UPDATED: INTERACTIVE MAP shows latest COVID-19 cases in Brampton and Mississauga schools and neighbourhood infection rates

UPDATED: INTERACTIVE MAP shows latest COVID-19 cases in Brampton and Mississauga schools and neighbourhood infection rates

With Peel students back in the classroom this week, it will be essential for parents to have as much information as possible about their child’s school and its surrounding area. 

The Pointer’s updated interactive map shows all schools located in Brampton and Mississauga neighbourhoods and the COVID-19 infection rates per capita for those areas. 



Human Rights Commission asks for community buy-in as advocates voice scepticism over initiative with troubled Peel Police force 

Human Rights Commission asks for community buy-in as advocates voice scepticism over initiative with troubled Peel Police force 

Peel Regional Police unveiled a new anti-discrimination project this week in partnership with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Dubbed by both organizations as “legally binding”, community members have shared their concern that the force, dogged by revelations of its discriminatory culture, is on another PR mission instead of actually seeking transformative change.



Mississauga councillors defend NIMBYism and right to spend millions on launching doomed development appeals

Mississauga councillors defend NIMBYism and right to spend millions on launching doomed development appeals

A motion tabled by Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish was voted down last week. It called for a two-thirds majority around the council table when elected officials choose to overrule the expertise of their own planners during development-related disputes. Parrish argued that avoiding predictable defeats at the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal will save taxpayer dollars and reduce the price of new residential and commercial units in the city. 



Mayors and businesses desperate to reopen but COVID cases in Peel are surging

Mayors and businesses desperate to reopen but COVID cases in Peel are surging

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton’s Patrick Brown face the same dilemma as most entrepreneurs in their cities: they want to jump start the economy and get revenues flowing but the daily COVID case numbers in Peel continue to trend in the wrong direction. If things don’t turn around, the current 28-day return to much of the Stage 2 lockdown could be extended.



Roadblocks continue but Peel’s high school teachers’ union inches closer to more diverse leadership

Roadblocks continue but Peel’s high school teachers’ union inches closer to more diverse leadership

Campaigners in Peel have been pushing since at least June to change the profile of Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) Division 19’s leadership. Last week, the executive agreed to let an anti-Black racism committee appoint three new senior positions. Despite the success, 28 percent of the union’s top brass voted against the move, showing there is still work to be done. 



Brampton school gets emergency testing; PDSB concerned that jump in online learning will present problems; confirmed school cases rise

Brampton school gets emergency testing; PDSB concerned that jump in online learning will present problems; confirmed school cases rise

St. André Bessette Catholic School in Brampton is the latest in Peel hit hard by the novel coronavirus. It had to shut six classrooms after Peel Public Health declared an outbreak driven by the school community. The continued spread in the region’s educational setting is creating chaos for boards trying to manage shifting attitudes among parents who are balancing schooling and safety. 



Number of guns seized from Peel streets declining amid steady rise in shooting victims 

Number of guns seized from Peel streets declining amid steady rise in shooting victims 

Gang violence continues to spread across parts of Brampton and Mississauga in 2020, while Peel Regional Police have been unable to get as many guns off the streets in recent years. The numbers dropped while officers were forced to take up other responsibilities. 

The solution: balance the expensive costs of frontline investigations with funding initiatives that deal with the root causes of crime and other crises police are increasingly dealing with.



While human traffickers get more digitally savvy young women lose trust in police

While human traffickers get more digitally savvy young women lose trust in police

A majority of those who have survived some form of human trafficking don’t come forward for help or share their stories with police. It’s due to fear and uncertainty, but mostly a matter of trust. Survivors don’t trust police and the legal system to prosecute, or service providers to help them. In a region that’s a hotbed for trafficking, rebuilding broken trust is a must.



PCs take bold initial step to finally diversify the colour of teaching in Ontario

PCs take bold initial step to finally diversify the colour of teaching in Ontario

On Thursday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced his government would scrap Regulation 274, a rule that values seniority over all else in the hiring of teachers. The move has been criticized by unions and cautiously welcomed by advocates calling for more equity in education.

