The Ontario government released its plan today to modernize the child welfare system. The strategy focuses on strengthening families and communities through prevention, early intervention and seeking more permanent homes for children and youth in care when they cannot stay in their own homes or communities.
The strategy to redesign the child welfare system has five pillars that focus on:
Strengthening family well-being through community-based prevention services that keep children safe in family-based settings;
Improving the quality of residential care provided to children and youth;
Promoting the development of stable and lifelong connections and supports for youth, with a focus on education and employment opportunities;
Improving the adoption experience and focusing on family-based options over group care where appropriate; and
Creating a more efficient and effective child welfare system that is financially sustainable.
The new child welfare strategy was developed with input from youth, families, caregivers, First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners, lawyers, community organizations, frontline workers and child welfare sector leaders. They participated in over 100 engagement sessions over the past year and provided over 3,000 responses to an online survey.
More than 12,000 children and youth are in the care of children’s aid societies in Ontario. This includes children and youth in kinship care, foster care and group care placements.
In addition to children and youth in care, those in need of protection may be placed with a family member or community caregiver, without coming into the care of a society. This is known as kinship service.
The Ontario government invested $5 million this year to enhance access to prevention-focused customary care for Indigenous children and youth. Customary care is the culturally-specific care and supervision of a First Nations, Inuit or Métis child by a person who is not the child’s parent. Customary care allows children and youth to remain closely connected to their culture and community.
Per the Ontario government's new Bill 195, enacting the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, which will come into force on July 24, 2020, the the declared state of emergency in Ontario ends.
As the buy/sell of residential and commercial real estate heats up again in the CKL, remember the restrictions that continue to apply during the provincial state of emergency:
No “Open Houses”:
The Government of Ontario has prohibited the hosting of in-person open houses during the state of emergency.
In addition, RECO has strongly recommended that brokers and salespersons follow the direction of health officials by limiting showings to situations where they are necessary.
This means that you may only have physical access to a property at the final stages of consideration where historically, many buyers would walkthrough a property at the beginning of the consideration process.
Speak with your broker or salesperson regarding property showings, as access may be restricted and, in some cases, not permitted.
Can I Book Back-To-Back Private Showings?
This is an approach to discuss with your salesperson.
Hosting showings “back to back” may not be practical or convenient for everyone involved.
Speak with your representative to ensure that if multiple showings are scheduled for the same day that consideration has been given to establishing a process for sanitizing high-touch areas, like door handles and countertops, between visits. this will lessen the risk of transmission to you, your loved ones and visitors to your property.
Is There a Residential Tenant?
Showings should only occur with the tenant’s consent or in accordance with lawful notice provisions contained within the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) which is enforced by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). RECO has recommended that parties hold off on showings if they do not have the tenant’s consent.
Speak with your salesperson about what you can and may need to do to in the case that there are particular health concerns on the part of the tenant.
Many salespersons and brokerages have established protocols that respect the needs and concerns of tenants that will allow serious buyers to safely view the property.
If protocols are not already in place your salesperson may be able to negotiate a plan that will satisfy all parties. If they are unable to agree to terms that will allow a showing, you will need to make a decision on how comfortable you may be regarding finalizing a purchase without a showing.
Do not use a medical (surgical) mask, such as an N95 – rather, make those available to frontline healthcare workers. If you have any, consider donating them to your local hospital, or other healthcare service.
At a minimum, use a non-medical (cloth) mask when you attend any public or private indoor place, like a grocery store, office, pharmacy or retail store, if there is any risk that you may be unable to maintain a minimum distance of six feet from any other person, including through no fault of your own and despite your best efforts.
Many health officials in Ontario and federally are now recommending we wear a non-medical mask anytime we visit an indoor space, like a business or public facility, even if there is no risk to maintaining physical distancing.
Wearing a non-medical mask is not legally required in Ontario, but that is likely to change very soon, at least for when we attend indoor private and public places.
