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Press Release Homelessness - Not just a big city issue

Press Release

Homelessness - Not just a big city issue

A special zoom meeting was convened on Monday evening, 7th December to highlight the growing issue of homelessness in West Elgin and Dutton Dunwich.  The meeting was chaired by David James, Board Chair of the West Elgin Community Health Centre (WECHC) and was attended by staff and Board members from the Community Health Centre as well as staff and councillors from both municipalities, including the Mayor of Dutton Dunwich, and the Deputy Mayor of West Elgin.

Diane Arsenijevic and Stephanie Skelding from the Health Centre provided a summary of the issue.  They are currently assisting eight people, ranging in age from 20 to 90, who are either homeless, or in danger of becoming homeless.  David James said the community has an immediate emergency situation where if we encounter severe cold weather, people could freeze to death, but as well there is a need for a longer term solution to provide more subsidized housing for people in need.  The Health Centre has hired a Systems Navigator, Sara Knight, to focus directly on people in the community facing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Anyone wanting to know more about this service can call Sara at 519 768-8785.

The more than 20 participants at the meeting brain stormed possible solutions including providing emergency overnight shelter if we experience a cold snap, to using temporary housing,  camper trailers or making use of empty buildings.  All potential solutions come with challenges to be met, including providing hydro, water and sewage, possible changes to by-laws or zoning and costs.

Mr. James pointed out that the business of the Health Centre is to provide health services, not to provide housing.  “We do not have the staff or resources to do that” he explained, which is why a meeting was called to bring councillors from both municipalities on board.  He noted the staff and Board from the Health Centre will be pleased to be part of a team to address the issue, but stressed “this has to be a community effort”.

Members around the table represented many organizations besides the municipal councils.  “We need to involve local churches and service clubs”, said Mayor Purcell, “...as well as getting the word out to the community at large”.  There was agreement that for long term solutions a focus should be lobbying the County, Provincial and Federal Governments, but for the short term emergency situation we need to come up with our own innovative solutions.

A community based Emergency Housing Committee will be formed, in the short term with representation from both Councils as well as the Health Centre.  The short term goal of the committee will be to assist those people already identified and keep them safe, but the longer term goal will be to provide more housing for low income families.  That will mean working with senior government.

Any community minded persons interested in working with the committee, or with ideas for short term solutions to homelessness are encouraged to call David James at 519 768-3491, or to contact either municipal office or the West Elgin Community Health Centre directly.

The fear is that this problem will get worse before it gets better.

News Release - Ontario Making It Easier and Safer to Renew Driver's Licences

December 9, 2020

Province Expanding Online Renewal Options for Drivers

TORONTO - The Ontario government is temporarily waiving multiple driver's licence renewal requirements so that all Class G and M drivers can now safely renew their licences online at ServiceOntario.ca. To ensure continued access to critical services, these changes will also help people travelling outside Ontario for essential travel to renew their licences.

"The unfortunate reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic has made routine tasks more challenging, including renewing a driver's licence," said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. "That is why we are temporarily waiving certain driver's licence renewal requirements to make it easier for people to renew their driver's licences online at ServiceOntario.ca."

Starting today, senior drivers aged 80 and above may renew their driver's licences without completing a Group Education Session. In addition, drivers who would normally be required to visit a ServiceOntario centre to update their driver's licence photo may now renew online using their current driver's licence photo. These changes mean that all Class G and M drivers are now eligible to renew their licences online at ServiceOntario.ca.

While Ontario has temporarily extended the validity of driver, vehicle and carrier products that would have expired on or after March 1, 2020 until further notice, it is strongly encouraged that everyone renew their driver's licence and licence plate stickers, especially those who need to travel outside Ontario this winter for essential purposes. Ontarians can renew their driver's licence and licence plate stickers online at ServiceOntario.ca and have their products mailed directly to them.

For those who choose to renew their licence in person, appointments can be booked online in advance for services at 43 ServiceOntario centres. Please visit Ontario.ca/Appointment for more information or to book an appointment.


  • To renew your driver’s licence online, with products mailed directly to you, please visit ServiceOntario.ca/DriversLicence.
  • To renew your licence plate stickers online, with products mailed directly to you, please visit ServiceOntario.ca/PlateSticker.
  • ServiceOntario centres have implemented health and safety protocols, including practicing physical distancing and following mandatory mask policies for indoor public places.



Natasha Tremblay
Minister Mulroney’s Office

Lee Alderson
Communications Branch

Ministry of Transportation





News Release - Ontario Adopts New Law to Protect Public Safety and Food Supply

News Release

Ontario Adopts New Law to Protect Public Safety and Food Supply

December 4, 2020

The Act protects farmers, agri-food sector and livestock transport drivers from impacts of Trespassing

GUELPH - The Ontario government is set to proclaim the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020, putting the safety of our food supply first. The new law recognizes the unique risks that can result when individuals trespass onto farms and agri-food processing facilities or when they interfere with the transportation of livestock.

