UPDATED: Interactive map showing COVID-19 neighbourhood infection rates and outbreaks at Mississauga and Brampton schools

UPDATED: Interactive map showing COVID-19 neighbourhood infection rates and outbreaks at Mississauga and Brampton schools

With viral spread continuing across Peel, parents and other residents want information about their neighbourhoods and schools in the surrounding area. 

The Pointer’s updated interactive map shows all schools located in Brampton and Mississauga neighbourhoods and the per capita infection rates for those areas. 



Public consultation on demolition of Mississauga outdoor rink lacked transparency, residents say

Public consultation on demolition of Mississauga outdoor rink lacked transparency, residents say

Despite an online petition that thousands of local residents have signed to save the Burnhamthorpe Community Centre outdoor ice rink, the demolition will continue as planned, to make way for a new pool and renovated community centre. Following the City’s decision to reject the online petition, residents are raising concerns over the lack of transparency behind the move.



Brampton staff didn’t tell councillors about social media surveillance plan now raising concern over free speech

Brampton staff didn’t tell councillors about social media surveillance plan now raising concern over free speech

The new measure came about after Mayor Patrick Brown and Councillor Rowena Santos were impersonated on social media late last year.

In response, staff took it upon themselves to make sure it never happens again, raising questions about free speech rights and prompting frustration from some councillors concerned about the lack of public debate around what the proposed social media surveillance of citizens actually means.



Brampton keeps outdoor amenities open amid province-wide stay at home order

Brampton keeps outdoor amenities open amid province-wide stay at home order

Brampton is following Toronto’s lead, instituting a mandatory mask policy at the City’s outdoor skating rinks. It also continues to leave outdoor winter amenities, such as tobogganing hills and trails, open for use to promote exercise and the mental-well being of residents. 



Feds and Province pitch in only 18% of Mississauga’s massive transit needs to meet its vision for the future

Feds and Province pitch in only 18% of Mississauga’s massive transit needs to meet its vision for the future

The federal and provincial governments have combined to provide $113.5 million to Mississauga to fund 12 transit-related projects, a two-kilometre BRT among them.

The investment is a boon for City Hall, but leaves hundreds of millions of dollars still unfunded in the city’s ambitious transit plans. 



Metrolinx advances Queen Street BRT but, once again, Brampton doesn’t know who will fund it

Metrolinx advances Queen Street BRT but, once again, Brampton doesn’t know who will fund it

In the eyes of some progressive planners, Queen Street holds the key to Brampton’s future. A new business case from Metrolinx outlines how to install rapid transit along the route and how much it will cost, but City Council, which has approved Mayor Patrick Brown’s tax freezes for three straight years, isn’t sure where the money will come from.



Even after two months in lockdown, Peel’s hospitals dangerously beyond capacity while positivity rates have spiked

Even after two months in lockdown, Peel’s hospitals dangerously beyond capacity while positivity rates have spiked

Nearly a month after Premier Doug Ford issued a province-wide lockdown, and only days after he attempted to strengthen that measure with a stay-at-home order, data from the Region of Peel show increased hospitalizations and coronavirus case numbers that are unparalleled across the province.



Patrick Brown is open to social media engagement but needs to be fact checked

Patrick Brown is open to social media engagement but needs to be fact checked

The Brampton mayor is a career politician. His social media pages reflect that. But unlike many others, he allows residents to enter a conversation with him through social media about issues pertaining to the city, something few elected officials do. Unfortunately, he often uses social media to make claims that are not accurate. 



Peel seeks minor tax increase, another big utility hike in 2021 & more money to care for seniors

Peel seeks minor tax increase, another big utility hike in 2021 & more money to care for seniors

Regional Council is set to establish the financial blueprint for the current year. Elected officials will debate staff recommendations for the 2021 budget that include increases of 1.3 percent to property taxes for the Region’s share of the bill, and 5.5 percent to utility rates.

Affordable housing and other social services that have long been neglected will be addressed while councillors grapple with the ongoing financial impacts of the pandemic. 



Brampton councillors raise red flags after man with ties to Patrick Brown handed consultant’s job for proposed Municipal Development Corporation

Brampton councillors raise red flags after man with ties to Patrick Brown handed consultant’s job for proposed Municipal Development Corporation

Council is supposed to make a crucial decision that could impact the city’s future development plans for decades. A central realty group, run under a municipal development corporation, has been proposed. But it’s raising more questions about how decisions have been made since Patrick Brown became mayor, after his dramatic fall from provincial politics in 2018. 