Remember that non-medical masks do you protect you from contracting the virus from another; rather, they minimize the opportunity for you to transmit it to another person, particularly if you are asymptomatic.
Do not share your non-medical mask with anyone else, like family members.
Contact your local health unit to obtain advice and instructions on how to prepare your own non-medical mask – there are video tutorials available, including on YouTube and other sources, but check with your health unit for the best source.
The Ontario government is investing more than $13 million to support community- driven and youth-led projects to improve the well-being of children, youth, and families facing economic and social barriers.
The funding will flow through the 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund, a province-wide initiative that creates opportunities for young people and empowers and supports parents, guardians and caregivers.
The 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund will provide financial support to 43 community organizations that will benefit youth aged 12 to 25, and their families. Projects receiving funding this year include:
Black Moms Connection ― focusing on economic empowerment for Black mothers across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Immigrants francophones d'Afrique pour l'intégration et le développement (IFAPID)― to support newcomers from Francophone African nations to navigate financial systems in Canada.
Earthling Art Collective ― to provide development and mentorship opportunities for youth leaving care and the justice system in Thunder Bay.
Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment & Training ― to help Indigenous youth in the GTA access employment and training opportunities in the skilled trades.
The Youth Opportunities Fund provides funding through the following three granting streams:
Youth Innovations ― Provides youth facing multiple barriers with the resources they need to design and deliver new and inspiring solutions to issues that matter to them and their communities.
Family Innovations ― Invests in local, community-driven groups delivering culturally relevant projects that empower and support parents, guardians and caregivers who face barriers and challenges to child and family wellbeing.
System Innovations― Supports organizations that are strengthening the quality and responsiveness of systems so that they may work better for young people facing multiple barriers.
DID YOU ALSO KNOW:
Youth Opportunities Fund grants are administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Applications for the 2021 Youth Opportunities Fund grants will open in fall 2020.
Despite the wonderful weather, COVID-19 still pervades our community, including through asymptomatic carriers.
What you should do if there is a case of COVID-19 in your workplace:
Anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 must NOT go to work and should self-isolate at home. If contact with a positive case is confirmed, further directions will be provided by the Health Unit
Physical distancing rules at work mean employees should not be in close contact with each other. If, however, an employee is identified as being a close contact of a co-worker who is confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19, the person should immediately take Ontario’s online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see what further care is needed or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 The employee may also be contacted by the Health Unit with further directions on what to do, including self-isolating or self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.
Employers are strongly urged to support the COVID-19 instructions your employees have received from any health care provider. This protects the health of your workers and customers
Encourage everyone at work to continue following physical distancing rules (staying 2 metres or 6 feet apart from others) and regularly wash hands with soap and water
Continue to frequently clean and disinfect commonly touched or shared surfaces at work, including tools, equipment and workstations.
Follow direction from the Health Unit about any extra precautions that are needed to reduce the risk of illness. These directives can include: getting employees/staff who were in close contact with the customer/client to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, increasing cleaning and disinfecting at your workplace, and other measures
Continue to keep employees and customers safe:
Follow provincial rules that specify how your business/workplace can operate (for example, only offer curbside pickup, limit number of people in store, etc.).
Ensure a 2-metre (6-foot) distance is kept between people.
Increase your online or phone services
Offer curb-side delivery
Make hand sanitizer available for customers at entry and exit points.
Today the Ontario government announced it is investing $736 million more in public education for the 2020-21 school year, increasing the total to more than $25.5 billion.
This funding, through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) program, represents the largest investment in public education in Ontario's history.
As a result, Ontario's average per-pupil funding amount has reached $12,525, which is an increase of $250 over the previous year.
All 72 district school boards in the province are projected to have increases to their GSN allocations for the upcoming school year, which includes record-high investments in special education, mental health and well-being, among many other key areas.
Under the GSN, the new $213 million student-centric Supports for Students Fund (SSF) will support:
mental health and well-being,
Indigenous education, and
The Supports for Students Fund can also be used for additional critical staffing needs during the return to school in September, including hiring custodians and education assistants for students who need support.
