the Inspector General (OIG) about suspected fraudulent work practices, including illegal dumping of untreated sewage sludge. A team of investigative reporters from La Presse spent two days last fall following one of the trucks that was supposed to transport untreated sewage sludge from the BEL transfer station in St-Jérôme and across the Ottawa River to an alleged sanitary dump site near the Village of Lefaivre in Alfred- Plantagenet Township. Instead, the truck drove as far as the Mirabel village area, about 25 kilometres away from St-Jérôme, and dumped its load on a piece of farmland there. The company saved itself the cost of a 90-kilometre trip to Ontario but still charged its client for the travel cost to Lefaivre. The OIG report noted this and other al- leged fraudulent waste disposal practises of the company in its report to the city. The Québec environment ministry has a copy of the OIG report, along with the OIG’s recom- mendation for a five-year suspension on BEL’s right to bid for municipal contracts from Montréal. Coun. Beaulne noted that there seems no evidence that any of BEL’s sewage sludge shipments was ever going to Lefaivre. “So I don’t think we have a problem right now,” he said. “But if there is an issue, then I would hope that the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs will look into it to make sure it’s not happening in Ontario.”

Residents of Lefaivre can breathe easy knowing their village did not end up as part of a toxic waste dump scheme. “This never happened in our area,” said René Beaulne, one of the Ward One council- lor for Alfred-Plantagenet Township. Beaulne referred to recent reports in Montréal’s La Presse newspaper about an ongoing investigation of the city’s notorious “sewer cartel,” a group of companies who agreed on a “bid-rigging” scheme for con- tracts with various municipal governments and the Québec government for environmen- tal service and waste disposal contracts. One of the companies, Beauregard Environ- nment Ltée (BEL), is the subject of a recent report from the City of Montréal’s Office of


A Québec environmental waste disposal company under investigation for fraudulent practices listed the Lefaivre area in Alfred-Plantagenet Township as one of the destinations planned for shipments of untreated sewage sludge. Instead the company dumped its loads on farmland in the Western Québec region. —stock photo




Every school district is trying to work out a plan to handle this year’s gradu- ation for the Class of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Premier Doug Ford confirmed during a recent update on the pandemic situation in Ontario that all schools will remain closed to the end of June. This means no traditional end-of-term graduation ceremonies with the usual huge gatherings of family and friends to celebration Grade 12 students on their achievement. The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) emailed a letter to all graduating students and their parents on the district’s plan to postpone the official graduation ceremony. “Given the circumstances and the un- certainties of this global pandemic, and in consultation with public health authorities,” stated the UCDSB letter, “the Upper Canada District School Board has no option but to postpone June 2020 graduation ceremonies at all our secondary schools and at our T.R. Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education until June 2021.” The Catholic District School Board of East- ern Ontario (CDSBE0), le Conseil des é coles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO), and le Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien (CSDCEO) are also reviewing

their graduation ceremony plans for June. All Grade 12 students who have com- pleted their course requirements for this year will graduate. School districts will arrange to have confirmation of graduation sent to every eligible student. The Eastern Ontario Healh Unit (EOHU) is in contact with all school districts to review and offer suggestions on any plans to set up a “drive-in” graduation service at individual schools for students to collect their diploma and official notices of any awards, bursaries, or scholarships they may receive. Grads and grad parents will be notified if a “drive-in” grad event is scheduled along with instruc- tions on social distancing safety for such an event.

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