FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020
Picton - Ontario is helping community agencies repair and renovate their buildings so they can continue providing services to children and families.
Today, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte and Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, joined by Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, announced Ontario is investing over $260,000 for repairs and upgrades at local agencies.
This includes an investment of over $227,000 in Alternatives for Women’s Vi’s House project, which will create Prince Edward County’s first women’s emergency shelter space, and house office and living spaces to better meet client needs. The investment will support the replacement of all doors and windows, plumbing and flooring upgrades and a new security system.
“For over 30 years, Alternatives for Women has been providing support for women and families in Prince Edward County who have experienced abuse,” said Minister Smith. “Today’s investment helps them deliver on a vision to enhance those services through the creation of the County’s first emergency shelter bed and much-needed expanded safe spaces for counselling and transitional supports.”
Alternatives for Women Executive Director Leah Morgan welcomed the announcement.
“The funding received by MCCSS is essential in the completion of Vi’s House. As we head into the final phase of construction, this funding will ensure that all areas of the building are functional, safe and secure,” said Morgan. “We are now able to customize the space to meet the needs of clients and staff, and ensure that all required safety measures are implemented. Improved functionality and security will allow us to expand our programming, share counselling space with our community partners, and provide peace of mind to the high-risk women we serve.”
Minister Dunlop added that capital funding provided through the $11.5-million Partner Facility Renewal Program allows ministry-funded agencies to concentrate on their services and less on raising funds.
“These repairs and improvements are crucial to ensuring safe conditions for dedicated frontline staff and our friends and neighbors that they serve, said Minister Dunlop. “I am proud that we are investing in our local communities to help our partners – including women’s shelters – maintain and upgrade their buildings so they can continue to focus on helping children and families who rely on their services.”
Minister Smith added, “Repairs that make sure buildings are safe and sound for years to come means community agencies can focus on giving people the support they need. Our government continues to support important services people rely on.”
These investments help agencies maintain building capacity, while providing better services for people with developmental disabilities, women and children experiencing domestic violence, Indigenous people and children with mental health needs. Helping community partners maintain and upgrade their buildings is part of the government’s plan to build healthier and safer communities.
- Alternatives for Women in Price Edward County offers services and supports for women over age 16, who have experienced domestic violence.
- Over $260,000 investment will be distributed between three local agencies: Alternatives for Women, Community Living Belleville, and Kerry’s Place in Thomasburg.
- Ontario’s emergency women’s shelters serve more than 17,000 women and children yearly.
- There are more than 70,000 adults with a developmental disability in Ontario and about 18,000 receive residential supports in communities across the province.
- In 2017-18, almost 109,000 families across Ontario were served by 49 children’s aid societies, including 11 Indigenous societies and three faith-based societies.
Government Plan Freezes Classroom Sizes, Invests in Special Education, and Holds the Line on Wages and Benefits
TORONTO — Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, welcomes the government’s additional, reasonable proposals at the negotiating table to fight for the priorities of students and parents, with a single focus on ending this impasse.
During the negotiation process, the government tabled proposals with each of the education sector unions, which included substantive moves on lower than proposed but not lower than on the ground class sizes, support for students' unique learning needs, full-day Kindergarten, as well as reasonable proposals on merit-based hiring and compensation.
Despite these consistently reasonable moves, the teachers' unions continue to reject the government's student-centric proposals while simultaneously focusing on significant increases in compensation, particularly enriching generous benefits schemes.
On Tuesday, the government is announcing the most recent proposal put forward to all teacher unions, with a focus on getting a deal:
- A commitment to a funded maximum average class size of 23 in secondary schools - leaving them essentially the same as 2019-2020;
- Replace the previous Local Priorities Fund with a new, student-centric Supports for Students Fund, which allows boards more flexibility to address students' unique learning needs, including special education, mental health, and STEM education;
- The Supports for Students Fund would continue at the same funding amount of the Local Priorities Fund.
- A commitment to maintain full-day kindergarten; and
- Reasonable increases in wages and compensation.
The government is also announcing a policy to give parents the ability to opt their children out of the mandatory online courses required for graduation.
The government is calling on the unions to cancel future strikes during this period to allow for good faith bargaining. Moreover, the government continues to make the case for the advancement of merit-based hiring.
"The time to end this is now. Parents are frustrated, students are losing educational days, and teachers are uncertain about their future," said Minister of Education Stephen Lecce. "I am asking the teachers' unions to return to the table, in light of this reasonable offer, to reach the agreement parents want, and students deserve."
These proposals demonstrate the government's commitment to getting students back in the classroom, investing in our students' potential while supporting the school boards' planning processes.
"This is a balanced plan that reflects the priorities of students and parents, maintaining class sizes, investing in students' unique learning needs, and holds the line on the reasonable increase in wages and compensation we are offering."
"If the unions reject this most recent, student-centric offer, parents should rightly be asking what exactly are the priorities of the unions," concluded Lecce.
