Tens of thousands of Peel residents, including adults, youth and children, are not receiving an adequate level of care for mental health due to a historic lack of provincial funding, say advocates, and that number is sure to increase if a solution isn’t found soon.
As the ongoing review of anti-Black discrimination continues at the Peel District School Board, another of its teachers has been suspended for discrimination against Muslim students.
It’s yet another indication of widespread issues that exist in the local school board and the significance being placed on the provincial review as a harbinger of change.
As the second fastest growing city in Canada, Brampton has a big problem. The city’s infrastructure gap is widening and it doesn’t have enough money to keep up. While no, or minimal tax increases look good on paper, what does this mean for a city with major healthcare, transit and infrastructure needs?
Sparks flew during City Council’s first day of budget deliberations with questions of cuts, unfunded projects and a lack of trust all thrown around the council chamber.
The dramatic first day of discussions could be a preview of what’s to come as council debates a budget that might be popular in the short-term, but could have serious implications for the city’s future if approved in its current form.
Each year, Canadians throw away enough food to feed four million people. Food waste has a significant effect on the environment, resulting in methane gas that accelerates climate change. One organization is hoping to change that by saving food from the landfill and getting it into the hands of the hungry.
Waitlists for daily programs provided by the Region of Peel — which are relied upon by seniors requiring complex care — are hundreds of names long, with backlogs lasting up to a year. Much of the problem lies with inadequate provincial funding, which has not risen beyond the rate of inflation.
Land in Mississauga is a scarce commodity. Regardless of whether it is purchased to construct a restaurant or a condominium tower, its price increases every year. For developers and businesses, that means there is little urgency to build and simply owning acres is enough to make more money.
Recently, the Region of Peel moved to discourage ownership of undeveloped land, while in Mississauga, the mayor is worried this phenomenon is choking the market’s supply of new housing.
Facial recognition software, using billions of images scraped from online sources, is being increasingly used to help solve cases. But there are questions of privacy and the potential unethical application of the new technology, which forces like Peel’s are finding difficult to answer.
For months, Brampton residents have waited to learn where the proposal for Phase-2 expansion of Peel Memorial stands. Now, city staff say — following discussions with William Osler Health System where it became obvious the two sides had very different ideas about the project — it is too early to start saving funds, making a hospital levy unnecessary this year.
Brampton and Mississauga are both taking part in innovative projects to test the limits of green transit. Brampton is one of three municipalities piloting a standardization of electric charging facilities, while Mississauga is exploring how it could power its bus fleet using hydrogen.
Now, the group masterminding these projects has been given a funding boost, offering even greater opportunities to its champion stakeholders.
In Ontario, there are approximately 80,000 people living in long-term care, but not enough personal support workers to handle the daily responsibilities that bolster their health, well-being, safety and quality of life. In short-staffed facilities, where resources are stretched thin, the situation is dire and residents are left to suffer.
But the job has a high turnover rate, as wages remain low and the workload continuously increases. Overworked staff are stuck waiting upwards of ten years to receive a full-time position, left with no benefits and no one to cover their paid time off in the meantime.
In Peel, home ownership is near impossible, rentals are scarce and homelessness is rising. In response, the region has okayed additional funding to flow into its long-neglected shelter system in the hopes of addressing chronic overcapacity. As well, new measures are being taken to encourage the development of basement apartments and other affordable housing options.
Brampton taxpayers will once again be on the hook for unsustainable City Hall salaries, but a proposed budget with a minimal property tax increase recommends cutting to the bone instead of funding a growing list of projects that had been planned to keep the city running smoothly.
Mayor Patrick Brown has made clear that low taxes are his priority, but what remains unclear is how he expects to attract jobs and investment if Brampton’s infrastructure falls apart.
Brampton’s 2040 Vision, a document mapping out plans for the city’s modern future, is approaching its second birthday. Over the last two years, City Hall has made repeated references to its content, despite having spent little energy actualizing its goals.
