The Education Ministry on Monday commissioned the first Mobile Psychosocial Unit, valued at some $17 million, which is intended to transport welfare officers to areas where persons are in need of counselling.“I think everyone of us here can relate to the fact that there is certainly a gap that currently exists across the country, but, more particularly in the education system when it comes to psychosocial support,” Education Minister Nicolette Henry said as she spoke of the benefits of the unit at the Department of Education’s 68 Brickdam, Georgetown office.As outlined by her, the counsellors will traverse different areas to meet with students, teachers and even parents who might be in need of counselling.“Many times, we have a lot of students with a lot of needs that are unmet (and) aThe new Mobile Psychosocial Unitlot of issues that are not addressed, because we do not have either the capacity or the resources to undertake those,” she said.Henry pointed out that she hoped more units could be commissioned soon to enable counsellors to touch base with all those who were in need.According to the Minister, the counselling programme will seek to help students and even transfer them to specialists if needed.Meanwhile, acting Deputy Chief Education Officer Ingrid Trotman noted that emotional needs of students cannot be overlooked. She added that the Unit would help to reduce stress levels and provide a quick response to areas where trauma is being experienced by persons.The Unit is fully equipped with a refrigerator, stove, air conditioner, bathroom and other facilities to benefit the officials who will be travelling to hinterland areas, among others, to provide counselling.Plans were first unveiled by Chief Education Officer Marcel Hutson back in June for the implementation of the project.Currently, there are officers in each administrative region who are responsible for conducting counselling sessions with students – be it one-on-one, small-group or large-group interventions.The Mobile Unit will, however, be a tool to bring together not only psychologists from the Education Ministry but officials from other agencies who may be necessary for specific cases.It was clarified that it was not a case where counselling was not being done, but this new initiative was a step taken by the Ministry to ensure that counselling could be done in a more effective manner.It was further explained that in a situation where students were found drinking alcohol, the team would also be activated, with not only the welfare officers but with public health officials, making the counselling process more influential.
OTTAWA — The new year brings with it tax changes at the federal level that will affect just about every Canadian, as well as small businesses.One of the first changes workers will see is an increase in Canada Pension Plan premiums coming off their paycheques — the first of five years of hikes to pay for enhancements to the pension plan.Employment Insurance premiums, on the other hand, will drop by four cents for every $100 of insurable earnings.Meanwhile, the small business tax rate is going down from 10 to nine per cent. But changes to how much so-called passive income a small business can hold are also coming into effect, which is expected to push some businesses into paying a much higher corporate tax rate.Also in 2019, low income workers can qualify for an increase in the Canada Workers Benefit. But they will have to wait until 2020 to receive the extra money.The federal government’s new carbon pricing system will also come into effect in provinces that don’t have carbon pricing mechanisms of their own, resulting in higher costs for fossil fuels by April, and direct rebates to partly offset the increased costs.Conservative Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer is already gearing up to make it an issue leading to the October federal election, calling 2019 the year of the carbon tax.The Canadian Press