Morning Coffee – By Aaron Hall

Weather forecast for Thursday, December 7, 2017

Today – Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries late this afternoon. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40. High plus 1.

Tonight – Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries early this evening then partly cloudy. Wind west 20 km/h. Low minus 7.

Wallaceburg Skating Club ‘Christmas Pop Concert’ tonight

The Wallaceburg Skating Club is holding their annual Christmas Pop Concert tonight, Thursday, December 7.

The show will start at approximately 5:45 p.m. and run until 7:30 p.m.

All Wallaceburg skaters are slated to participate in the show.

‘Late Night Christmas Shoppin’ in Dresden

The ‘Late Night Christmas Shoppin’ Under One Roof’ event is taking place in Dresden at the Old Czech Hall on Thursday December 7.

It will run from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.

There will be 20 different vendors and there will be 50 swag bags for the first 50 people to come through.

Santa will also be there.

All proceeds will go to back to the Czech Hall.

Chatham-Kent seeking info on accessible taxi

With the pending closure of Chatham-Kent’s only licensed accessible taxi service providing pre-booked appointments, the municipality is actively trying to determine if another provider will step forward.

“We realize the importance of this service to members of our community and a Request for Information is being conducted to obtain information from interested parties on providing an on-demand accessible taxi service for all areas of Chatham-Kent,” stated Nancy Havens, Chatham-Kent’s Manager of Licensing Services, in a press release.

At its October 23 meeting, Chatham-Kent Council asked administration to prepare a Request for Information to determine interest in providing accessible taxi service in the municipality.

The situation was made more urgent when Chatham Radio Cabs, which currently provides the service, announced plans to close January 1.

Havens stated that it would be ideal if there were accessible taxicabs covering all communities in Chatham-Kent but realizes service levels are determined by market conditions.

Anyone interested in providing a submission can access this link on the municipal website to obtain further information.

The information requested in the RFI is due on December 20 and will contribute to further discussion of the issue of transportation accessibility.

Havens noted that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) regulation requires municipalities consult with its municipal accessibility advisory committee, the public and persons with disabilities to determine the proportion of on-demand accessible taxicabs required in the community.

The AODA also states that any municipality that licenses taxicabs ensures owners and operators of taxicabs are prohibited, from charging a higher fare or an additional fee for persons with disabilities than for persons without disabilities for the same trip; and from charging a fee for the storage of mobility aids or mobility assistive devices.

Santa Claus parade and Christmas events in Dresden

The Dresden Santa Claus parade, with the theme “A Truly Canadian Christmas” is taking place on Saturday, December 9 at 6 p.m.

It will coincide with Dresden’s ‘Christmas Night Market’ running from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There will also be ‘Breakfast with Santa’ at the Dresden Legion on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., a Christmas Craft Show from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Holiday Hoopla

Chatham-Kent Public Library is offering a holiday bonus to users of Hoopla.

Hoopla Digital gives library members free access to movies, TV shows, music, comic books, audiobooks and ebooks online.

Usually, patrons enjoy 10 downloads per month, but for the month of December, CKPL is giving patrons the gift of ‘double the downloads’.

Available for mobile and online access, Hoopla Digital allows patrons to enjoy thousands of titles – available to borrow for instant streaming or temporary downloading to their smartphones, tablets and computers.

Hoopla Digital is offered at no cost to patrons via web browser, Android and IOS and requires only a Chatham-Kent Public Library card to access.

To register, visit www.ckpl.ca/download or www.hoopladigital.com.

To find out more about downloadable collections at Chatham-Kent Public Library, visit www.ckpl.ca/download.

Ontario breaking ground in Indigenous postsecondary Education

Government officials say Ontario is taking a historic step in recognizing the unique role Indigenous Institutes have in the province’s postsecondary education system with the introduction of new legislation that, if passed, would transfer key functions and oversight to Indigenous people.

Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, and David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, were joined by the Aboriginal Institutes Consortium, chiefs, leaders of Indigenous Institutes and students from across the province in Toronto recently to mark this important step on the path to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

“Working in partnership with Indigenous Institutes to promote Indigenous language, culture, identity and community well-being is a key step towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Ontario,” stated Matthews in a press release.

“This legislation goes a long way to create greater access to lifelong learning opportunities for Indigenous people so that they have the skills, training and education to succeed in Ontario’s highly skilled workforce.”

Government officials say the legislation, if passed, would recognize Indigenous Institutes as unique and complementary pillar of Ontario’s postsecondary education system and support the independence and sustainability of the institutes in Ontario’s system. It is also another important step on the path to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

“Through this legislation, Ontario is building stronger relationships, which is an important step toward reconciliation and greater Indigenous control over the design, delivery, and governance of education programs and services,” Zimmer stated in a press release.

