By Goldie Ghamari, MPP for Carleton
The community lost a true hero in October.
Former Ottawa Police Service Sergeant Robin Easey, who lived in Richmond in the Carleton riding, passed away at the age of 70.
Sgt. Easey and his partner, Superintendent Ralph Erfle, were constables with the Nepean Police in 1984 when they responded to an armed robbery at Bayshore Shopping Centre. Both men were shot and survived, but Robin Easey was left blind and with serious mobility issues.
He became a champion for rehabilitation and support for survivors of severe trauma. In 1988, Robin’s Blue Circle, a support group for police officers, was created and named in Easey’s honour. Robin’s Blue Circle remains active today.
Ottawa Police Association President Matthew Cox paid tribute to Sgt. Easey after his passing in an email he sent to CTV News.
“From the Ottawa policing family, the name Robin Easey will never be forgotten,” Cox wrote.
“Sgt. Easey was left in a wheelchair but was always proud to don his police uniform and attend police events and the Canadian Police Memorial on Parliament Hill where he would represent the Ottawa Police to honour the fallen,” Cox said. “Robin’s Blue Circle is probably one of the longest standing police peer support networks in North America. Robin is the inspiration and champion behind this group. To be part of this group you must have been involved in a police shooting or been shot in the execution of your duties.”
The Ottawa Hospital also honoured Sgt. Easey by naming the Robin Easey Centre in his honour. The Robin Easey Centre provides community-based life skills instruction, cognitive rehabilitation (strategy-based) and education services for adults who have sustained an acquired brain injury. The goal of the REC is to provide clients and their families with the information, skills and experience needed to facilitate community reintegration and independent living.
Remembrance Day Services
One of the things that makes me proud to be the MPP for Carleton is the incredible turnout for Remembrance Day Services each year.
Manotick, in particularly, always draws a crowd of well over 1,000 people to the cenotaph beside Watson’s Mill, as Dickinson Square is packed with those coming to pay tribute to our fallen soldiers.
If you have not seen them yet, please take a look at the banners in the Village of Manotick honouring those from the community who served in the military. This has been a wonderful project and a great tribute to local veterans.
Ontario Helping Victims of Tragedies Access Postsecondary Education
The Ontario government is providing $2.5 million for two scholarship programs prioritizing students impacted by international tragedies. The Ontario-Ukraine Solidarity Scholarship and the Ontario Remembrance Scholarship will provide over 200 students with $10,000 for their postsecondary education in Ontario.
The Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities made the announcement, saying that Ontario is putting students first by renewing two scholarships that will help learners – many of whom have faced great personal hardship – access postsecondary education here in Ontario. This financial assistance will ensure students have the supports they need to complete their studies while honouring victims of recent tragedies and ongoing global conflicts.
The province is investing $1.9 million towards the Ontario-Ukraine Solidarity Scholarship for postsecondary students who have relocated to Canada on an emergency basis. Funding will support four $10,000 scholarships at every publicly assisted college and university in Ontario, for a total of 188 scholarships.
The Ontario Remembrance Scholarship, in memory of the 57 Canadians who were lost in the fatal plane crash of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 in January 2020 — including many from Ontario’s postsecondary community — will support 57 eligible students.
The Ontario-Ukraine Solidarity Scholarship was first introduced in 2022 and the Ontario Remembrance Scholarship was announced in 2020.
- Beginning this fall, the scholarships will be awarded based on academic merit and financial need to students enrolled in eligible publicly assisted colleges or universities in the 2023-24 academic year.
- Students should contact their postsecondary institution’s financial aid office for more information on how to apply.
Ontario Strengthening Protections for Consumers
The Ontario government has introduced legislation that, if passed, would strengthen protections for Ontarians from unfair business practices such as price gouging, and make it easier for businesses to comply with consumer protection rules.
Consumer protection laws have not been comprehensively reviewed and updated since the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, came into force in 2005. Since then, Ontario’s marketplace has transformed significantly with an increase in online shopping and the use of apps.
The Better for Consumers, Better for Businesses Act, 2023, builds on existing protections to strengthen consumer rights by:
- Prohibiting unfair business practices such as taking advantage of a consumer’s inability to understand language in a contract.
- Limiting when businesses can make one-sided contract amendments, renewals, and extensions without express consumer consent.
- Prohibiting businesses from creating unnecessary barriers when consumers are trying to cancel a subscription or membership-based contract.
- Providing fairer exit options to consumers and their families who find themselves locked indefinitely into a timeshare contract as well as homeowners tied to long-term leases for home comfort appliances like HVAC systems.
- Providing stronger enforcement powers to better enable the ministry to hold bad actors accountable including doubling maximum fines to further deter offences and egregious business behaviour.
The new Consumer Protection Act, 2023, would make it easier for businesses to comply with consumer protection rules in our increasingly digital-first marketplace. This includes a single set of core rules written in clear, simple language that would apply to most consumer contracts, whether for online or in-person purchases.
To prevent the harms that could be caused by identity theft, the proposed legislation would also make changes to the Consumer Reporting Act that would give Ontarians greater access to their credit information and greater ability to limit how their credit information is shared with third parties.
The government is also seeking public input on ways to address and reduce the harmful and inappropriate use of Notices of Security Interest (NOSIs) against unsuspecting consumers. A NOSI is a notice that can be registered on the land registry system by a business when it finances or leases certain equipment on a property such as an HVAC unit. In some cases, homeowners are not aware a NOSI has been registered on their title and businesses have charged them exorbitant fees to discharge the NOSI.
- The proposed Better for Consumers, Better for Businesses Act, 2023, introduces a new Consumer Protection Act that would amend the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 which governs most personal and household consumer transactions.
- The new Act reflects extensive consultation with the public and stakeholders over a three-year period and will make the marketplace easier to navigate for businesses and consumers alike.
My office is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. If you require assistance on any matter, please contact me at any time. My staff and I will be happy to assist. Even if it’s not a provincial issue, I’ll make sure to connect you with the proper office.
Your voice at Queen’s Park