No Bias. No Influence. Just the Facts. For Stories That Matter to Brampton.

Province releases nearly $2 billion to build and renovate schools — but will there be enough for Peel?

Province releases nearly $2 billion to build and renovate schools — but will there be enough for Peel?

With many Brampton schools bursting at the seams, Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s announcement of funding for school construction and renewal comes as a relief to Peel school boards.

But it’s unclear how much of that money will come to the region, with four much-needed new school projects already in the queue for provincial support.



“I want to go after you for doing this to me”: defence lawyer who exposed police misconduct, suing Peel force, Crowns for targeting her with criminal charges 

“I want to go after you for doing this to me”: defence lawyer who exposed police misconduct, suing Peel force, Crowns for targeting her with criminal charges 

Charges of perjury and obstruction of justice against Leora Shemesh were dismissed last year, but the criminal defence lawyer isn’t prepared to let what she regards as a blatant attack on her integrity and reputation go that easily.

She’s suing Peel police and Crown attorneys who laid the charges, claiming they colluded against her in retaliation for her efforts to expose police wrongdoing.



Part 1: Can Kitchener-Waterloo’s LRT serve as a template for Brampton?

Part 1: Can Kitchener-Waterloo’s LRT serve as a template for Brampton?

The 17-year journey to complete an LRT in Kitchener-Waterloo was realized on June 21, when the ION light rail officially opened to the public. To get to this point, the region endured long construction periods, unexpected archeological discoveries and attempts to torpedo the project by a disgruntled business community. The benefits, including $3.2B worth of development, are already evident.



Axing of addictions program comes when Peel may need it most

Axing of addictions program comes when Peel may need it most

The provincial government says it’s chopping a program to help people with combined mental health and addiction issues find jobs because it’s not working.

But some municipalities that have formally assessed the Addiction Services Initiative’s success in getting people off social assistance beg to differ. 



Anti-racism expert urges Peel schools to teach problematic ‘classics’ with care

Anti-racism expert urges Peel schools to teach problematic ‘classics’ with care

To Kill a Mockingbird, with its white-saviour perspective on racism in the Deep South, may be a book that has passed its best-by date, says education professor Carl James. But in designing education that respects, supports and empowers Black students, context is everything.



Is councillor’s move to ban election signs a waste of time? Probably, if it’s up to Queen’s Park

Is councillor’s move to ban election signs a waste of time? Probably, if it’s up to Queen’s Park

Brampton Councillor Rowena Santos says those ubiquitous election signs are a polluting, expensive waste of money that doesn’t move sluggish voters to the polls. But others say her effort is nothing more than political gamesmanship to gain an advantage at the polls. Though council voted in favour of her motion asking city staff to look at banning them, the city may not have authority to prevent signs from sprouting on Brampton lawns.



Peel councillor pushes for united voice on stopping rise in gender-based violence

Peel councillor pushes for united voice on stopping rise in gender-based violence

As Ottawa ponders how to spend $86 million set aside for quelling “unbelievable” violence directed mostly at women, Mississauga Councillor Chris Fonseca wants to get backing from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to ensure cities are part of the discussion.

It’s not clear yet what Peel Region would prefer to do with its share, but human trafficking and domestic disputes are both huge and growing issues here.



Can Jagmeet Singh deliver for his hometown as PM?

Can Jagmeet Singh deliver for his hometown as PM?

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh returned to his political roots when he visited this year’s Carabram festivities over the weekend.

He’s promising two major items for Brampton but faces an uphill battle to get elected this fall, especially with a party whose nomination process seems in disarray.



$115M ‘Senior Village’ one small step on the road to an aging-friendly Brampton

$115M ‘Senior Village’ one small step on the road to an aging-friendly Brampton

Peel Region’s decision to redevelop an aging long-term care centre into a broader service hub for seniors is a good move, says an expert on age-friendly communities. But the long-term challenge is to offer practical alternatives to living amid suburban sprawl that leads to isolation, loneliness and dependence for thousands of people in their golden years.



Fight continues to save the “emergency room” of legal services

Fight continues to save the “emergency room” of legal services

A 30 percent slash in funding for Legal Aid Ontario means many of Peel Region’s most vulnerable residents will be cut off from access to a lawyer for help in dealing with life-changing crises.

The cuts, says the co-director of a Mississauga legal clinic, don’t just challenge the fairness of our legal system, they’ll end up costing Ontario taxpayers a lot more than they save.



