimistic,” said Gould. “It would be great if we could put all the charges, pressures and fines behind us, as this hasn’t been easy. I hope this is the end of it but we will keep up the fight if we have to. We are all determined to volunteer in Caledon, and we know the community is behind us. That has made the real difference for us.

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Holocaust survivor speaks at Caledon library

Written by Jasen Obermeyer

Eva Meisels from the Holocaust Education Centre and the Azrieli Foundation spoke at the Caledon Albion Bolton Branch, shedding further light on the darkest and most evil time in history on Thursday, Nov. 8. In the deadliest conflict in human history, the Holocaust was at the centre. It was the mass genocide by Nazi Germany of the European Jews, along with other sub-humans and undesirables, including Gypsies, ethnic Poles, Soviets, gays, and the mentally and physically disabled. All of this to create living space for a supreme Aryan race. Meisels shared her story to residents and students. She was born in Budapest, Hungary, on July 3, 1939, just two months before the Second World War began. Hungary at the time was allied with Germany, and was thus spared for the most part by Hitler’s wrath. However, she said there were some restricting rules for the Jewish people, including participation in public life and what work they could do, and had to wear the yellow Star of David. Her father was taken and sent into a forced labour camp, after which her mother mended old clothes bought from a flea market to make some money. In March 1944, after Hitler discovered the country was considering an armistice with the Western Allies, ordered an invasion and occupation. It was at this point that Meisels and her mother ended up crammed into one of 293 houses in the Budapest ghetto, where 63,000 people struggled to survivor. Food shortage, the sound of fallings bombs and the sight of piled corpses became the norm. Though her parents survived the Holocaust, her grandparents, aunts and uncles did not. Over six million Jews were systemically murdered, and millions of others in the Nazi persecution. She recalled a time when her mother sent her to get some bread outside the ghetto. “She knew a woman who used to be a neighbour of ours was running a stand selling bread, said Meisels. “So, she took my star off, and she sent me, never knowing if she would see me again. “If anyone would have noticed me without my yellow star, I would have been shot right there. And not only me, this woman who took a terrible risk, reaching under the counter, and giving me some bread, she could have been killed on the spot. I want you to understand, there were some people who tried to help the Jews. Unfortunately, there was not enough.” There were some who helped save many Jews, including Oskar Schindler, and in Hungary, Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. 



         

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