Smith backs Premier Ford’s call for local representation at IJC table to address high-water concerns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2019

Bay of Quinte – As shoreland property owners in Bay of Quinte and elsewhere on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River raise their voices about flooding and record high-water levels, the Ontario government is advocating to increase their representation on the International Joint Commission (IJC).

With the support of Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, and neighbouring MPPs, Premier Doug Ford has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to urge the federal government to act immediately to appoint an IJC Commissioner from the region hit hard by record high water levels in both 2017 and 2019.

Ford noted flooding has caused extensive damage to public and private property and severely impacted businesses that support the region’s vital tourism economy. He indicated the cost to municipalities, private landowners and businesses in the region “will reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.” The Premier expressed his disappointment the IJC has not been more responsive to concerns raised.

“The people living and working on the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence fear the future of their homes and businesses hang in the balance as decisions are made by the IJC over the coming weeks and months,” Ford wrote.  “It is imperative that the voices of those communities most impacted by the decisions made by the IJC are represented at the table.”

As Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are international boundary waters shared with the United States, Canadian jurisdiction for water-level control is the federal level. Canada is a party to the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, which established the IJC.

In June, Smith wrote federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna to ask her to engage the IJC for an expedient review of Plan 2014, a protocol that has governed water-level management on the international waterways for the past three years. He advocated for revisions that would introduce proactive management tools to lessen impacts on shoreland owners.  He appreciated Ford’s action.

“I’ve heard clearly from constituents who have experienced damaging flooding, sleepless nights, and lingering doubts about their property values – both in terms of their day-to-day living and monetarily,” said Smith. “I thank Premier Ford for standing up for these residents and pushing for them to have true representation in these discussions that mean so much to them.”

Smith expressed hope that Trudeau will act upon Ford’s request.

“Time is ticking and the water levels have not receded. People are scared this nightmare will continue into 2020 and beyond. It’s time for the Prime Minister to acknowledge this problem and address it,” said Smith. “By agreeing to appoint someone with lived experience as an IJC Commissioner ‑ as Premier Ford requested - he would be making a tangible step in that direction.”

 

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Ontario continues investment in County Seniors Centre with $52,725 in 2019-2020 funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MONDAY, NOV. 18, 2019

Prince Edward County – Ontario is committed to helping the County Seniors Centre keep local seniors active, healthy, independent and socially connected within their own communities.

Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, recently announced the Province has committed $52,725 in Seniors Active Living Centre funding to the Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association to administer a wide range of programming in community halls throughout Prince Edward County.

“This funding will go a long way in helping seniors in the County stay active and socially connected, while also preventing social isolation, said Smith “Seniors Active Living Centres provide a hub for seniors and their families to build positive connections, encourage physical activity, and in doing so, benefits everyone’s well-being.”

The County Seniors Centre, launched in 2018, now has more than 200 members who participate in a range of programming ranging from fitness activities to educational lectures to cards and games.

“We’ve been able to offer social recreational programming to seniors in a very different way due to having this funding,” said Debbie MacDonald Moynes, Community Care’s executive director.  “We work closely with the municipality to use their halls. We try to have an activity or an event in each of the municipal halls each month. That has been a way that we can take programming directly to seniors. It has been well accepted thus far.”

Seniors who have paid a $25 annual membership fee receive a schedule each month of the opportunities available to them through the County Seniors Centre. More information about the program is available at www.communitycareforseniors.org.

The County Seniors Centre also hosts an annual one-day Seniors Active Living Fair designed to connect seniors to resources and services in their communities.

The investment is among $14.1 million designated to support more than 300 Seniors Active Living Centre programs in communities across the province. Minister for Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho said the programs support healthy aging and a maintained high quality of living.

“Supporting our seniors today is about investing in all of our futures. This funding will have a direct and positive impact on seniors in communities across the province by giving them an opportunity to take part in programs and services that will help keep them active, socially connected, and healthy.”

Seniors Active Living Centre programs support over 100,000 seniors across the province, and this funding will provide a variety of programming and activities to help seniors stay active, socially engaged, safe, and healthy. This is especially important given that about 30 per cent of Canadian seniors are at risk of becoming socially isolated.

Ontario remains committed to protecting what matters most to seniors and their families.

Smith noted that the City of Belleville also received $52,725 in Seniors Active Living Centre Program Funding for 2019-2020 to support its 55-Plus activities.

QUICK FACTS

  • Seniors Active Living Centre programs are community-based and promote wellness and social interaction.
  • The senior population in Ontario is the fastest growing age group. By 2023, there will be 3 million Ontarians over the age of 65.
  • Active aging brings positive health benefits, including helping to keep seniors out of the hospital.

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Ontario supports innovative college partnerships

BELLEVILLE — The government is cutting red tape and removing barriers so Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges can create innovative and entrepreneurial partnerships to provide all students with high-quality education and training that prepares them for Ontario’s workforce.

 

Earlier today, Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano announced that Ontario is introducing a new policy to support public college-private partnerships that allow colleges to be more financially competitive. In return, the economic advantages from delivering their programs to more students in more locations can be invested back into the colleges’ main campuses and local communities.

 

“Through these partnerships, students will get the education and training they need for good jobs so Ontario businesses have the skilled workforce to grow and make Ontario open for business and open for jobs,” said Romano. “These partnerships will strengthen communities across the province by encouraging international students to study at campuses outside the Greater Toronto Area, and to remain there after their studies.”

 

“For over 50 years, Loyalist College has been a destination for those looking to further their education and obtain the training and skills they need to land a good job,” said Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte. “As a Loyalist graduate, I am pleased that this new policy will allow the college to pursue innovative partnerships with private providers and grow as a key contributor to the Bay of Quinte economy.”

 

“The new policy on public-private partnerships will allow us to attract and train more international students who will contribute to our workforce, helping to bolster Ontario’s economy and offset the province’s declining domestic student population,” said Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, Loyalist College President & CEO. “Colleges and communities will benefit from Minister Romano’s announcement today, as well as recent Ontario government initiatives such as the reduction of red tape, enabling us to respond more quickly to regional labour market needs by streamlining the program approval process.”

 

The new policy on college partnerships will give colleges more flexibility to meet strong demand from international students for Ontario’s high-quality postsecondary education.

 

QUICK FACTS

 

  • Six publicly assisted Ontario colleges (Cambrian, Canadore, Lambton, Northern, St. Clair and St. Lawrence) currently have private partnership agreements for the delivery of programs leading to an Ontario college credential in Canada.
  • International students with a credential from an Ontario public college may apply for a work permit for up to three years under the federal Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
  • These partnerships will help strengthen communities across the province by encouraging international students to study at campuses outside the Greater Toronto Area and to potentially remain there after their studies.
  • This new policy supports colleges in being financially competitive so that they can invest that economic benefit into their main campuses and in their local communities.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

Ontario Colleges: www.ontario.ca/page/ontario-colleges

Private Career Colleges: www.ontario.ca/page/private-career-colleges

 

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