Region ‘mobilizing an army’ as it finalizes vaccination plans 

Region ‘mobilizing an army’ as it finalizes vaccination plans 

A first dose of COVID-19 vaccine has been given to every resident of 28 long-term care homes and 15 at-risk retirement residences in Peel.

Next, officials will continue to vaccinate frontline health workers as they complete the logistics on a mammoth vaccine rollout.



Our Media Platforms: Part 1

Our Media Platforms: Part 1

As traditional journalism outlets continue to struggle – with disruption, a growing lack of trust and outdated business models – the dilemma faced by society now and in the future, is how we embrace our social media platforms. Recent studies show the limitations and potential harm of these sites. Even some who created and engineered them into tech giants are raising red flags because of the impact they are having on addicting our youth. In Part 1 of a 2-part series, we will look at today’s social media behemoths and the failures of traditional journalism outlets.



You can’t visit family locally but flying from Mississauga to Miami is no problem

You can’t visit family locally but flying from Mississauga to Miami is no problem

As people continue to adjust during the stay-at-home restrictions in Ontario, some gaping loopholes remain in place. While police and bylaw officers can force residents to refrain from local trips, travelling to the airport and flying abroad remain acceptable explanations for leaving the house. 



Pandemic revives calls for ‘fair share’ funding in Peel

Pandemic revives calls for ‘fair share’ funding in Peel

For more than 30 years, local leaders in Peel have been vying to attract proportional funding to the region, which receives less than half the per capita dollars of other Ontario municipalities, according to its last “fair share” campaign effort. But funding roadblocks in everything from healthcare to housing have left frustrated residents with more questions than answers as to why the region remains passed over on critical funding opportunities.



Add storage space to the list of things ignored by Mississauga Council 

Add storage space to the list of things ignored by Mississauga Council 

Mississauga’s newest of four operations storage yards was built in 1996.

Fifteen years ago, staff urged Council to approve a fifth yard to support a growing demand to stow away everything from the City’s heavy-duty equipment, to snow and stockpiled leaves. 



City Hall could look to U.S. for innovative municipal small-business relief programs

City Hall could look to U.S. for innovative municipal small-business relief programs

With much finger-pointing to higher levels of government from local leaders in Peel, are municipalities doing all they can to support local businesses?



How can booming construction trades become more diverse?

How can booming construction trades become more diverse?

Several construction unions and industry groups in the GTA are bolstering anti-racism programs following a series of incidents at work sites in the summer.

The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario has appointed Brampton resident Chris Campbell as its first Equity and Diversity Representative. The efforts aim to improve the makeup of an industry that traditionally has lagged in visible minority representation.



Amid confusion over Ford’s latest enforcement rules advocates worried Peel’s diverse communities will be targeted

Amid confusion over Ford’s latest enforcement rules advocates worried Peel’s diverse communities will be targeted

In Peel Region, the belated release of rules for the Province’s new stay-at-home-order has caused concern.

Police in Brampton and Mississauga have a poor track record on equity and diversity and ill-defined rules expose the danger of arbitrary enforcement. 



Beloved Meadowvale community gathering place will finally be restored

Beloved Meadowvale community gathering place will finally be restored

A 150-year-old single-storey heritage schoolhouse in Mississauga, Meadowvale Village Hall, is a coveted community meeting place buzzing with activity prior to the pandemic.

The building’s closure allows renovations that have been planned for decades, including installing a replica of its lost belfry, restoring the heritage site’s exterior, and removing hazardous material such as lead paint and the “minor” presence of asbestos. 



Navdeep Bains says family time is the reason he’s walking away from politics

Navdeep Bains says family time is the reason he’s walking away from politics

The Mississauga MP has stepped down from his cabinet role and will not contest the next election, so he can spend more time with his school-age daughters.



Balancing photo-ops with party loyalty, but what do constituents get?

Balancing photo-ops with party loyalty, but what do constituents get?

In a new weekly feature, Social Media Monitor, The Pointer explores how politicians and other local public officials (one a week) use their social media platforms. Are they getting input from citizens to craft policy and shape legislation, or is it the new way to campaign every single day of the year?

For better or worse, social media is at the heart of our discourse, all of the time. Public figures now control digital communication, often sidestepping traditional media. So how are these public servants aiming Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms at you? 



