Brampton pauses landlord licensing pilot only weeks after launch 

Brampton pauses landlord licensing pilot only weeks after launch 

The launch of Brampton’s new landlord licensing program has been paused a few weeks after its launch following complaints the scheme is unfair.

The program seeks to increase accountability of landlords and improve living standards for tenants. But it has already prompted calls for it to be scrapped entirely.



Expansion of Brampton’s courthouse finally complete after years of backlogs and tossed trials

Expansion of Brampton’s courthouse finally complete after years of backlogs and tossed trials

Attorney General Doug Downey was in Brampton recently to announce the completion of the Province’s $117 million expansion of its courthouse.

Years of backlogs at one of the busiest facilities in the province raised concerns over access to justice for residents across Peel. 



Niagara Falls Council ‘approves’ 2024 operating budget without proper public input

Niagara Falls Council ‘approves’ 2024 operating budget without proper public input

With the new strong mayor legislation, municipal councils only need to vote on possible amendments to a mayor’s proposed budget. The new powers are meant to expedite home construction, while ensuring taxpayers are still fully involved in decisions about how their money is spent. That didn’t stop Niagara Falls City Council from adopting the lion’s share of the 2024 budget with next to no public input. 



Council report reveals Mississauga voters could elect a new mayor as early as June 10

Council report reveals Mississauga voters could elect a new mayor as early as June 10

A report being presented to Mississauga councillors on Wednesday outlines a timeline for the by-election to select former mayor Bonnie Crombie’s replacement now that her seat has officially been declared vacant.

June 10 is the earliest possible voting day, which will be determined at a March 6 special council meeting. 



St. Catharines council rejects mayor’s attempt to remove forestry services

St. Catharines council rejects mayor’s attempt to remove forestry services

Mayor Mat Siscoe faced significant pushback from his council colleagues, following a public backlash over his proposal to use private contractors to take care of St. Catharines’ tree canopy, instead of the in-house forestry services department, which he wants to cut as part of the 2024 budget approval process.



Ontario heat pump rebate set to end; faster transition needed to curb greenhouse gas emissions

Ontario heat pump rebate set to end; faster transition needed to curb greenhouse gas emissions

While all levels of government grapple with increasing pressure to adopt low and zero emission technologies rapidly, more homeowners are choosing heat pumps for their home’s heating and cooling systems.

Provinces in the east have seen incredible success through a series of rebates and other commitments to energy efficiency. But Ontario, which currently has a low rate of heat pump take-up, is falling behind as the province’s own rebate program is set to expire in March.



Algoma University’s Brampton enrolment has skyrocketed 900% in three years thanks to international students from India who say exploitation has made them a ‘cash cow’ 

Algoma University’s Brampton enrolment has skyrocketed 900% in three years thanks to international students from India who say exploitation has made them a ‘cash cow’ 

A spotlight on Algoma University’s Brampton satellite campus, after student protests over marks, exposes the egregious strategy of admitting thousands of foreign applicants to turn around the school’s flagging finances. It is now flush with money, but the students from India who bailed out the school are now asking why they are not getting the education or resources expected for the exorbitant fees they are paying, at least three times more than what their Canadian and American counterparts at the university are charged. Algoma has no housing in Brampton and almost 5,400 students (there were 540 in 2021) are forced to share 38 classrooms. 



Regional breakup?: PCs move to transfer planning, waste collection, major roads & water utilities from Peel Region to Mississauga, Brampton & Caledon 

Regional breakup?: PCs move to transfer planning, waste collection, major roads & water utilities from Peel Region to Mississauga, Brampton & Caledon 

A recent letter from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is redirecting the provincially appointed Transition Board, previously meant to facilitate the dissolution of the Region of Peel, to conduct a review of major services currently handled by the Region, to hand them over to Peel’s lower-tier municipalities. Is this the beginning of the breakup Mississauga has been waiting for? Hundreds of staff could be impacted. 



Caledon residents and community working group at wits' end over process to control gravel industry

Caledon residents and community working group at wits' end over process to control gravel industry

Two members of Caledon's Aggregate Resources Community Working Group stood before the Town’s planning and development committee last week and demanded local officials reaffirm their commitment to strengthen weak policies for the aggregate industry. The plea came after work to create better accountability over gravel companies has faltered.



