Brampton’s fraud hotline short-staffed; Caledon, Mississauga grapple with lack of funding for Doug Ford’s housing demands
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.
Date: February 21 - 9:30 a.m. | Delegate | Full agenda
Lack of resources hampering City Hall fraud hotline
A significant drop in the number of complaints of fraud or corruption to the City of Brampton hotline may appear like a good news story on the surface, but Brampton staff say there is more to the numbers. In 2022, the City’s Fraud Hotline, which is a space for employees to raise concerns about potential fraud, received 8 new reports, a significant drop from the 69 received in 2021, when embattled former CAO David Barrick faced widespread allegations of wrongdoing under his leadership.
According to a staff report, the Internal Audit department has not been adequately resourced to handle the fraud hotline since, and City Hall has not conducted any awareness campaigns among staff to inform them of the methods for reporting suspected issues. The department has requested two additional staff members to manage the hotline for 2023.
Read the full report here.
Brampton’s internal audit function hijacked by CAO, fraud hotline taken over by his hires, committee says
After damning internal audit report radically altered, council strips CAO of all power over audit function
Eight departmental audits planned for 2023
“Internal audit continues to be short-staffed”
These words form part of the Highlights section of a recently released staff report going to Brampton’s audit committee Tuesday morning. Internal Audit, a key accountability function of municipal governance has been plagued by scandal since Mayor Patrick Brown was elected in 2018. Now, it appears it is not getting the proper resources to be able to ensure Brampton taxpayer dollars are being used appropriately.
Eight audits are planned for 2023, a drop from the 10 scheduled last year, as a result of the staffing issues.
“The Audit Work-Plan was developed considering available Internal Audit staff resources and providing Internal Audit with the flexibility to address a combination of practical issues: auditee operational challenges that impact their ability to support audits at the initially planned time frame as well as Internal Audit staffing level fluctuations,” the staff report states.
A list of the departments scheduled for review can be found here.
The full staff report can be read here.
Key health and safety data not being recorded by City
A review completed of the City of Brampton health and safety mechanisms found several areas of concern with current processes including in the monitoring and reporting of incidents.
While the audit found that the foundational health and safety mechanisms are in place to keep City employees safe, there were a number of issues, including: inconsistent inspections of workplaces; key data points are not being recorded, including (top five types of accidents, top five causes of accidents, number of critical injuries, and total lost days); and that required health and safety training is not always completed.
“Not reporting key statistics does not allow for a proper assessment on overall health and safety progress and performance. Without these metrics, issues requiring correction or improvement may not be addressed in a timely manner,” the audit states.
The staff report can be found here.
Details about the findings and auditor recommendations can be found here.
City leaving money on the table
Local officials at the City of Brampton have very little idea if the fee they are charging residents for various services actually covers the cost of providing that service.
An audit of Brampton user fees has found the lack of a comprehensive framework has put the City in a position that its user fees are not based on the costs needed to provide that service, and there is a “significant risk” the city if undercharging for services.
User fees are the second largest revenue tool for municipalities apart from property taxes. In Brampton, approximately 28 percent of the City’s revenue comes from user fees amounting to approximately $211.5 million in 2022.
This means that Brampton has been leaving significant amounts of money behind annually that could be used to support critical city services.
For example, the review found the City was undercharging for key processes in the development services department.
“The City has undercharged user fees from the Development Services based on benchmarking with neighbouring municipalities. If the current application volumes were to continue, this results in about $2.3M per year in loss of revenue for the City of Brampton. The fees charged do not reflect or recover the cost of providing the services,” the report states.
Similar issues were found across the majority of City of Brampton departments, meaning the municipality is potentially forgoing millions of dollars of additional revenue.
The full report can be found here.
Committee of Council
Date: February 22 - 9:30 a.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch live
Delegates to speak on vandalism at Hindu temple
Two Brampton residents are appearing before Brampton council to raise concerns about recent vandalism at the Guari Shankar Mandir.
On January 30, the Hindu temple was spray painted, which the Peel Regional Police are investigating as a hate-motivated incident.
The residents are requesting Brampton councillors work with Peel Police to provide more resources for the Hindu community and raise awareness about the consequences of hate crimes.
The delegation request forms, which include the reasons for speaking to council can be found here and here.