South Asian-Canadian doctors changing the negative COVID-19 narrative around their community

South Asian-Canadian doctors changing the negative COVID-19 narrative around their community

Throughout the pandemic, Peel has remained a frontrunner in new COVID-19 cases. Within the region, Brampton sticks out like a sore thumb. Peel Public Health puts Brampton’s weekly case rate since May at 279 for every 100,000 residents, among the highest rates in Canada. Minority groups that represent the majority of residents have constantly taken the blame for the rise in cases. Those pointing fingers fail to realize the deep inequities that make these groups vulnerable.



BREAKING: Why is Cabinet Minister and Mississauga MP Navdeep Bains suddenly quitting politics?

BREAKING: Why is Cabinet Minister and Mississauga MP Navdeep Bains suddenly quitting politics?

The veteran Liberal politician has been entangled in controversies over recent years that raised questions about his associations.

He is the second high-profile Liberal cabinet minister to step down recently, after former finance minister Bill Morneau left his role following concern over his ties to a charity that was awarded a lucrative federal contract. Bains reportedly will not seek re-election.



Checking our parents’ cultural baggage – Part 3: Breaking the cycle

Checking our parents’ cultural baggage – Part 3: Breaking the cycle

Many in the mainstream are unaware of deep divisions among immigrant and visible minority groups. For youth in Peel, changing their parents’ narrative is a challenging proposition. While commonly understood stereotypes and forms of discrimination are slowly being confronted in our public institutions, youth need to overcome an entirely different set of divisive attitudes under their own roof. 



Are Peel’s COVID isolation beds too little, too late?

Are Peel’s COVID isolation beds too little, too late?

Prior to the new year, Queen’s Park announced new isolation centres for Peel to help a small number infected with the novel coronavirus keep others safe. But these facilities represent a drop in the bucket for a region struggling to cope with rapidly increasing case counts.

Much more resources for testing and tracing are what’s really needed, along with better policies for paid sick-leave and other practices to help essential workers in Peel. 



Brampton neglects future generations: budget shows councillors’ lip service on climate change 

Brampton neglects future generations: budget shows councillors’ lip service on climate change 

Over the years, the City has released nearly half a dozen plans to do its share in the global fight against climate change. These documents, typically carbon copies of previous plans, rarely lead to action. In its first five years, the City’s environmental master plan listed 219 tasks to be completed. The City crossed off only 21 percent of them. 

The lack of action continues with the absence of adequate financial support in the 2021 budget, putting the city on the losing end of a climate emergency.



Far more support for online learning needed with extended school closures, unions say 

Far more support for online learning needed with extended school closures, unions say 

The Province has announced its last-minute plans to extend school closures by a further two weeks, frustrating many Peel teachers.

Issues singled out by unions for months remain unresolved, they say, while the pandemic shows no signs of retreating across the hard hit region.



Already in ‘crisis mode’, Ontario hospitals have no protocol for who gets priority treatment, human rights advocates say

Already in ‘crisis mode’, Ontario hospitals have no protocol for who gets priority treatment, human rights advocates say

Members of the disability community in Ontario have been desperately trying to work with the Province since March after now-withdrawn emergency protocols threatened to block basic access to life-saving healthcare.

Now, more than 10 months into the pandemic, they fear the Province is offering them an impossible choice. 



Mississauga & Brampton to help with local vaccination rollout as Ford declares ‘crisis’ 

Mississauga & Brampton to help with local vaccination rollout as Ford declares ‘crisis’ 

COVID-19 vaccinations are ramping up in Peel, as the Province attempts to inoculate all long-term care residents and frontline health workers before January 21.

The target is the first of several in a vaccine rollout program aimed at ending the rampant spread of the novel coronavirus. 



Peel teachers’ unions demand schools stay closed next week 

Peel teachers’ unions demand schools stay closed next week 

With some elementary schools set to re-open for in-person learning next week, despite surging new-case numbers, teachers’ unions say their members are not convinced it's safe to return to the classroom. 



Trudeau slams Brampton MP Kamal Khera for Seattle trip and raises doubt about her official statement

Trudeau slams Brampton MP Kamal Khera for Seattle trip and raises doubt about her official statement

Speaking at a press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberals, expressed his disappointment with Kamal Khera who travelled out of the country recently. In his remarks, he hinted at her dismissal from her special role, despite Khera’s suggestion that she is voluntarily stepping down as a parliamentary secretary.



Will 2021 be another year of delays and unfinished business in Brampton?

