This Week in Press Releases – February 22-26, 2016

Every week, the City of Guelph and other groups send out notices to announce new events, imperatives, and information that you need to know. Here is this week in press releases.

NDP Gets its Noodle On
This one’s kind of urgent because it’s tonight. The Guelph NDP is hosting its annual Noodle Dinner later today at 4 pm at at Dublin Street United Church, 68 Suffolk Street West. (The Dublin Street United Church isn’t on Dublin Street? Who knew?) The fourth annual event includes speeches from Norah Chaloner and Lin Grist from the Council of Canadians, as well as Karen Rathwell from Wellington Water Watchers; Ward 2 Councillor James Gordon will emcee and perform. Tickets are $24 for waged adults, $10 for unwaged adults, $10 for children under 15, and free for children 5 and under. Book your tickets immediately at The venue is wheelchair accessible, and all funds raised go to support the Guelph NDP Provincial Riding Association.

Forbes Says U of G One of Canada’s Top Employers
The University of Guelph has ranked in Forbes first ever list of Canada’s Best Employers finishing as Canada’s top university employer and sixth overall. I guess that’s why it’s been so hard for me to get a job there. *heh heh heh* Anyway… The high-profile ranking has given the U of G some well-earned bragging rights. “It’s wonderful to be recognized nationally in this way,” said president Franco Vaccarino. “Most important, this ranking is a tribute to the dedication and excellence of our staff and faculty. They are committed to ensuring U of G is an outstanding place to learn and to work, and it’s gratifying to have our collective efforts acknowledged.” Forbes surveyed over 8,000 Canadian employers with other post-secondary institutions like Laval University, Sheridan College and Queen’s University also making the cut in Forbes’ list. You can check out the Top 25 gallery here.

Guelph’s Treasurer Gets a Promotion, in Peel Region
You may not know her, but her job’s kind of important, and sadly, Janice Sheehy, General Manager, Finance and City Treasurer, will be leaving the City next month to become Commissioner of Human Services of Peel Region. “Janice informed me of her decision a few days ago,” said Guelph’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Corporate Services Mark Amorosi in a press release. . “We’re extremely sorry to see her go, but understand her desire to pursue a rare opportunity and an expanded portfolio at the Region of Peel.” Sheehy started in the position last March, but by this time next month she’ll be calling the shots down the road in Peel. “My time at the City of Guelph has been both rewarding and positive,” said Sheehy. “Guelph is a city that takes its financial responsibilities seriously—a point that’s reflected in the City’s strong financial position and the organization’s commitment to ensuring long-term sustainability.” Tara Baker, the City’s Manager of Financial Reporting and Accounting, has been appointed to the role in an acting capacity starting March 28.

Paramedics Union Negotiating Too
So just to recap, the firefighters are negotiating, and three CUPE unions representing outsider workers, office workers and library employees, are also negotiating, but did you know that the paramedics are negotiating too. The City is continued collective bargaining with Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 231 on February 24, 25 and 26; the contract for Guelph-Wellington Emergency Medical Services’ 157 full- and part-time paramedics ended in March 2015. According to the statement in the City’s press release, “The City values the important work paramedics do, and aims to negotiate an agreement that is fair to its employees, affordable for Guelph citizens, and aligns with other City employee groups’ contracts.” Although the details of the negotiations are confidential, you can get updates at

The Ontarion Mourns One of Its Own
To wrap up on a more serious note, newsmakers never themselves want to be the news, but it was unavoidable this week with the untimely death of U of G student Kaya Firth, who was also the Sports and Health Editor of the student newspaper, The Ontarion. I remember from my own time at the Ontarion just how tight the team can get, so I can only imagine the blow it must have been to the present staff to learn of the sudden passing of one of their own.

On the morning of Feb. 22, 2016, The Ontarion received tragic news that one of our own passed away over the weekend. Kaya Firth, a fourth-year English major at the University of Guelph, died in a kayaking accident on Sunday at the age of 21. Zach Sutherland, Kaya’s boyfriend and a fourth-year commerce student at the University of Guelph, also died in the same incident.

Kaya began working as the Sports and Health Editor for The Ontarion in September 2015, where she made a strong, positive impact in our office and brought smiles to the faces of all who had the pleasure of working with her. Her passion and dedication were immediately evident in the way she conducted herself both inside and outside of the office. Kaya’s adventurous spirit, her willingness to learn, and her profound kindness characterized her time in our office, and she will not be forgotten. Our staff, our volunteers, and the members of the University of Guelph community will remember her fondly.

Our deepest condolences go out to the Firth and Sutherland families, and all those affected by this devastating news. The Ontarion will continue to respectfully honour her memory and remember the vibrant, glowing spirit she brought into our lives.

This week’s editorial in the paper was a loving tribute from the staff to Kaya.

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