In addition to the GSN, Ontario is providing funding for the Priorities and Partnerships Fund (PPF), which enables school boards and third-parties to undertake important initiatives and provide critical resources for curricular, extra-curricular, and wrap-around supports. In the upcoming school year, the PPF is projected to be over $300 million, funding approximately 150 initiatives to support students.
DID YOU ALSO KNOW:
The Government is providing funding to support the mental health and well-being of students upon the return to school in Fall 2020, as a result of emerging needs related to the COVID-19 school closures.
Ontario is also continuing to invest $1.4 billion in school facility repair and renewal to support healthy and safe learning environments, which directly aligns with a recommendation from the Auditor General of Ontario.
The Ministry of Education provides operating funding to Ontario’s 72 district school boards through the annual GSN education funding model. Funding to school boards is provided on a combination of per student, per school, and per board basis.
Ontario launched Learn at Home and Apprendre à la maison, a new online portal that provides resources for families so students can continue their education while schools are closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
Ontario's driver testing services provider, DriveTest, will begin offering limited services across the province beginning Monday, June 22, 2020, with the expectation of restoring full services by September.
This gradual, staggered approach, based on customer date of birth, will ensure that strict protocols are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
DriveTest centres will begin serving customers based on when they were born to reduce crowding, support new requirements for physical distancing, health checks and enhanced sanitation. People with birthdays between January to June will be allowed to visit a centre the first week of reopening, and people with birthdays between July to December will have access to DriveTest services the following week. Access to DriveTest services will continue to alternate weekly until full services are restored.
In the first phase, all 56 full-time DriveTest centres will reopen on Monday for G1 and M1 knowledge tests, driver's licence exchanges and commercial driver's licence applications and upgrades. Commercial road tests will also be available by appointment at 28 locations across Ontario.
To protect the safety of Ontarians, DriveTest will also require customers to wear face coverings inside centres and during road tests, sanitize their hands when they enter the building and undergo temperature checks before road tests. All DriveTest staff will wear personal protective equipment when serving customers. Driver examiners will also be equipped with face shields, sanitizer packages and seat covers when conducting road tests.
Details of the DriveTest reopening plan, which outline the driver testing services available, how to access DriveTest centres, and which customers are being served each week, will be updated every Monday on DriveTest.ca.
Notably there is no restriction imposed whereby you can only attend the DriveTest in the municipality in which you currently reside on a primary basis.
Today the Ontario government introduced legislation to temporarily ban commercial evictions.
Many commercial landlords have refused to participate in the CECRA program, administered by both the federal and provincial governments, leaving many small businesses with no ability to carry on business.
The legislation will protect commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized due to the negative impacts of COVID-19.
It would be retroactive to May 1.
The government is seeking unanimous consent from all parties in the legislature today to expedite the passage of the bill and have it become law by the evening.
The Ontario government has provided more guidance and updated information about the gradual resumption of visits by family and friends of residents in long-term care homes, retirement homes and other residential care settings, beginning June 18, 2020.
• Long-term care homes will allow outdoor visits of one person per resident each week at a minimum. Retirement homes will resume indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained. Other residential care settings will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at time.
• Visits will be subject to strict health and safety protocols, including requiring visitors to pass active screening every time they visit, confirming with staff that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous two weeks, and complying with the infection prevention and control protocols. This includes bringing and wearing a face covering during visits."
The following conditions must be met before visitors can enter:
homes must not have a COVID-19 outbreak;
homes must have an established process for communicating visitor protocol and the associated safety procedures; and
homes must maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards.
Additional guidance released by the government is available here (long term care homes):
The social gathering limit in the CKL has recently been increased from no more than five people, to no more than ten people.
What does that mean, exactly?
Only the same people all of the time? Can it be different people at any given time? Does this apply to my our house, or just outside?
Few specifics were given by the Ontario government when it made this announcement recently.
When you are with the 10 people do you need to be physically distancing?