Will 2021 be another year of delays and unfinished business in Brampton?

After a turbulent 2020, staff and councillors at Brampton City Hall have their hands full.

A lengthy to-do list, reduced from its 2019 peak, contains a variety of reports that have been repeatedly punted down the road. It could hinder the City’s ability to move forward with new initiatives in 2021. 



Muslim alliance around COVID-19 educates communities & dispels religious concerns over vaccine

Muslim alliance around COVID-19 educates communities & dispels religious concerns over vaccine

The Canadian Muslim COVID-19 Task Force was born out of an emergency meeting by community leaders last March, one day after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Now, thanks to its wide network of volunteers – including Peel-based faith leaders, physicians and public health specialists – the group is working to provide accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines and its religious context to minimize vaccine hesitancy.  



Brampton MP Kamal Khera refuses to answer questions about trip to Seattle

Brampton MP Kamal Khera refuses to answer questions about trip to Seattle

On Sunday night, the second-term MP issued a statement saying she had travelled to the United States for a family memorial service. The Pointer contacted family members who said they did not know about any such service. Her office said she would not answer questions about why she considered the trip essential.



Checking our parents’ cultural baggage – Part 2: An olive branch for our neighbours

Checking our parents’ cultural baggage – Part 2: An olive branch for our neighbours

Peel Region is home to one of the world’s most diverse populations, with about 130 languages from almost every region of the world spoken in Brampton and Mississauga. This remarkable display of pluralism, pairing such diversity with Canada’s “value system” often fools many outside observers who believe intolerance is rare. Unfortunately, in Peel, and across many parts of our country, our own loved ones often play a starring role in the ongoing hostility that routinely unfolds between fellow citizens.



New novel coronavirus infections on the rise in Peel

New novel coronavirus infections on the rise in Peel

After a slight decline in cases throughout the region was finally seen for a couple days in late December, following the lockdown that took effect near the end of November, infections have climbed since Christmas.



Peel’s lockdown failing to contain virus as cases surge–713 infections reported Saturday; Ontario also records highest number yet 

Peel’s lockdown failing to contain virus as cases surge; 713 infections reported Saturday as Ontario also records highest number yet 

After 2020 introduced the world to COVID-19, many have been holding out hope that 2021 will mark a turning point in the world’s battle against this novel disease. 

Two days into the new calendar, the novel coronavirus appears to be spreading faster than ever, with case numbers reaching a new daily high across Ontario led by numbers in Peel Region.



Rod Phillips’ resignation raises questions around misleading social media use

Rod Phillips’ resignation raises questions around misleading social media use

Resigning after public outcry over a Christmas holiday to St. Barts in the Caribbean, Rod Phillips’ behaviour which misled the public about his whereabouts raises concern about how social media is being used by elected officials. It highlights how tax dollars can be used to spin voters instead of informing them.



Checking our parents’ cultural baggage – Part 1: Online hate

Checking our parents’ cultural baggage – Part 1: Online hate

Youth are exposed to a wide range of hate speech that is pervasive across digital platforms. Decades-old religious and political divisions between older generations who trace their roots to the same places and the rhetoric of intolerance have found a space to thrive in the unchecked corners of our virtual world. Communities, including young people in Canada and around the world are being influenced to view neighbours as the other because of differences they often don’t even understand. Many are pushing back to break the cycle of hate.



Swing and a miss: What’s the future of sports in Peel?

Swing and a miss: What’s the future of sports in Peel?

COVID-19 has challenged the present and future prospects of pro and amateur sport franchises alike in major cities around the world. But two of the most significant teams here in Peel seem to be striking out because of an ever-shrinking fan base. Meanwhile, the rabid support for the Raptors proves how passionate residents here are about sports. 



Finance minister apologizes for vacationing in Caribbean as Ontario’s daily infection count hits new high & Peel hospitals reach intensive care capacity

Finance minister apologizes for vacationing in Caribbean as Ontario’s daily infection count hits new high & Peel hospitals reach intensive care capacity

Rod Phillips is facing heavy backlash and promised to return home immediately, as more than 2,500 new viral infections were reported in the province Tuesday, a week after Mississauga and Brampton’s three full-service hospitals already reached the threshold for critical care capacity, leaving the region’s frontline healthcare system vulnerable as COVID-19 cases continue to mount.