Sex trafficking is about the exploitation of females by men

Sex trafficking is about the exploitation of females by men

In too much literature, in the example of some so-called political leaders and across our consumer-corporate society, male power is still glorified, even celebrated. The Jeffrey Epstein case is the latest example of how deeply entrenched attitudes toward women and girls force many of them down a dark path into the lairs of those men who prey on their vulnerability.



Peel urged to work quickly with provincial overhaul of health care

Peel urged to work quickly with provincial overhaul of health care

Amid the province’s sweeping reorganization of how healthcare is administered, staff are encouraging Peel Region council to get involved early in shaping the three new Ontario Health Teams expected to run the system across the region.

Jumping in immediately will help ensure the region’s priorities are heard — even if the “efficiencies” touted by the governing PCs fail to be realized.



A new vision to recreate the heart of the city

A new vision to recreate the heart of the city

Queen Street between Etobicoke Creek and Highway 410 is a low-rise, low-density, unappealing suburban thoroughfare that’s practically unwalkable. The city is steps away from zoning changes that could reshape this traffic-heavy major street into a denser, more livable and economy-stimulating city-centre.



Peel poised to take in 250 more refugees — plus evacuees from fire-ravaged Northern Ontario

Peel poised to take in 250 more refugees — plus evacuees from fire-ravaged Northern Ontario

The federal and provincial governments have both asked the region to provide temporary shelter for people fleeing their homes. It’s getting to be a regular thing, since Ottawa requested help in easing the strain on Toronto’s refugee services last year.



Peel property owners facing sharp tax hike next year

Peel property owners facing sharp tax hike next year

The Region of Peel says it will have to increase property taxes by more than 6 percent on its share of the bill next year to maintain current service levels, largely because of cuts being planned by Queen’s Park that will download many costs onto municipal property owners. In Brampton, which faces a growing infrastructure deficit at the local level, homeowners could be on the hook for a massive tax increase in 2020. 



Ottawa-Ontario feud could stymie Brampton’s election-time lobbying for badly needed cash

Ottawa-Ontario feud could stymie Brampton’s election-time lobbying for badly needed cash

While Brampton council tries to figure out what to advocate for this fall, the bad blood between the federal and provincial governments over who’s hoarding infrastructure money meant for cities has come to a boil over layoffs at the Bombardier facility in Thunder Bay. The mud-slinging between the federal Liberals and Ontario PCs isn’t helping Brampton, which is still waiting to get transit money that’s already been budgeted for, but hasn’t materialized — with many more infrastructure needs on the growing wish list.



Councillors grill staff about poor communication on diversity review of city workplaces

Councillors grill staff about poor communication on diversity review of city workplaces

A review of city employee culture ostensibly being carried out by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion has sunk below Brampton Council’s radar since it was first instituted by the city’s moribund Inclusion and Equity Committee more than two years ago.



Brampton creates wish list for fall federal election

Brampton creates wish list for fall federal election

Brampton City Council’s meeting today will consider a list of priorities to bring before federal candidates as they come a-courting. Election campaigns are among the few times the city seems to come to the attention of the federal parties, with frequent visits the typical pattern as leaders compete for votes from the city’s cultural communities.

What’s decided today could help shape the future of the city’s relationship with the party that’s ultimately successful in forming the next Parliament.



High-profile U.S. case highlights what police, service providers are up against when combatting human trafficking

High-profile U.S. case highlights what police, service providers are up against when combatting human trafficking

The shocking Jeffrey Epstein human trafficking case has grabbed the international spotlight, but sadly it’s the high-powered people close to the American billionaire driving much of the attention.

Those fighting the rapidly growing demand for the trafficking of women, many of them teenagers and younger, say the case shows just how far-reaching this devastating criminal activity has become.



Sara Singh can look to Hazel McCallion, a pioneering female politician who fought the old boys’ club

Sara Singh can look to Hazel McCallion, a pioneering female politician who fought the old boys’ club

The Ontario NDP Deputy Leader and Brampton MPP is dealing with a former party riding association president who has admitted his romantic feelings for her. Singh has had to file a formal harassment complaint and recently sent the man a cease and desist letter. It’s 2019, but many women in politics still have to put up with attitudes of privilege that continue to define a Mad Men world of male entitlement. But when Hurricane Hazel McCallion blew into town decades ago, she put men in that world on notice: don’t mess with this new force that’s only going to get stronger.



