Between the beginning of May and the end of September, the City of Mississauga will introduce harsh fines for those caught parking illegally near the lakeshore. The move addresses concerns of Ward 1 and 2 residents, but raises broader issues around accessibility for those not fortunate enough to live beside the Great Lake.
With COVID numbers across the province putting severe pressure on the healthcare system, Peel's situation grows increasingly dire. Mississauga councillors are worried their neighbour's particularly bleak picture might cause unfair damage to local businesses, while a group of Brampton professionals is confronting stigmas being spread about their city's largely visible minority population, many of whom do the essential work needed to keep society running.
While many can’t relate, the COVID-19 pandemic has stripped families of their income and forced residents in Mississauga and Brampton to the very edge.
A new report released by Feed Ontario shows the scale of this devastation and predicts food insecurity will get much worse for families across the GTA.
Under the guise of COVID-19 recovery, Premier Doug Ford and the PC government are making moves to strip power away from conservation authorities and make it easy for developers to build in some of Ontario’s protected and most environmentally vulnerable places.
Many have moved away from watching daily infection counts. It’s the patterns we’re now looking at. When will they provide a clear signal that the worst is behind us? Data over the last week show numbers, while not trending upward, remain extremely high, as infection spread continues to make Peel one of the worst hit areas in all of Canada.
A new concept of media has been shaped over the past decade. Social publishing platforms unrestrained by libel laws or any rules of responsible journalism have elevated serial liars and fabulists. The outgoing president of the United States, devoid of policies and even a passing familiarity with the ways of effective leaders, has gamed these networks. His remarkable success, just like the rise of other dictators and thugs whose singular focus is their grip on power, coincided with the failures of democratizing conventions. Journalism is a guilty party and Barack Obama has put the institution on notice. If citizens are not understood and empowered so they can mount their own defence, democracy will continue to crumble.
In the face of COVID-19, staff at the City of Mississauga have tried to design a budget with a relatively low tax impact.
But, where transit hours and new hires can be delayed, a desperate infrastructure situation means some increases are key. Even with new 2021 dollars set aside for roads, bridges and buildings, the City faces an impossible task over the next decade.
Councillors say the freeze is needed to help families struggling during the ongoing pandemic.
The move raises questions about how the City will pay for a growing list of unfunded projects that are needed to move Brampton forward, while the infrastructure deficit will add to hefty future tax increases needed to cover the costs of a hyper-growth municipality.
Faced with woeful response times and an eye watering repair bill, Mississauga’s fire service is taking stock.
Practicalities stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic mean plans to roll out public education are on hold, while desperately needed repairs won’t be presented to councillors until next year.
The need for better frontline care has been an unfortunate feature of Brampton for decades.
The City has called on the Province to fix the glaring funding disparities, and promised residents improvements will come. But some are questioning if it’s all talk and no action.
The City has promised downtown business owners that the withering area is a priority. After decades of neglect, change will come soon, they have been told.
But there’s little mention of plans for the city centre in the 2021 budget proposal, leaving businesses with more questions than answers.
Staff are recommending another full-time position dedicated to the City’s Climate Change Action Plan – a climate change specialist with a $92,000 salary – in next year’s operating budget.
Many capital projects related to climate change have been deferred, but the transit budget holds the promise of converting 40 percent of Miway’s fleet to hybrid vehicles in the next four years.
Those with loved ones suffering serious maladies who receive constant care in the program were given just over two months to find an alternative. With the deadline around the corner families are racing to find help during the middle of a pandemic. It’s the latest bleak illustration of a city whose healthcare is utterly failing its residents.
At Mississauga’s two hospitals, ambulances have been unloading curbside since the spring to make space for extra beds inside. Now, as frigid temperatures and the first snow storms of the season threaten, paramedics are concerned about patient safety and their own well being, battling the elements in emergency situations.
Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has been the subject of review, analysis and reform since its inception in 1990. Many recommendations, particularly from Coroner’s Inquests after a police-involved death, have called for improving police training to deal with those in mental health crisis.
Despite these recommendations, and decades of review, police are ill-equipped to deal with many in crisis, leaving devastated families to pick up the pieces.
Ensuring Peel Regional Police can deal with the increasing complexity of modern crime and meeting demands to rethink how police are funded is the delicate balancing act that begins today as the Peel Police Services Board starts discussions on the 2021 budget.
A lack of demand and dollars means MiWay is pausing and slightly reversing its growth for 2021 and 2022.
Reduced service is delivering welcome savings at City Hall, but countless unknowns remain about how the City’s transit bosses will resume their ambitious plans in the years to come.
