Morning Coffee – By Aaron Hall

Weather forecast for Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Today – Cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries this morning. A few flurries beginning early this afternoon. Local amount 2 to 4 cm. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High plus 1.

Tonight – A few flurries ending near midnight then mainly cloudy with 40 percent chance of flurries. Local amount 2 cm. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. Low minus 4.

March Break at the Wallaceburg Museum

There are March Break activities taking place all week long at the Wallaceburg and District Museum.

Have a look:

A downtown Chatham history walk

“A Downtown Chatham History Walk” is taking place on Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1 at 2 p.m.

It will last an hour.

It’s free and it will happen rain or shine.

On the walk, there will be stories about arson, haunted buildings, 200 years of floods on the Thames River, the Black Mecca, shipbuilding, the opera house, famous criminals and crimes, and more.

The stories will be told while you are looking at the buildings and places where they happened.

To join the walk, meet under the Centennial Clock, corner of King Street West & Fifth Street, just before 2 p.m. either day.

The tour guide is Clair Culliford of The Veranda Presents.

The tour will include stories of buildings, streets, and customs that have disappeared.

There are photos of them on, if you’d like to have a look. If you have a mobile device with you on the walk, you will be able to see the pictures of what they were like years ago as they are talked about.

Ontario passes legislation to strengthen community safety

Ontario is taking action to build a province where all people feel safer and more protected in their homes and communities by passing comprehensive community safety legislation.

Through the Safer Ontario Act, 2018, the province will improve police oversight, transparency and accountability, enhance civilian governance, respond to the needs and realities of Ontario’s diverse communities and mandate local community safety and well-being planning.

The legislation will transform Ontario’s policing framework by:

Shifting to a proactive and collaborative approach to community safety and well-being planning, where municipalities will take the lead in defining and addressing local needs. Through this approach, vulnerable populations can receive the help they need, when and where they need it most, from the providers best suited to support them. Municipalities will be mandated to work with police services and local service providers in health care, social services and education to develop community safety and well-being plans that proactively address locally identified community risks.

Enhancing accountability to the public by creating a new Inspector General with a mandate to support public safety by overseeing and monitoring police services and police service boards. All board members will be required to complete training with respect to human rights and systemic racism, including respect for the rights and cultures of Ontario’s First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples. Reporting requirements for boards will also be strengthened, as will requirements to help make them more diverse and representative of the communities they serve. The act will also increase the minimum and maximum police service board size, to ensure that communities have the ability to decide the right representation for their communities. The province is also updating the police disciplinary process, and will require a new conflict of interest standard be developed.

Strengthening the police oversight system, a measure in line with Justice Tulloch’s recommendations made in the Independent Police Oversight Review, which will be achieved by:

– Expanding and clarifying the mandates of the three oversight bodies

– Introducing measures to ensure compliance with investigations

– Setting timelines for investigations and public reporting

– Increasing transparency by releasing more information about the results of investigations and disciplinary hearings

– Requiring the oversight bodies to provide training for employees that promotes recognition and respect for the diverse, multicultural character of Ontario society and the rights and cultures of First Nation, Inuit and Métis Peoples.

Outlining police responsibilities and community safety service delivery. The new act will ensure police education and training, including techniques to de-escalate a situation, are consistent across the province. In addition to these legislative provisions, the ministry will also create a Public Safety Institute to inform the delivery of policing services, support evidence-based decision making and ensure delivery of expert training to increase public confidence in policing.

Supporting the sustainability of First Nations policing by enabling First Nations to choose their policing service delivery model, including, for the first time ever, the option to come under the same legislative framework for policing as the rest of Ontario. This will ensure First Nations receive culturally responsive, sustainable, accountable, and equitable policing that has the flexibility to address specific community needs. The l egislation also guarantees an important mechanism to ensure that First Nations receive appropriate funding to provide for adequate and effective policing in their community. This represents an historic step for First Nation policing in Ontario.

“The legislation passed is a bold change for policing and community safety – the largest transformation in 25 years,” stated Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

“Focused on the safety and the well-being of communities, our proactive approach will support a stronger, safer province.”

“This new legislation addresses the pressing need to build and reinforce trust between police and the people they serve,” added Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General.

“I want to thank Justice Tulloch for his extensive consultations and advice that laid the foundation for these changes. With the passage of this bill, it is our hope all Ontarians will feel safer and more protected – no matter who they are, or where they come from.”

The legislation also:

Creates a new Missing Persons Act to give police services new tools when responding to missing persons occurrences. These changes will allow police to respond more quickly and effectively to missing persons investigations.