Police, student stories from altercation at Brampton high school don’t match; Catholic Board refuses to acknowledge allegations of anti-Black racism 

Police, student stories from altercation at Brampton high school don’t match; Catholic Board refuses to acknowledge allegations of anti-Black racism 

An altercation in November involving students at Cardinal Leger Secondary School in Brampton and a plain-clothed police officer has generated two different narratives about what happened that day. The incident has inflamed tensions between Peel’s Black communities and Peel Police while shining a light on the region’s Catholic school board which is now facing disturbing allegations of systemic anti-Black racism. 



New poll reveals veteran Mississauga politician Carolyn Parrish is the early front runner in mayoral race  

New poll reveals veteran Mississauga politician Carolyn Parrish is the early front runner in mayoral race  

With councillors announcing their bid to replace Bonnie Crombie, a recent poll from Liaison Strategies revealed well known Mississauga political leader Carolyn Parrish would win an election held now. It shows she has a double-digit lead over her nearest potential competitor. A by-election to replace Crombie will likely be held late spring or early summer.



Province allowing aggregate operators to run circles around it, failing to enforce legislation, Auditor General finds

Province allowing aggregate operators to run circles around it, failing to enforce legislation, Auditor General finds

A report from Ontario’s Acting Auditor General Nick Stavropoulos, published last month, picks apart the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry which has essentially handed the reins to the aggregate industry, failing to enforce regulations. Community advocates across Caledon have long fought the approval of new pits and quarries, with little oversight of these operations after they are allowed by the Province. 



Ontario switches gears, plans to increase renewable energy production by 2035; transition still too slow

Ontario switches gears, plans to increase renewable energy production by 2035; transition still too slow

After five years of stalling new renewable energy production, prioritizing natural gas instead, the Doug Ford government has announced the procurement of additional renewable energy that will nearly double capacity by 2035. But following the renewable energy pledge that came out of COP 28 in December, which Canada signed onto, Ontario is still out of step with the national and international policies the country is obligated to fulfill.



Budget drama deepens in St. Catharines

Budget drama deepens in St. Catharines

After Mayor Mat Siscoe brought forward his 2024 budget under new powers granted by the Province, which give him broad authority over the financial planning for the city, St. Catharines council reconvenes on Monday to consider proposed amendments to the blueprint put forward by the mayor. The proposed termination of in-house forestry services and a request to pass a budget with no tax increase, after last year’s controversial 10.5 percent hike, will be debated by council members and the public.



Province asks Metrolinx to restore Mississauga’s downtown LRT loop & extend system into Brampton’s city centre

Province asks Metrolinx to restore Mississauga’s downtown LRT loop & extend system into Brampton’s city centre

A recent letter from the Minister of Transportation has directed provincial transit agency Metrolinx to submit a business case for the restoration of the downtown LRT loop in Mississauga (which was removed from the project by the PCs) and extend the line into the heart of Brampton. But questions around how the move will impact the project’s construction timeline and what the costs of the extensions will be, remain unanswered. 



St. Catharines’ proposed budget changes include scrapping mayor’s move to axe forestry service & possible zero percent increase; Niagara Falls eyes 6.2% increase for 2024  

St. Catharines’ proposed budget changes include scrapping mayor’s move to axe forestry service & possible zero percent increase; Niagara Falls eyes 6.2% increase for 2024  

While St. Catharines and Niagara Falls are still in the midst of their 2024 budget deliberations, will Regional Council follow the lead of municipalities like Mississauga and Brampton by supporting a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.



Youth continue legal fight against PC government for failure to reduce carbon emissions & mitigate harm

Youth continue legal fight against PC government for failure to reduce carbon emissions & mitigate harm

Seven Ontario youth are refusing to back down in their fight against the Ontario government for its harmful policies which have increased emissions across the province. They were in court Monday before a panel of appeal judges who will decide whether the case can proceed after an earlier decision dismissed the youth’s claim that the PCs should be held legally responsible for harm they are causing by failing to act on climate change.  



