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WHEREAS a healthy, professional news media sector is essential for the proper <br />functioning of civil society and democracy at the local, regional, provincial, federal and <br />international levels; and <br />WHEREAS residents of 190 Canadian communities — including residents of Kitchener, <br />Elmira, and Guelph — lost 250 established news outlets due to closings or mergers <br />between 2008 and 2018; and <br />WHEREAS the news media in Waterloo Region have been instrumental during the <br />COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring local citizens have accurate local information, despite <br />nearly 500 journalists being laid off during the pandemic; <br />THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Kitchener recognizes that <br />a healthy, professional news media is essential to the proper functioning of democracy in <br />the region; and, <br />THAT the City urges other municipal councils within the region and across Canada to <br />recognize that a robust news media is essential to the proper functioning of democracy <br />in their jurisdictions; and, <br />THAT the City endorses legislation and regulations to support and rejuvenate news <br />outlets across Canada and urges the federal government to move quickly to pass <br />legislation to ensure an ecosystem for a healthy news media to serve all Canadians; and, <br />BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the resolution be forwarded to the area municipalities, <br />local M.P.s and M.P.P.s and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Association <br />of Municipalities of Ontario. <br />WHEREAS the overdose crisis, attributed to contamination of the unregulated market by <br />a wide variety of substances, has been one of the most significant public health crises in <br />recent Canadian history; between January 2016 and December 2019, nearly 15,400 <br />Canadians lost their lives from apparent opioid-related causes; and, <br />WHEREAS the contaminated drug crisis has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, <br />with the unregulated drug supply reported to be more toxic and service providers <br />hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, preliminary counts in Ontario show a 35% <br />increase in the number of suspected overdose-related deaths; within Waterloo region, <br />opioid-related poisoning deaths are expected to reach record levels in 2020; and, <br />WHEREAS in August 2020, the federal Minister of Health called on all Provincial and <br />Territorial Ministers of Health and regulatory colleges to proactively encourage <br />practitioners to provide people who use drugs with a full spectrum of care, including <br />access to safer, pharmaceutical-grade alternatives to the contaminated drug supply, for <br />people at risk of overdose; and, <br />WHEREAS the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Ontario’s Community Health <br />Centres, the Municipal Drug Strategy Network of Ontario, and others have requested <br />support to facilitate the establishment of Safe Supply initiatives in Ontario communities; <br />and, <br />WHEREAS despite these and other recent proactive steps, funding and regulatory <br />barriers continue to prevent people who use drugs and the community organizations <br />supporting them from accessing or establishing a Safe Supply; and, <br />