‘Worker safety should have taken priority over policy’


city_scope_logo-cmykTime spent at a coroner’s inquest brings with it the emotion of family members and friends sitting through graphic testimony in the courtroom interspersed with details of protocol, procedures and guidelines that seem, at times, almost callous in nature.
Such was the case this past week with the four-day inquest into the death of St. Thomas construction worker Brian Daniel, killed on July 2,1014 when he was struck by a pick-up truck on the Highway 3 bypass at the Burwell Road bridge.
The recommendations – excellent in scope and most of them put forward by Daniel’s daughter Krista McColl – can be found here.
But to better understand the context of the back-and-forth testimony heard throughout the inquest, here are snippets of what was presented to the five-person jury. Continue reading

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Jury recommendations from the coroner’s inquest into the death of St. Thomas resident Brian Daniel


city_scope_logo-cmykBrian Daniel was a flag man working on the Hwy. 3 bypass at the Burwell Road bridge when he was struck and killed just before noon on July 2, 2014. A four-day coroner’s inquest into his death concluded Feb. 8, 2018 at the Elgin County Courthouse in St. Thomas.
Here are the 13 recommendations endorsed by the five-person jury.

1. Amend the definition of ‘highway’ to state: A general term that denotes a public way for the purposes of vehicular and pedestrian travel, including the area within a right of way. This includes King’s Highways, regional and county roads, and rural roads, municipal roads and streets with a normal posted regulatory speed that is over 60 km/h and is 90 km/h or less. Continue reading

Latest STEGH cuts no example of patient-centred care


city_scope_logo-cmykThe latest cuts at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, which will see the lights turned out at the sleep clinic on Oct. 3, is nothing short of a bad dream for the former director of the lab.

Calling the decision to pull the plug on a clinic that saw 940 patients last year “misguided”, Dr. Charles George has sent an open letter to all members of the St. Thomas Elgin Medical Association urging them to make their concerns known.

A copy of Dr. George’s letter was sent our way anonymously in a plain, white envelope.

He notes the sleep clinic opened in the mid-1990s under the direction of Dr. Linda O’Fiara. When she departed for Montreal, Dr. George and Dr. Kathy Ferguson stepped in because, “at the time the clinic was generating revenue for the hospital and the patient volume was increasing.” Continue reading

For the Professor, latest accessibility report would just be more of the same


city_scope_logo-cmykWhile he had become accustomed to findings similar to those contained in a report to council Monday, the Professor would be far from pleased with the latest report card.
Prior to his death in February, Ed McLachlan spent years as a member of the St. Thomas Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee and filed many reports to council  on accessibility issues in all city-owned facilities.
Lesley Buchanan is now chair of the committee and the annual site audit is on the agenda for all to see.
Here is a sampling of the ongoing barriers the handicapped face.

Continue reading

2016 city budget “generally preserves” existing service levels to the public


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Deliberations begin 3:30 p.m. Monday into the proposed 2016 capital and operating budgets for St. Thomas.
In his opening remarks contained in the budget binder, director of finance David Aristone indicates at this stage of the process, city ratepayers can anticipate a 2.32% hike in the property tax levy.
The proposed levy for this year is $48,721,653, up from the actual 2015 levy of just over $47 million.
Proposed capital projects this year would require almost $21.8 million in funding. Continue reading

What we have here is a failure to communicate


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The right of a homeless man to pick up garbage in downtown parkettes sparked debate on several fronts this week, none of which has diminished the seeming absurdity of the situation.
Caught in the middle is Jason McComb, the advocate for the homeless who, as an employee of the Downtown Development Board, has done an admirable job of keeping the downtown core as neat and tidy as is possible in a disposable world.
In a conversation with Jason last week, he bemoaned the fact he was no longer welcome to clean up litter in any of the Talbot Street parkettes.
He was under the impression city CAO Wendell Graves and parks and recreation director Ross Tucker had banished him from the green spaces, based on a memo sent to the DDB this past summer.
This corner requested a copy of that correspondence for clarification.
“I understand that DDB summer students may be doing or have done some maintenance/cleaning activities within the downtown parkettes,” writes Graves.
“Given that the city has staff in place to look after these areas I would ask that the DDB students refrain from work within the park areas.”
Continue reading

Is it Tea Party politics or worker choice?


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In our conversation with MPP Jeff Yurek last week, we promised to focus on his party’s white paper, “Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets.”
The talking points sent this way by Yurek’s legislative assistant William Ross stress the white paper, which was adopted last month at the PC convention in London, aims to address “the requirement that workers, as a condition of employment, be a union member; and the requirement that workers must pay dues or fees to a union in order to keep his or her job. These dues are automatically deducted from paycheques and union bosses are not required to publicly disclose how the money is spent.
“Third party, empirical economic data seem to support the idea of worker choice,” Ross points out. (The information forwarded by Yurek’s office is available at the end of this post.)
Critics like the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) warn the PC party is formally adopting U.S. Tea Party labour politics that advocate policies “that would undo the rights working people have had in this country for more than a half century.”
Continue reading