"We are delivering on a significant pillar of our government's commitment to protect the health and safety of our food supply, the agri-food sector and our farm animals," said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "I heard from too many farmers who no longer felt safe on their own property. Through this Act we are adding tough new protections for them and their families as well as our food supply chain."

The Act increases protections for Ontario's food supply, farmers, agri-food businesses and  farm animals from trespassing activities while maintaining the right for people to participate in lawful protests on public property, provided such protests do not have the potential to cause harm and are conducted in a safe manner.

We received wide and strong support from the sector and from municipalities for this new Act, including important feedback on the Minister's Regulation needed to bring the Act into force," said Minister Hardeman.

"Proclamation of the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020 is very welcome news for Ontario's agri-food system," said Peggy Brekveld, Ontario Federation of Agriculture President. "It's critically important to be able to maintain a steady, safe and sustainable food supply chain while protecting the safety of those who feed us. The Act does a commendable job at protecting people, animals and the entire food value chain from the risks associated with trespass, while maintaining the right to lawful and peaceful protest." 

"The implementation of these regulations is a milestone that will help protect our food supply while giving dairy producers peace of mind that their farms, families, animals and staff are protected," said Murray Sherk, Chair of Dairy Farmers of Ontario. "We appreciate the government's judicious action on this issue and thank the Minister and his team for continued consultation and support."

"The members of the Ontario Livestock Transporters' Alliance (OTLA) are very pleased the Ontario government is proclaiming the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act," said Susan Fitzgerald, Executive Director of OTLA. "This is a very important piece of legislation as it will assist in protecting those who work in agriculture from harassment, trespass and other unlawful practices. For the OLTA members specifically, we feel this Act will help insure that human safety and animal welfare are protected during loading, transporting and unloading."

Ontario consulted widely on a Minister's regulation from August 31 to October 15, 2020, receiving over 850 responses from the public, including Indigenous communities. This input was used in the development of the Minister's Regulation. The Act includes protections for Aboriginal and treaty rights. Ontario will take steps to educate the public and agri-food sector on the new legislation to encourage a smooth implementation, including raising awareness of Aboriginal and treaty rights.

The Act will help protect our food supply and deter trespassing by

  • Escalating fines of up to $15,000 for a first offence and $25,000 for subsequent offences, compared to a maximum of $10,000 under the Trespass to Property Act;
  • Prescribing aggravating factors that would allow the court to consider factors that might justify an increased fine;
  • Allowing the court to order restitution for damage in prescribed circumstances which could include damage to a farmer's livestock or from theft;
  • Increasing protection for farmers against civil liability from people who were hurt while trespassing or contravening the act, provided the farmer did not directly cause the harm;
  • Removing consent to enter a farm property when it was given under duress or false pretenses.

The protections in the Act will help to improve working conditions for farmers, farm families and agri-food sector employees and allow agri-businesses to focus on important aspects of their operations including the production of safe, high-quality food for Ontario families.


  • The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020 was introduced on December 2, 2019 and received Royal Assent on June 18, 2020.
  • On September 2, 2020, the Ontario government proclaimed sections 6(1), 7, 14(1) 3 and 15(1) of the Act into force to address an urgent public safety concern resulting from continued interference with livestock transport trucks outside of animal processing facilities. This was creating unsafe situations for animals, the people responsible for their safe transport, and those who were interfering with the trucks.
  • Nearly 130 municipalities have passed or supported council resolutions calling on the government to strengthen protections for farm families, employees and animals.



Avi Yufest
Minister’s Office

Christa Roettele
Communications Branch

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Municipality of Dutton Dunwich - HOLIDAY HOURS



  • Dec 21 –Jan 3 Closed
  • Regular hours resume Jan 4, 2021


Doctor’s Office
Dr. Sharman’s Hours

  • Dec 21-22 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Dec 23 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Dec 24-Jan 3 Closed
  • Regular hours resume Jan 4, 2021

Dr. Kamar’s Hours

  • Dec 4-Jan 3 Closed
  • Regular hours resume Jan 4, 2021

Lab Hours

  • Dec 21-22 8:00 am – 11:45 am
  • 1:00 pm - 3:45 pm
  • Dec 23-Jan 3 Closed
  • Regular hours resume Jan 4, 2021


  • Dec 21 - Jan 3 Closed
  • Regular hours resume Jan 4, 2021

Contact Alternate offices Newbury (519-693-4484) or West Elgin (519-785-1560 x.244) for holiday hours


  • Dec 21– Jan 3 Closed
  • Regular hours resume Jan 4, 2021
  • Road patrols continuing throughout the holiday season
  • On call: (519) 762-2748