As the city met for its first discussion of the 2021 budget, there was a notable concern among councillors about the possibility of taxes not being raised once again.
While the opposition to another tax freeze was strong, others questioned if an increase during the pandemic would be appropriate.
In some Brampton and Mississauga neighbourhoods, the positivity indicator that shows the percentage of tested residents infected with the novel coronavirus is even higher than the rate across each city.
Many Peel neighbourhoods have among the highest rates of infection in the province.
A report by the Province’s Auditor General has raised concern over the role medical experts are playing in Ontario’s pandemic management.
In Peel, the report’s criticism of testing and contact management may be familiar, while emboldened councillors preoccupied with economic impacts grow more vocal in their attempts to influence Dr. Lawrence Loh as infection rates in the region appear to be out of control.
An internal audit by The City of Brampton raises concerns about how transit is being managed at a time when the system is under unprecedented pressure.
Ridership over recent years has increased rapidly in tandem with the city’s population, but the review of operations raises red flags about how transit is being run.
The document outlines the City’s financial priorities for the next year and includes numerous funding goals for consideration.
Emphasis is on finally creating a formidable Innovation District in the downtown, while desperately needed work to support the success of such an investment in the city centre has been given little attention.
In Ontario’s COVID-19 hotspot, Peel’s two large school boards are in an increasingly precarious situation.
Staff are juggling in-class and online students simultaneously, while those teaching exclusively online at the Catholic board are being told they have to remain inside the classroom.
Staff are proposing a one percent increase in the City’s share of the 2021 property tax bill.
The recommendation, well below Ontario’s current rate of inflation, is a tradeoff: short-term, cost-saving measures will help property owners and shore up City coffers to weather the remainder of the pandemic; but ambitious projects in the booming municipality could be kept frozen in planning documents that much longer.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Peel has been skipped over by Queen’s Park.
Now, newly released testing data show a rigid approach to screening by the Province and woefully low testing levels in Peel, which are probably largely to blame for Brampton and Mississauga’s unwinnable positions.
For years, the city’s residents have been denied adequate care. In a place whose population is dominated by visible minorities, the attitudes of the man intertwined with Brampton’s healthcare legacy are being either coincidentally or purposely carried forward.
In 2019, Queen’s Park all but declared war on municipalities, pushing through a slew of changes that benefitted big developers and hurt cities. In the year that followed, Premier Doug Ford has continued with many of his controversial changes, but there is one area where the Province appears to be relenting and listening to its municipal partners.
An announcement from the federal government allocating funds for the project was heralded by city leaders, but it’s only a fraction of what’s needed to finance the ambitious Riverwalk project to reshape a withering downtown.
A year after public backlash saved Mississauga’s historic Credit River bridge from demolition, changes to the Environmental Assessment process threaten future input from residents as the PC government floats regulations aimed at removing the involvement of local residents when projects are determined.
After years of research and calls for reform from some trustees, community advocates and students impacted by the program, Peel Regional Police has quashed its School Resource Officer (SRO) initiative.
It’s another indication that Chief Nishan Duraiappah’s mantra of change for Peel Police has started to take root.
Anyone searching for signs of change at the Peel District School Board — or examples of how difficult it is to implement — need look no further than its Regional Learning Choices Programs.
After years of seriously underrepresenting Black and Indigenous students in these high-achieving classes, the board has changed its policy to increase their representation, but there are fears too few parents and families know about the initiative.
Ontario’s 2020 budget focuses on slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus but there is less attention on what this means for businesses directly impacted by measures to control COVID-19.
Many entrepreneurs are left to innovate on their own in order to stay afloat.
After months of obstacles, three racialized members have been appointed to a previously all white Peel teachers’ union executive to combat racism and discrimination.
Despite not officially starting until Wednesday, they have already forced the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) to rethink a poorly handled membership survey soliciting opinions on racism from a predominantly white base.
Adrian Woolley, the president of the Peel Regional Police Association, has criticized his force’s recent efforts to tackle internal issues around racism and discrimination.
In a newsletter to members, he said Chief Nishan Duraiappah’s handling of an agreement with the Ontario Human Rights Commission had been “almost entirely negative” and lamented progressive attempts to reform policing.
Peel also recorded the highest case count of all municipalities Saturday.
The number of patients with COVID-19 in intensive care climbs to 20 between the Trillium and Osler health systems.
Paramedics across Ontario are subjected to widespread abuse when assisting patients in a range of traumatic circumstances. The crises people in need of help go through too often result in the lashing out against women and men trying to assist them.
