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COVID-19 Task Force Meeting #2 Highlights

Burlington COVID Task Force

On Thursday, April 16th, the Burlington COVID-19 Task Force met for the second time to continue discussions around the ongoing needs and related supports available to help our city through this health crisis.

The meeting took place on via Zoom video-conference and it was a great opportunity to see the friendly faces of everyone who is pulling together to serve our community, especially during this time of social distancing. The highlights of our discussion are as follows:

New Action Items:

Coordination & Updates – Amber Rushton will bring high level overviews to future meetings, liaising between the Task Force and the Community Risk & Vulnerability branch of our emergency operations to ensure action items and updates get communicated both ways.
One website for donations/volunteers/PPE similar to DonateTO raised by Mayor to help direct people calling multiple places for direction. Ideation and resourcing will take place in the week ahead. Nicole Barich-Williams, Jeff Crowder, and Michelle Dwyer in conjunction with the Corporate Communications Team are working together to have a “skeleton” design of the proposed volunteer/donations management page much like the City of Toronto  and the City of Brampton have and proposal to be available to show at the next Task Force meeting.

As MPP McKenna mentioned, consider also adding a telephone line with a live person as people are craving human interaction. We have one we can activate at the City so we’ll look at that. She also noted Spark Ontario as a portal.

Canada Summer Jobs Program (Federal) – note that each MP can submit 25 organizations in their ridings that are providing essential services so reach out to your MP (Pam or Karina) for additional support opportunities.
Note the website to direct people to one spot to buy multiple gift cards to support local businesses. Please share with your networks.
Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation is launching lawn signs and a community celebration & appreciation initiative + use of #WELOVEJBH hashtag. Please share broadly with your networks. (Detailed info was sent by email before the meeting)
Burlington Foundation: accepting applications from agencies involved in COVID-19 outreach to the community, up to 15k grants available. (carried over from last meeting)

Ongoing Action Items:

School board, hospital, city continue discussion on redeploying staff to assist (caretaking, facilities, patient transportation, volunteer management, security); Outreach to hotels via Amber; Mayor to create a joint Operations/Response Coordination team

UPDATE: Report back from Eric Vandewall at next task force meeting. Initiative on hold until report back from Eric on Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN review of regional capacity and needs, April 17.

Communicate out to businesses – can you retool to produce PPE? Donate PPE?

Instead of offering food/coffee directly, can you provide gift cards for health care workers.

Offers of help can be funneled back through or (905) 632-3730 x1314 at hospital unless otherwise noted

UPDATE: Jamie from Karina Gould’s office to send Carla Nell an email about a hand sanitizer exchange.

Amber connected Manager of Business Development from Starbucks through Anissa Hilborn, JBH foundation regarding gift cards and any other monetary donation that can be made, and directed the hotels that were wanting to help through to the general donations email address for JBH and followed up to inquire on costs, availability, details on what they can offer, etc.

Also, Mayor is launching Wall of Inspiration on her website to recognize stories of inspiration, retooling and generosity. Open to adding more on a regular basis so please share via

Hassaan Basit will put out a call for volunteers, including ski instructors trained in first aid, once volunteer needs and onboarding process are identified by local healthcare staff. Offered exclusive access to front line health care workers and their families to one CH park during designated times. Link to be shared with hospital once this option is available.

UPDATE: Hassaan connected with Eric and are refining the model so that it can meet all public health guidelines. They’re looking at bringing in a technology that would monitor traffic on the trails and, in combination with time slots, will enable hundreds of meters between groups. Work continues.

Fundraising for hospital

UPDATE: Angelo referenced a few groups doing fundraising such as 905 Tire (via Burlington Dad’s Group) who donated PPE directly to hospital, plus the Burlington Range. The work continues and they are working on a Gift of Giving Back drive-thru food drive TBD.

Completed Action Items:

Share the news in your networks/newsletters about fundraising opportunities and the Help in Your Community directory from the Burlington Public library (List & links below)
Tag @cityburlington on social feeds so we can amplify your messages
Ask for volunteers for various needs from their groups, and funnel back through Nichole Bariche-Williams/Michelle Dwyer, COB

UPDATE: Dan VanderLelie reached out to his group and there are many people ready & willing so ready to be asked – reach out if needed.

Also, Amber is working with Michelle Dwyer at City of Burlington to help with volunteer management.

Co-ordinate food storage space and transportation needs, if any, for Burlington Food Bank with city (Community Centers), Food for Life, NUVO Network

UPDATE: This has been activated since our last meeting. Angelo has also found a forklift operator to support on that end of things and if we need, we can leverage a refrigeration warehouse via Ippolito. Angelo mentioned social distancing during food sorting has been a challenge and great news that Appleby Arena + Sixteen Mile Creek are now providing space to do this more safely.

Other Notable Discussion Highlights:

  • MPP Triantafilopoulos: Acclaim Health is asking for additional support with PPE. The cost has increased significantly for them so help with actual PPE or towards costs would be helpful.
  • Rev. Thomas: Be aware of compassion fatigue and the need to keep the helpers healthy as well.
  • Councillor Kearns: Paper flyers have gone out to constituents (11K in her ward alone) so people can get local information via that channel as opposed to always digital/tv.
  • Carla Nell: notes the Milton Chamber site that has a wealth of links for all of Halton Region

The meeting was well-attended as expected, and I continue to be impressed and thankful for how willing all our community leaders are to make time to connect in this way to share ideas, surface solutions, and align on execution.

Our next meeting will take place later next week and continued updates will be available to the public.

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages (and subscribe) and, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — that are updated as new information becomes available.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to


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