Monday, 30 March 2015

The Benefits of Organic Waste

You have probably seen me tweeting, blogging and posting about the Region of Peel’s bi-weekly waste collection program and cart selection for a few months now. Maybe you have heard and seen many other reminders that March 31st is the last day to select the size of the garbage and recycling carts.

Why all this fuss about garbage lately?

One of the benefits of moving to a bi-weekly collection program is encouraging a shift in the way we sort the waste we produce. Let’s be honest… some of us aren’t using our green bins to their full potential, choosing instead for the convenience of tossing our kitchen compost (organics) in with the garbage. The price tag in so doing comes in a variety of ways – financial, environmental, health, and so forth. If you look at your household waste, you can easily categorize it into organic (waste that can be composted), recyclables (plastic, aluminium etc), and garbage ( material that can’t be recycled or composted).  There are over 10,000 landfills in Canada that receive waste out of which at least 30-60% is organic and compostable. This biodegradable or organic waste mostly comes from our kitchens or garden scrap or paper, cardboard & timber.

The government has been promoting “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” quite actively for many years and finally, here in Peel, we are being offered a program where we can make a conscious effort to sort out the garbage we produce. By putting the organic waste into the green bins, the recyclables into the blue bins and the rest into the grey bins, we can dramatically reduce the volume of garbage we are sending to landfill.
This also means that the size of carts we need may have to be re-assessed (think smaller garbage cart). Read more about this program in my previous blogs or on Ward 10 Website:

Remember, we all have a responsibility to fulfill towards a more sustainable and healthy future. Let’s participate actively and intelligently.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Beyond the Earth Hour: Energy-saving Tips

 Earth Hour is this Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 pm.  

This is a global event that encourages people to switch off their lights and electrical appliances the world over as a statement against man-induced climate change. It is a symbol of our unified strategies and actions to increase awareness about energy consumption and climate change.

This Saturday, let’s make a resolution: reduce our carbon footprints beyond the Earth Hour. Here are a few tips on how we can achieve it.

Lights: Are you using lights more than required? Do you shut-off lights when exiting a room or area? Ask yourself these questions and you might be able to regulate your energy usage in the house. Use natural light sources when possible during day time. And, next time you are ready to replace a bulb, switch to compact fluorescent or LED that saves on electricity.

Invest in energy- efficient appliances: Look for Energy Star appliances. Energy Star is the mark of high-efficiency products in Canada. They save energy without compromising performance in any way. Typically, an ENERGY STAR certified product is in the top 15 to 30 percent of its class for energy performance. Saving energy saves you money and reduces your impact on the environment. For a list of Energy Star certified products, visit:

Trees: Plant a tree or more around the house to save it from direct sunlight. This will reduce the need for using air conditioners in the summer.

Phantom Electricity: Did you know that many electrical appliances will continue to suck energy even when not in use but plugged into the socket? By unplugging underused gadgets, you might save up to 10% of your electricity bill.

Automobiles: Cars use energy and also emit pollutants in the environment. How about walking, biking, or carpooling or using public transit whenever possible? Making smart decisions today can lead to a brighter and healthier future for our children.

I'm sure you have many more tips for the readers here. Share with us your energy-saving tips, and your experience during Earth Hour 2015.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Transit fare for Seniors

You may have heard or read in the news that my Council colleagues and I have been debating the issue of reduced transit fares for seniors in Mississauga. In a nutshell, the recommendation would allow seniors to ride MiWay buses for $1 during off-peak hours. Staff estimate that the cost (or rather the lost revenue) of such a plan is between $1.0 and $1.4 million annually although some Councillors would argue that it is much lower.
Opponents to the idea suggest that some seniors who can already afford the regular fare would unnecessarily benefit at the expense of other low income riders such as single moms or the under-employed who then might need to offset the loss through a future fare increase.
Those in favour suggest that this discount will target seniors who can’t afford to own their own vehicle or who are unable to drive and are otherwise housebound.  Reports indicate that loneliness or social isolation can lead to depression, and mental or physical illness. My Council colleagues putting forward the recommendation also say that the City of Brampton already implemented a $1.00 seniors fare in 2011 and it is working well so far.
The matter has been deferred until a report comes back from the Region of Peel regarding a pilot project on reduced fares for low income riders that is just about completed. I’m looking forward to reviewing this report as I believe it will provide valuable information into our discussion.
In the meantime, I would also like to hear from you. Please provide your comments below.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Home Sweet Home, Home Safe Home