A new reporting tool developed by Peel’s External Violence Against Paramedics Working Group is one of several initiatives to help mitigate abuse against first responders, which has become all too common in Canada.
The federal government recently announced that in order to make up for a shortfall in immigration applications processed this year as a result of COVID-19, it will be increasing its already ambitious targets for newcomers over the next three years.
History, and recent studies, have shown the majority of these new arrivals will settle in cities outside of major centres like Toronto and Vancouver.
The new measures come as Peel’s cumulative COVID-19 case count races closer to 20,000.
With its daily infection rate in the region, easily the highest per capita level in the province, contact tracers trying to contain the viral spread are being stretched beyond capacity, forcing the public to step in.
The PC government was elected with the promise to fix Brampton’s hallway healthcare problem. But since coming into office, little has been done to address a life or death situation.
With Premier Doug Ford’s term half complete, and no money in the 2020 budget to address the problem, it’s unclear if his campaign pledge will ever be fulfilled.
Peel Region’s medical officer of health, Doctor Lawrence Loh, had stark warnings for councillors on Thursday as he surveyed Peel’s terrible COVID-19 picture.
Despite the gravity of his tone, councillors tailored many of their questions around the economic impact of measures designed to stop the virus from spreading further, instead of the need to protect public health.
Even a small influx of COVID-19 patients can tip hospitals – which routinely run near capacity in the fall and winter months – into ‘code gridlock’.
In Mississauga, Trillium Health System hospitals are operating at more than full capacity. Patients are also being transferred out of William Osler Health System hospitals to accommodate those requiring treatment for COVID-19.
Peel is still conducting contact tracing, “But our ability to do so is increasingly challenged,” Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, said Tuesday.
The current contagion spreading across parts of the region beyond the ability to control it, means some efforts may be limited to outbreak points and other severe hotspots.
As Peel Region has dominated the COVID-19 news cycle in Ontario, many in Mississauga have reassured themselves by blaming Brampton.
But, as the virus continues to spread, the city’s mayor and the region’s medical officer of health have cautioned that focussing on Brampton creates a false sense of security in Peel’s largest city, where cases are also disturbingly high.
Health Minister Christine Elliott reported 468 new COVID-19 cases in Peel Wednesday, compared to 384 in Toronto.
The region’s per capita rate is far higher than any other part of Ontario, as the viral spread across parts of Peel now threatens to get out of control ahead of the winter flu season.
On the eve of Peel’s latest restriction measures, the region once again reached its highest level of daily cases. Medical professionals have questioned why restaurants and gyms in heavy-hit Mississauga and especially Brampton were allowed to reopen Saturday.
While new restrictions come in effect this week, there’s no clear explanation on how enforcement will work and what penalties will be handed out if residents and businesses ignore the latest rules.
As Peel’s COVID picture becomes the centre of an Ontario-wide discussion, teachers in the region are growing uneasy.
The latest figures reveal more than one in three PDSB and DPCDSB schools have at least one active case of COVID-19, prompting OSSTF to request stricter measures from public health officials to safeguard classrooms.
In an attempt to get a handle on surging COVID-19 case numbers in Peel, Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel's chief medical officer, announced enhanced public health restrictions for the region over the weekend.
Now, with public health staff lagging behind on critical tasks like contact tracing and local hospitals filled to capacity, the Province has finally stepped in to help.
Is the legacy auto industry in southern Ontario playing catch-up with the new powers in the sector? Will former outliers like Tesla and its colourful owner Elon Musk, win the innovation battle in the auto market?
After a week avoiding confrontation with the Province and attempting to work within its framework, Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s medical officer of health, asked on Friday to remain in a modified Stage 2.
Despite dire warnings from William Osler, experiencing worse hospital capacity issues than it did during the first COVID-19 wave, Premier Doug Ford allowed restaurants and gyms to reopen with extremely limited capacity.
This is the first of a two-part feature on the future of the auto industry in southern Ontario. As the cost of hybrids and e-autos go down, the pressure on legacy automakers to make changes to compete, ratchets up.
Diwali is just over a week away, but COVID-19 policy discussion around the major celebration is far sparser than for either Thanksgiving or Halloween. In Brampton, Peel Public Health is taking a strong stance, but the City’s messaging is less clear.
While municipal officials are allowing, even encouraging the use of fireworks, plans for virtual offerings to discourage groups in Brampton from celebrating together and risk increasing the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario’s worst hit city, have been absent.
Come Saturday, COVID restrictions in Peel will ease and indoor dining, fitness classes and small gatherings will be allowed under Provincial guidelines.
The move has been publicly advocated by Brampton and Mississauga’s mayors, even in the face of the worst viral picture in the province.