Barrie, opioid

Addiction Isn’t 9-5

Addiction isn’t 9-5

As you may already know, I am fighting hard (with many amazing people) to tackle the opioid crisis in Barrie. I have had the privilege to work alongside many talented and dedicated doctors and specialists. I have sat at boardroom tables and asked questions…and even more questions. I want the answers to this crisis so bad, and I know that it will take an army of people to solve it. And members of this army include people with lived experience with addiction. I don’t see many of these people when I am in boardrooms, and I think that THIS is a critical missing piece to the crisis puzzle.

One day, while sitting at said boardroom table with doctors and specialists, I asked why the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinics are only open two hours…that’s correct, I said TWO hours a day for drop in? And then only 9-5 for appointments? You see, I am one of those lived experience individuals. I am a recovered addict and I can tell you with 100 % certainty that my addiction isn’t with me only from 9-5. This huge gap in this service needs to be addressed! My addiction is ever present in my blood.

Hearing that the RAAM clinic was only open 9-5 broke my heart. Some people don’t have a car and it would take them two hours just to get there by bus! I am told that the hours are so low because they don’t have enough staff to operate it – well I say let’s find some. Addiction is 24/7, and available care should be too.

Are you a mental health and/or addiction specialist who lives in the Barrie area? Email me! Natalie.Harris@barrie.ca

I can’t promise anything except that I will submit your name and resume to the RAAM. Thank you!

Barrie

Letter To The Premier About Police Funding Cuts

May 18th, 2019

Dear Premier Ford,

I am writing this letter to share my concerns about your planned cuts to the Ontario Provincial Police service.

I understand that you have a tremendous provincial deficit to tackle, but must it all be tackled so quickly? And without allowing municipal voices to be heard? Are you trying to balance your budget at the literal expense of municipal tax-payers? Police services are already under extreme financial restraint, and making funding cuts will equal a decrease in services which are so dire to the safety of our communities.

According to a Barrie Police dispatcher, (anonymous), citizens who make a 911 call for police are sometimes waiting hours for an officer to be free to attend. This delay is already putting our community’s safety at risk. And now that provincial funding will be cut by millions, delays will increase, and lives will be in even greater danger, and possibly lost.       

According to a recent article by The Canadian Press, provincial police funding cuts will effect “field and traffic services”. As a municipal Councillor in the City of Barrie, I already have difficulty obtaining sufficient traffic enforcement on my ward’s roads because Barrie’s officers are working at capacity with the budget they currently have. I now fear that I will have even more difficulty obtaining this enforcement, (which is so imperative to my community’s safety), when cuts are made. We don’t need less police services – we need more!

Please reconsider your decision to make funding cuts to provincial police services. And stop the increased demands on municipal, boots on the ground, services.

I welcome the opportunity to sit down with you to discuss this further.

Sincerely,

Natalie Harris

BHSc, AEMCA, ACP (Ret.)

Ward 6 Barrie City Councillor

CC MPP Andrea Khanjin

MPP Doug Downey

Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood.

Barrie

Letter To The Ontario Premier Concerning Health Unit Amalgamations

May 18th, 2019

Dear Premier Ford,

I would like to share my deep concerns with the proposed amalgamation of public health units in Ontario.

According to the Association of Municipalities Ontario, “municipal service providers will  see fiscal impacts starting immediately”. And that your government stated that, “service level expectations are to be maintained.” How exactly are service levels expected to be maintained with these drastic amalgamations? And are taxpayers expected to make up for Ontario’s proposed decrease in funding? Would it not be more prudent to ask health units to look for administrative efficiencies PRIOR to assuming that your government’s cuts will balance out with said efficiency findings? I am afraid that amalgamations of health units will equal front-line cuts; which inevitably equals service losses. Which in turn will have a direct impact on the health of Ontario’s citizens.

Health unit workers already contribute massive amounts of volunteer hours to run many municipal committees. If we lose these workers, efforts made to combat crisises such as the opioid crisis, will be lost and difficult to reinstate. This Mr. Premier will equal lives lost.

I welcome the opportunity to sit down with you to provide constructive suggestions as to how we can maintain the level of care in which our amazing health units provide, while implementing the efficiencies your government is seeking.

Sincerely,

Natalie Harris

BHSc, AEMCA, ACP (Ret.)

Ward 6 Barrie City Councillor

CC MPP Andrea Khanjin

MPP Doug Downey

Dr. Lisa Simon

Dr. Charles Gardner

Barrie

My Latest Letter To Premier Ford Regarding Paramedic Cuts

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May 8th, 2019
Dear Premier Doug Ford and Honourable Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Christine Elliott,
I am writing this letter as City Councillor of Ward 6 in Barrie, Ontario, and as a retired advanced care paramedic from the County of Simcoe, in response to the latest report from the Provincial Government which states that shared ambulance grants are frozen at 2018 levels, and that any increase in service costs contained in municipal 2019 budgets will fall on the municipal taxpayers.
It alarms me greatly that tax rates of already financially struggling families will need to be increased to even maintain the level of care they receive from Ontario paramedic services. How are you not seeing that placing more financial strain on these families will only lead to greater stress levels in their homes, which in turn often results in negative health impacts, which will lead to more calls for paramedic services – straining an already inadequate number of paramedics, and cause more over-crowding of hospitals?
This will be a vicious and deadly cycle if you do not reverse your decision to amalgamate paramedic services from 59, to 10.
I do appreciate that you, Premier Ford, responded to my previous letter, and forwarded it on to the Honourable Minister Elliott, and I hope that you would be so kind as to answer these questions prior to forwarding this letter to anyone else:
1. If you do continue your plan to amalgamate the services, what will the public process be with respect to choosing/designing and implementing said services?
2. Can paramedic services appeal the government’s chosen model?
3. What data was used to determine that 10 services was ideal for the provision of paramedic care to Ontarian’s
And to the Honourable Minister Elliott, you have stated that you will work directly alongside municipal partners to engage in meaningful discussions about protecting and enhancing emergency support services.
1. Which services have you had discussions with to date?
I look forward to your responses and welcome any further discussion via email or in person at your convenience.
Sincerely,
Natalie Harris
BHSc, AEMCA, ACP (Ret.)
Ward 6 Barrie City Councillor
CC MPP Andrea Khanjin
MPP Doug Downey
Barrie

Barrie Spring Art Tour

I had a great time at the Barrie Spring Art Tour tonight with City Councillor Clare Riepma.

Here are some pictures of the artists and their work.

This is Artworx Glass Studio. Handmade glass and beads and jewelry. Specializing in dichroic art glass, custom designs, sterling silver and settings. Deeni@artworx.ca.

This is Jackie Warmelink, who specializes in pottery, stoneware and raku. Hand built unique designs featuring functional stoneware. Fired to 2230 degrees F with food safe glazes. Dishwasher and microwave safe. Jackie.Warmelink@gmail.com.

 

Barrie, ward 6

Community Safety Chats With Sgt.Brooks

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I had a great chat today with Sergeant Brooks from the Barrie Police Department about community safety.

We discussed traffic enforcement in ward six and community wellness for all of Barrie’s residents.

Sergeant Brooks and I will be meeting on a regular basis to continue these discussions.