Peel needs to scale up climate action ‘considerably’; highly paid BramptonU consultants tied to Patrick Brown and Rowena Santos failed to deliver work 
Feature illustration from Joel Wittnebel/The Pointer

Peel needs to scale up climate action ‘considerably’; highly paid BramptonU consultants tied to Patrick Brown and Rowena Santos failed to deliver work 

Peel Democracy Watch is The Pointer’s weekly feature aimed at increasing the public’s awareness and political involvement in the Region of Peel by highlighting key agenda items, motions and decisions. 


Committee of Council

Date: May 11 - 9:30 a.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch live


University of Guelph-Humber looking to make “model for future university campuses” in Brampton. 

Officials from the University of Guelph and Humber College (partnering on a proposal for Brampton) will present an update to councillors regarding their efforts to establish a campus in the city as part of the planned Centre for Innovation—work that has been underway since June 2021. 

The campus will host 6,000 students, according to a presentation from the organization, the campus “will become the model for future university campuses, reflecting a dynamic responsiveness to emerging geographic needs and opportunities – the first university of its kind in Ontario. The future campus is planned to offer new undergraduate programs and masters degrees in a variety of STEM fields and provide approximately $94 million to the city’s GDP annually. 

The presentation was deferred from council’s April 27 meeting after a request from Guelph-Humber to delegate in closed session was turned down. According to a letter from the two institutions' top officials, the request was made as a result of City staff direction. 

“The request for an in-camera delegation reflects an earlier direction we received from City staff and the City Solicitor around the Non-Disclosure Agreement in place to govern our work on this file,” the letter states. “We are committed to openness and transparency with members of Council on our requested support, we have had discussions with City staff and now understand that we will be able to speak to these items in the public session.”

Read the full letter here

View the full presentation here. 


City continues search for firm to help with hiring of senior staff 

A recommendation from City staff is looking to shift away from a reliance on executive search firms for the hiring of all senior roles within the organization. According to staff’s report, the City of Brampton has relied upon search firms to help with the recruitment and hiring of chiefs/commissioners, executive directors, directors, senior managers, managers, and specialized roles within Digital Innovation and Information Technology. Staff are recommending going forward that these firms only be used for the hiring of directors, commissioners and the CAO, which could save the City approximately $111,000 over the next three years. 

The report states that Brampton has previously relied on these firms because their “in-depth capability in leadership assessment, provide far more insight into candidates than the standard recruitment interviews and resumes. The Corporation also uses Executive Search firms for their focused and active marketing, sourcing, networking and leadership assessment to bring quality candidates forward.”

The City has spent nearly $1.2 million over the last 5 years on these firms to fill 39 positions.  

It’s unclear whether this change in direction came as a result of the hiring of former CAO David Barrick who was recommended to the City for its top job by executive search firm Feldman Daxon. It’s unclear how Barrick was recommended by the company as a quick Google search would have easily identified a highly questionable work history in Niagara Region and his glaring lack of experience for the job. 

Read the full report here

See a full cost breakdown here


Previous reporting: 


Taxpayers billed over $500K for work on BramptonU, nearly half of it was never completed 

A recently released report from Brampton staff highlights that despite the considerable amount of money paid to consultants on the BramptonU project—two of them with close links to Mayor Patrick Brown and Councillor Rowena Santos—almost half of the work these companies were hired to complete was never delivered, despite being paid for it. 

“There were a total of twelve activities/deliverables identified as part of the costs incurred, of which Staff are unable to find/determine the final product for five with one deliverable received one year and five months after final invoice,” the report states. 

According to the report, the City spent $629,218 on BramptonU to four different vendors. 

Stakeholder Research Associates billed the City $505,398.95. Rob Godfrey, a man who is part of Mayor Brown’s inner political circle, is a senior associate at the company. 

The City also paid approximately $101,380.66 to The Academy for Sustainable Innovation, a company co-founded by David Wheeler, a man who Councillor Rowena Santos previously campaigned alongside when Wheeler was an NDP candidate in Nova Scotia. She has called him a mentor. Wheeler previously told The Pointer “I am Councillor Santos' former professor at the Schulich School of Business and have been an occasional mentor to her ever since.”

Read the full report here


Past reporting:


General Committee

Date: May 11 - 9:30 a.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch live 


City comments on PC highway-centric transportation plan

The City of Mississauga is using its comments on the Ontario government’s transportation plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe as another chance to reiterate its opposition to the GTA West Corridor, or Highway 413. 

While noting general support for transit improvements, inclusion of Vision Zero policies in Provincial planning and two-way all-day 15-minute service on the Milton GO line, Mississauga staff address a number of local concerns with the plan including the omission of the Downtown Hurontario LRT loop, which was previously axed by the PCs, before Premier Doug Ford promised it would be built, and note that “municipalities are under-funded in the short term to keep pace with Provincial recommendations on building active transportation infrastructure. Additional funding is required to implement the network connections proposed in the Plan.”

Read the full report here


Previous reporting: 



Date: May 12 - 9:30 a.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch live


“Acceleration needed” on Peel’s climate change plan 

If the Region of Peel wishes to reach any of the climate change mitigation targets it has set for itself, councillors will need to start making it a priority. According to a staff report, the Region is at risk of missing a number of its targets established in the Climate Change Master Plan, and in order to avoid this outcome, the low-carbon transition in Peel needs to be scaled up “considerably.”

While Peel recorded a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, the level was still only 32 percent below 2010 levels. The Region has a goal to achieve a 45 percent reduction by 2030, which would require reducing emissions by 17,000 tonnes of CO2. 

The report also notes that the Region is behind on studying the wider risks of climate change on infrastructure, and emergency services. 

As well they have failed to formulate a financial strategy that will ensure sustained funding to meet the outcomes of the climate change master plan (CCMP). 

“Future efforts will need to focus on developing Key Performance Indicators for the CCMP to more accurately report and measure progress against relevant metrics and enhancing the disclosure of climate-related risks and opportunities and their linkage to strategy, risk management, governance, financial planning and capital investments,” the report states. 

Read the full report here


Previous Reporting: 


Peel public health stretched thin as COVID response hampering need to resume needed programming

Peel Public Health has historically been one of the lowest funded public health agencies in the province. Now, as the organization attempts to find its way back from the COVID-19 pandemic and resume much-needed, non-COVID programming, it’s finding its staffing and resources stretched to the limit as it attempts to complete this delicate balancing act. 

“As Public Health plans to remobilize other mandated programs, while transitioning from emergency response, sufficient time and support in the next two years will be needed to support staff recovery, needs assessment, and fulsome review and consideration of public health programs and services that were paused or severely scaled back,” a staff report states. 

Regional staff fear that this lack of resources, impacted by historical underfunding and a burnt-out staff contingent, could delay the restart of mandating programming, “present a risk to meeting community needs and exacerbating health inequities.”

Read the full report here. 


Previous reporting: 



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Twitter: @JoeljWittnebel

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