Home is considered to be the sweetest and safest place for any one. Whether you come home from a late night party, a long day, or an overseas trip, there’s an instant feeling of calm and security the moment you enter your place. But what if this peace and security is being threatened by unwanted visitors – the persistent salespersons? 

Even though Safe City research has indicated that Mississauga continues to be one of the safest cities in Canada to live, residents of Churchill Meadows area have recently complained about dubious salespersons knocking doors at random hours of the day under the pretext of sales or services. These individuals are typically wearing uniform-like clothes and might carry fake ID cards representing some vague department rather than a company. 

The Ward 10 office has alerted police and they are patrolling the community more often in the day and evening, paying attention to any suspicious activity. Have you encountered anything similar?  Share with us your experience and how you handled the incident. 

Meanwhile, here are few tips on keeping your home and community safe:

#1: Have a Visitor-Response Plan
  • Make sure all members living at home know what to do when the doorbell rings. 
  • Let each other know when a visitor is expected. 
  • Establish the ground rules for children to stay away from the door when the bell rings until they have your instructions. 
  • Ensure that elderly people are aware of emergency protocols should they feel bullied by an unwanted visitor.
#2: Pre-Arrange Service/Sale Visits
Don’t let a salesperson into your home without a pre-arranged appointment. You have the right to refuse to let people into your dwelling. 

#3: Join the Neighbourhood Watch Program
Stats have shown that implementing Neighbourhood Watch can reduce crime by 26%. Is your neighbourhood or street enrolled in the program? If not, you can register to participate by filling an online form at

#4: Inform the Police
Remember that safety is a shared responsibility. By reporting suspicious activities in your neighbourhood to police, you are ensuring safety for yourself, your family and your community and you aid police in their monitoring and enforcement efforts. 

Let me know if this information helped you. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Stay Warm, Stay Safe, Be Prepared, Learn First Aid

Unbelievable, but the extreme temperatures have broken more than four decades of records for frigid weather in GTA. Not only have we received lots of snow, but the Region has been under a cold alert for a total of 30 days already. Such weather conditions give rise to emergencies that can happen anywhere and at any time. These could be natural or medical emergencies. How can we be prepared? This blog speaks to first aid and other medical tactics that can be helpful in such extreme weather.

Whether one is waiting for public transit, shovelling snow, or working outdoors, hypothermia or frost bite is a very real threat. Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature which can affect the heart, nervous system and other organs. It is primarily caused by exposure to cold weather.  I’m sharing a few tips on how to stay safe this winter.

1.       Keep track of weather conditions through updates from radio, television and internet. Remember to dress adequately, and use the right transportation for the weather.

2.       Keep a 3D Survival Kit at home and in your vehicle. Do you know what goes inside this kit? Everything that will help you survive for a few days should you be stranded in the cold or stuck at home. You can learn more about the 3D Survival Kit  at

3.       A first aid kit is important to have whether you are at home, work or on the road. There are different kinds of kits to suit your needs and you can check with your local Mississauga branch of St. John Ambulance to learn more. First aid kits are also available at pharmacies or departmental stores.

4.       Next, I would highly recommend getting First Aid and CPR training.  You never know when you might need to save a loved one’s life. Let’s not forget that when the weather is bad, even the ambulances can take a bit longer than usual to respond. Knowing first aid and CPR can make a huge difference during a medical emergency. If you are an employer, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have a first-aid trained worker available at work at all times when work is in progress.