In a year like no other United Way asks for donations to help Peel’s most vulnerable

In a year like no other United Way asks for donations to help Peel’s most vulnerable

United Way Greater Toronto, which supports 280 frontline agencies, is in the final few days of a major fundraising campaign. The dollars it’s able to collect are funnelled to the residents who need help most, after a range of charities already stepped up like never before.



Could innovative financing plan fund Mississauga’s Port Credit Marina development?

Could innovative financing plan fund Mississauga’s Port Credit Marina development?

The City’s latest strategy to pay for its $71.3-million Port Credit Marina development project was dashed this fall, when the Province rejected an infrastructure funding request to give the iconic area a complete makeover. Now, councillors and local advocates are floating new ideas, including a Tax Increment Financing scheme, to attract investment. 



Mississauga hospitals need more doctors as COVID-19 admissions mount

Mississauga hospitals need more doctors as COVID-19 admissions mount

It’s unclear if published daily case counts since Christmas are underreporting actual numbers. Meanwhile, hospitalizations including those COVID-19 patients in intensive care continue to put pressure on the province’s strained frontline healthcare system. Both Mississauga hospitals are reportedly trying to hire more physicians as capacity is stretched close to the limit.  



Part 2: The Digital Main Street dilemma

Part 2: The Digital Main Street dilemma

Will a short-term fix for smaller businesses, especially in our retail sector, help close a digital divide, and help thousands of stores modernize their way of doing business? Or have government-imposed shutdowns due to COVID helped addict us to online shopping and home delivery? Has the old in-store model of retail become passé, and will this forever change the look and feel of our downtowns?



On this quiet Boxing Day, as Ontario moves into province-wide lockdown, a model to close the great retail digital divide

On this quiet Boxing Day, as Ontario moves into province-wide lockdown, a model to close the great retail digital divide

Part 1 of a 2-part series: COVID-19 has created a reckoning for businesses around the world, forcing the hand of those not upping their digital offerings. A private-public sector program called Digital Main Street now offers small businesses, especially retailers, a chance to play catch-up and close the profitability gap.



SIU lays no charges in police shooting of D’Andre Campbell but criticizes officers’ behaviour

SIU lays no charges in police shooting of D’Andre Campbell but criticizes officers’ behaviour

In April of this year, 26-year-old D’Andre Campbell was shot dead by police after he called 911.  

The SIU decided there is no evidence to lay criminal charges against the officer, but the Director notes the case highlights systemic issues in how police respond to calls involving those with mental health issues. 



Now that would be a Christmas present — Don Cherry helps to save beloved Mississauga community ice rink

Now that would be a Christmas present — Don Cherry helps to save beloved Mississauga community ice rink

Following a petition asking the City of Mississauga to reconsider its plans to demolish a rare outdoor ice rink, staff are now weighing alternative locations for the beloved local skating pad. A successful campaign led by resident Joe Galati can be credited for the move, which pushed the mayor and local councillor to get behind plans to keep skating and hockey in the community alive.



Mississauga finally commits to removing asbestos from fire stations

Mississauga finally commits to removing asbestos from fire stations

Under its new Interim Chief, the City of Mississauga’s fire service plans to remove asbestos from its oldest fire stations next year.

The move guarantees protection for firefighters already risking their lives by eliminating the possible spread of carcinogenic material inside their places of work. 



As SIU charges another former Peel police officer with sexual assault Kevin Dickman’s friends wait for an apology

As SIU charges another former Peel police officer with sexual assault Kevin Dickman’s friends wait for an apology

A former officer who had questionable ties to at least one known criminal while he served on the force, has been charged by the SIU with sexual assault in an alleged 1992 incident. The charge comes after crimes inflicted on a Brampton boy by a sexual molester on the force five decades ago. The horrific acts seem more obscene considering Frank Kohler was allowed to dodge justice for 50 years, despite admitting his guilt to police investigators in the mid-70s. After he was finally confronted last year and recently pleaded guilty, he will be sentenced in March. But others need to be called out and investigated, and if complicit in wrongdoing, should face the full force of our criminal justice system, even if it thoroughly failed citizens in the past.  



Families refuse to comply after Ministry of Health supports Osler’s sudden closure of chronic care in Brampton

Families refuse to comply after Ministry of Health supports Osler’s sudden closure of chronic care in Brampton

The change is the latest update in an ongoing saga that started in October, when the organization asked families who rely on complex chronic care to find alternate options for their loved ones.

Officials have said the move is necessary to make room for more patients in the city’s lone hospital, which is chronically overcrowded, but families are demanding the changes be halted.