The two groups agree on one thing: removing the regulation alone is not enough. A robust plan to hire racialized teachers, especially in Peel, needs to come next. 



PC government continues to ignore Brampton’s woeful COVID testing capacity

PC government continues to ignore Brampton’s woeful COVID testing capacity

Just days ago, the city had the highest proportion of new cases of any provincial hotspot, while testing levels remain far below Ontario’s per capita targets. The Province has acknowledged the city’s dire situation but refuses to take responsibility for the lack of resources, which only it can provide.



Owner of Brampton care homes sued for $20M in class action by families of loved ones impacted by COVID-19

Owner of Brampton care homes sued for $20M in class action by families of loved ones impacted by COVID-19

The statement of claim against Holland Christian Homes details the lawsuit on behalf of those residents impacted during the spread of the novel coronavirus. The claim outlines problems witnessed over the past decade, alleging the organization failed to provide adequate care long before the pandemic.



COVID-19 confusion clogs Mississauga’s 311 service leaving residents desperate for information

COVID-19 confusion clogs Mississauga’s 311 service leaving residents desperate for information

When the Province declared a state of emergency in mid-March, it gained the power to make quick decisions on the fly. Ever since, a downpour of new rules and regulations have left people feeling dizzy and confused.

As a result, 311 — the go-to service for Mississaugans with questions — has been snowed under, leaving frustrated residents stuck in a queue listening to tinny pop music instead of getting the answers they need. 



‘He was pretty much left to die’: Ongoing shortage of staff at care homes has loved ones across Peel worried

‘He was pretty much left to die’: Ongoing shortage of staff at care homes has loved ones across Peel worried

Families with elderly members in long-term care facilities know the importance of personal support workers, but the lack of critical staff is painfully obvious. Residents and their loved ones in Mississauga and Brampton want to know why more isn’t being done to increase alarmingly low staffing levels as a second wave of COVID-19 spreads across the two cities.



A ‘rat rebate’ is coming to Peel Region 

A ‘rat rebate’ is coming to Peel Region 

After years of buck-passing across the bureaucracy, a new subsidy and pest management program is being promised to Mississauga residents following hundreds of rat-related complaints since 2017 and recent infestations in some neighbourhoods.



Mississauga councillors consider hydrogen bus pilot; diesel jeopardizing City’s climate targets

Mississauga councillors consider hydrogen bus pilot; diesel jeopardizing City’s climate targets

Last week, councillors greenlit a feasibility study by the City’s transit agency, MiWay, to investigate the possibility of running hydrogen-powered, zero-emission buses. In his report lobbying for the funding, MiWay boss Geoff Marinoff said the City will miss its 2050 climate targets if it keeps buying traditional buses. 



Ottawa scraps changes to family reunification program, returns to immigration lottery system

Ottawa scraps changes to family reunification program, returns to immigration lottery system

Less than two years after a much vaunted revamp of Canada’s family reunification immigration program, Ottawa has scrapped recent controversial changes and reinstated random selection. The system, one of only a few non-economic routes into Canada, offers a chance for Peel families to reunite with grandparents who have felt particularly far removed in a world separated by the novel coronavirus. 



Ottawa’s Black entrepreneurship loan program stalled, raising questions about access to badly needed help

Ottawa’s Black entrepreneurship loan program stalled, raising questions about access to badly needed help

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new program in early September aimed at members of the Black business community, many people, including the president of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, were cautiously optimistic. More than a month later, the application process for business loans still hasn’t opened and no timelines have been provided. Meanwhile, the pandemic’s second wave is ravaging companies, big and small, across Peel.



Part 3 - Firefighters already exposed to hazardous fumes kept in the dark about asbestos in at least 9 Mississauga fire stations

Part 3 - Firefighters already exposed to hazardous fumes kept in the dark about asbestos in at least 9 Mississauga fire stations

In 2009, Mississauga identified asbestos in several of its fire stations.