Mississauga councillors not happy after provincial officials flub basic questions about 413 Highway, City says the money should go to transit

Mississauga councillors not happy after provincial officials flub basic questions about 413 Highway, City says the money should go to transit

A recent presentation from the Ministry of Transportation on Highway 413 — a highly criticized project that will cause significant environmental harm — was met with frustration by Mississauga councillors. Local officials requested details on the project timeline and costs, but their questions went unanswered after PC government representatives tried to trumpet the controversial transportation plan. 



St. Catharines Mayor Mat Siscoe accused of using ‘fantasy math’ to justify elimination of forestry services; councillor suggests move will be opposed

St. Catharines Mayor Mat Siscoe accused of using ‘fantasy math’ to justify elimination of forestry services; councillor suggests move will be opposed

After proposing to eliminate the city’s cherished forestry services department to cut costs as part of St. Catharines’ 2024 budget deliberations, Mayor Mat Siscoe was confronted by residents last week. He could not answer many of the questions they peppered him with, including how his financial assumptions about cost savings were calculated.



‘I was being me’: Mississauga waited a long time for a leader like Bonnie Crombie to push it away from its stifling past

‘I was being me’: Mississauga waited a long time for a leader like Bonnie Crombie to push it away from its stifling past

Bonnie Crombie has officially moved on after nearly a decade in the Mississauga mayor’s seat. The mark she left on her city serves as a template for how she might pull Ontario into the future, with a bold, fearless style of leadership unafraid of change. She ushered in an era of municipal politics that finally allowed Mississauga’s government to catch up to the cosmopolitan swagger that had replaced decades of sleepy, homogenous suburban life.  



Five years into carbon pricing, Canada’s emissions still rising; shaky policy needs firm commitment

Five years into carbon pricing, Canada’s emissions still rising; shaky policy needs firm commitment

Everyone seems to have an opinion on Canada’s carbon pricing scheme. When compared to nations like Sweden the Liberal government’s policy approach has failed to yield the same results. Trying to appease Canadians—and corporations—across the spectrum has limited the effectiveness of carbon pricing here. For the policy to succeed a line in the sand needs to be drawn, otherwise emissions will continue to rise in a country that has become a laughing stock for our woeful action on climate change.   



Bonnie Crombie—the ‘Queen of Green’—leaves big shoes to fill after transitioning Mississauga toward a sustainable future

Bonnie Crombie—the ‘Queen of Green’—leaves big shoes to fill after transitioning Mississauga toward a sustainable future

With the last day as Mississauga Mayor upon her, Bonnie Crombie reflects on her transformational leadership. She shifted Mississauga’s suburban mindset—a way of life increasingly out of step with modern city building—after decades of sprawling growth. She spoke with The Pointer about her municipal work on cleaner, greener growth ahead of her departure to helm the Ontario Liberal Party. 



Brampton launches landlord accountability program in select wards; tenants frustrated over exemption of corporate property owners 

Brampton launches landlord accountability program in select wards; tenants frustrated over exemption of corporate property owners 

Brampton’s Residential Rental Licensing Pilot Program has launched across half the city, requiring landlords with four or less units to obtain a licence and be subject to random inspections for compliance. The two-year pilot aims to protect tenants from abuse, but advocates including Peel ACORN are demanding that corporate landlords, currently excluded from the oversight measure, also be included, citing poor maintenance conditions and a lack of compliance with fire and building codes in their properties. 



Mississauga could see more than one by-election in 2024 as councillors vie for the mayor’s job 

Mississauga could see more than one by-election in 2024 as councillors vie for the mayor’s job 

As councillors line up to be Mississauga’s next mayor, residents could see more than one by-election in the year ahead depending on how the eleven remaining members decide to move forward. Councillor Carolyn Parrish has already confirmed her plan to resign from her Ward 5 seat as she contends for the mayor’s chair, and wants to only see one by-election, for the mayor's job and to replace any councillor who decides to run for it. But it remains unclear if other council members who plan to run will do the same, or if they will force a second by-election later in the year if a councillor has to be replaced.



Niagara’s regional government could see major impacts as Province reviews the system; slight reductions proposed for St. Catharines budget  

Niagara’s regional government could see major impacts as Province reviews the system; slight reductions proposed for St. Catharines budget  

On Wednesday, St. Catharines Mayor Mat Siscoe will present his budget, which does not differentiate much from the one presented by staff in November but does reduce the proposed operating increase to 1.49 percent. Provincial officials will also be in the city to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of Niagara’s two-tier system of municipal government. 