February is heart month. What could be better than learning the skills to save a heart! Learn CPR. Learn first aid. You can take a course from a variety of organizations like St. John Ambulance,  Red Cross Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Life Saving Society, to name a few. They even offer courses for children. Do you have more tips on medical emergencies or a life-saving story to share? Please comment below.

And the next time you are thinking about what to do on a cold winter day in Mississauga, go ahead and book yourself for a First Aid course!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Keeping Pets Safe, Healthy and Loved!

We've been facing winter's icy blast for a few weeks now and it looks like there is more to come! If you think it's cold, your pets do too - don't let their furry coat fool you.

Imagine: you just finished shovelling the snow. As you return to the comfortable warmth in front of your fireplace, or snuggly warm blankets, your dog decides she needs to run outside in the sub-zero temperatures. You know you can't ignore your furry friend, and all that jumping around indicates the urgency to respond to nature’s call or the need to go out for a little run. You put on your winter gear and trudge out in the snow once again to keep your precious companion happy. And you return too many minutes later with a shivering and restless pooch!

I want to share with you a few winter care tips for pets... especially in light of a new by-law that was introduced in Mississauga last year outlining new standards of care during extreme weather for your pet. It clearly states that pets cannot be left outdoors during extreme weather except for brief walks or exercise unless the animal has access to adequate shelter. Also, animals cannot be left unattended in automobiles if weather conditions are not suitable and may cause the animal distress.

1.     Keep your pets active in the winter through exercising and routine walks. Keep toys handy for indoor play and exercise.

2.     To protect your dogs from extreme weather, it is a good idea to invest in good winter gear like warm boots and jackets.

3.      Applying paw creams can help keep your dog’s paws healthy.

4.      Do not leave your pets unattended if taking them outside in the cold.

5.      Take extra care of your pets’ nutrition. Ingesting warm food will help their bodies stay warm too!

To learn more about the new laws in effect in Mississauga, related to standards of care for pets, visit
And, no matter how cold it is, please remember to pick up after your dog. It's not just a courteous thing to do, it's the law.

If you have additional tips or suggestions on how we can take better care of our pets, please add them in the comments section below.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Our Flag Turns 50 This Year


“The flag is the symbol of the nation's unity, for it, beyond any doubt, represents all the citizens of Canada without distinction of race, language, belief or opinion.”

                                                    - Maurice Bourget (1965)

Each year as we approach the National Flag of Canada Day, I’m reminded of these words by Maurice Bourget, the Speaker of the Senate at the official inaugural ceremony of the Canadian Flag in 1965. I truly believe that our national flag reminds us of our nation’s unity, and our commitment as Canadian citizens to our great country's well-being.

The National Flag of Canada was approved by Parliament in 1964 and proclaimed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to take effect on February 15, 1965. It is a red flag, twice as long as it is wide, containing in its centre a white square bearing a red maple leaf. Red and white are Canada's official colours and, with the maple leaf, are the symbolic elements found in the Canadian flag.

Do you know the story behind our national flag?

The maple leaf had long been an important part of the Aboriginal lifestyle because of the maple sap they used to gather every spring. Sometime around 1860, the maple leaf was adopted as the national emblem. Later, in 1921, the colours, red and white were approved as Canada's official colours in the proclamation of the royal arms of Canada by King George V. In 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson strongly advocated the need to have a distinctive national flag as a symbol of unified Canada. Soon after, a committee was formed and the search for the Canadian flag initiated.

Every year, we celebrate the National Flag of Canada Day with great enthusiasm. This year marks 50 years since the flag was first hoisted at the Parliament Hill. MP Brad Butt will be hosting a special ceremony on Sunday, February 15, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at Streetsville Village Square to celebrate this 50th anniversary. I hope you can attend.

Have a wonderful family day weekend... and Happy Valentine's Day too!