A separate audit, obtained by The Pointer through a Freedom of Information request, completed a decade later reconfirmed the presence of the toxic, carcinogenic substance, which officials have failed to remove, putting the health of firefighters at risk.



Part 2 - ‘These buildings are falling down’: Trio of Mississauga fire stations pose safety risk, damning audit finds

Part 2 - ‘These buildings are falling down’: Trio of Mississauga fire stations pose safety risk, damning audit finds

Three fire stations in Mississauga are in such bad shape, they were completely written off in a recent audit, which suggests they be demolished.

The stations, still used daily by firefighters, have varying problems, including question marks around their “structural adequacy”.



Province won’t hear complaints from unions on safety concerns over back to school plan

Province won’t hear complaints from unions on safety concerns over back to school plan

Experts say issues with cohorting, class sizes, and ventilation exist.

But a ruling from the Labour Relations Board means there will be no widespread changes, based on the position of Ontario’s four main teachers’ unions. Any issues that come across a teacher’s table will have to be brought to their board's attention individually.  



Afters weeks of confused messaging, Peel sent back to 'modified' lockdown

Afters weeks of confused messaging, Peel sent back to 'modified' lockdown

Bars, restaurants and gyms are among the businesses in Peel that will be forced to close their indoor services starting Saturday.

The move is being billed as a version of Stage 2 protocols by the Ontario government, which has finally acted to slow down surging COVID-19 case numbers in three hotspots. 



Brampton’s lone full service hospital at capacity: How will it weather COVID’s second wave?

Brampton’s lone full service hospital at capacity: How will it weather COVID’s second wave?

Experts are warning hospitals need space to treat sudden outbreaks of COVID-19.

With Brampton Civic facing extreme gridlock numerous times in September, it’s unclear how the hospital will handle any increasing patient numbers during COVID-19's second wave.



Four classrooms closed at Brampton’s Turner Fenton and three Peel elementary schools declare outbreaks of COVID-19  

Four classrooms closed at Brampton’s Turner Fenton and three Peel elementary schools declare outbreaks of COVID-19  

For weeks, schools in Peel have been reporting new cases of COVID-19 as students attempt to learn in the midst of a global pandemic.

October has brought the first official outbreaks in the region's schools, while one in Brampton had four cases on top of other classroom closures.



Part 1 – Documents show decades of neglect have left Mississauga’s fire stations crumbling & public safety at risk

Part 1 – Documents show decades of neglect have left Mississauga’s fire stations crumbling & public safety at risk

An audit completed in 2019 and obtained by The Pointer through a Freedom of Information request shows the monstrous repair bill facing the City for 14 of its oldest fire stations.

Decades of underfunding have been compounded by inaction, with the City seemingly paralyzed by financial pressures that are putting its residents in danger. 



Teachers do God’s work under constant fear of a virus that continues to slip through school doors 

Teachers do God’s work under constant fear of a virus that continues to slip through school doors 

COVID cases in Peel schools continue to rise and 27 classrooms are currently closed. As thousands of students hope to keep learning in person, the weight of teaching in an incredibly challenging environment is compounded by the constant worry of an invisible killer looming around educators. But they are persevering, performing an essential duty to keep millions of Ontarians moving forward.



Members frustrated with white union leaders blind to anti-Black racism

Members frustrated with white union leaders blind to anti-Black racism

In June, members of OSSTF in Peel voted to create three new executive positions designed to help dismantle the anti-Black racism that permeates education in the region.

The new positions were a victory for racialized staff, desperate to be represented by their bargaining unit. However, union leadership has proved unwilling to cooperate.



Mississauga presents budget to help struggling families but COVID ‘echo’ will eventually come calling

Mississauga presents budget to help struggling families but COVID ‘echo’ will eventually come calling

The City’s councillors, who enjoy the luxury of a steady paycheque in these precarious times, face hard choices this budget season.

Many of the same constituents whose property taxes keep City Hall afloat are in desperate need of relief. Any help offered to them today, will have to be covered tomorrow. 



