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Mayor’s Mailbag – August 2023 Roundup – What is Oak Wilt; & Support in Finding Childcare

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward Mailbag

Welcome to the Mayor’s Mailbag – August 2023 roundup.

The Mayor’s Monday Mailbag is a weekly initiative Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and the Mayor’s Office has launched to share answers to questions from the public we’ve received through our main email inbox at or the Mayor’s social media platforms.

At the end of the month, we publish a roundup of those most pressing questions we’ve received in the weeks prior.

Mayor’s Mailbag – August 2023 Roundup

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“What is Oak wilt and what should I do if I see signs of it on local trees?”


Recently, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced the first confirmed detections of oak wilt in Niagara Falls and Springwater, near Barrie. No cases have been confirmed in Burlington, however, the City is proactively sharing tips with residents on how to prevent the spread of oak wilt locally, and what to do if they suspect oak wilt is present in the community.

What is Oak wilt?

  • Oak wilt is a vascular disease of oak trees, caused by the fungus Bretziella fagacearum. The fungus grows on the outer sapwood of oak trees, restricting the flow of water and nutrients through the tree.
  • Oak wilt can damage and destroy an oak tree in a single season.
  • All oak species are susceptible and at-risk.
  • Oak wilt poses no threat to humans, animals, bees or insects.
  • Oak wilt is spread through root-to-root contact between infected and uninfected trees, insects that move spores from infected trees to healthy trees, and movement of wood products, such as firewood.
  • There is no treatment for oak trees infected with oak wilt. Once an oak tree is infected with oak wilt, removal is the only option, and the CFIA needs to be notified.

Oak wilt prevention tips:

  • Avoid pruning oak trees between April and November. Minimizing wounds on healthy trees during the flight period of insect carriers helps maintain the health of oak trees.
  • Do not move firewood. In addition to insect carriers, oak wilt is spread through the movement of infected wood.
  • Understand the signs and symptoms of oak wilt. Symptoms of oak wilt include dull green, brown or yellow leaves, cracks in the trunk, white, grey or black fungus as well as early and sudden leaf drop.
  • The City is asking residents who have oak trees on their private property to inspect their trees for oak wilt. If residents suspect oak wilt to be present on their oak tree or on a City-owned oak tree, they are asked to report it the CFIA and the City at 905-335-7777 or email

For further information on the impacts of oak wilt and how to identify signs and symptoms of oak wilt, visit:

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“What support does Halton Region provide in helping families find childcare?”


The Burlington Mayor’s Office has been receiving inquiries of concern from the community recently regarding closures of childcare centres and what help is available to local families in finding alternatives.

It’s important to note that childcare falls under Halton Region’s purview. When childcare centres in the Region close, they inform the Region of their impending closure, who in turn, informs the affected lower-tier municipality, for example, the City of Burlington.

It is the obligation of the childcare operator to inform families of any potential closure.

To support families, Halton Region has developed a list of childcare vacancies in the surrounding area. Please click/tap here to view the list (up-to-date as of July 27, 2023): Available Child Care Spaces in Halton Region, as of July 27, 2023.

Assistance with finding licensed child care options in Halton is also available at The Child Care Directory and Information Line (CCDIL).

Need help with the cost of childcare? Halton Region has information on the Canada-wide Early Learning and Childcare System, and the Childcare Fee Subsidy — please click/tap the link to learn more.

Inquires from families can also be directed to Access Halton at 311 or

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