Developers on the hot seat for excess contributions to municipal politicians

Developers on the hot seat for excess contributions to municipal politicians

In a case that once again raises the spectre of developer influence over city hall, Peter Cipriano, founder of the Gold Park construction group, donated $10,800 in total to nine Brampton candidates last fall — more than double the legal limit. Brampton’s citizen-run Election Compliance Audit Committee, unswayed by Cipriano’s apology for what he called an honest mistake, decided to go ahead with legal action. Meanwhile, Nick Cortellucci, part of an influential developer family recently profiled in The Pointer, got a slap on the wrist for also violating the contribution limit. 



Gaming business wants to stay in downtown Brampton 

Gaming business wants to stay in downtown Brampton 

Downtown Brampton has a notoriously high retail turnover rate, with a lack of parking and a challenging social environment as two reasons often mentioned. Table-top gaming shop and play venue Hobby Studio has been one island of stability more recently, but even with success, the owners are finding the surprisingly high rent for an area that needs a lot of improvement is constraining their room to grow.



The Ford government gets straight F’s for its ill-fated effort to revamp our once proud educational system

The Ford government gets straight F’s for its ill-fated effort to revamp our once proud educational system

New Education Minister Stephen Lecce was sent out by his masters to fix the PC party’s failing reputation ahead of this October’s federal election. But cheap tricks only remind Ontarians that Doug Ford is using the same Mike Harris playbook that got their party booted from leadership for more than 15 years.



Part 3: The Ideas — Changing tack in the battle against human trafficking

Part 3: The Ideas — Changing tack in the battle against human trafficking

Prevention may be as important as repairing the damage to curtail the impact of human trafficking in Peel. If we learn to employ strategies effectively and with a commitment like that shared by participants in the Global Conference on Human Trafficking and Trauma, public education and even mathematics may be able to help.



New and improved career studies program not all it’s cracked up to be, critics say

New and improved career studies program not all it’s cracked up to be, critics say

Changes to a Grade 10 mandatory course, including beefed-up components involving financial literacy and emerging careers, won’t do much to help students suffering the more immediate results of funding cuts and increased class sizes, say some educators.

The curriculum update announced this week by new Education Minister Stephen Lecce follows a series of major changes to Ontario’s education system that will result in fewer teachers, fewer support staff and fewer course options in schools across the province.



Lessons in handling money, preparing for vast changes to the job market added to Ontario’s high school curriculum

Lessons in handling money, preparing for vast changes to the job market added to Ontario’s high school curriculum

Financial literacy and steering students toward the jobs of the future are top goals as the revised Career Studies course, a required half-semester program for Grade 10 students in Brampton and across the province, rolls out this fall. 

The new curriculum also reckons with the fact that many jobs are disappearing in the face of new technology and that students need to know how to pick a career path that won’t be taken over by robots. (Of course, they could build those robots.)



Updated: Brampton MPP Sara Singh levels harassment allegations against former NDP riding association president, who could face legal action

Updated: Brampton MPP Sara Singh levels harassment allegations against former NDP riding association president, who could face legal action

In February 2018, former Brampton Centre NDP Riding Association president Bruce Marshall was asked to leave Sara Singh’s campaign, apparently in response to allegations made by the candidate, who was later elected. In her complaint in spring 2018, a month before the election, and again in a recent letter written to Marshall this May, Singh alleged a pattern of inappropriate behaviour, including repeated unwanted advances, inappropriate touching and communication, and intrusive behaviour at public events.



Part 2: Need and nuance — Peel’s human trafficking survivor supports fall woefully short of the need 

Part 2: Need and nuance — Peel’s human trafficking survivor supports fall woefully short of the need 

Sex trafficking flourishes amid public apathy and a lack of supports to help women who escape find healing and a permanent path out of poverty and exploitation. There are solutions out there — and people passionately prepared to do the hard work — but they’ll need money and political commitment.



New education minister raises hopes for a change in direction

New education minister raises hopes for a change in direction

Minister Stephen Lecce’s pledge to listen to teachers’ concerns amid his call to speed up negotiations on new contracts for teachers seems a good sign, says local union president Gail Bannister-Clarke. But the leader of Peel’s public elementary teachers still wonders: are the governing PCs prepared to bargain in good faith?



Part 1: Hundreds gather in Peel, the heart of Ontario’s human trafficking network, to hunt for answers

Part 1: Hundreds gather in Peel, the heart of Ontario’s human trafficking network, to hunt for answers

Often lost in statistics, arrest reports and confusion about the nature of sex trafficking is the very real and human story of a level of violence and suffering – sexual, physical, psychological — that a seasoned researcher tells a packed conference room “has touched my heart so deeply.”



