Provincial short-changing leaves Peel youth waiting 737 days for mental health supports, waitlist ballooned 133% in 4 years

Provincial short-changing leaves Peel youth waiting 737 days for mental health supports, waitlist ballooned 133% in 4 years

The amount of mental health services for young people in Peel continues to lag far behind what is available in other jurisdictions. This is despite a startling revelation exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic that youth were waiting years for help.

Almost four years later, very little has changed. 



800-acre blasting quarry could hurt local Caledon businesses and tourism industry

800-acre blasting quarry could hurt local Caledon businesses and tourism industry

As the controversy over a proposed 800-acre blasting quarry in northwest Caledon unfolds, local business owners speak out about how the aggregate operation could impact the growing local tourism industry and other commercial interests in the area. 



Brampton gets closer to first permanent youth shelter as economy poses unique challenges 

Brampton gets closer to first permanent youth shelter as economy poses unique challenges 

Progress continues on Brampton’s first permanent youth shelter, after council members approved a motion in January, despite opposition from some local residents. Access to affordable housing is one of many obstacles for young people dealing with various challenges unique to their generation.



Peel municipalities reaffirm commitment to protecting air quality while climate action continues to fall short

Peel municipalities reaffirm commitment to protecting air quality while climate action continues to fall short

Cities across southern Ontario are increasingly implementing policies to target the climate crisis and signing declarations affirming their strong commitments to climate action.

But an analysis of the actual achievements municipalities have made, and the latest carbon inventory report show emissions across the GTHA are increasing at an alarming rate, suggesting a lot of the actions taken by municipalities may be simply performative.



PCs continue destructive sprawl agenda with ‘Get it Done’ Act

PCs continue destructive sprawl agenda with ‘Get it Done’ Act

On Tuesday the PC government and Premier Doug Ford unveiled the Get it Done Act, an omnibus piece of legislation that Ford billed as a path to getting critical infrastructure built to support housing while keeping “costs down” for people and businesses.

This legislation furthers the environmentally destructive agenda the PCs have been advancing since 2018 by stripping down the environmental assessment process for major infrastructure projects like Highway 413 while doing little to promote the types of housing development Ontario desperately needs. 



Blasting quarry would expose Cataract residents to unhealthy levels of air pollution, new analysis suggests

Blasting quarry would expose Cataract residents to unhealthy levels of air pollution, new analysis suggests

A new analysis undertaken by an independent air quality engineer working alongside the Forks of the Credit Preservation Group concluded northwest Caledon could quite easily experience harmful levels of particulate matter, above Ministry standards, during the operations of a blasting quarry currently under consideration.

The study is ringing alarm bells about the health of residents in the nearby community and the natural environment. 



It’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day, so let’s talk about it  

It’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day, so let’s talk about it  

Studies show Canadians know human sex trafficking is a problem in this country, but many wouldn’t know the warning signs if they encountered them and have no idea how to talk about it with their loved ones. 

This lack of knowledge and education has allowed this crime to flourish in recent years. 

The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking is releasing a new tool to try and get people talking. 



Trucking and logistics operators flouting Brampton bylaws; complaints mount as City uncovers environmental degradation 

Trucking and logistics operators flouting Brampton bylaws; complaints mount as City uncovers environmental degradation 

The City of Brampton’s efforts to stop trucking businesses from breaking the law are falling short.

More and more Bramptonians are seeing large logistics operations taking over land not zoned for such heavy use. A recent staff report exposes concerning and costly environmental degradation and recommends council approve a task force to try and come up with new solutions for holding businesses accountable. 



Removal of motion calling for ceasefire in Gaza continues to raise questions about Niagara Region’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts 

Removal of motion calling for ceasefire in Gaza continues to raise questions about Niagara Region’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts 

The decision by councillors to block a motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza continues to create ripple effects in the community.

The Pointer speaks with Chair of the Region’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, Councillor Laura Ip, who has been called to resign as committee chair following council’s decision.



13 men arrested as part of human trafficking sting in Niagara Falls

13 men arrested as part of human trafficking sting in Niagara Falls

A proactive investigation carried out by the Niagara Regional Police into individuals looking to purchase underage sex over the internet has led to the arrest of 13 men over the course of 4 days.

