Smith announces $900,000 investment in hands-on training for those facing barriers to employment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2019

BELLEVILLE – Ontario is committed to putting people back to work with a focus on job training and personal development. A commitment of $900,000 will help multi-barriered individuals in the Quinte region get job-ready, by teaching them hard and soft skills to better position them for sustainable, long-term employment.

The project - funded through the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and run through Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA-HPE) – will connect people with food service industry jobs, including those with disabilities, a lack of formal education or homelessness.

“I’m very proud of the work that the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Hastings and Prince Edward branch is doing to ensure people of all abilities are able to contribute to our community,” said Todd Smith, MPP for the Bay of Quinte. “Having a job is so much more than collecting a paycheque, it’s about the pride and sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching one’s potential.”

Today’s announcement builds on Ontario government’s work to create meaningful paths to employment, and ensure people have the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy. Within 10 weeks, IN-Spire Futures plans to take on its first cohort of candidates who will complete a 10-week course. The skills obtained through programs like IN-Spire Futures are extremely valuable for those seeking to enter or re-enter the workforce.

“This is an incredible project that will help those who face barriers when it comes to finding work,” said Smith. “This will have a transformative impact not only on these individuals, but also on the public services that support them, and on our broader Quinte region economy.”

Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training, and Skills Development for Ontario agreed the program will benefit both participants and employers within the region.

"Our government is committed to helping people develop the skills and knowledge to get good jobs in high-demand areas," said McNaughton. "By funding this project, we are creating potential careers for people with barriers to employment and helping employers get the talent they need to support their businesses."

CMHA’s training will be delivering its training at the industrial kitchen on-site at “IN-Spire Café”, a social enterprise partnership with Continuing on in Education.

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Smith recognizes Chicken Farmers of Ontario for supplying over 1.5 million meals to food banks in 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FRIDAY, DEC. 13, 2019

Belleville – Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte and Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services, recognized the Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) for their efforts to ensure all of the province’s citizens have access to healthy, nutritious food throughout the year.

Speaking at the Gleaners Food Bank, Smith noted that through its CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks program in partnership with Feed Ontario, CFO makes it possible for each of its members to donate 300 chickens each year to local food banks. This year, about 500 chicken farmers donated through the program, translating to over 1.5 million meals. Since 2015, the program has supplied 4 million meals.

“In recent years, more and more Ontario residents have turned to food banks regularly. Programs like CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks ensure they have access to fresh, nutritious options on the dinner table,” said Smith. “I congratulate our local chicken farmers for taking care to ensure their neighbours can visit welcoming community spaces across the province - like Gleaners - and take fresh chicken home.”

Smith added the Government of Ontario also plays a role in supporting the vital partnership.  Thorough the Food Donation Tax Credit for Farmers, the government promotes local food contributions by offering farmers a 25-per-cent tax credit for the fresh food they donate.

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman added the government is pleased to support the Chicken Farmers of Ontario in their giving.

“It’s incredible to see the Chicken Farmers of Ontario make such a positive difference to so many people across our province,” said Hardeman. “The CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks program demonstrates the huge generosity of Ontario’s chicken farmers and the hard work they do all year round to make this remarkable contribution possible.”

CFO board director Tim Klompmaker said Ontario’s chicken farmers value its partnership with Feed Ontario and the government.

“Hundreds of farmers have already jumped up at the opportunity to donate chicken and help those in need. It is truly amazing how chicken farmers have responded, and it is only made possible through strong partnership with government, Feed Ontario, and local food banks,” said Klompmaker.

“When chicken farmers donate fresh, nutritious, locally-grown chicken, it takes many food bank volunteers to sort it, portion it, and deliver it to people in need. The food bank staff and volunteers are the real heroes in helping tackle hunger in our community.”

Gleaners Food Bank public relations and fundraising co-ordinator Sarah Kring said the partnership is well received by its clients, adding the donations also allow the not-for-profit charity to dedicate fundraised dollars to address other client needs.

“Our clients’ incomes are spent on rent and utilities first and then, after those bills are paid, there may be limited or no funds remaining to purchase food. Fresh proteins and produce are expensive and, therefore, our clients choose less food items in order to stretch their dollars further,” said Kring. ”Our organization is thrilled to be a part of this program and recognize the CFO donors as it has provided our clients with a protein item that normally they would not be able to afford otherwise.”

Smith encouraged Bay of Quinte residents to follow the CFO’s lead by considering donations to their local food banks this holiday season to address food insecurity.

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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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