Please see below the statement I released today publicly on travel and accountability during the province-wide shutdown: Statement from Burlington Mayor Meed Ward – Jan 8 2021.
Burlington, Ont. – Jan. 8, 2021 — For full transparency and accountability, I have not travelled outside the country or province in more than a year and have not left the City of Burlington since before the Provincial shutdown.
I am just as troubled and frustrated as the community about continued news of travel outside the country or province by elected representatives, health officials or community leaders. This erodes public trust at a time we need to work with the community to defeat COVID-19.
I immediately spoke to Halton Regional Police Services (HRPS) Chief Stephen Tanner, when I learned today (from the media) that he had travelled outside the country to attend to a property, with the permission of the Chair of the HRPS Board, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. I expressed my concern about the travel. I appreciate that Chief Tanner has now apologized and said it was a poor decision and one he deeply regrets.
I encourage those with properties outside the province to consider local property management companies and continue to avoid non-essential travel. I have heard from constituents who also have properties outside the province who are not travelling to those properties, and they expect the same from their community leaders.
Clearly, as community leaders, we need to hold ourselves not only to the same standards we expect from the public, but a higher standard of accountability, transparency and behaviour. We are in a public health emergency when all non-essential travel is being discouraged by our public health officials and provincial and federal governments.
Accountability starts in our own backyard. My expectations are that no senior City staff or Council members will be travelling outside the province for non-essential trips during the shutdown. I can confirm that no senior staff at Burlington City Hall has travelled outside the province since the province-wide shutdown. I also asked and have received confirmation from all City Council members that none of them have travelled outside of the province since the shutdown.
As a new measure during virtual City of Burlington Committee and Council meetings, and other public meetings, I will be voluntarily disclosing where I am calling in from. I have asked all of my City Council colleagues to do the same.
Additionally, I have put on the agenda of our upcoming Emergency Control Group a discussion of what further measures are warranted to ensure our staff and council walk the talk, lead by example and hold ourselves to the same and higher standard than we expect of the community.
We are in the worst of this pandemic. It is all hands on deck. We need to trust each other and work together. To do that, we all need to make the same commitments and sacrifices to beat this deadly virus.
We need to work to restore trust when it has been broken, as it has recently with many announcements of travel by health, elected and community leaders.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
City of Burlington
PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.
A consolidated page for information and updates on the work of the provincial Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force is available at bit.ly/COVIDVaccineUpdates.
A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.
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 bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.
HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:
- Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 905-335-7777, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or online.
- Halton Region has created a Reopening Schools resource webpage for parents, students and teachers at halton.ca/covid19.
- For further COVID-19 information, including where to get tested, please visit Halton Region Public Health halton.ca/coronavirus
- Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington
- Questions about the cancellation of Recreation programs can be directed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-335-7738
- City of Burlington: www.burlington.ca/coronavirus
- Resources for Residents & Non-Profit Organizations: www.burlington.ca/covid19resources.
- Halton Region: www.halton.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Ontario: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
- Provincial Emergency Orders: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200052
- Government of Canada: www.canada.ca/coronavirus
- World Health Organization: www.who.int
- Joseph Brant Hospital: josephbranthospital.ca/covid-19
- Team Burlington Business Supports: burlingtonchamber.com/team-burl-supporting-burl-business-during-covid-19/
- Burlington Food Bank: call 905-637-CARE (2273), or visit burlingtonfoodbank.ca
- Food for Life: call 905-635-1106 and press 7, or visit foodforlife.ca
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Branch: call 289-291-5396, or visit halton.cmha.ca