Mayor Brown, those living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

Mayor Brown, those living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

Mayor Patrick Brown was called out by Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon and on social media for his ‘PR’ move, highlighting criticism of Quebec’s Bill 21, banning religious symbols in civil service jobs. Is the mayor just using diversity as an easy way to score political points with future voters, while ignoring Brampton’s own problems with equity and inclusion?



New condo project represents the slow shift away from Brampton’s sprawling identity

New condo project represents the slow shift away from Brampton’s sprawling identity

The $100-million Symphony Condominium project on Queen Street will offer a variety of choices for residents and employers with its mixed-use makeup. The project strikes a chord with Mayor Patrick Brown who is looking to improve the city’s land-use mix and enrich its tax base. The groundbreaking also helped quiet the noise from a $28.5-million lawsuit that is still making its way through the Ontario court system.



Peel Region fights for public health independence

Peel Region fights for public health independence

A move to merge Peel Region’s public health unit with three others has regional councillors worried about whether the unique needs of this diverse region, with a population of 1.4 million, will continue to get the focus they deserve. 

They’re petitioning the province to keep things as they are, at least in Peel.



Paramedics could be on Peel streets 39,000 hours less next year following budget cut

Paramedics could be on Peel streets 39,000 hours less next year following budget cut

As calls for ambulances race upward, a $4.9 million shortfall in Peel’s health budget following provincial cuts could mean longer waits for people in crisis and a reduced ability to deal with multiple emergencies.



While LRT extension into downtown Brampton remains a dream, Hurontario project moves ahead

While LRT extension into downtown Brampton remains a dream, Hurontario project moves ahead

Councillors met in camera on Wednesday to discuss details of the planned Hurontario light rail line as it enters Brampton, with a terminus at Steeles Avenue. Talks are happening with property owners along the city’s southern LRT corridor affected by the current project as it heads north from Mississauga into Brampton. But residents hoping the route will continue into downtown are still waiting for answers to key questions about the future of LRT in the city.



Brampton councillor calls motion critical of Quebec anti-diversity bill a "PR" move, highlights city's own problems

Brampton councillor calls motion critical of Quebec anti-diversity bill a "PR" move, highlights city's own problems

In a largely symbolic move, city council pledged Wednesday to support legal challenges to Quebec’s controversial Bill 21, which prohibits public servants from wearing religious symbols, and to advertise itself as a paragon of diversity by inviting visible minorities in Quebec to apply for jobs here.

But Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon burst the city’s self-congratulatory bubble with some sharp criticisms of Brampton’s degree of dedication to diversity and equity.



“It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better”: Peel sees 520% increase in opioid emergencies

“It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better”: Peel sees 520% increase in opioid emergencies

While the region has been spared the most devastating effects of a North American epidemic of opioid addiction, statistics suggest the situation isn’t improving.

There were 81 opioid-related deaths in 2017, and overdoses continue to strain the region’s emergency departments.



Decision on new police chief won’t come until the fall

Decision on new police chief won’t come until the fall

An executive search firm is helping with a Canada-wide search for a replacement for Jennifer Evans, who resigned in January after a troubled six-year term as chief. The decision on a new leader comes at a difficult time for Peel Region Police, with a rise in violent crime and a police force struggling to better reflect the diverse community it serves.



Cannabis fallout: Police grapple with $1.2M in extra costs as Peel works out how to split provincial payout

Cannabis fallout: Police grapple with $1.2M in extra costs as Peel works out how to split provincial payout

Police say they’ve spent a big chunk of money on officer training with very little to show for it from the funding promised to municipalities to ease the process of legalizing pot.

Some of the provincial money is helping to pay for a public awareness program and data gathering at the Region of Peel. Meanwhile, the existence of legal cannabis in Brampton doesn’t appear to be making even a dent in illicit dispensaries.



Call it what it is, Peel agency says: Human trafficking is a public health crisis

Call it what it is, Peel agency says: Human trafficking is a public health crisis

It’s a fact that escapes the notice of most Peel residents: the region is one of the top areas in Canada for the horrific and often lucrative crime of human sex trafficking.

A conference over the next two days will bring together experts to discuss how to rein in perpetrators and how to help women and girls heal from the devastation of human trafficking. Family Services of Peel wants this declared a public health crisis.



