What Came Out of The Opioid Motion

Some people have asked me the following. If the city doesn’t declare an emergency on the opioid crisis, what benefit does the opioid motion in which Councillor Keenan Aylwin and I put forward have?

Positive things that came out of the motion that was passed unanimously by City Council include:

-City Council has called on the Federal and Provincial Governments to declare a Public Health Emergency. And that funding be allocated to improve emergency management in the region.

-City staff have been directed to work with local Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Parliament to access funding opportunities.

-City Council has called on the Federal and Provincial Governments to support, enhance and expand evidence-based treatment and rehabilitation services, addiction prevention and education and harm reduction measures. As well as to address root causes of addiction.

-City Council has called on the Federal and Provincial Governments to fund enforced laws surrounding illicit drug supply, production and distribution.

-Leaders of all political parties have been given the resolution and are to report back in three weeks.

Article by Simcoe.com


Climate Change Rally in Barrie

Today was a perfect day to meet up at City Hall to show support for the climate strikes happening around the world led by 15 year old, Greta Thunburg (who was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize).

Barrie resident, Adam Ballah, has been taking his sons out of school for several Friday’s now to make signs about climate change and display them at City Hall. It’s an important message that needs to be heard by all – I love this initiative.

Barrie released its Climate Change Adaptation Strategy last year which highlights important ongoing action specific action-plans such as:

  • Maintain public health and safety
  • Minimize risks to buildings and properties
  • Strengthen infrastructure resilience
  • Help local business and tourism industry adapt to changing conditions
  • Protect biodiversity and enhance ecosystem functions
  • Minimize destruction of corporate services
  • Build community resilience

If you want to get more involved in Adam Ballah’s initiative, go to “Friday’s For Future Barrie” on Facebook.


Simcoe County Alliance To End Homelessness Meeting

Today was a great meeting at The Common Roof. I thought it was so great to see Marty Carlisle and his friend (name withheld for anonymity) who is a resident of one of the boarding houses in Barrie. He (The friend) shared how these residences require a lot of maintenance and the Simcoe County Alliance To End Homelessness (SCATEH) group made a plan to investigate how to assist the residents with this. Great collaboration and community togetherness…as always at these meetings!

Lived experience testimonials are so important to have incorporated into social committees and policy development. In my opinion, without lived experience input at all levels of decision making and policy creation, we are not serving these members of society with diligence.


Why I Love Barrie!


Image from BarrieToday.com

Let’s talk about some of the amazingly positive things the city of Barrie has to offer!

Tourism check out Tourism Barrie

Recreation check out Barrie Recreation

Emergency Services check out Police, Fire Department and Paramedics

Parks, Trails and Waterfront check out Barrie Parks, Trails & Waterfront

Inclusivity check out Inclusive Community

Diversity check out Barrie Tourism Diversity

Native Centre check out Barrie Native Friendship Centre

Social Services check out Barrie Social Services

Festivals check out Barrie Festivals & Events

What things would you add? 




How Can We Improve Barrie’s Gender Gap?

I have had many people message and ask me what my thoughts are on the following report that states that Barrie ranks last among a list of 26 large cities in Canada when it comes to women’s economic security, education, health, leadership and security. This statistic is uncomfortable to me and many because we love our city! But I think it would be amiss to ignore these results. So let’s get uncomfortable and ask some questions. How can we improve this statistic? How can we help to make Barrie shine in these areas like it deserves to? (I feel it shines in many areas that aren’t listed – follow up blog will address this). How can we make Barrie’s gender-gap disappear?

The Best and Worst Place to be a Woman in Canada 2019

It’s important to note that according to this study,

No single measure or index can hope to capture the complexity of women’s lives, reflect the uniqueness of each community or provide a definitive accounting of a city’s strengths and weaknesses with respect to gender equality.

This study can however,

…help mark the areas where more attention is needed from our leaders, our policy-makers and our communities.

Here are the statistics reported for Barrie according to this study:




So where do we go from here? Assuming that this study’s data has been collected and disseminated accurately, (methodology can be found on page 116), how can we use this information to our advantage?

Here are some of my ideas: (I will investigate these and let you know my results.)

  • Ensure that all businesses in Barrie are following Ontario’s Pay Equity Act
  • Investigate the possibility of better on-site daycare provisions at post secondary locations in Barrie. Are wait lists too long?
  • Increase opportunities for paid leadership internships.
  • Push for better data collection with respect to why women feel that their health is, not ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.
  • Investigate how far along the trauma-informed training is in the Barrie Police Service. (I know that it has been ongoing for many years now, therefore training many of their officers, as I have participated in it). Do we have violence against women advocates in the field now?


What are some of YOUR suggestions? I would love to hear them. You can reach me at natalie.harris@barrie.ca