Tired of ‘bad’ landlords putting tenants at risk, Mississauga wants power to inspect buildings

Tired of ‘bad’ landlords putting tenants at risk, Mississauga wants power to inspect buildings

Mississauga Ward 2 Councillor Karen Ras last week tabled a successful motion asking Queen’s Park for the ability to enter buildings whose owners are suspected of making renovations without a permit. The move is directed at unscrupulous landlords who cram tenants into badly built spaces, but the retrofitting of suburban family homes into apartment dwellings also raises questions about how to accommodate the city’s exploding population. 



PDSB’s next chance to move students into online learning isn’t until mid-November 

PDSB’s next chance to move students into online learning isn’t until mid-November 

The Peel District School Board is offering parents and students a chance to switch from in-person to online learning as COVID-19 cases pile up in Ontario. The welcome move will take more than a month for the board to process, meaning families who want to make the move won’t be able to remove children from the classroom until November 18.



‘You have to walk on eggshells’: Racism taking its toll on the mental health of Black educators at PDSB

‘You have to walk on eggshells’: Racism taking its toll on the mental health of Black educators at PDSB

Three Black staff members plan to take the Peel District School Board to the Human Rights Tribunal, alleging anti-Black racism has contributed to poor mental health. The lawyer representing all three hopes a tribunal ruling in their favour would change how mental health and racism are viewed across Ontario.



Despite its ‘childcare desert’ label Brampton daycares are only 20 percent full because of the pandemic

Despite its ‘childcare desert’ label Brampton daycares are only 20 percent full because of the pandemic

When schools shut down in March and parents were forced to change their work schedules, daycare was a pressing topic on many minds. But now that schools are open and more students are staying home, childcare options aren’t nearly as tight as usual.



Halton leaders are fighting against Ford’s GTA West Highway; Brampton’s refuse to condemn it 

Halton leaders are fighting against Ford’s GTA West Highway; Brampton’s refuse to condemn it 

Council members in Brampton have backed a contradictory motion expressing their support for a sprawl-inducing highway and smart growth urban boulevard along the same route.

It’s an idea the Province has dismissed as unworkable, with no one at City Hall able to offer a technical solution for the two incompatible plans. The highway represents land use in direct conflict with City Council’s so-called climate emergency declaration. 



Mississauga’s longtime City Hall leader appointed to Region’s top job, will steer massive growth & work with a fractured council

Mississauga’s longtime City Hall leader appointed to Region’s top job, will steer massive growth & work with a fractured council

After a brief retirement, Janice Baker is returning to city building. 

The distinguished former head bureaucrat of Mississauga is taking the reins of the Region of Peel at a critical time when big decisions around growth are needed to guide the region toward a smart and sustainable future, away from the costly sprawl still favoured by Caledon. 



Economic recovery and increased testing go ‘hand in hand’ Brampton business leader says

Economic recovery and increased testing go ‘hand in hand,’ Brampton business leader says

Only one week after it opened, Brampton’s second COVID-19 testing centre shut its doors to the public, leaving one facility for the city’s 670,000 residents to get tested.

Business owners fear this lack of testing will only draw out the pandemic and force more businesses to close.  



Peel health officials stubbornly insist region is not in a second wave of COVID-19; Ford labels Peel a ‘hotspot’ once again, implements tighter restrictions

Peel health officials stubbornly insist region is not in a second wave of COVID-19; Ford labels Peel a ‘hotspot’ once again, implements tighter restrictions

Colder temperatures are on the horizon and the province is preparing to fight rising COVID-19 case numbers with enhanced restrictions for Ontario. 

In Peel, despite some of the highest daily case counts since the start of the pandemic, health officials and politicians continue to deny the region is in a second wave. 



Brampton’s 2nd testing site closes a week after opening; Peel’s top medical officer once again downplays infections 

Brampton’s 2nd testing site closes a week after opening; Peel’s top medical officer once again downplays infections 

The new facility was promised to be in the city for the “foreseeable future” and was to assist with long lines at Brampton’s lone COVID-19 assessment centre. The Province has since introduced testing at private pharmacies to help with screening in hotspots, but the expected impact hasn’t been felt in Brampton yet. Meanwhile, the man heading the region’s public health response and the mayor are again trying to minimize local problems.