The results highlight the ongoing demand for illicit sex in Niagara’s busy tourist destinations. 



PDSB seeking help to fix disciplinary systems that continue to disproportionately harm Black and Indigenous students

PDSB seeking help to fix disciplinary systems that continue to disproportionately harm Black and Indigenous students

A recent progress report on efforts to fix its disciplinary systems revealed the Peel District School Board continues to hand out suspensions and expulsions to Black and Indigenous students at twice the rate compared to other students.

The board is forming a new committee and looking for Black and Indigenous community members to inform the necessary changes. 



New trial dates set in case against former Peel CAS employee charged with defrauding the organization of more than $250K

New trial dates set in case against former Peel CAS employee charged with defrauding the organization of more than $250K

The case against Marino Cader, the former director of finance for the Peel Children’s Aid Society charged with defrauding the organization of more than $250,000, will finally be moving ahead following a series of delays. A new trial date is set for April 15.

The charges against Andre Paul, the co-accused in the case, were withdrawn in December after the Crown determined the “scope of [Paul’s] involvement… was significantly less.”



‘A constant upward battle’; Food Banks Mississauga CEO calls on government to undertake critical reform as demand surges

‘A constant upward battle’; Food Banks Mississauga CEO calls on government to undertake critical reform as demand surges

Food Banks Mississauga CEO projects food bank usage will reach an alarming eight percent of the city’s population by May.

While the organization exceeded its fundraising goal in its latest food drive by 21 percent, it is approaching a tipping point where it may soon need to start turning clients away, or providing less food. 

Similar situations across Ontario are leading to calls for upper levels of government to reform critical social assistance programs that are currently legislating people to live in poverty. 



Virtual governance undermines democracy and weakens public accountability

Virtual governance undermines democracy and weakens public accountability

Community activist and longtime Caledon resident Joe Grogan has, since his retirement from the academic world two decades ago, involved himself in numerous local issues that directly impact the lives of residents. He fears virtual government, a hangover from the pandemic, is eroding public accountability at the municipal level. He writes that our democracy is weakened when voters can’t square off face to face with the elected officials who are supposed to protect them.



On Brampton’s clogged suburban streets bike lanes are commonly used to park cars

On Brampton’s clogged suburban streets bike lanes are commonly used to park cars

The City of Brampton is increasing fines for drivers illegally parking in bike lanes from $35 to $150 as complaints mount. The ongoing conflict between cyclists and drivers highlights a challenge in Brampton where a push for active transportation infrastructure, necessary for achieving critical emission reduction targets, clashes with the city’s historic car-centric design.



After years of community opposition will Caledon be the next municipality to formally oppose 413 Highway?

After years of community opposition will Caledon be the next municipality to formally oppose 413 Highway?

While the PC government continues to push a new 400-series corridor across the southern edge of the Greenbelt, Highway 413 has faced widespread community opposition for years. One Caledon councillor might follow the lead of local elected officials across the GTA whose motions cemented formal opposition to the controversial project.



Auto thefts connected to organized crime becoming increasingly violent

Auto thefts connected to organized crime becoming increasingly violent

Stealing cars has been happening since they were invented, but the recent increase in violent auto thefts across Peel and beyond has drawn the attention of the federal government. In an effort to tackle the growing trend, Ottawa recently announced two funding envelopes — $121 million for Ontario and another $28 million for the Canada Border Services Agency. As these organized crimes become increasingly violent, local officials are calling for tougher penalties and stricter sentencing, which is nothing new.



Report shows province not on track to meet target of 1.5 million new homes by 2031

Report shows province not on track to meet target of 1.5 million new homes by 2031

As the PC government pressures some of Ontario’s largest municipalities to get housing built, a recent policy report from the Ontario Real Estate Association reveals housing starts were down in 2023. Based on data from the report, the annual pace of construction would need to nearly double to 150,000 new units by 2025 to have any hope of achieving the PCs’ ambitious goal. 

