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News Release - Ontario Strengthens Consumer Protection for New Home Buyers and Owners

News Release

Ontario Strengthens Consumer Protection for New Home Buyers and Owners

February 1, 2021

Province designates Home Construction Regulatory Authority as new regulator

TORONTO — The Ontario government is designating the Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA) the regulator responsible for new home builders and vendors. The HCRA will help ensure that new home buyers and owners are well-informed and better protected by:

  • Licensing new home builders and vendors;
  • Expanding the existing Ontario Builder Directory to provide regulatory compliance and warranty information about thousands of builders and vendors across the province; and
  • Implementing a formal complaints process for the conduct of new home builders and vendors.

"When our government passed the Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act, 2020 last July, we committed to establishing a regulator for new home builders that works for the people of Ontario. Today's launch of the HCRA is another great example of our commitment to strengthening consumer protection for our province," said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. "The HCRA will ensure that new home builders and vendors are held to professional standards and that all buyers and owners of new homes are well-informed and feel confident that their homes have been built properly."

The HCRA is designated under the New Home Construction Licensing Act, 2017. The creation of the HCRA as a separate authority addresses consumer concerns about potential conflicts of interest within Tarion, Ontario's new home warranty and protection program administrator.


  • The establishment of a separate regulator for new home builders and vendors responds to the Honourable John Douglas Cunningham’s 2016 review of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act and Tarion.
  • The Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act, 2020, passed on July 14, 2020, promotes higher quality new home construction, which will reduce defects and new home warranty and protection claims, while better protecting consumers from bad actors in the marketplace.
  • The government improved consumer protection for homebuyers in Bill-145, the Trust in Real Estate Service Act, to modernize the rules for real estate brokerages, brokers and salespersons. It was approved by the legislature in February 2020.
  • Tarion will administer Ontario’s new home warranty and protection program. Together, the HCRA and Tarion will provide stronger consumer protection for Ontarians.



Jack Sullivan
Minister’s Office
(437) 224-6385

Matteo Guinci
Communications Branch
(416) 575-0773

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

Special Meeting of County Council/Public Notice – County of Elgin Official Plan Review

Special Meeting of County Council/Public Notice – County of Elgin Official Plan Review

TAKE NOTICE that the Corporation of the County of Elgin will hold a Special Meeting of Council to discuss revisions that may be required to the Elgin County Official Plan. This meeting is required under the provisions of Sections 17 and 26 of the Planning Act, RSO 1990, as amended.

An Official Plan is a legal statutory planning document required by the province that describes the County’s land-use strategy. The County of Elgin’s Official Plan includes the vision, goals and policy directions of the County, as established by the community, and provides guidance for land use planning decisions in the County; including: locations for settlement areas, agricultural lands, and natural heritage; when and in what order parts of our communities will grow; and protection for agricultural, mineral and environmental resources.

The purpose of an Official Plan 5-Year Review update is to ensure that the community vision/values, directions, policies and actions in the Plan reflect changes and meet the needs of the community for the future, and to review for consistency with the Provincial Policy Statement.

A public meeting will be held to discuss potential revisions to the County of Elgin Official Plan.  The County is required to update their Official Plan at least every five years, in accordance with Section 26 of the Planning Act. Your insights and input will help inform and shape the new Plan. ANY PERSON is invited to attend the special meeting and make oral representation. The special meeting will be held on: February 25, 2021 at 7:00pm.  This will be a virtual meeting

You may provide comments at the public meeting by phone or on-line via WebEx. Only those that register will be permitted to participate during the meeting. To register, send your request via email no later than 4:30 p.m. on Monday, February 22, 2021. Phone requests to join the meeting by phone may be made to: (519) 631-1460 ext.183 Please include your first and last name, phone number, home address with postal code, and any prepared speaking notes. Tell Us What You Think We are interested to hear your comments and thoughts. You can provide input in several ways.

1) REVIEWING OFFICIAL PLAN MATERIALS As the Official Plan Review progresses, documents and materials will be made available on the County’s website for review www.elgincounty.ca/officialplanreview.

2) PROVIDE WRITTEN COMMENTS Written comments about the Official Plan Review may be submitted via email to opreview@elgin.ca or by mail at: Official Plan Review, County of Elgin 450 Sunset Drive St. Thomas, ON. N5R 5V1

3) COMPLETE THE SURVEY A survey will be posted on the County of Elgin’s Official Plan Review webpage. This survey will gather your thoughts on community priorities and vision for the County.

4) PARTICIPATE AT THE PUBLIC MEETING This is the first meeting before Council regarding the Official Plan Review. There will be additional opportunities for comment throughout the review process. Please see the Official Plan Review webpage (www.elgincounty.ca/officialplanreview) for more details and to see where we are at in the process.

To register or for further information: phone: 519-631-1460 ext.183 email: opreview@elgin.ca website: www.elgincounty.ca/officialplanreview.