Mississauga asks province to prioritize affordable housing after minister strips zoning meant to address the crisis

Mississauga asks province to prioritize affordable housing after minister strips zoning meant to address the crisis

Councillors in Mississauga have endorsed a motion asking the province to sell a portion of land located in the city to a developer committed to affordable housing.

It's the latest bit-part plea to Queen’s Park as Peel battles an affordable housing crisis without the legislative or tax powers the current PC government does not support.



Brown misleads public on Province’s 413 Highway planned for Brampton’s west side 

Brown misleads public on Province’s 413 Highway planned for Brampton’s west side 

Mayor Patrick Brown, along with some councillors, appear to be speaking out of both sides of their mouth about a massive 4-series highway the Province is determined to build right through the city’s undeveloped west side.

In 2019, they threw their weight behind the GTA West Corridor, endorsing the Doug Ford government’s plan to restart the project, which had been cancelled by the previous Liberal regime. Now, they support a smart growth design for the huge stretch of land, with dense communities, transit and a boulevard concept. The problem: it’s incompatible with Queen’s Park’s approach. 



Five classrooms closed in Peel; 71 schools across the region now reporting cases of COVID-19 

Five classrooms closed in Peel; 71 schools across the region now reporting cases of COVID-19 

Classrooms in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon have been closed as the number of schools with COVID-19 cases in the Region of Peel passes 70.

Rising community cases continue to increase the risk of in-school transmission.



Mississauga rapper Avalanche the Architect set to appeal conviction for use of threatening lyrics

Mississauga rapper Avalanche the Architect set to appeal conviction for use of threatening lyrics

Mississauga-based rapper Darren John, aka Avalanche the Architect, argues there are several reasons why his conviction for uttering threats against his former music promoter in connection to the lyrics in one of his songs should be overturned.

After the original trial and conviction gained widespread attention across North America, placing freedom of expression rights and rap culture up against interpretations of the law, John will be back in court this week to convince a judge the initial finding should be turned around. 



Brampton still Peel’s COVID hotspot but Mississauga’s numbers also climbing rapidly

Brampton still Peel’s COVID hotspot but Mississauga’s numbers also climbing rapidly

The region’s largest city has watched its COVID-19 case count balloon over the last ten days, after almost four months of good results. With Ontario recording 700 new cases on Monday, the highest since the start of the pandemic, Mississauga and many other GTA cities are caught in a dilemma: either shutdown completely, once again, or deal with the reality of viral infection when businesses, services and private social gatherings are allowed to carry on. Will recent restrictions imposed by the Ontario government help the city get back to where it was for most of the summer?



Brampton’s downtown is being overwhelmed by homelessness and drug use; Region promises help

Brampton’s downtown is being overwhelmed by homelessness and drug use; Region promises help

A pandemic that has laid bare the region’s social ills, combined with irresponsible investment into a failing affordable housing system have created significant problems for downtown Brampton. 

The Region of Peel has promised new drop-in sites for the homeless will be open by the end of the year and it has also purchased a new building it intends to convert to shelter space to help fill the wide gaps in the social support system. 



Brampton sees its highest daily COVID case count yet

Brampton sees its highest daily COVID case count yet

The provincial pandemic hotspot continues to pose a major problem for public health, with disturbing rates of infection in recent days. On Friday, more cases of COVID-19 were reported in the city than any other day during the planet-wide crisis. The out-of-control viral spread in the city raises questions about whether Brampton, and possibly all of Peel, will be plunged back into Stage 2, with tighter restrictions and the possibility of shutting down certain businesses and services.