  • Dec 21 - Jan 3 Closed
  • Regular hours resume Jan 4, 2021
  • On call: (519) 762-2733


  • Tue Dec 22 8:00 am – 10:00 am
  • Thurs Dec 24 8:00 am – 10:00 am
  • Sat Dec 26 CLOSED
  • Tue Dec 29 8:00 am – 10:00 am
  • Thurs Dec 31 8:00 am – 10:00 am
  • Sat Jan 2 8:00 am – 5:00 pm


  • Fri Dec 25, 2020 moved to Mon Dec 28, 2020
  • Fri Jan 1, 2021 moved to Mon Jan 4, 2021

The Municipality will be accepting Christmas trees at the Public Works Garage, 136 Currie Road from Dec 26th 2020 to Jan 8th 2021. Please deposit trees near the wood chip pile. **Please do not leave your trees at the curb, the Municipality does NOT provide tree curbside pickup.

Thames Valley Board of Trustees - Establish Rural Education Task Force

The Thames Valley Board of Trustees passed a motion on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 to establish a Rural Education Task Force.

Recognizing that schools in rural areas faced a variety of challenges, including student enrolment, school population growth and decline, and other factors.

• Listen to the ideas and concerns of rural communities
• Generate fresh perspectives related to rural schools and communities
• Develop innovative solutions for consideration for a TVDSB Rural Education Strategy
• Report findings and make recommendations to the Board regarding rural schools

The task force will consult with students, parents, community, municipal leaders in TVDSB rural communities (as identified through RNEF), to identify the unique challenges and opportunities experienced by students, parents and municipalities; develop recommendations for consideration related to a TVDSB Rural Education Strategy.


Ontario Celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Province taking steps to provide more support and create inclusive communities

December 3, 2020

Seniors and Accessibility


TORONTO — Today, Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, issued the following statement:

"The United Nations' International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a time to celebrate the accomplishments and promote the rights and well-being of people with disabilities.

There are currently 2.6 million Ontarians living with a disability working across countless fields and occupations. While some of these disabilities are recognizable, many are invisible. 

People with disabilities need greater help, especially during COVID-19. Our government is making sure this diverse group of vulnerable people are not left behind by:  

  • extending the partnership with the Ontario Community Support Association to provide deliveries of food, medicine and other essentials to those who are isolating due to COVID-19;
  • investing $1.3 million over two years with the Rick Hansen Foundation to implement the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program in Ontario;
  • working with partners through the EnAbling Change Program to help businesses understand the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, and to promote accessibility tools and resources;
  • helping adults and people with disabilities reach their professional goals through programs like the Literacy and Basic Skills program, which helps develop and apply literacy, numeracy and digital skills through participation in professional development opportunities; and providing deaf adults access to American Sign Language (ASL) funding to pay for ASL interpreters, deaf-blind intervenors, and note-taking service; and
  • launching our Advancing Accessibility in Ontario framework, which outlines the steps we are taking to break down barriers in the built environment and help create a society and economy that is inclusive for everyone.

When communities and businesses are more accessible, everyone benefits. People with disabilities can take part in everyday life, and businesses gain potential talent, and customers.

On behalf of our government, I would like to thank everyone, including our partners in the disability community, businesses and not-for-profit organizations for making Ontario more inclusive and accessible for all."

THANK YOU Dutton Dunwich!

November 24, 2020
The Municipality of Dutton Dunwich would like to extend a big THANK YOU to the community for adhering to Provincial and Southwestern Public Health directives by social distancing, wearing face coverings, using sanitizer when soap and water isn’t available and ensuring the maximum number of people attending both indoor and outdoor gatherings are observed at all times.
Businesses have taken extra steps to protect the community’s health and wellbeing and have been resourceful in ensuring goods and services remain safely accessible to their customers. 
With annual events being cancelled/postponed, local community groups have been extraordinarily creative in continuing to provide some fun activities, events and ensuring access to essential items, for example:
  • Local businesses providing a personal shopping time slot or offering curbside pick-ups.
  • Wallacetown Optimists organizing a Drive-Thru Festival of Lights.
  • Wallacetown Fair Drive-Thru Chicken Dinner enjoyed by many.
  • The West Elgin Community Health Centre food drive, homemade face coverings and hosting a Drive-Thru Christmas Dinner.
  • Dutton Dunwich and West Elgin participating in a fun competition to see which community will receive the most toy/gift card donations.
  • The West Elgin Daffodil Auxiliary providing Christmas hampers which include a ham or turkey and toys for children 14 and under.
  • The Municipality is offering 2-hour rentals for the price of 1-hour, and 1 post rental cleaning fee.  Other municipal events included a Spooktacular lawn decorating contest and the 1st Annual Pumpkin Hunt contest to win gift cards graciously donated by Wallacetown Optimist Club.  Pumpkins were donated from Debackere Farm Market and Isabelle Breen.
We hope the landscape of 2021 is conducive to the return of all our popular, well attended and enjoyable annual events.  However, in light of COVID, the community certainly joined forces and effectively collaborated to bring some joy and fun throughout 2020. 
We appreciate your ongoing patience and acknowledge the respect demonstrated by residents for taking all vital and necessary protective precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy. 
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller
Once again THANK YOU!