“Greater awareness and understanding of Indigenous histories, cultures and perspectives is essential. Reconciliation begins with education.”

The changes would create a framework for ongoing collaboration between Ontario and Indigenous Institutes and would support a strong, independent Indigenous Institutes sector, overseen by an Indigenous controlled and governed council, government officials say.

The council would, among other functions, provide quality assurance for postsecondary diplomas, certificates and degree programs offered by Indigenous Institutes.

“Ontario’s historic announcement on the Indigenous Institute Act will empower more Indigenous learners to reach for their dreams and to learn in culturally and linguistically responsive First Nation environments,” stated Rosie Mosquito, Chair, Aboriginal Institute Consortium, and Executive Director, Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute.

“The proposed legislation will create an indigenous pillar in the Ontario postsecondary education system, a result of a unique policy co-creation process between our nine institutes and the Government of Ontario. In engaging in this process, together, we have set out on a meaningful and sustainable path toward reconciliation and to close the education achievement gap for our people.”

The proposed legislation is the result of joint policy co-creation between the Indigenous Institutes, represented by the Aboriginal Institutes Consortium, and the government. Indigenous Institutes and Ontario are committed to continue working in the spirit of reconciliation and mutual respect to enhance educational opportunities for Indigenous students, and to support their success in Ontario’s highly skilled workforce.

Working together with Indigenous partners, and recognizing Indigenous Institutes as a part of the postsecondary education system, is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

More details:

– The legislation was introduced on November 14, 2017.

– Indigenous Institutes play a unique role in Ontario’s postsecondary education system by providing accessible postsecondary education and training to Indigenous students in culturally responsive learning environments.

– There are currently nine Indigenous Institutes throughout the province. They are Indigenous governed and operated institutions, which receive their mandate from Indigenous communities, and provide postsecondary education and training to Indigenous students. Indigenous Institutes currently partner with colleges and universities to offer degree, certificate, and diploma programs.

– Indigenous Institutes were created in the 1980s by political territorial organizations or by individual First Nation communities to meet the education and training demands of their communities in the absence of local and culturally appropriate alternatives.

– The Aboriginal Institutes Consortium is the industry association for the nine Indigenous Institutes in Ontario.

– Approximately 1,000 learners attended Indigenous Institutes in 2016-17.

– Over the next three years, the government is investing $56 million for Indigenous Institutes to expand their capacity and strengthen their role as an important and unique pillar in Ontario’s postsecondary education system.

Ontario Launches Age-Friendly Community Recognition Program

Ontario is launching a new program to recognize municipalities and organizations across the province that have made outstanding progress in creating inclusive and accessible communities for people of all ages and abilities.

The Ontario Age-Friendly Community Recognition Award recognizes communities and municipalities that are working to meet the needs of Ontario’s growing seniors’ population. Initiatives could include safe and accessible public parks and community centres, recreation programming to help local seniors stay active, easy access to transportation and services and walkable communities that make it easier for people to get around.

“Seniors want to live their best lives: maximizing their health, safety, and connections with family, friends and their community,” stated Dipika Damerla, Minister of Seniors Affairs.

“The Ontario Age-Friendly Community Recognition Award helps to support initiatives at the local level that have made a difference in the lives of seniors.”

Submissions can be made online by local governments, or community organizations that have the support of their local government. The deadline to nominate a deserving initiative is February 2, 2018.

Government officials say age-friendly communities help seniors live their best lives by creating accessible and inclusive physical and social environments that support older adults in living independent, active and healthy lives, helping them to stay engaged in their communities.

This program is part of Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors, which includes more than 20 new initiatives to help ensure seniors can access the supports they need at every stage of their lives. The plan includes 30,000 new long-term care beds, 15 million more hours of nursing, personal support and therapeutic care for long-term care home residents, a free annual high-dose influenza vaccine for seniors, and a new one-stop website where seniors can find information about tax credits, drug coverage, powers of attorney, recreation programs and more.

Helping communities across Ontario support the growing seniors’ population is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

More details:

– Ontario is expanding the Age-Friendly Community Planning grant program by providing $7 million over three years and by including a new implementation stream to make communities more accessible and inclusive for seniors of all ages and abilities.

– Submissions can be made online by local governments, or community organizations that have the support of their local government. The deadline to nominate a deserving initiative is February 2, 2018.

– Profiles of the best community projects will be showcased in spring 2018.

– Provincial recognition of an age-friendly community will trigger eligibility for pan-Canadian recognition and international endorsement through the World Health Organization.

World news

If you have a suggestion, story idea, column idea, or if you want to say hello… drop me an e-mail at aaron@sydenhamcurrent.ca.

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