If a person or public body would otherwise have an ability to appeal the decision of the County of Elgin to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal but the person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to the County of Elgin before the proposed official plan or official plan amendment is adopted, the person or public body is not entitled to appeal the decision. If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to County of Elgin before the proposed official plan or official plan amendment is adopted, the person or public body may not be added as a party to the hearing of an appeal before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal unless, in the opinion of the Tribunal, there are reasonable grounds to add the person or public body as a party.

PUBLIC MEETING - 2021 Budget

The Council of the Municipality of Dutton Dunwich will be reviewing and passing the Municipality’s General Budget at the February 10th, 2021 Council Meeting at 6:30 p.m. Via web conference. For connection information to this meeting contact the Municipal Office. A copy of the budget will be available for public viewing at the Municipal Office and on our website ww.duttondunwich.on.ca

Heather Bouw CAO/Clerk

PRESS RELEASE - Community Kicks off first Donor Campaign


For immediate release – January 22, 2021

Community Kicks off first Donor Campaign

A new collaboration between the communities of Dutton Dunwich and West Elgin is being celebrated with the formation of the Dutton Dunwich – West Elgin Community Fund, and a Founding Donor fund-raising campaign is the 2021 initiative that will kick-off this new alliance.

This new Community Fund entity functions as an arm of the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation.  Supported by the Foundation with administrative duties, the new Community Fund has been established locally for the purpose of supporting charitable activities in the Dutton Dunwich and West Elgin Communities. Local committee members are Jerry Galbraith, Bill Denning, Trish Corneil, and Bonnie Rowe.  They will be responsible for attracting donations to the Fund, and recommending grants that are in the interests of the local area.

Community Fund Chair Bonnie Rowe remarks, “I am excited to help get this new community partnership off the ground. We were thrilled to receive a donation late last year, in memory of Norma McMillan, a lifelong local philanthropist who volunteered in numerous capacities in both of these communities that she loved. This Founding Donor Campaign will help us strengthen our new Community Fund, by offering other local citizens an opportunity to support their community as well. Our helpers will be contacting community members soon, asking you to consider how you might be able to help.”

The Founding Donor Campaign, which kicks off Feb. 1st, has a goal to raise $100,000 by year end.  A process for grant applications will be announced soon, with a plan to grant some funds by fall 2021.

For more information about the Community Fund, or the Founding Donor Campaign, please contact us through the Foundation office.

Contact: Bonnie Rowe, Chair
Dutton Dunwich - West Elgin Community Foundation


Trees from the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority.

Help us achieve our goal to plant 4000 trees in 2021!  That’s only 1 tree per person!

Native tree species will be available by pre-order purchase.  Pre-orders will be accepted until February 12, 2021. 

Drop off your order form in the Municipal Office dropbox (199 Currie Road) or email to: tkretschmer@duttondunwich.on.ca

An invoice will be sent to you with further instructions for pickup.  The aim of this program is to expand our healthy tree canopy and productive ecosystem while providing many vital benefits to residents including:

  • Prevents soil erosion and storm water runoff
  • Cleans the air and helps you breathe
  • Provides shade in the hot summer and shelter from cold winter winds, saving you money on heating and cooling costs
  • Helps decrease noise pollution
  • Increases the value of your home
  • Attracts birds and wildlife
  • Good for your mental & physical health, trees are proven to reduce stress and anxiety
  • They feed us, many trees produce nuts and berries that are edible
  • It’s an investment in our community for future generations to enjoy!

News Release - Helping Ontario Farmers Protect Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair Watersheds

News Release

Helping Ontario Farmers Protect Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair Watersheds

January 8, 2021

Applications for LEADS program being accepted this month

WOODSTOCK — The governments of Canada and Ontario will soon be accepting applications for a new round of project funding to help farmers improve environmental sustainability and water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds. In addition to protecting Ontario's water, this investment will continue to improve farm productivity in the region.

Starting January 20, 2021, applications will be accepted for a new intake under the Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) initiative. LEADS is a regionally targeted cost-share program funded under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership). Approved projects will target improved soil health and reduced risk of nutrient losses in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds. Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available. Up to $2.58 million is allocated for supporting approved LEADS projects this year.

"The Government of Canada is committed to helping farmers protect our environment, including our natural bounty of lakes, rivers and other freshwater systems. Through the LEADS initiative we are helping farmers take concrete actions to improve soil health and water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watershed areas," said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

 "Our government is committed to protecting our environment now and for future generations," said the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Through this latest round of LEADS funding we are building on the work that has already been done to help farmers increase the environmental sustainability of their operations and improve the quality of Ontario's water system."

"The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association is pleased to deliver the LEADS program again in 2021," said Stuart Wright, OSCIA President. "We are looking forward to supporting farmers as they strive to make soil health and water quality improvements in the Lake Erie basin. The LEADS program removes some of the financial challenges of trying new actions, helping farmers advance their stewardship of the environment."