St. Catharines Mayor Mat Siscoe has released his budget and wants the City’s forestry department axed; private contractors could escalate costs

St. Catharines Mayor Mat Siscoe has released his budget and wants the City’s forestry department axed; private contractors could escalate costs

In a controversial move, to reduce the proposed budget increase for 2024, St. Catharines’ mayor is proposing to eliminate the department that provides services such as tree pruning, maintenance of plants and monitoring of the city’s flora. Private alternatives could see taxpayers on the hook for huge cost escalations, as was the case in the past when municipal services were offloaded.



Canada introduces cap on oil & gas emissions; loopholes could create another failed plan

Canada introduces cap on oil & gas emissions; loopholes could create another failed plan

During the recent COP28 conference in Dubai, the federal government presented a framework for a cap on emissions by the oil and gas industry, an announcement that has been long awaited by environmental groups across Canada. But the lack of urgency in implementing draft regulations as well as lackluster penalties for exceeding thresholds have organizations worried that government efforts to limit climate change will once again be unsuccessful.



January may look different but experts say Canada’s winter tourism industry & our identity tied to it are adaptable

January may look different but experts say Canada’s winter tourism industry & our identity tied to it are adaptable

As snowy, frigid winters of the past give way to rain and fluctuating temperatures, Canada’s winter tourism sector is balancing the challenges of adapting to a shorter, warmer season. Technology, according to tourism and sustainability expert Michelle Rutty, will help Canadians enjoy their beloved winter activities—we just have to learn to adapt. 



Metrolinx won’t confirm if Hurontario LRT will meet its 2024 completion date; Province mum on cancelled downtown loop

Metrolinx won’t confirm if Hurontario LRT will meet its 2024 completion date; Province mum on cancelled downtown loop

Standing in front of Mississauga councillors and City staff last April, Metrolinx assured officials the Hurontario LRT, one of the largest construction projects in the city’s history, was on track to meet its 2024 completion date, despite a series of pandemic-related delays that caused supply-chain issues. Now, as 2024 has arrived, the agency has not confirmed it will meet the latest completion date; the original timeline was to launch in 2022. The Province also remains silent on restoring funding for the downtown loop, which the City says is critical for future growth. 



MARC program not meeting the mark; Mississauga approves motion to increase accountability of landlords

MARC program not meeting the mark; Mississauga approves motion to increase accountability of landlords

Mississauga City Council recently approved a resolution to raise the standards of a five-year pilot program that holds the city’s landlords accountable, after a survey by a local tenant advocacy group revealed several landlords are failing to comply with basic maintenance standards. As a result of the findings, Peel ACORN members have made a series of demands to councillors to improve the program aimed at protecting renters against unethical property managers. 



Network of 100-plus social support agencies working to ensure Peel Region’s resurrection moves critical services beyond status quo

Network of 100-plus social support agencies working to ensure Peel Region’s resurrection moves critical services beyond status quo

The Metamorphosis Network is an umbrella group of Peel Region’s most vital social services organizations, brought together to safeguard critical work after the breakup of regional government. With the surprise reversal decision by the PC government to keep Peel’s government intact, the consortium wants to build upon its work, and use the lifeline extended to the Region as an opportunity to dramatically improve support for Peel’s most vulnerable residents. 



St. Catharines' final budget proposal to be released this week after zero-increase requested by some councillors 

St. Catharines' final budget proposal to be released this week after zero-increase requested by some councillors 

Council is expected to ratify the 2024 budget at a meeting next week, following amendments by members to the first financial blueprint presented by the mayor under new powers designated to the head of council. After 2023’s divisive process, which resulted in a mismanaged increase of 10.5 percent that was implemented long after the usual public approval procedure, this year’s budget decision could be just as controversial, with a proposal to freeze the 2024 budget with no increase.



Social Procurement is coming to Niagara

Social Procurement is coming to Niagara

A groundbreaking approach being adopted by municipalities across North America will be implemented in St. Catharines. “Social Procurement” is the use of public funds—tax dollars provided by the residents of an area—to procure products, services and human resources that directly create social and economic benefits for the community. 