Yes. when gathering with people who are from outside your household, you should still stay the recommended two metres apart.
Is this applicable to indoors or outdoors?
Both. As long as a physical distance of two metres can be maintained with people who are not in your household, it does not matter where the gathering takes place.
Does it always need to be the same people, or can the 10 people change all the time?
No, it doesn't need to be the same people. You can gather with a different group of 10 people, but you still need to physically distance.
How is this different than double bubbling?
The term 'double-bubble' or 'cohorting' refers to when two households make a pact to gather only with each other, and agree to stay distanced from everyone else.
This allows them to no longer have to physically distance from each other, theoretically, at least.
However, double bubbling is not currently allowed in Ontario.
Note, though, this new 10-person social gathering limit isn't restricted to two households and physical distancing measures are still required.
It is important to remember that all other pandemic precautions must continue to be strictly followed, including proper hand-washing, following our local Health Unit's order about when to self-isolate, self-assessing on Ontario's updated COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool and wearing a proper, non-medical mask when physical distancing may be compromised.
Today the Ontario government announced its plan to reopen child care centres across the province to support the next stage of the province's reopening framework.
The plan will require child care operators to follow strict health protocols to ensure the safety of child care staff and children.
As Ontario continues to implement its Framework for Reopening the Province, child care centres and home care providers across Ontario will be able to reopen with strict safety and operational requirements in place, similar to the safety guidelines required for emergency child care centres.
Centres will be required to adopt specific rules, including:
Cohorting ― putting children and staff in groups of 10 or less day over day;
COVID-19 response plan ― all child care settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent or staff member/provider is exposed to COVID-19;
Screening ― all staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the child care setting. Anyone feeling unwell must stay home;
Daily attendance records ― child care settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing;
Cleaning ― child care settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently thereafter;
No visitors ― only essential visitors are permitted entry into the child care setting;
Implementing drop-off and pick-up protocols in a way that facilitates physical distancing.
Effectively immediately, staff can re-enter child care facilities and begin preparation for reopening.
When these operators have met all the strict and stringent guidelines for reopening, they will be permitted to reopen.
The Ministry of Education has been working with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to develop these health and safety protocols.
They will enable the safe reopening of child care centres across the province and enhance safety through effective contact tracing.
This plan imposes strict requirements on operators, including mandatory training and reporting and support from the local medical officer of health before reopening.
Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with strict health and safety protocols in place, the government is now enabling summer day camp programs across the province to reopen this summer.
Strict health and safety guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Health in partnership with public health, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and municipalities, and distributed to local public health teams earlier this month.
At this time, overnight camps are not permitted to operate in the summer of 2020.
Yesterday the Ontario government announced the new Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity, a new advisory group that will provide advice on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success.
The council will also advise government on long-term actions that can be taken to support youth during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"At a time when the world is facing some of its most difficult challenges, we have to do everything we can to help our next generation of leaders overcome the social and economic barriers before them," said Premier Ford. "Our young people are the future of this province and I truly believe this council will be a strong advocate that will set them down the path to even greater success."
The council will have up to 20 members, including a chair and a vice-chair.
Membership will be inter-generational and cross-sector, and will include youth between the ages of 18 to 29 and adults with expertise from community organizations, not-for-profit businesses, education, and government services.
The council will focus on the challenges facing young people today, such as completing an education, skills training, and employment. As an immediate priority, the council will identify strategies to support vulnerable and marginalized youth to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Jamil Jivani, Ontario's Advocate for Community Opportunities, will serve as chair of the council for the first year. He will work to engage directly with young people and communities across the province to identify strategies to remove barriers for youth at risk to help ensure they are not left behind.
The Ontario government is further supporting Black communities to address the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 by allocating $1.5 million in funding to organizations that support Black families and youth. This funding will be used to provide urgent COVID-19 supports and address the immediate needs of children, youth and families.
This article was also published by The Lindsay Advocate on March 7, 2019 (lindsayadvocate.ca). Authors: Ryan O'Neill of WARDS LAWYERS PC and Laura Gadsden.
