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The Ontario SPCA seeks foster volunteers willing to care for vulnerable animals

Stouffville, ON (April 19, 2021) – Do you have room in your heart and in your home to help animals in need of foster care? If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent to animals who need extra TLC, celebrate National Volunteer Week by becoming a foster volunteer with the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society! The Ontario SPCA is currently recruiting foster volunteers to assist its animal centres in Brockville, Napanee, Cornwall, Pembroke, Midland, Barrie and Muskoka. Volunteers with the Ontario SPCA Provincial Foster Care Program temporarily provide a safe and nurturing environment in their home for animals in need. The Ontario SPCA is currently looking for volunteers who are able to care for pregnant dogs and cats and their litters, once born. There is also a need for foster volunteers who can care for animals requiring specialized medical care. The Ontario SPCA is seeking veterinarians, veterinary technicians or volunteers with animal shelter or previous foster experience for those medical cases. The Foster Program benefits animals who are not ready for adoption and who are either too young, sick, injured, under socialized or emotionally stressed to thrive in the animal centre environment. Instead, animals are cared for and rehabilitated in a nurturing foster home. “Fostering animals in need is a rewarding experience for the volunteer and a critical source of support for our animal centres,” says Carol May-McQuillan, Director of Volunteer Development, Ontario SPCA and Humane Society. “To give vulnerable animals the best opportunity at the second chance they deserve, we’re asking anyone who can help to join our team.” For more information on becoming a foster volunteer, visit ontariospca.ca/foster

GRAIN FARMERS APPLAUDS FEDERAL REBATE CARBON PAYMENTS FOR GRAIN DRYING

GUELPH, ON (April 20, 2021) — Grain Farmers of Ontario, the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmers, applauds the federal government’s commitment to return a portion of the proceeds from the price on pollution directly to farmers. This decision was announced in Budget 2021, tabled Monday by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland.

Budget 2021 recognizes that many farmers rely on natural gas and propane in their operations and that there are no ready substitutes,” said Brendan Byrne, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario. “We have been calling on the Government of Canada to exempt fuels used for grain drying from the pollution pricing system and are pleased to see that Prime Minister Trudeau, Finance Minister Freeland, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Bibeau have done the right thing.” “There is more work ahead. We continue to call on the government to similarly rebate funds collected to date, and to ensure that rebates are delivered in a way that is equitable and administratively simple. We will also work with the government to develop practical alternatives to current grain-drying practices.” The newly released budget states that beginning in 2021-22, farmers in backstop jurisdictions (currently Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario), will receive rebates equal to about $100 million. Returns in future years will be based on proceeds from the price on pollution collected in the prior fiscal year and are expected to increase as the price on pollution rises. Budget 2021 also proposes $50 million for the purchase of more efficient grain dryers for farmers across Canada. Modern agriculture plays a key role in helping Canada achieve its climate commitments and needs to be at the table to address this vital issue to Canadians. Ontario grain farmers are consistently looking for ways to better their environmental impacts including, reduced tillage, cover cropping, and crop rotation. Over the last 30 years, grain farmers in Ontario have taken important steps to substantially reduce their climate impact, increase land use efficiency, and reduce energy use.

Local Boards to Receive Funding for School Infrastructure

Joint investments by Canada and Ontario will upgrade infrastructure to support response to the COVID-19 pandemic and keep students and staff safe

NEWS April 14, 2021 BARRIE —$27 million is being allocated to Simcoe District School Board and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, to upgrade infrastructure at local schools, and protect against COVID-19. The funding is being provided through the COVID-19 Reliance Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

Local funding information comes from MPP Doug Downey today, after the Minister of Education’s announcement this morning. “This infrastructure investment makes more upgrades possible, to support and protect both staff and students in our school communities,” said MPP Downey. “This funding means our children and teachers will be able to return to safer and healthier schools. It has long-term positive impacts, not only for the students of today, but the next generations of students in the years to come.”

The funding for these school boards will support building retrofits, updates and upgrades to their schools and co-located child care facilities. Projects can include HVAC renovations to improve air quality, installing water bottle refilling stations to improve access to safe drinking water, and space reconfigurations such as new walls and doors to enhance physical distancing.

The investments build on the more than $1 billion the Ontario government has invested since 2019 in new schools and child care spaces and additions to provide working families with access to quality, safe, and state-of-the-art learning spaces. Supported by provincial funding, 95% of Ontario schools have reported upgrades or enhancements to their air filtration systems, with over 40,000 HEPA filters and other ventilation devices in classrooms.

The Government of Canada is investing up to $525.2 million towards these projects through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The Government of Ontario is contributing $131.3 million to the projects.

Annually, the Ontario government invests $1.4 billion in continuous maintenance and improvements to school facilities.

QUICK FACTS

 The COVID-19 Resilience stream will deliver $656.5 million to support individual school board submissions for education related projects.

 The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) is a 10-year, $30-billion federal, provincial and municipal program that provides funding to improve public transit; community, culture and recreation; green; and rural and northern community infrastructure. Ontario is investing $10.2 billion in this program.

 The federal COVID-19 Resilience stream has been adapted from ICIP to respond to the impacts of COVID-19. This ICIP stream, delivered through bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, has been designed to help add flexibilities, expand project eligibility and accelerate approvals.

 Ontario schools have been provided with more than $1.6 billion to better protect students, staff and families from COVID-19 including support for online learning, promoting student mental health, hiring additional staff and investing $100 million ear-marked for immediate improvements to air quality and ventilation.

 Ontario is conducting voluntary targeted testing for asymptomatic students and school staff as an added layer of protection against the transmission of COVID-19.

 The Ontario government invests $550 million annually to build new schools.

Reducing Red Tape during Recovery

Reducing Red Tape and bureaucratic burdens whenever we can identify them has been, and remains, a priority for the provincial government. To that end, we established the first ever Associate Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, under Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria. Recently, Minister Sarkaria introduced legislation that would minimize existing barriers on businesses and help support a long-term recovery plan, known as the Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act.

Within this new legislation are a series of proposed actions that will help businesses and government deliver clear, modern and effective rules that promote public health, safeguard the environment, and create jobs. If passed, this act will help more individuals, families and small businesses recover from the economic effects of COVID-19 and prepare them for future opportunities.

Included in the proposed legislative changes are:

 Helping consumers save money on electricity by making it easier for them to track their energy usage

 Helping to ensure Ontario remains a global leader in the connected and automated vehicle industry by supporting innovative pilot programs – like consulting on adding new vehicle types  such as automated farm vehicles, and removing certain restrictions around modified automated vehicles

 Modernizing Ontario by bringing more processes and services online, including developing new applications that will allow online sticker renewal for heavy commercial vehicle licence plates in mid-2022

 Enhancing protections for workers by strengthening policies to keep them safe – like renewing the working at heights training program to improve standards for training content and delivery

 Supporting the not-for-profit sector and other corporations by allowing them to continue to hold virtual meetings during the pandemic.

Included in this new bill are also changes to the Planning Act to create more common sense legislation for home and property owners. I was pleased to introduce these proposed changes in 2019 through my Private Members Bill, Bill 88 – Planning Amendment Act. These changes to the Planning Amendment Act were widely advocated for by multiple groups, including the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the Ontario Home Builders Association, and the Federation of Ontario Law Associations. The proposed changes will provide more clarity and consistency around consents and severances, as well as preventing inadvertent contraventions of the Act that result in void ownership of land, thus saving Ontario businesses, homeowners and hundreds of individual’s time and money.

Our government continues to work towards creating more common sense legislation that updates and simplifies outdated and complicated legislation. We will continue to find new ways to reduce red tape and support businesses as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19