During the latest event in the 2040 Speaker Series, renowned planner Gil Penalosa said realizing the vision is simply a matter of priorities and putting people first.
Brampton’s Eco Park Strategy hopes to bolster human interaction with nature by conserving and enhancing local green spaces and the environment.
To achieve this, the city needs a clear plan of implementation, but like many of its initiatives put forth recently, things appear to be one step forward, two steps back.
After years of neglect, Malton is at last attracting the type of community investment and interest needed to boost its profile and serve the needs of its diverse and fast-growing population. There’s still a lot of work left to be done, say champions for the neighbourhood.
As the dispute between Ontario teachers and the province continues, strike action has been impacting parents. Many have been forced to make tough decisions with the sudden absence of care for their children during school hours.
In Brampton, this problem is especially pronounced as a result of the city’s limited child care options, which are the second worst in Canada. The city’s zoning laws, which do not generally permit child care in residential areas, create a major problem for parents.
Following his latest trip to India, Patrick Brown sat down with The Pointer to talk about his position on India’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, which targets Muslims and was implemented only weeks before his arrival. He also spoke about his ambitions for the city's future.
Last year, Brampton residents elected an all Liberal slate of MPs once again. But some of these federal representatives, who won easily, have yet to share a list of priorities for the city, which could demonstrate their dedication to the communities they serve on pressing issues like violent crime, healthcare, and transit.
There’s a lot riding on the shoulders of Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah.
His force is struggling with a rising number of violent crimes across the region, which are taking up valuable resources and police time. Simultaneously, the new chief is trying to reform an organization that has been plagued by scandal.
If any of this is weighing on him, he didn’t let it show when he appeared before Brampton councillors last week.
As the Region of Peel’s population ages and grows, use of its emergency services increases. Every year, the region’s paramedic service responds to more calls, with precious resources rushing to medical emergencies in Brampton, Caledon, and Mississauga.
However, while residents have seen their tax bills increase to fund these vital services, others have been getting a free ride. One such beneficiary is the Toronto Pearson International Airport, located within Mississauga, which accounts for an average of 18 paramedic visits per day at no additional cost.
Mississauga has supported Justin Trudeau in successive elections, but the city has a long list of initiatives its still seeking federal support for.
Has the loyalty demonstrated by voters been rewarded with advocacy from its elected MPs or increased funding for city-building projects? A look at the public pronouncements of the six MPs following their re-election suggests, no.
A trio of new bridges, relocating Ken Whillans Drive and other measures will be required to protect downtown Brampton from future floods and unlock development potential, a new study has found.
According to recently released documents, part of the ongoing environmental assessment for the Riverwalk project, the work will cost millions and it’s unclear where that money will come from.
A real estate agency has filed a statement of claim against the City of Mississauga and the company that manages its bus shelter advertising, arguing unfair advantages and preferential pricing are being given to certain firms.
Allegations in court documents state the City’s advertising vendor has created an unfair monopoly for vital real estate advertising in Mississauga’s booming market.
It was thought that Peel’s housing and homelessness committee would vote to formally discontinue lapsed granting programs and free up millions of dollars to aid its burdened shelter system. Instead, after Habitat for Humanity objected to the move, a delay has been ordered to give the non-profit a chance to construct a defence against ending the grants.
With the province engaging in consultations for the year’s Ontario budget, Mississauga City Council approved sending the government a list of all of its unfunded infrastructure asks, a number that could reach billions of dollars. But there’s no indication the province will be willing to grant the city’s funding wishes, and little sign of public support coming from local MPPs.
The City of Brampton has been particularly vocal about recently released plans to create its own university. Details have been vague at best, but marketing around the project has continued. However, with rising rental rates and the issue of unregistered secondary units, where BramptonU’s hypothetical students might live is a key question.
As an institution, city hall can be far removed from the lives of people affected by the decisions that shape and build our dynamic communities. Councillors make these choices for us every day.