Municipalities want the PCs to adjust the criteria for provincial funding incentives, using units approved, rather than housing starts, which cities often can not control. 



She escaped from war-torn Gaza, but at what cost?

She escaped from war-torn Gaza, but at what cost?

Mervat Ghaboun recently fled Gaza amid the ongoing bombardment by the Israeli army. She has landed in St. Catharines with relatives, but her siblings are still stuck in the middle of a war.

She is working to bring them to Canada—with every step another roadblock sets her back. She is desperately trying to rescue them from the same fate that took the life of her youngest brother two weeks ago. 



After ignoring Brampton’s most critical needs Patrick Brown asks federal government for help

After ignoring Brampton’s most critical needs Patrick Brown asks federal government for help

In a submission to the federal government ahead of the 2024 budget process, Brampton Council has identified housing, transit and climate change among a number of key issues it would like Ottawa to support.

Patrick Brown, who has demanded a high-price tunnel option for the proposed LRT into downtown, instead of a normal surface route, wants $1.4 billion from the federal government. After years of cuts and cancellations inside City Hall, so Brown can build a political brand as a fiscal conservative, his moves have crippled Brampton’s own finances.



Auditor called to investigate systemic failures amid disturbing allegations of abuse within Ontario schools for the deaf and blind

Auditor called to investigate systemic failures amid disturbing allegations of abuse within Ontario schools for the deaf and blind

Ontario NDP Education Critic Chandra Pasma is calling on the provincial auditor general to investigate the systemic issues plaguing Ontario’s provincial schools for the deaf and blind.

The request follows years of sustained advocacy from parents, teachers and union officials who have sounded the alarm about underfunding, understaffing, abuse and neglect within the board which has led to two class action lawsuits settled by the Ontario government at a cost of over $20 million. 



Mississauga demands PCs address ‘undue strain’ on City Hall caused by reckless housing legislation

Mississauga demands PCs address ‘undue strain’ on City Hall caused by reckless housing legislation

The City of Mississauga wants the PC government to help pay for the exorbitant costs of its irresponsible housing plan. 

The demand is part of a submission ahead of the 2024 provincial and federal budgets and calls on Premier Doug Ford to answer questions about billions of dollars for municipal infrastructure needed to support his ill advised housing legislation.



Ottawa won’t designate funding amount for Peel to support overwhelmed emergency shelters, frustrating councillors

Ottawa won’t designate funding amount for Peel to support overwhelmed emergency shelters, frustrating councillors

Over a week since the federal government announced $362.4 million in funding for provinces and municipalities struggling to meet the demand created by the surge of asylum seekers, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada remains reluctant to provide Peel Region with details of immediate funding support. 

Frustrated by the lack of urgency, Peel’s councillors are calling on Ottawa to designate tax dollars, as staff report the rapidly rising cost to deal with the humanitarian crisis—$68 million is needed in 2024 to support those in desperate need of emergency shelter.



More negative impacts of Patrick Brown’s budget cuts—Brampton neglecting proper funding for critical services

More negative impacts of Patrick Brown’s budget cuts—Brampton neglecting proper funding for critical services

Brampton’s Internal Audit has revealed that under Mayor Patrick Brown the City is not properly maintaining its fleet of vehicles including those that perform critical duties to keep residents safe. 

Gaps in procurement processes related to fleet management, overcharges on services that have to be performed outside City-owned maintenance garages which are over capacity and a lack of oversight on vendor spending are among the issues auditors have red flagged. 



With $27.5M from Ottawa, St. Catharines looks to fund housing initiatives & form a Municipal Development Corporation that polarized council

With $27.5M from Ottawa, St. Catharines looks to fund housing initiatives & form a Municipal Development Corporation that polarized council

In Fort Erie, Council will consider a new “private” tree by-law that will prevent egregious clear cutting and deal with the possible protection of individual trees within the urban boundary. 



Under Patrick Brown another badly needed piece of Brampton Transit infrastructure remains underfunded

Under Patrick Brown another badly needed piece of Brampton Transit infrastructure remains underfunded

A new Brampton Transit Maintenance Facility, required before electric buses can be accommodated, does not have enough funding for construction. A troubling staff report shows there is a budget “shortfall”.