While the thought of the lake lapping the shore is not exactly top of mind these days, we Canadians do what we must, keeping warm in winter with reveries of cottage life, when the sun will shine again.
The question of where your property ends and Crown land begins along the shoreline is a topical issue for property owners bordering water. The growing concern surrounding climate change, including the decline of water levels and erosion of shorelines, threatens to muddy the waters even further.
So where does a waterfront property owner stand in 2019? It is commonly thought that a property abutting water extends to the natural boundary of the lake or river, while the Crown owns the foreshore, meaning the bed of land under the water. Seems pretty straight forward, right? Not exactly.
High water mark vs. Low water mark
Water levels on Ontario lakes and rivers do rise and fall with the seasons. This fact of nature is exacerbated in the Kawartha Lakes region, where the Trent-Severn Waterway plays with water levels even more. As a result, a cottage owner’s shoreline is subject to some change. There have been several cases in the courts over the years that consider whether land extends to the high water mark (the highest point the water reaches land) where surveyors have traditionally placed boundaries, or the low water mark (the lowest point that water recedes to), also referred to as the water’s edge.
Lakeside properties often sit on modest 100 foot wide shorelines, and many cottagers are naturally tempted to maximize their privacy and enjoyment. Examining original patents, along with multiple grants and surveys registered on the property, can raise conflicting information as to your shoreline boundaries.
The skinny on the law of the shoreline is largely motivated by common sense. The courts determine a boundary on water based on the facts on a case by case basis. This essentially means that if a boundary line is in dispute, there is no presumption in the Courts that your property line goes to the low water or high water mark. A property owner inclined to argue shoreline claims must be prepared to put forth evidence to support it.
The common law has given some guidance as to how they consider evidence to determine a boundary on water. Topping the list, for example, are natural boundaries, original markers, original surveys registered on the property, and barriers, all of which are given greater consideration over descriptions of property boundaries alone. So, if you are tempted, as you gaze upon an original patent from 1862, tarnished and quaintly framed on the wall of your cottage by the previous owners, to argue for 15 more feet of shoreline, you should consider what story the evidence tells, and whether it would be worth the time and cost. Prospective buyers would be well advised to order an updated survey from an Ontario land surveyor, and make the purchase conditional on being satisfied that it meets expectations. In some cases, property owners with cottages built close to the water from several decades ago, may even discover that they do not own the land their cottage is built upon. If this is the case, you may apply to the municipality to purchase the lot.
A Natural Increase or Decrease in Property along the Shoreline
What happens if your waterfront increases as a result of a decline in water levels or a washing up of sand or soil along the beach? This is legally referred to as accretion, but it must be a gradual, slow process which occurs naturally over time. A cottage owner dumping a truckload of soil in the lakebed to increase his/her waterfront would not cut the mustard. While it is feasible to argue that accretion entitles the owner to the whole of the “new land,” recent cases have been known to divide it between private property owners and the Crown. One would have to weigh the cost of applying to have the new land registered on title, and any resulting litigation that may occur, against how much land stands to be gained. On the opposite end of the spectrum, lakeside property owners should be aware of increasing erosion of their shorelines, which threatens to reduce their property. Owners are entitled to take measures like erecting structures to control erosion, however, municipal approval and the approval of the Trent Severn Waterway would need to be obtained.
Rights of owners whose property border water
The three levels of government in their collective management of our lakes and rivers, and/or other private property owners can have a negative impact on our property enjoyment along the waterfront. Regardless of shoreline ownership, an individual whose land borders water possesses certain rights, referred to as “riparian rights” that are useful to keep in mind. Some of these rights include the right of access, right of the natural flow and quality of water and the right to take water for personal use. A property owner whose rights have been impeded has recourse in law against any government entity or other private property owners responsible.
So, when you are sitting on the dock this summer with a coffee or cocktail in hand, watching the graceful loon run along the water, don’t be too envious that he doesn’t give a hoot where he fishes.