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Partners invest in tech aid for farm sector

Close to $1million is going into a newpro- ject in Eastern Ontario, to help farmers in the region with water management needs for their lands. The SouthNation Conservation Authority (SNC) is taking the lead in developing a hy- dro geologicmodel that will provide farmers in the South Nation River watershed region with up-to-date information on weather and water conditions that may affect their operations.The federal Ministry of Agricul- ture and Agri-Food is providing a $997,654 investment in the SNC’s project, which will use a Canadian-designed hydrologic simu- lator which predicts themovement of water on and through the ground. “Our government recognizes that Cana- dian farmers face risk every day inmanaging their businesses,” said Francis Drouin, MP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, during the Aug. 23 news conference announcement of the project inWinchester. “This investment is all about giving farmers the tools they need to adjust their farms to a changing cli- mate. Helping farmers be better informed in making their water management decisions is good for the sector’s sustainable growth, good for farmers’ bottom lines, and good for the Canadian economy.” The 15-month project will create an in- tegrated groundwater-surface water fore- casting model for the South Nation River watershed. The project will use the Hydro- GeoSphere, a piece of Canadian techno- logy, as part of the analysis and forecasting

conditionmonitoring and forecasting for the watershed region.

or limited incomes and pensions. If that does not happen and ARPR members continue to face rising costs for necessary expenses like hydro and other utilities, then theymay have to look into options for reducing their operating costs. That could mean cutting back on the number of people they hire or the number of hours they can offer their employees, or even what kind of services they can provide for their clients. Right now, the ARPR presentation stated, at least 80 per cent of the people who work private residence facilities are at or close to the current minimumwage. They do the same kind of work in most cases as people employed in the public sector residences but, the ARPR brief noted. The current minimumwage salary, plus unemployment insurance and other manda- tory benefit payments for employers makes up 45 per cent of the base operations ex- pense for ARPR members. Another 10 per cent includes hydro, municipal taxes, and water and sewer service bills. All these are On reconnait, ci-dessus, les participants au dévoilement, le 23 août dernier, d’un nouveau projet d’aide de haute technologie pour les agriculteurs locaux : Sandra Mancini, chef d’équipe, Ingénierie, SNC; Katherine Watson, spécialiste des ressources en eau, SNC; Bill Smirle, directeur de la SNC; Ronda Boutz, chef d’équipe, Projets spéciaux, SNC; Tony Fraser, conseiller pour le comté de North Dundas; Francis Drouin, député fédéral de Glengarry-Prescott-Russell; André Brisson, conseiller de la municipalité de Russell; DougThompson, ancien président de SNC; Cindy Saucier, conseillère de la municipalité de Russell; et Gerry Boyce, adjoint aumaire, canton de NorthDundas. —photo SNC

New minimum wage worries residence operators

The Ontario Liberal government plans to raise the minimum wage rate in this pro- vince to $14 an hour starting in January 2018 then $15 the year after is good news for people working at minimum-wage jobs. But many business operators, including the owner/operators of private residences catering to people like seniors with fixed or low incomes, are worried about how this will affect their base operating expenses, including the working hours and numbers for their staff. The United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR) received a presentation during its Sept. 12 committee of the whole session fromNicole Normand and Normand Tremblay, speaking as a delegation from l’Association des résidences de Prescott-Rus- sell (ARPR).The group represents the owner/ operators of 35 private residence facilities and housing units in the Prescott-Russell region. For most of them, the majority of their tenants are people with limited or fixed incomes, including seniors on pensions. ARPR members

system that will provide SNC technicians with real-time information on surface and subsurface water conditions to pass on to farmers, and also aid the SNCwith its flood


fixed expenses either by the provincial or municipal govern- ments. Other operation expenses may provide some “wiggle room” for ARPR members but not much. An increase to the mini- mum wage would mean a 14 per cent increase to the basic operations cost for a private residence in the long term. The ARPR argues that if the provincial government plans to raise the minimum wage rate for Onta- rio then it must also

are concerned about Bill 148, which the provincial Liberal government plans to approve so that it can raise the minimum wage in Ontario from its current $11.40 maximum to $14 starting in January next year followed by a further increase to $15 in January 2019. The association does not object to seeing Ontario’s minimum wage limit increased. Themain worry for the association is how the provincial govern- ment’s plan to raise

Le gouvernement libéral de l’Ontario compte augmenter le salaire minimum dans cette province à 14 $ l›heure en janvier 2018, puis à 15 $ l’heure par an plus tard. C›est une bonne nouvelle pour les personnes travaillant dans des emplois à salaire minimum. Mais les dirigeants de nombreuses entreprises, y compris ceux de résidences privées desservant des personnes comme les aînés à revenu fixe ou faible, s›inquiètent des conséquences que ce changement aura sur leurs frais d›exploitation, y compris les heures de travail pour leur personnel.


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theminimumwage rate will affect “the bot- tom line” operation expenses for their own facilities if there is not also a corresponding increase in the province’s annual subsidy rate for private residences which provide low-cost housing for people living on fixed

look at increasing the support funding it provides through municipal social service programs like that of the UCPR to private residence operators who offer subsidized housing for low-income people and those with fixed incomes.

454 COUNTY RD 17 #110 HAWKESBURY, ON • 613-632-0793

*En vigueur du 30 août au 30 septembre 2017 avec preuve d’inscription à la course, succursale de Hawkesbury seulement

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