This third transit facility has been delayed for years due to financial mismanagement under Patrick Brown. His unsustainable budget cuts have bottlenecked the city’s transit system which is facing unprecedented demands from a rapidly growing population. 



Audit exposes serious flaws in Brampton’s already questionable use of taxpayer dollars when handing out contracts

Audit exposes serious flaws in Brampton’s already questionable use of taxpayer dollars when handing out contracts

From the controversial City Hall expansion that resulted in a $28-million lawsuit, to the Brampton University scandal that saw City contracts and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars handed to friends of Mayor Patrick Brown and Councillor Rowena Santos, the City of Brampton has a purchasing history riddled with questionable decision-making that has repeatedly drawn the attention of the Ontario Ombudsman. A new audit has exposed another serious flaw in the way City Hall hands out the public’s money. 



With 175-acre gravel pit pending, Niagara Falls council passes up enhanced oversight of aggregate industry

With 175-acre gravel pit pending, Niagara Falls council passes up enhanced oversight of aggregate industry

Residents of Niagara Falls are disappointed after elected officials passed off the chance to join 20 other municipalities and 41 community organizations in calling on the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to implement a moratorium on new pits and quarries in light of the findings of a scathing Auditor General's report in December.

That report found aggregate operators have very little oversight and are seldom held to account for breaking the law. Council was reluctant to accommodate the request after the City’s CAO warned that making a political decision when staff have a pit application in front of them could trigger an appeal. 



Could municipalities be the key to curtailing plastics?: Brampton considers single-use ban as Ottawa fights to keep its in place

Could municipalities be the key to curtailing plastics?: Brampton considers single-use ban as Ottawa fights to keep its in place

As oil companies and plastic producers stand strong on their challenge of the federal government’s listing of plastic as a toxic substance — the basis for the single-use plastic ban that began to unroll in 2022, individual municipalities are considering their own single-use-plastic bylaws within their own borders that support the federal bans.



Brampton bolsters transit use, expands youth program offering free trips in the summer

Brampton bolsters transit use, expands youth program offering free trips in the summer

With inflation hammering more and more families, and to build ridership growth, Brampton will expand its pilot program, which now becomes permanent, offering youth free access to the city’s transit system in the summer. They will also be able to participate in some recreational activities for no cost.



Four years after apologizing for systemic discrimination, PDSB still suspending & expelling Black & Indigenous students at disturbing rates 

Four years after apologizing for systemic discrimination, PDSB still suspending & expelling Black & Indigenous students at disturbing rates 

After the Education Ministry took over governance of the PDSB, following a review that found widespread evidence of discrimination throughout the board, a second progress report on one of the Province’s directives—Eliminating Racial Disparities in Suspensions and Expulsions—revealed little has changed. 

Black and Indigenous students still face a stark difference in their treatment and experience inside PDSB schools. 



Pelham considers ward boundary shift; timeline set to resolve long-standing cannabis odour issues; Niagara to host public meeting on quarry expansion 

Pelham considers ward boundary shift; timeline set to resolve long-standing cannabis odour issues; Niagara to host public meeting on quarry expansion 

The electoral landscape in Pelham could shift ahead of the next municipal election as councillors consider ward boundary and composition changes. Pelham residents will finally get a schedule for resolving long-standing odour issues from local cannabis operations.

A contentious quarry expansion in Wainfleet will be under the microscope at a public meeting hosted by Niagara Region. 



Construction at Mississauga’s lakefront wastewater plant hopes to mitigate odour ahead of massive development

Construction at Mississauga’s lakefront wastewater plant hopes to mitigate odour ahead of massive development

When planning for luxury lakeside condos, a giant wastewater plant next door, radiating putrid smells across the area, is not an ideal scenario for future residents. The Region of Peel, City of Mississauga and development consortium Lakeview Community Partners are working together to upgrade the G.E. Booth wastewater treatment facility, to make it more sustainable and far less stinky.