Elected officials in Brampton, Mississauga and across Canada may wonder why they have authority over complex city-building strategies for land use, high-order transit and public safety. Most know as little as the residents they serve, even less.
Martin Medeiros and George Carlson, the chairs of their cities’ planning committees, talked to The Pointer about learning on the job and the pitfalls of a planning world dominated by developer interests.
Mississauga city council recently endorsed an update to its waterfront planning strategy, which focuses on mitigating the impacts of climate change to govern the construction that will soon bring thousands of new residents to the lake’s edge.
While the city has demonstrated its eagerness to address the impacts of climate change, there are questions on whether or not the 22-kilometre expanse of coastline that’s home to hundreds of plant and wildlife species can sustain future populations.
In Peel, house prices have been skyrocketing for years. Between 2006 and 2016, the cost of buying property in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon rose by more than 90 percent.
Different measures designed to control the housing market have failed, with the cost of renting and buying continuing to soar.
However, as a result of provincial changes and transit expansion across the region, new mechanisms could soon be in place, which encourage density and force developers to provide cities with affordable units in every future build.
While the William Osler Health System wants Peel Memorial expanded into a state of the art health centre, the organization still hasn’t submitted a proposal to the province, saying plans can’t be rushed, despite previously telling The Pointer the already delayed proposal would be submitted at the end of January. With no concrete details, the timeline for submission remains unclear.
Since 2010, the utility rate in Peel has skyrocketed. Every year, it has increased by at least five percent, sometimes rising as much as nine. This seldom scrutinized cost to homeowners and renters allows councillors and staff to shift sharp increases away from the property tax bill, so politicians can claim they are holding the line on taxes.
In Peel Region, cases of domestic and intimate partner violence are two growing issues of concern as incidents increased once again this year, remaining one of the most frequent calls to police. Council hopes a new awareness campaign will help Peel Regional Police address the issue, one that has complex dynamics in the diverse region.
Peel has a new plan to tackle the rising number of opioid-related harms in the region.
Spared some of the worst impacts in terms of scale, over the last three years the number of overdoses, hospitalizations and deaths has been increasing faster in Peel than almost anywhere else in Ontario.
Ryerson University, Sheridan College and Algoma University have come together to deliver a proposal to council that would see a new medical school built and more educational programs come to Brampton. With 83 percent of residents in support of the creation of a new university, the proposal is a pleasant surprise for the city’s post-secondary ambition.
While billions of dollars were recently committed to guarantee the construction of the Hurontario LRT, Mississauga is still working out what it will need to pay annually to operate the service when it opens in four years’ time, alongside other unknown design costs to make the Hurontario corridor a world class boulevard.
On Friday, Premier Doug Ford announced $560,000 for 50 new seats in skilled trades training apprenticeships at Sheridan College's Davis Campus in Brampton, which will help fill jobs in high demand. The move came after he cancelled $90 million for a new Brampton university campus.
The announcement featured the premier, two ministers and a local MPP, the type of show that usually comes with tens of millions of dollars, not $560,000. The week before, Ford stood before rows of officers and police vehicles and other local and provincial politicians to announce money for Peel police that appears to be little more than a continuation of previous funding.
All of it begs the question: is Ford's recent show of support nothing more than politicking, with very little to actually help our rapidly growing region?
For decades, Brampton planned its growth around the power of the car, and not the voices of residents. Then, in May 2018, the city finalized its 2040 Vision, a document filled with public input and urban planning prowess.
As part of the Vision, the city is holding a speaker series at its downtown Rose Theatre. The latest event welcomed human-centered urbanist Zahra Ebrahim, who spoke about the need to engage with residents meaningfully throughout the entire planning process.
Ebrahim’s position was reinforced by the audience present on the night itself. In a near-empty theatre, only four council members were in attendance to hear urban planning leaders talk about the city’s most important decisions.