Opposition gearing up for round two in fight against GTA West Highway

Opposition gearing up for round two in fight against GTA West Highway

The province’s choice to go back to a discarded plan for a new highway from Vaughan to the 401, skirting Brampton, is a “1950s solution to a 2020 problem,” according to those concerned about the environmental impact.

The argument that it will ease traffic congestion in the GTA is undermined by a 2015 panel’s findings that the benefits of the project were overblown. But opponents will find they’re up against formidable forces in the development industry and a Doug Ford government determined to help them.



Police board slams Quebec’s anti-diversity move, but says little about the force’s own problems with discrimination

Police board slams Quebec’s anti-diversity move, but says little about the force’s own problems with discrimination

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and other Peel Police Services Board members lashed out against Quebec’s Bill 21, which limits religious expression in public life, passing a motion Friday to encourage potential candidates from the neighbouring province to apply for jobs with Peel police.

But at the same meeting, they remained largely silent when a scathing diversity audit of their own police department was addressed.



Our politicians and other leaders should take note of Masai Ujiri and Kawhi Leonard

Our politicians and other leaders should take note of Masai Ujiri and Kawhi Leonard

The lessons learned from the recent Raptors NBA championship run can be applied to city building. Brampton needs to set a bold and independent course, to come up with a game plan that has a definitive goal of winning. The Raptors are champs because they recognized their shortcomings and changed course. It’s now Brampton’s turn.



Update: Brampton hits the brakes on new driveway-widening rules meant to clean up neighbourhoods

Update: Brampton hits the brakes on new driveway-widening rules meant to clean up neighbourhoods

Brampton city council voted Wednesday to delay rules that would require more people to get permits for changing the size and configuration of their driveways. Councillor Pat Fortini says fixing confusion about what people can and can’t do with driveways is his mission, after the new rules, which were supposed to take effect July 2, got a lot of “backlash.”



RioCan’s plan for an integrated mixed-use community at Shoppers World Brampton

Riocan’s plan for an integrated mixed-use community at Shoppers World Brampton

The giant Canadian real estate development and property management company has big plans for its Shoppers World complex at Main Street South and Steeles Avenue. The re-development of the 700,000 square foot shopping centre could become a modern mix-use community, in keeping with the city's plans under its aspirational 2040 Vision strategy. 



Brampton takes steps to make the city livable for people of all ages

Brampton takes steps to make the city livable for people of all ages

City councillors unanimously adopted two age-related policies at their Wednesday meeting: a youth engagement strategy designed by two city interns, and a global policy to make city designs and policies more friendly towards senior citizens.

In a very young, but still aging city, those two things may not be as far apart as they seem.



In a break from its past, Council gives massive incentive for developers to build office space

In a break from its past, Council gives massive incentive for developers to build office space

Brampton has adopted new rates and policies for development charges, the fees builders pay to help construct roads, sewers, and the like.

Rates on houses and apartments are going up, but there’s one major exception — office buildings will be exempt from development charges.



Housing Master Plan sets a 15-year strategy for affordable housing; now it just needs money

Housing Master Plan sets a 15-year strategy for affordable housing; now it just needs money

A blueprint for creating new affordable housing stock, the plan approved Thursday by Peel Region’s Strategic Housing and Homelessness Committee foresees providing 5,364 new units by 2034.

This in a region struggling with a booming population, worsening affordability issues, and a years-long wait list. But it’s far from clear where the funding will come from for the ambitious eight-phase plan.



Parents want answers from Doug Ford after almost 300 jobs cut from ErinoakKids autism services

Parents want answers from Doug Ford after almost 300 jobs cut from ErinoakKids autism services

A GTA therapy and treatment provider for children, ErinoakKids, announced Monday that it will lay off 291 staff members due to provincial cuts to autism funding.

The Ford government’s controversial decision to upend the Ontario Autism Program and give payments to families rather than providers has had a direct effect on service, leaving wait-listed parents of autistic kids worried about where it’s all headed.



Brampton secures $30 million in investments for Cybersecurity initiative

Brampton secures $30 million in investments for Cybersecurity initiative

A key part of Ryerson University’s planned presence in Brampton has received the blessing of the federal government — and big business.

Minister Navdeep Bains announced last Friday that the Liberals will allocate $10 million to match funding by Rogers Communications, alongside contributions by the City and RBC of $5 million each, towards a research and development hub known as the Cybersecure Catalyst.