Brampton’s Sheridan College & other stakeholders commit to better supports for international students—will action follow?

Brampton’s Sheridan College & other stakeholders commit to better supports for international students—will action follow?

The City of Brampton and Sheridan College, along with local social service groups, government bodies and other post-secondary institutions, signed the Guiding Principles of the Brampton Charter for Improving the International Student Experience on December 18. The City has failed to provide adequate affordable student housing for years, while colleges have targeted international students, who pay much higher fees, without creating a safe learning and living environment for them.



To achieve historic COP28 goals, nations must leave oil & gas behind, for good

To achieve historic COP28 goals, nations must leave oil & gas behind, for good

After almost three decades of climate negotiations, for the first time at COP28, nations agreed that fossil fuel production is limiting global ability to keep within temperature targets set in Paris in 2015. But once the initial joy over the novel agreement wore off, groups began to identify loopholes that would allow bad actors profiting from oil & gas to continue harming our planet. 



How many trees need to fall before they’re heard?

How many trees need to fall before they’re heard?

Repeated incidents of tree-cutting in the area of Martindale Pond, a crucial habitat for a number of endangered and other species at risk, and inconsistent enforcement to punish violations by homeowners raise questions about how serious St. Catharines is about protecting its limited remaining tree canopy. 



15 youth challenging federal government’s lack of climate action will get day in court, marking end of a historic year for climate litigation

15 youth challenging federal government’s lack of climate action will get day in court, marking end of a historic year for climate litigation

Fifteen young Canadians from across the country, brought together by their climate activism to safeguard a sustainable future, are tweaking their arguments after a recent decision by the federal court of appeal allowed the case against the Liberal government, alleging its failure to ensure their safety, to proceed to trial. The decision comes at the end of a year that saw major progress in climate litigation across North America. 



Ottawa: All new vehicles to be electric by 2035; but young buyers need lower EV costs & more chargers

Ottawa: All new vehicles to be electric by 2035; but young buyers need lower EV costs & more chargers

Canada has rolled out its standards for adoption of electric vehicles across the country.

While the policy provides ambitious targets for EV takeup, industry experts say costs need to come down, charging infrastructure has to be ramped up and the domestic supply chain won’t be able to compete with foreign players if the market grows too fast for our fledgling EV industry.  



Mississauga Fire gets critical investments to replace infrastructure neglected for decades

Mississauga Fire gets critical investments to replace infrastructure neglected for decades

After years of financial neglect by City staff and elected officials, Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services will see $29.8 million in capital spending as part of the City’s 2024 budget.

Fire union president Chris Varcoe says there is a sense of relief among staff who for decades have worked in stations that are in desperate need of upgrades. 



‘An enormous crisis that's getting worse’: Region asks federal and provincial governments to fix broken system for international students

‘An enormous crisis that's getting worse’: Region asks federal and provincial governments to fix broken system for international students

This article highlighting the ongoing struggles of international students was originally published in September: The Region of Peel had issued a letter to the federal and provincial government requesting stronger support systems for international students in Peel. Ongoing issues continue to put young people at risk with little action for more than a decade. A lack of housing, falling prey to sex traffickers and the absence of support from colleges and governments that gladly accept money from families, has created an ongoing crisis that often leads to tragic consequences. 



St. Catharines woman pays more in annual property taxes than she did for her house: fixed income earners struggling with skyrocketing municipal tax increases

St. Catharines woman pays more in annual property taxes than she did for her house: fixed income earners struggling with skyrocketing municipal tax increases

People like St. Catharines’ Gertrud Liho are not looking forward to opening their municipal tax bill in 2024. The City passed an alarming 10.5 percent property levy increase late this year, with hardly any consultation and long after the usual public approval process. In an economic climate that is putting pressure on residents from every direction, with costs rising well above salaries, those like Liho, who lives on a fixed income, want municipal leaders to be extra cautious when spending the taxpayers’ money.



Danielle Dowdy and the costs of working for the greater good

Danielle Dowdy and the costs of working for the greater good

Black leaders have for generations warned others about the often crippling price they continue to pay just to protect their communities from harm. Former Brampton Citizen of the Year Danielle Dowdy has worked tirelessly for years and says focussing on her well-being will allow her to rejuvinate, with so much work still to be done.