"Farmers in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watershed areas continue to improve their environmental performance. Through the LEADS initiative, we are helping them to continue to adopt better environmental practices and technologies to improve soil health and reduce nutrient loss," said Neil Ellis, Parliamentary Secretary to the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Some examples of projects eligible for support under LEADS include:

  • Establishing permanently vegetated buffer strips adjacent to streams, drains, rivers, ponds, wetlands and lakes to reduce nutrient loss and soil erosion
  • Retiring environmentally fragile lands from agricultural production and planting permanent vegetative cover to reduce the loss of soil and nutrients from these lands
  • Modifying equipment to improve management of agricultural nutrients, to support reduced tillage and to reduce soil compaction
  • Installation of soil erosion control structures including grass waterways and water and sediment control basins to reduce soil erosion losses.

Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to more than 4,200 projects through the Partnership, to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.


  • LEADS is a five-year, $15.6 million investment by the federal and provincial governments, available until March 2023, to help farmers take action to improve soil health and water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watershed areas.
  • The Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.
  • Since 2018, more than 730 projects have been approved under the regionally targeted LEADS initiative, with $7 million committed through the Partnership to support completion of these on-farm improvement projects.
  • LEADS is delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). Contact the OSCIA about LEADS at 1-800-265-9751 or LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org.
  • LEADS supports the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan and aligns with the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.
  • The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 860,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $47.3 billion each year to the province’s economy.








Avi Yufest
OMAFRA, Office of the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Christa Roettele
OMAFRA, Communications Branch

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
AAFC, Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


PRESS RELEASE - SWPH Urges Community Vigilance in Wake of Maple Manor Outbreak

Media Release - January 5, 2021

MEDIA RELEASE - Public health, SW LHIN, and local hospitals working with Maple Manor to contain the spread

Public health, SW LHIN, and local hospitals working with Maple Manor to contain the spread

Southwestern Public Health today reports 90 cases related to the COVID-19 outbreak at Maple Manor Nursing Home in Tillsonburg. This includes 35 staff and 55 residents. Four individuals have died.

The health unit declared an outbreak at the home on December 12, and conducted surveillance testing shortly after. Southwestern Public Health, South West Local Health Integration Network (SW LHIN), Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital, and Woodstock Hospital are working in partnership to support the Maple Manor team.

“More than 90 people call Maple Manor home, and four of them have lost their lives. It is devastating. Knowing 51 more are right now living with COVID is heartbreaking to me,” said George Kanuik, President of Maple Manor. “We also have 35 staff who have been infected. I want to thank the health care partners in this community who are working closely with us to ensure the continued care of our residents and safety of staff during this challenging time.”

Southwestern Public Health is urging the community to come together to protect each other from further spread. Anyone who has symptoms is advised to get tested or seek urgent medical care if symptoms are severe. Individuals are also encouraged to download the COVID Alert App to get a notification if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and what steps to take.

“Maple Manor is in an outbreak, but this home is not an island. Outbreaks like this reflect what’s happening across our region,” says Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Officer of Health. “We have many cases in our communities, not enough people are isolating when they have symptoms or test positive, and we need everyone to stop having close contact with people they do not live with.”

Local hospitals have also experienced an increase in COVID-19 related care in the community and from the Maple Manor outbreak. “It is critical that people who require hospital care can receive it. While capacity is stretched to the limit, our Emergency Department remains open – please don’t wait to seek care if you need it. We need everyone’s help to lower local cases so that we can care for COVID-19 patients and other emergencies in our region,” says Sandy Jansen, President and Chief Executive Officer at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital.

Visitors who provide essential care for residents are asked use caution during visits to Long- Term Care facilities in the region:

  • Avoid visiting if sick, even if symptoms are mild
  • Follow public health measures at all times during visits
  • Stay 6 feet or more away from individuals in the home
  • Avoid all close contact with people from outside your household, to avoid unknowingly contracting the virus and infecting Long-Term Care Home residents

Visit www.swpublichealth.ca/covid19 for updated guidance for communities in Elgin County, Oxford County, and the City of St. Thomas.

Several of these cases have not yet been added to Southwestern Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard. It is expected they will be added on the January 6th edition.

Natalie Rowe
Communications | Southwestern Public Health 519-535-1478




Access to OPP Elgin Detachment Restricted During Lockdown

FROM: Elgin County OPP                                   DATE:  December 31, 2020


Appointments required

(ELGIN COUNTY, ON) - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is taking action to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by restricting the access to its facilities, including detachments, across the province.

The OPP is limiting the processing of routine criminal record checks/vulnerable sector checks and finger printing to essential workers/volunteers only. Anyone seeking entry to OPP Elgin County Detachment must make an appointment first. Individuals will be pre-screened and are required to have proper personal protective equipment prior to entering the detachment.

If you require any detachment-based service, including criminal record checks/vulnerable sector checks, please call (519) 631-2920 in advance for an appointment. Our operating hours are 08:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For emergencies, please call 9-1-1. For all other police matters, please call 1-888-310-1122 or your local detachment. Report online by visiting opp.ca/reporting

The OPP thanks the public for helping us to keep our communities safe by using the means listed above to avoid unnecessary contact.

- 30 -

Contact:      PC Kevin HOWE - Middlesex County
Phone:        (519)681-0300
Email: kevin.howe@opp.ca




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