Brampton wants to design a post-pandemic city; Doug Ford wants a giant highway instead

Brampton wants to design a post-pandemic city; Doug Ford wants a giant highway instead

Urban designer Yvonne Yeung told The Pointer it’s way past time Brampton re-did its mazy land-use mix. The result: a prototype, the Shoppers World Hub. It promises to usher in a “new urban vibe”. And instead of the pandemic stalling this revolutionary design change, it has acted as an accelerant. The challenges: trying to find funding; and a premier who prefers sprawl.



Ford commits an extra $1B for COVID testing & tracing; Brampton has less than half the lab capacity of Mississauga

Ford commits an extra $1B for COVID testing & tracing; Brampton has less than half the lab capacity of Mississauga

Ontario has plans to boost daily testing to 50,000 within the next month, and is actively trying to increase the amount of tests it can process, but has hit some roadblocks. Mississauga and Brampton residents will be able to visit 17 pharmacies in the two cities, as of Friday, to get a COVID-19 test.

Brampton, in particular, needs test results returned as fast as possible, to disrupt the rapid community spread of the novel coronavirus. 



Almost 50% of PDSB elementary students have moved online; more than 50 Mississauga and Brampton schools with COVID-19 cases; NDP demands class size caps

Almost 50% of PDSB elementary students have moved online; more than 50 Mississauga and Brampton schools with COVID-19 cases; NDP demands class size caps

In Peel, Lester B. Pearson is the region’s first school to record three separate COVID-19 cases. With infections spreading rapidly in an area considered a provincial hotspot, Brampton-based NDP MPPs are again calling for the province to lower the size of elementary school classes.

The Doug Ford government, critics say, is more concerned about other public spaces, now under dramatically limited social gathering restrictions recently imposed, while the safety of children in schools is being ignored. 



Peel’s battle with opioid crisis on hold as overdoses spike; advocates want COVID-type response 

Peel’s battle with opioid crisis on hold as overdoses spike; advocates want COVID-type response 

COVID-19 has disrupted the world’s drug supply, forced people into isolation and has led to a surge in opioid related overdoses. 

In Peel, much of the long-term effort to battle the opioid crisis has been placed on hold with the lion’s share of public health resources allocated to fight the novel coronavirus, a fight that should be mirrored to deal with mounting drug-related deaths. 



PDSB supervisor apologizes to parent activist for ‘acts of discrimination and anti-Black racism’ of previous administration

PDSB supervisor apologizes to parent activist for ‘acts of discrimination and anti-Black racism’ of previous administration

The Peel District School Board has published an apology to parent Idris Orughu for a trespass letter issued against him in February.

The statement, which admits the move represented anti-Black racism, is signed by supervisor Bruce Rodrigues and not the leaders in charge at the time.



‘To go to work every day to see your residents dying is a horrible way to work’: care homes need help before next wave 

‘To go to work every day to see your residents dying is a horrible way to work’: care homes need help before next wave 

The first wave of COVID-19 exposed a critical problem in long-term care homes across Canada: many are unable to maintain properly staffed shifts.

Through the first wave of the pandemic, a number of recommendations and calls to action have been made by political leaders and seniors’ advocates to ensure the problem doesn’t repeat itself in the inescapable second wave. So far the province has remained silent.



40% of Ontario schools with COVID-19 cases located in Mississauga or Brampton 

40% of Ontario schools with COVID-19 cases located in Mississauga or Brampton 

With schools in Brampton and Mississauga reporting new cases of the novel coronavirus daily, Peel finds itself vastly overrepresented in the total number of elementary and secondary education institutions with infections. 

As the virus continues to enter the classroom, the region’s two school boards are struggling to finalize plans while students and parents grow more impatient. 



With seven times the case rate compared to early August, Peel sees first class closure; 38 schools now have infections

With seven times the case rate compared to early August, Peel sees first class closure; 38 schools now have infections

Parts of Ontario have forced the entire province backward, as rules to reduce the size of social gatherings originally applied to just Peel, Toronto and Ottawa, are now in effect for all of Ontario. The recent viral spread in Peel, with seven times as many cases over five days compared to a five-day period about a month ago, comes as the number of schools reporting cases across Brampton and Mississauga increases rapidly.