Changes the Coroners Act to improve Ontario’s inquest system by requiring that inquests be mandatory when the use of force of a police officer, special constable or other auxiliary member of a police force is the cause of a death.

Improves oversight and accountability of forensic laboratories through the creation of the Forensic Laboratories Act. The act requires any laboratory in Ontario conducting certain forensic testing to be accredited to international standards. Accreditation will ensure a system of quality control for forensic laboratories that includes proficiency testing, annual audits, performance reports, surveillance visits, management reviews and a code of conduct.

The legislation represents the first comprehensive review of the Police Services Act since 1990.

Since 2007, Ontario’s crime rate has dropped by 29 per cent and Ontario’s violent crime rate has dropped by 27 per cent.

Ontario continues to be one of the safest jurisdictions in North America.

The Safer Ontario Act, 2018 is part of the government’s commitment to build stronger, safer communities through its Strategy for a Safer Ontario, and responds to the recommendations made in the Independent Police Oversight Review conducted by Justice Tulloch and released in April 2017.

The new Forensic Laboratories Act responds to the need for greater oversight of forensic testing identified in the Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology conducted by Justice Goudge, 2007, and to the Report of the Motherisk Hair Analysis Independent Review conducted by Justice Lang, 2015.

Making life more affordable in Ontario

Ontario is taking steps to help families afford the costs of caring for children and seniors, highlighting a package of measures that are easing the financial pressures people are facing in today’s rapidly changing economy.

The Premier was at the EarlyON child and family centre at St. Paul Catholic School today to talk with families about the way uncertainty in the economy is impacting their ability to care for their loved ones and keep up with the bills, and hear how the package of supports the government has announced is helping. Recent changes the government has made to make life more affordable for families at every stage include:

– The introduction of OHIP+ to make prescription medications free for everyone under the age of 25, which has already provided over one million people with 2.3 million free prescriptions

– Qualifying more seniors for lower prescription drug costs under the Ontario Drug Benefit program, free shingles vaccine for seniors aged 65 to 70 and expanded funding to cover the costs of fertility services

– Building on the savings that families get from Full-Day Kindergarten, providing more Ontario children with high-quality care with a commitment to helping 100,000 more kids access licensed child care and offering additional financial support for families by providing subsidies for approximately 60 per cent of all new spaces
25 per cent off hydro bills as part of the Fair Hydro Plan, with extra support for rural and low-income families

– Free tuition at colleges and universities for more than 225,000 students, and more generous, non-repayable grants for students whose families earn up to $175,000

– An enhancement to the first-time homebuyers refund, expanding rent control to private market rental units in Ontario, and a Fair Housing Plan that has helped the housing market rebalance

– A public transit tax credit that saves seniors up to $450 and fare integration measures that have lowered the cost of commuting when transferring to and from the TTC and GO/UP Express network by about $700 per year for the average commuter

– Thousands of dollars available in rebates and financial support for homeowners who make energy-efficient upgrades, supported by the proceeds of Ontario’s carbon market.

“Families are facing mounting pressures — whether at work or on their commute or in their pocketbook — and it’s having a real impact in people’s lives and our ability to care for our loved ones,” stated Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario.

“That’s something I care about deeply. I believe in an Ontario where together, we care. And I see it as government’s job to step up and make that possible by making life fairer and more affordable for families. That’s what we’ve been doing and it’s work that we will build on in this month’s Budget.”

When factors like age, number of children and household earnings are taken into account, these steps add up to hundreds and in many cases thousands of dollars of savings per family per year. The Premier highlighted the steps taken to date in order to underline the need for government to do more to support caregivers and families.

Making life more affordable 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:

– Over 225,000 people, or 40 per cent of all college and university students, are getting free tuition this year for the first time ever, and 95 percent of all OSAP recipients are now receiving grants that they do not have to pay back.

– According to the Parliamentary Budget Office, out-of-pocket drug expenses were $314 for the average Ontario household in 2015. By making prescription drugs free for people under the age of 25, OHIP+ has already reduced out-of-pocket drugs costs for more than one million Ontarians.

– Full-Day Kindergarten saves families up to $6,500 a year per child.

– The GreenON fund is providing 150,000 homes with professionally installed smart thermostats and in-home energy reviews at no cost. Every Ontario resident is also eligible for $100 off the purchase of a smart thermostat, helping families lower their monthly energy bills and fight climate change.

– Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan is delivering monthly savings of $41 for a typical urban ratepayer and greater savings for northern and rural customers.

World news

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