Elgin County - Service Delivery Review

  • The County of Elgin received a grant through the Province’s Municipal Modernization Program to find key efficiencies that will streamline the way services are delivered to members of the community.
  • Elgin County has concluded its service delivery review, which was a review of the County’s shared municipal services with its local municipal partners, the County’s internal operations, and social and community services.
  • Over the last eight months, staff across the organization have been working with the County’s consultant, StrategyCorp, and through one-one-one interviews and workshops, identified over 110 different improvement initiatives. 12 of the identified initiatives are considered “high-impact” and represent a significant opportunity for the County and its partners.  See Report

News Release - Ontario Honours Canadian Heroes of the War in Afghanistan

News Release

Ontario Honours Canadian Heroes of the War in Afghanistan

November 11, 2020

New Memorial Is a Permanent Tribute to Veterans, Active Service Members and Their Families

TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government unveiled a Memorial to Honour Canadian Heroes of the War in Afghanistan. This permanent tribute delivers on the government's commitment to commemorate the valour and sacrifice of the veterans, active members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families, including those who served in recent wars.

Premier Doug Ford was joined on the grounds of Queen's Park by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Brigadier-General Conrad Mialkowski, Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald, Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, and Major-General David Fraser (retired) to unveil the new monument and observe a moment of silence for Canada's fallen heroes.

"As Premier, I made a promise to the people of Ontario to build this memorial as a permanent reminder of those Canadian heroes who served in the War in Afghanistan, and today on Remembrance Day, we keep that promise," said Premier Ford. "We remember their sacrifice, we grieve with the loved ones of the fallen, and we thank them for their service to our province and to our country. God bless all our veterans, our active service members, and their families."

A consultation led by General Rick Hillier (retired) provided advice and input on the design of the memorial to ensure the sacrifices of the brave men and women who served in the War in Afghanistan are commemorated in modern Canadian military history. The memorial's design complements and connects to the Ontario Veterans' Memorial, which was completed in 2006.

"This memorial embodies our province's great respect for those who bravely answered the call to serve our country in the name of peace and freedom," said Minister MacLeod. "Our government is proud that this monument will stand as a lasting legacy here at Queen's Park, giving all Ontarians a space to show our gratitude to this generation of heroes."

"It was a privilege to support the creation of this tribute to those incredible Canadians who served in the Afghanistan war from 2001 to 2014," said General Rick Hillier (retired). "Our veterans, our fallen soldiers and their families deserve our recognition, and our profound respect, appreciation and pride. From today forward, this memorial will be a touchstone for veterans of Afghanistan, their families and the people of Ontario and all of Canada."

"The Ontario Afghanistan Memorial honours those who were lost during the more than 12-year long mission in Afghanistan," said Brigadier-General Conrad Mialkowski. "This memorial will serve to pay tribute to the legacy of those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in peace here in Canada. It recognizes their courage, valour and dedication to their country. Here, Canadians will be able to pay their respects to our fallen and remember them."

Earlier this week, Ontario announced an investment of $511,100 in Helmets to Hardhats to support military veterans and reservists returning to civilian life. In addition, the government is investing $200,000 and providing land to help the Homes for Heroes Foundation create up to 25 tiny homes for military veterans experiencing homelessness.

The government also recently announced a $3 million commitment in support of the Valour Games, a new national multi-sport competition for wounded, ill and injured Canadian military personnel and veterans. The inaugural event will be hosted in Ottawa in 2022.


  • The new memorial is located on the northwest side of the front lawn on the legislative grounds at Queen’s Park in Toronto.
  • The memorial includes a stone from an Inukshuk dedicated to the fallen that was erected by Canadian soldiers at Kandahar Airfield — almost 11,000 kilometres away.
  • The War in Afghanistan was Canada’s largest military deployment since the Second World War. From 2001 to 2014, over 40,000 men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces served in Afghanistan.
  • Tragically, 158 Canadian soldiers were killed during the War in Afghanistan and more than 2,000 were wounded.



Ivana Yelich
Premier’s Office

Dakota Brasier
Minister MacLeod’s Office
416 904-8384

Denelle Balfour
Communications Branch

Office of the Premier


  • Office Hours

  • Monday to Friday,
  • 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
  • (except statutory holidays)