“This is another reasonable step in the right direction, to ensure that students remain in class,” said Smith. “It is time for teacher union federations to work with all parties in good faith to reach a deal and put an end to continued strike action that disproportionately affects our children.”
- The Government’s plan includes no changes to class size for our youngest learners in Junior Kindergarten through grade 3. There are no changes to class size for students in grades 4 to 8. Provincial funding, and legislated class size restrictions, would change for grades 9-12 to reflect an average class size of 23. This is effectively the same as 2019-20.
- The Ministry of Education provides the framework, funding, and flexibility needed to support school boards in meeting class size requirements for all grades across the province. Local school boards are responsible for class organization.
- The Ministry of Education will continue to move forward on a made-in-Ontario online learning program that will ensure student flexibility, technological literacy and a wide selection of
- courses. By expanding and modernizing online learning, students will have greater flexibility, more choice, and will graduate with the skills needed to enter the workforce.
- The Ministry of Education understands that parents know best how their children can adapt and learn through online courses, by giving parents the option to opt out of the mandatory online courses required for graduation. As students prepare to enter Grade 11 and 12, parents will have the opportunity to engage with their child’s guidance counsellor to determine whether online learning is appropriate and beneficial for their child.
- The Supports for Students Fund will provide a total of $148 million, an amount equivalent to the remaining amount of the previously negotiated Local Priorities Fund, in the last round of bargaining.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2020
Quinte West - Ontario is investing in community health centres to create a better care experience for patients and to build more capacity within the health care system to help end hallway health care.
Today on behalf of Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, was in Trenton to announce Ontario is investing more than $14 million for the construction of the Belleville and Quinte West Community Health Centre (BQWCHC) on Catherine Street across from Quinte Health Care’s Trenton Memorial Hospital (TMH). The Trenton satellite site project will increase primary care capacity in Trenton and surrounding community.
“By creating a modern and spacious permanent home near TMH for the Belleville and Quinte West Community Health Centre satellite site, the Province is helping residents find more convenient access to the care they need,” said Smith. “This one-stop health hub will promote collaborative patient care and ease the pressures of hallway health care in our hospitals.”
Under the BQWCHC Trenton satellite project, patients and families will have access to patient-centred and integrated health care services, including:
- Primary health care;
- Dietitian/nutrition counseling;
- Mental health services;
- Health promotion and prevention; and
- Chronic disease management.
This project is part of the government’s commitment to invest $27 billion over the next 10 years in health infrastructure projects across Ontario.
“As part of our comprehensive plan to end hallway health care, we’re investing in innovative models to bring better care closer to home,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Patients across the province are waiting too long for care and finding it difficult to navigate a disconnected and confusing health care system. One of the ways we are going to help solve this problem is by investing in innovative health care models, like this one right here in Trenton.”
BQWCHC Executive Director Sheila Braidek and Board President Brad Harrington expressed their gratitude that the Province’s commitment has allowed the project to proceed.
“This new building will allow us to expand our health promotion and community programming and to better accommodate our primary health care services. BQWCHC has always been a community health hub. This project will expand what’s possible,” said Braidek.
“This project has been in the works for a long time and it is very exciting that we can now build a permanent home for BQWCHC,” added Harrington. “We extend our sincere appreciation to the Province of Ontario for its generous support of this important capital project. We would also like to thank Quinte Health Care and the City of Quinte West for their support.”
Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison was also pleased with the development.
"We couldn't be happier that this project is getting the funding it needs to move forward," said Harrison. "Quinte West residents will benefit from increased access to a variety of resources and services that will be available at the new facility."
Quinte Health Care donated land to allow the project to proceed. President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Clare Egberts said the preventative care offered through the Belleville and Quinte West Community Health Centre is an important element of the local health services delivery model.
“Quinte Health Care was pleased to donate the land for this project as we know that the Belleville and Quinte West Community Health Centre will have a positive impact on our patients and will help support the work we do at the hospitals by providing enhanced prevention, screening and health promotion. We are thankful that the Province of Ontario is investing in this project,” said Egberts.
The development will occur in two phases: Construction of the new building, followed by decommissioning and disassembly of the existing modular site at 70 Murphy St. During the construction phase, services will continue at the Murphy Street. The total square footage of those sites is 7,200 square feet. Harbridge & Cross Ltd. has been selected as the preferred contractor following a request for proposals process held in Fall 2019. The anticipated completion date of construction is Summer 2021.
Ontario has a comprehensive plan to end hallway health care, which includes making investments and advancing new initiatives across four pillars:
- Prevention and health promotion: keeping patients as healthy as possible in their communities and out of hospitals.
- Providing the right care in the right place: when patients need care, ensure that they receive it in the most appropriate setting, not always the hospital. This includes investing in community-based health services.
- Integration and improved patient flow: better integrate care providers to ensure patients spend less time waiting in hospitals when they are ready to be discharged. Ontario Health Teams will play a critical role in connecting care providers and, in doing so, helping to end hallway health care.
- Building capacity: build new hospital and long-term care beds while increasing community-based services across Ontario. This includes expanding access to community health centres.