After the economic bailout in 2009, the new USMCA, replacing the NAFTA, offers another lifeline to the auto industry. There’s little doubt the deal will ease the anxiety of workers, like the ones who gathered in Brampton Thursday to clap and shout “Trudeau-Trudeau-Trudeau” as the PM greeted them on his tour of ABC Technologies.
Still littered with malls and plazas, Mississauga is looking to increase its density as the city grows upwards. One step toward achieving this goal is to update the city’s Official Plan, its guiding planning document, to prepare for a future of walkable, dense communities.
Next Monday, city councillors will consider plans to completely reshape areas of the city including Erin Mills, Meadowvale and Sheridan.
Across the next two decades, the number of people using Mississauga and Halton’s health network is set to rise by almost 50 percent. Before 2035, the area expects to welcome an additional 650,000 new residents. Although Trillium Health Partners, responsible for hospitals in Mississauga, may not be experiencing the same scale of hallway healthcare pressures as neighbouring Brampton, it is not immune to similar challenges.
Mississauga Council just can’t seem to agree on how to redistribute its electoral boundaries to make them more reflective of population increases. There has been no redrawing of the council map since 2006, even though the city has grown by more than 100,000 people.
While 83 percent of Brampton residents want a university, that doesn’t mean they’ll get one. From a checkered past of provincial support in the city to a lack of solid details on how a post-secondary institution could conceivably be built, Brampton’s plans for a new university are hanging in the air.
On Friday, enthusiasm was electric in response to Premier Doug Ford’s commitment to Brampton’s healthcare crisis that many viewed, and shared on social media, as a promise to build a third hospital in the city.
Alas, things weren’t as they seemed.
Transit, healthcare and infrastructure have been on Brampton’s wish list for the province for years. After being rejected by government after government, ignoring Brampton may not be an option for any party looking to retain power in the province.
In both Brampton and Mississauga, the car was king for decades. Wide city roads were built with property tax dollars, while developers were mandated to provide swathes of parking for each home, shop and office.
As these two cities continue their journey towards density and modernity, archaic parking restrictions have become a hindrance. In June 2019, Mississauga accepted a parking plan, taking a modern approach to vehicle planning and moving to reduce the city’s systematic support of the car. As it considers its 2040 Vision, Brampton wants to do the same.
After deferring the vote by a month, Mississauga City Council approved budgets for 2020, including a 4.52 percent hike in the city hall budget and a small increase to the stormwater collection fee. These increases were reluctantly agreed to by councillors, some of whom wanted to see lower cost increases for residents.
Premier Doug Ford was in Mississauga last week to announce $20.5 million for Peel police to prevent and battle violent crime.
Ford’s tough on crime rhetoric and the strong showing by Peel Regional Police was enough to suggest this was a significant moment, a time when Peel would finally turn the tide against violent crime that has been growing across the region for the last few years.
While nobody said it, the investment is the status quo and leaves Peel police still looking for further assistance to make up a budget shortfall.
The great promise of a new-look mayor and council after the 2018 municipal election was that they would remain steadfast in their support of the 2040 Vision document that was a by-product of thousands of hours of meetings and discussions with the Brampton public. Those tenets were embraced as more than a vision but a real game plan for future growth. A blueprint.
But recent signs are worrying. Embracing the 2040 Vision might only go so far. The latest planning decisions on the Queen Street East Corridor and the GTA West Corridor stand in sharp contrast and make the city look inconsistent in its long-term outlook.
Oxford Properties, the owner of Square One Mall, has announced a project that will alter downtown Mississauga forever. The ambitious development plans include 37 towers which will replace acres of parking with dense housing, office space and walkable streets. While this project is fueled, in part, by the upcoming taxpayer-funded Hurontario LRT, the developer isn’t planning to give back to the city by constructing affordable housing units.
Residents were invited to a special council meeting Wednesday to learn how the city will implement a shift away from bad urban planning towards a dynamic city of the future. It seems like an earlier initiative driven by input from more than 13,000 local residents might need some modifications.