As Ottawa scrambles to support municipalities helping asylum seekers dollar amount for Peel still uncertain

As Ottawa scrambles to support municipalities helping asylum seekers dollar amount for Peel still uncertain

Last week, the federal government announced $362.4 million in funding for provinces and municipalities struggling to meet demand as asylum seekers rely on overburdened shelter systems across the country. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marc Miller told reporters more details on the funding will be released in the coming days, but it remains unclear how much Peel’s overcrowded shelters will get.



Calls of ‘racism’, ‘shame’ and ‘disgust’ directed at Niagara councillors over Gaza motion—immediate action needed to salvage trust

Calls of ‘racism’, ‘shame’ and ‘disgust’ directed at Niagara councillors over Gaza motion—immediate action needed to salvage trust

In a recent 26-2 vote, Niagara Regional councillors prevented any debate on a proposed motion—which never got to the floor—calling to support a ceasefire in Gaza. Local elected officials blatantly contradicted themselves, claiming regional government is not the place to deal with geopolitical issues, after doing exactly that when they previously passed a resolution in support of Ukraine. How will they overcome charges of discrimination and rebuild broken relationships in their communities?  



PCs to extend life of Pickering nuclear plant; still heavily tied to natural gas

PCs to extend life of Pickering nuclear plant; still heavily tied to natural gas

A month after announcing the procurement of new renewable energy contracts, the PC government announced it would be financing the refurbishment of the Pickering nuclear facility in its efforts to ensure Ontario’s energy grid can keep up with future demand.

Nuclear currently provides about 60 percent of the province’s energy supply, as experts encourage the transition to alternative sources such as wind and solar, while warning that the PC government’s investments in natural gas are moving us in the wrong direction. 



A motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was struck down, unlike a similar decision in support of Ukraine—a night at Niagara Regional Council

A motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was struck down, unlike a similar decision in support of Ukraine—a night at Niagara Regional Council

At its most recent meeting, the overwhelming majority of Regional Council members refused to consider a motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. 

While the subject was clearly outside the Region’s jurisdiction, that hasn’t stopped councillors from wading into geopolitical issues before. A previous show of support for Ukraine was not met with the same response. Frustrated community members are now demanding answers from their local elected officials.

 



Brampton’s botched landlord licensing program exposes troubling lack of leadership from council

Brampton’s botched landlord licensing program exposes troubling lack of leadership from council

Angry landlords and residents filled council chambers Wednesday to express disdain over a new licensing regime they say was implemented with next to no consultation involving those who would be impacted.

The program, currently on hold just a month after it was launched, exposes a significant lack of foresight and leadership from members of council. 



Alvin Tedjo is fourth Mississauga councillor to join mayor’s race but City hasn’t decided how to hold multiple elections

Alvin Tedjo is fourth Mississauga councillor to join mayor’s race but City hasn’t decided how to hold multiple elections

A report to City Council Wednesday recommends a June 10 election to replace former mayor Bonnie Crombie. But the City has not confirmed a timeline for a by-election to replace Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish, who will resign her seat upon registering for the mayoral race. With rookie Councillor Alvin Tedjo also announcing his plan to run in the upcoming by-election, and two other councillors already committed, decisions will have to be made about how to fill at least two vacated seats, and possibly more. 



Appointment of new Niagara Police Chief Bill Fordy draws support and some criticism  

Appointment of new Niagara Police Chief Bill Fordy draws support and some criticism  

As the region, like much of the country, continues to see demographic shifts, the new chief’s past comments on police culture raised concerns.

Chief Fordy, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, who worked with the RCMP in B.C., in charge of one of Canada’s most diverse areas, has recognized the need to root out discrimination in policing.  



Greenbelt scandal far from over; RCMP investigation continues, Integrity Commissioner review underway as community opposition grows

Greenbelt scandal far from over; RCMP investigation continues, Integrity Commissioner review underway as community opposition grows

Amid more resignations and newly surfaced emails, Premier Doug Ford is still struggling to regain support from much of his political base, after his PCs schemed to remove 7,400 acres from the protected Greenbelt. While the land has since been returned to its previous status, new information continues to emerge about the backroom deals and unethical process that caused the scandal. 



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.