Richmond Lions Club Recognized in Ontario Legislature For Their 60th Anniversary

By Goldie Ghamari, MPP for Carleton

In late April, I had the honour and privilege to stand up in the Ontario Legislature and deliver a very special Member’s Statement. With the Richmond Lions Club celebrating their 60th anniversary this year, and with another successful fundraising duck race on the Jock River in the books, it is a great time to celebrate the Lions Club. Dale Greene, Shirley Reddick, Michelle Roger, and all of the members provide an invaluable service to Richmond and the area. At the grassroots level, clubs like the Richmond Lions Club, Lions Clubs in Stittsville, Osgoode, Greely, Metcalfe, and South Gloucester, as well as the Manotick Kiwanis Club and many other volunteer organizations in the Carleton riding, are the heartbeat of the communities in which they serve.

The following was my members statement that I so proudly delivered, praising them in front of the Legislature:

“Mr. Speaker, all of us in the Legislature represent communities, and the lifeblood of those communities are volunteers. I am honoured to acknowledge the 60th anniversary of the Richmond Lions Club in the Village of Richmond in the Carleton riding. Since 1964, this volunteer-driven organization has been the heart and soul of the community. They raise funds that might go to paying for equipment at the local hospital or helping a struggling family in need. They assist seniors and make donations to programs like Meals on Wheels. They even quietly help underprivileged youth register for minor hockey or youth soccer.

“They organize road barriers for community events like parades and road races.

“They offer a team of volunteers to other groups and organizations who need help to run their events and fundraisers.

“In some communities, service clubs are fading away. People have other priorities than giving back to their community. But the Richmond Lions Club is a strong and growing community organization. The importance of giving back to the community is what drives their members. Love of their community and giving back is what draws special people to become members in this special organization.

“Congratulations to the Richmond Lions Club for making our community – a community I am so proud to represent in the Legislature – a better place to live for 60 years.

“Service clubs deserve our recognition – not just in Carleton, but in every riding in Ontario.”

I would also like to give a special mention to Kim Sheldrick of the Metcalfe Lions Club. She was presented with the Presidential Medal at the District A-4 Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec District 4-A Lions Club Convention recently. The Presidential Medal is the highest honour in Lionism.

Ontario Increasing Funding to Boost Reading, Writing and Math

With a focus on going back-to-basics and preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow, the Ontario government is increasing Core Education Funding for the coming school year by $745 million compared to 2023-24. Together with other investments, this represents $29 billion in total education funding and the largest investment in Ontario’s education system.

Ontario’s plan will support getting back-to-basics, provide mental health supports and build more schools, faster. For the 2024-25 school year, the Ontario government’s investments include:

–              $34 million to support the hiring of 300 school math facilitators;

–              $13.5 million to fund school board math leads with a singular mandate to improve math skills;

–              $68.68 million for education staff to provide reading supports, including the hiring of over 600 more specialized educators;

–              $12.5 million for reading intervention support licenses and $12.5 million for reading screening tools, so that every Senior Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 child benefits from screening this coming school year;

–              An additional $80 million for the student transportation allocation, now at $1.3 billion, to better support reliable and safe transportation for students

–              $10 million in new funding for school security infrastructure, including vape detectors;

–              $2.9 billion as part of the School Facilities Fund for operating, maintaining, renovating, and renewing school buildings;

–              Special Education funding is being increased to $3.5 billion, which includes an $11.5 million investment to support school boards’ ability to conduct professional assessments to hire more staff to help reduce wait times for speech and language supports. An additional $10 million this year is being invested as part of the Special Incidence Portion (SIP) modernization to support students with extraordinarily high needs.

–              Mental Health funding is being increased to $117.65 million, an increase of 577 per cent since 2017-18. This includes $14 million that will provide students with mental health services over the summer months, including access to school-based mental health professionals, targeted programs and supports year-round in response to recommendations from families and student trustees.

In addition to Core Education Funding projected to be more than $28.6 billion in the next school year, Ontario is also projected to invest $403 million in 2024-25 for Responsive Education Programs and Funding to External Partners. This investment supports high impact initiatives through the province’s collaboration with education partners. This includes more than 150 projects focused on a wide range of themes, including student readiness, STEM, Indigenous education, mental health, literacy, French-language education, supporting vulnerable students and operations.

The province recently undertook a comprehensive review of education funding and recommended changes. The new Core Education Funding model now clearly identifies key funding pillars which support students – from classroom staffing to school board administration. These changes make it easier for parents and guardians to understand how funding is allocated and strengthens school board accountability on how these funds are spent.

In addition to the new funding model, Ontario is investing $1.3 billion through the 2023-24 Capital Priorities Program creating more than 27,000 new student spaces and more than 1,700 child care spaces. This is more than double the investment compared to last year and is the largest one-year funding commitment to new school construction in Ontario’s history. The province is investing a total of $1.4 billion in 2024-25 to help school boards revitalize and renew aged building systems and components. This is part of the province’s ongoing capital renewal funding initiative.

Ontario Supporting Young Entrepreneurs

The Ontario government is providing an additional investment of $1.5 million to bolster its Summer Company program, helping an additional 250 young people start and grow a business. The investment will increase total funding for the program to more than $4.7 million over the next two years.

The Summer Company program provides students between the ages of 15 and 29 with at least 12 hours of business training, one‐on‐one mentoring and grants up to $3,000 to start a full-time business. Over the past five years, the program, delivered through Small Business Enterprise Centres, has helped launch over 1,700 businesses across Ontario.

Small businesses play a critical role in our communities and are an essential part of Ontario’s economy, employing over two million people. Ontario offers a range of programs and supports to assist entrepreneurs towards starting and growing new companies, including Regional Innovation Centres, Intellectual Property Ontario, Starter Company Plus and tailored options, advice, and business analysis through business advisory services.

Applications for the 2024 Summer Company program are being accepted until May 17, 2024.

Quick Facts

  • The new Summer Company funding of $1.5 million is in addition to the annual $1.6 million already allocated to the program.
  • Ontario’s 47 Small Business Enterprise Centres provide entrepreneurs access to advisors, programs, and services, as well as learning opportunities for small business owners specific to their region.
  • The Digitalization Competence Centre is a $10 million investment that provides small businesses support with digital literacy, accelerating digital adoption, and enhancing technological capacity.

Office Notice:

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