St. Catharines grapples with its lack of diverse local political representation 

St. Catharines grapples with its lack of diverse local political representation 

With a recent history of having to fill vacancies, St. Catharines City Council contemplates a revised policy considered un-democratic by some, while others see it as an opportunity to improve equity and diversity in municipal representation.



Spend and suffer; or save and suffer: Mississauga approves 2.3% tax increase for 2024, homeowners will pay an extra 6.8% including regional share

Spend and suffer; or save and suffer: Mississauga approves 2.3% tax increase for 2024, homeowners will pay an extra 6.8% including regional share

With a perfect storm of fiscal pressures challenging municipal finances, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, through the use of her strong mayor powers, approved the 2024 budget on Tuesday including a 2.3 percent tax increase on the local share for residential property owners. Combined with the Region of Peel’s tax and utility increase, Mississauga homeowners will pay an additional $473, on average, next year.   



Ottawa announces $112.9M to spur housing in Mississauga; Ford continues to sit on the sidelines

Ottawa announces $112.9M to spur housing in Mississauga; Ford continues to sit on the sidelines

The federal government announced on Monday the City of Mississauga will receive $112.9 million through its Housing Accelerator Fund—an incentive that aims to help deliver more homes and improve affordability. The funding deal comes less than two weeks after council approved Mayor Bonnie Crombie’s Mayoral Directive, through her strong mayor powers granted by the province, to permit four-plexes “as of right” city-wide to increase Mississauga’s dense housing supply. 



Peel’s 11K-acre boundary expansion pushed by developers & the PCs, has not been reversed 

Peel’s 11K-acre boundary expansion pushed by developers & the PCs, has not been reversed 

After damning internal probes forced the PCs to walk back much of the destructive land use policy the Doug Ford government rammed through, Housing Minister Paul Calandra announced Peel could reverse its heavily influenced, controversial decision to open up 11,000 acres for future development.

But the Council-approved plan, passed under fear the PCs could make things even worse, has yet to be revisited. 



Citizen fight to save the St. Catharines YMCA called ‘hopeless’

Citizen fight to save the St. Catharines YMCA called ‘hopeless’

Despite the best efforts of local members, St. Catharines’ beloved Walker Family YMCA has been closed, and years of community advocacy is being abandoned. Local residents feel betrayed, after their donations were used to open the facility decades ago. The YMCA board chose to sell the building to a developer, and despite paying some of the highest property taxes in Ontario, the City’s Mayor, Mat Siscoe, says a partnership with the municipality would be too costly. Residents warn it will be far more expensive to open a brand new City recreation centre, when the perfect space already exists. 



Why is the PC government blocking a critical plan to improve the lives of disabled Ontarians?

Why is the PC government blocking a critical plan to improve the lives of disabled Ontarians?

Premier Doug Ford is refusing to release a review of provincial work on implementation of Ontario’s landmark accessibility legislation, despite a legal obligation to do so.

Previous investigations have detailed widespread failures by successive governments to improve accessibility across Ontario, leaving nearly 3 million residents living with disabilities to navigate “soul-crushing barriers” on a daily basis. 



PCs reverse Peel dissolution, no evidence provided for sudden policy shift

PCs reverse Peel dissolution, no evidence provided for sudden policy shift

In a press conference where he provided no evidence to support the government’s decision, and made false or misleading claims, Housing Minister Paul Calandra announced Wednesday the dissolution of the Region of Peel will no longer move forward as mandated under legislation.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie took an optimistic tone, viewing the work already done as the first phase toward Peel’s break up and Mississauga’s disentanglement from ongoing financial mismanagement in Brampton. 



Patrick Brown’s proposed 2024 budget neglects what Brampton needs most

Patrick Brown’s proposed 2024 budget neglects what Brampton needs most

Projects promised by Patrick Brown are nowhere to be found in his proposed 2024 Brampton budget, with funding for an LRT, downtown redevelopment, university, the Riverwalk and cricket stadium among the plans that lack required investment to make them happen. 

Cuts to capital spending ignore aging infrastructure assets that will need repair or replacement within the next 20 years.