Brampton continues to grapple with international student crisis; Caledon presents 2023 budget plan; Region criticizes Greenbelt amendments to advance Bill 23
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.
Caledon General Committee
Date: February 7 - 2:30 p.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch live
Presentations for Caledon’s 2023 budget will be made to council on Tuesday with the capital and operating budgets for roads and stormwater, operations, fire and emergency services, community and parks, and municipal law enforcement to be introduced. One of the larger budget items to be considered is the completion of Phase 3 for the Caledon East Community Complex, the largest facility in Caledon once completed, which consists of a library, cafeÌÂÂ, fitness centre and studio, gymnasium, pool, walking track, multi-purpose room and outdoor features including an outdoor rink. Total final funding for the building requested to be phased into the 2023 budget is $756,541. The proposed residential tax increase for the Town’s portion to fund the 2023 financial strategy is 3.01 percent.
An overview of the budget update can be found here.
Approval of Automated Speed Enforcement program
The Town of Caledon is set to approve the authorization of an Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) program on town roads. Pending approval in the 2023 budget, staff are proposing to procure and deploy two mobile ASE cameras for installation in community safety zones in Caledon.
A single source contract is set to be awarded to Redflex Traffic Systems for a two-year period, up to July 2024, with an optional five-year contract extension period.
The full staff report can be viewed here.
Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board Administration and Finance Committee
Date: February 7 - 7:00 p.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch live
2023-2024 budget process report
The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB) is beginning its 2023-2024 budget process on Tuesday. The February 7 discussion lays out the consultation strategy for the coming months.
The board’s current financial position is grim. Despite Peel’s growing population, the DPCDSB has been seeing a decline in the number of students walking through its doors in recent years. In the 2022-2023 school year, the board received a per student funding level of $12,398 from the government, about $660 below the provincial average. The below-average funding, combined with a 10.5 percent decline in enrolment since the 2018/2019 school year, resulted in the board carrying an “unmanageable” $43.7 million deficit from the 2021-2022 school year.
Tuesday’s report to trustees states staff will be planning the budget for 2023-2024 while having an accumulated deficit and operating within a Multi-Year Financial Recovery Plan which will be key factors when framing budget development discussions. An information session with the DPCDSB trustees will be held April 11 to discuss budget challenges and to establish budget priorities and strategies. The proposed date for public consultation for the 2023-2024 budget is April 26.
Brampton City Council
Date: February 8 - 9:30 a.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch live
Sheridan College to discuss International Students Charter
A delegation will be made to Council from Janet Morrison, president of Sheridan College, about an International Students Experience Charter in response to a notice of motion from Councillor Rowena Santos for staff to consider opportunities for the City to continue to support international students, and the post-secondary institutions they attend in Brampton.
The City has been grappling with an international student crisis in recent years with many students falling through the cracks – some into a life of crime and others crushed by isolation and loneliness. In October, the federal government announced it would be giving students more earning power, a decision that could help prevent exploitation, by temporarily lifting the cap that restricts international students from working more than 20 hours a week. The decision to lift the restriction from November 15 until the end of the year was made in part to free up a larger workforce to help with the country’s post-pandemic recovery, but experts say this short-term solution needs to be met with policies and enforcement to ensure success, further calling into question outdated regulations for international students.
- International Student Crisis: Funeral home sending alarming number of bodies back to India
- Ottawa gives international students more earning power to help prevent exploitation, but experts say system is still broken
Bill 23 task force report
In November, Council passed a resolution to form a special task force to develop and deliver a plan of advocacy to the PC government focusing on the City’s concerns related to Bill 23, which accelerates the City’s housing growth, and the need for significant investments to service the growth outlined in the legislation. A budget amendment, which includes a new capital project at a cost of $570,000, to create a Bill 23 task force will be tabled during Thursday’s meeting.
