It was an honour to be at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Ottawa last week.
Events like this often begin with a land acknowledgement ceremony, as we acknowledge that we are on the unceded territories of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Tribe. It’s a fitting tribute for this occasion, as Hard Rock International is wholly-owned by the Seminole Tribe. We often equate Indigenous issues with past oppressions. Sometimes that overshadows the positive things happening. Their foresight and business savvy through the Hard Rock International brand has resulted in every single child born in the Seminole tribe being a multi-millionaire by the age of 18.
Because of this, the Hard Rock brand is seen as unique, and as an inspiration around the world.
For the seventh straight month, we have seen an increase in the number of jobs and investments like this one in Ontario. Since 2018, more than 600,000 good-paying jobs have been added to the province, and Ontario continues to lead the nation in job creation. Last month, the unemployment rate in Ontario dropped by 0.2 percentage points to 4.9%. This is the lowest unemployment rate in the province since 1989.
Since 2018, the Government of Ontario has lowered the cost of doing business in Ontario by $8 billion annually. This has helped attract hundreds of millions of dollars into Ontario’s venture capital ecosystem. We are creating the best possible conditions for businesses to grow, and to create jobs.
These commitments to business growth have helped pave the way for projects like the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Ottawa.
National Indigenous History Month
More and more often, when we are at public events in the Carleton riding or anywhere throughout the city, we hear a statement acknowledging that we are on the unceded and unsurrendered traditional territory of the Algonquin and Anishinaabe Nations. We hear this before every Ottawa Senators home game – few people realize that Canadian Tire Centre is within the boundaries of the Carleton riding – and we hear it at school events and many public gatherings.
I mention this because this month, Ontario is celebrating National Indigenous History Month, when we celebrate the rich traditions, heritage and contributions throughout history of First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples across the province and country.
I hope you are able to take part in the many cultural activities planned this month, including on June 21 in recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day, to learn about the diverse histories, cultures and experiences of Indigenous peoples who helped shape this province.
Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford says that each and every day, we recognize the many contributions and accomplishments of Indigenous peoples. He adds that our government will continue to focus on advancing meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous partners.
June is Seniors Month in Ontario
June is Seniors Month in Ontario – a time to honour and celebrate the contributions and hard work that Ontario’s older adults have done all their lives to make Ontario the great place it is today.
This year’s theme, Working for Seniors is about the programs and services helping seniors all over the province stay independent, fit, active, and healthy. Our government is working for seniors by investing more than ever before in hundreds of local programs and services every year because when seniors have more opportunities to be social and together, they have a happier and better quality of life.
This year, we are investing up to $6 million in more than 280 Seniors Community Grant projects that help local groups and organizations empower seniors to be active and connected to family and friends in their community – from Tai Chi lessons, lawn bowling and other physical activities, to arts and music appreciation, to virtual speakers’ series, day trips, and so much more.
We are also investing over $14 million to support nearly 300 Seniors Active Living Centres. These community hubs bring older adults, aged 50 + together so they can participate in classes and activities such as learning seminars, fitness, and cooking.
Ontario is the great place it is today thanks to our seniors, and I encourage all Ontarians to join me in celebrating Seniors Month throughout June.
Ontario Lowering Minimum Age Requirement to be a Lifeguard
The Ontario government is lowering the minimum age requirement to be a lifeguard, assistant lifeguard and aquatic instructor from 16 to 15 years of age to help communities address staffing shortages and make sure pools and recreational camp waterfronts across the province can be enjoyed safely. This change aligns the minimum age requirements with updated age requirements established by the Lifesaving Society’s certification course.
These changes went into effect on June 2, 2023. As a result, communities will now have access to more lifeguards so businesses and municipalities can hire additional staff ahead of the summer season. Access to more lifeguards will also help operators maintain and expand their hours of operation for public swimming and aquatic lessons.
- Lifeguards must first pass a series of swimming tests and hold appropriate certifications – such as a current lifeguard or assistant lifeguard certificate or a current aquatic instructor certificate – to be able to work safely as lifeguards, assistant lifeguards, or aquatic instructors.
- The National Lifeguard training and certification, delivered by the Lifesaving Society, is the professional standard for lifeguarding in Canada. It certifies lifeguards across the country and is recognized by the province of Ontario for lifeguarding public swimming pools.
In July 2020, the Lifesaving Society lowered its age requirement for the national lifeguard certificate from 16 to 15 years of age.
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