The purpose of the task force is to engage and negotiate with developers and key stakeholders. The budget amendment is required to obtain the consulting services of a municipal planning and growth management firm to look at service delivery for land use planning and growth management specific to the City of Brampton’s needs, the report states.
Read the full report here.
Mississauga General Committee
Date: February 8 – 9:30 a.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch live
Limited options for new revenue tools
An update will be provided to Council on potential new revenue tools for the City to determine which are viable for the City.
In June 2021, staff were requested to investigate the impact and potential implementation of six revenue tools currently accessible to the City through the Municipal Act. Staff will present a review of the six tools with the recommendation that the City proceed with implementing a Vacant Home Tax in coordination with the Region of Peel. Any other revenue tool with significant impact would require approval from the province, the report notes.
The full report can be found here.
Date: February 9 - 9:30 a.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch Live
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative looks for council support
The Region is reviewing a letter submitted by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to push the importance of committing $1 billion to freshwater programs in the next federal budget. During the 2021 federal election, the Liberal government committed to a “strengthened freshwater action plan” and a historic investment of $1 billion over 10 years. Yet, to date, the government has not followed through with its campaign promise.
The organization is asking its members, which includes the Region, to pass a resolution to send a letter to the federal Minister of Finance and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change by February 28 showing their support for the Booster for Fresh Water Health Campaign.
The full letter can be found here.
- Great Lakes Forum in Niagara Falls to discuss climate change, a serious threat to the basin
- Celebrating 50 years of protecting the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem as GTA growth threatens Great Lakes watershed
Hope 24/7 presents feminist research
Carry-Ann Campbell, manager of Sexual Assault Rape Crisis Centre of Peel (Hope 24/7), will be making a delegation to Regional Council on the organization’s feminist collective research. Few details are available as part of the delegation request.
Region of Peel comments on the Greenbelt land swap
The Region of Peel is reviewing comments to be submitted to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing regarding Regional councillors’ concern with the province’s decision to amend the Greenbelt plan to redesignate approximately 3,000 hectares of land for housing development to advance the PC government’s Bill 23 and the construction of 1.5 million homes over the next decade. The report provides an overview of the recent changes, their implications and a Regional response.
The province has indicated the lands would result in the construction of approximately 50,000 or more new homes with the expectation that planning approvals would be significantly advanced in 2023 and construction would begin by no later than 2025, a move the Region states encourages urban sprawl and inefficient development patterns. The report notes the removal of these lands “sets a negative precedent and undermines the permanent protection and overall integrity of the Greenbelt.”
Read the full report here.
- Ford readies to topple the domino that could fell the world’s largest protected Greenbelt
- A battle is brewing over the PC government’s plan to destroy the Greenbelt for development
Credit Valley Conservation Authority Board Meeting
Date: February 10 - 9:030 a.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch live
Update on changes to Conservation Authorities Act
Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) CAO Quentin Hanchard will provide an update to members of the board on the provincial changes to the Conservation Authorities Act that have come as a result of Bill 23. The PC housing bill, which has been widely panned for its impacts on the environment, will strip conservation authorities of much of their power in the development process, and prohibit them from consulting with municipalities on critical environmental issues within their watershed.
- Ford’s Bill 23 is ‘ecological insanity’, implodes sustainable urban planning in unhinged give over to sprawl developers
- Save Ontario Wetlands aims to provide crucial resources while conservation authorities are under attack by Ford government
- Ontario’s largest Conservation Authority elects new chair as Doug Ford strips away environmental protection
CVC’s green space acquisition in Caledon
A report updating the board on the conservation authority’s ability to obtain new green space to protect habitat and wildlife will be reviewed Tuesday. Last year, the CVC was able to secure 33 hectares in Caledon on McLaren Road to be integrated as part of the Terra Cotta Forest Conservation Area. Since 2004, CVC’s greenspace acquisition program has obtained 36 new land parcels totaling 510 hectares, with a total value of $8.7 million.
The full report can be found here.
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