$300K request from Hockey Canada
From April 5 to 16 this year, Hockey Canada and the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association is hosting the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Hockey Championships in Brampton. The event is expected to attract approximately 100,000 spectators across its 31 games. Hockey Canada has requested $300,000 from the City of Brampton to offset the operational costs of the tournament and representatives are scheduled to delegate to councillors on the matter Wednesday. A staff report recommends the City sponsor the event for $50,000, despite Hockey Canada’s latest scandal. It faces numerous allegations of covering up sexual abuse going back decades and has paid 21 settlements for sexual misconduct since the late ‘80s.
“Sponsorship of the tournament enhances the opportunity for the City of Brampton to increase its positive image on a national and global scale within the hockey community,” the report states.
The full staff report can be found here.
A presentation from Hockey Canada can be viewed here.
Can Brampton capitalize on the pull of professional sports?: bringing basketball and cricket to a starved market
“Micro-mobility” pilot project to launch April 1
A trio of operators have been chosen to offer “kick-style” scooters for general use across the City of Brampton as part of a push to increase active transportation. The pilot project is set to begin on April 1.
“Micromobility is an example of how the City can rethink the more conventional, autocentric approach and tools utilized for network planning,” the staff report states. “A shared electric kick scooter pilot program will allow staff to assess the performance and operation of a micromobility system under a test environment and gather data to support recommendations for a permanent solution.”
The pilot project has raised concerns among accessibility advocates.
“This is all a fog of unenforceability,” David Lepofsky, a leading lawyer and advocate for people with disabilities, previously told The Pointer.
According to the staff report, enforcement efforts to ensure safety and avoid roadway or sidewalk obstructions will be shared between the Peel Regional Police and the City’s bylaw officers.
The staff report can be found here.
Brampton’s plan to unleash e-scooters prompts accessibility & safety concerns, questions about viability
Mississauga moves toward municipal bike-share scheme as province debates e-scooters
BIA raises concerns with downtown parking plan
A letter from the Downtown Brampton BIA has raised a number of concerns with a new plan to update parking in the City’s downtown core, including the removal of one-hour free parking in municipal garages and the increase of hourly parking rates for on-street parking—neither of which the BIA supports.
“While we commend the City of Brampton for the work they have done on the new Parking Plan for the City of Brampton, the DBBIA is focussed on business recovery from Covid 19, as well as barriers to entry for downtown for everyday shopping, dining and professional business in downtown, specifically related to the road work and safety concerns,” the letter states. “We recommend that you look at postponing increasing parking rates, fees and eliminating the first hour free, until a later date, and/or after the completion of the Region of Peel Sanitary and Sewer replacement as well as the downtown streetscaping.”
The letter can be read here.
Downtown stakeholders demand investment in the withering area—Brampton’s new plan is a start
‘Money can be used better elsewhere’: City’s new plan to coordinate downtown revitalization criticized as more talk than action
Political games by Brown and Santos will cost downtown businesses dearly
Planning and Development Committee
Date: February 21 - 2:30 p.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch live
Caledon’s pledge to build 13,000 new homes mandated by Bill 23
Finding land to construct the 13,000 new homes mandated for the Town of Caledon under the PC government’s Bill 23 will not be an issue. However, funding to support the construction of the necessary infrastructure to support these homes certainly will be. According to a town staff report, the Province has indicated it will provide funding to support the creation of this infrastructure, but details remain scarce. As part of a “housing pledge” to indicate Caledon’s support for the PC plan, staff have recommended “highlighting in detail the challenges faced by Caledon being a greenfield growth community, specifically in the context of reduced revenues due to Bill 23.”
“The Housing Pledge requests the Province’s support in completing comprehensive planning in new growth areas and respecting the way Caledon would like to phase its future growth to create new communities in greenfield areas,” the report states. “While staff believe the housing targets assigned to Caledon are achievable, and that the Town will use every initiative and action needed to support the development of new houses, the delivery of these homes is dependent upon a number of external factors including the capacity of the development industry, availability of key infrastructure, comprehensive growth planning, staff resources, etc.”
The staff report can be found here.
A dark day for Ontario: Bill 23 passes, dooms climate change strategies across the GTHA, locks in a future of urban sprawl
Peel organizations express concern over Bill 23—Ford’s radical housing plan
Ford’s Bill 23 is ‘ecological insanity’, implodes sustainable urban planning in unhinged give over to sprawl developers
Date: February 22 – 9:30 a.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch live
Provincial housing targets can’t be met without additional funding
Staff have prepared a new four-year housing action plan for the City of Mississauga that lays out how the municipality can meet the mandated housing targets set out by the PC government. Staff note that it is possible to meet the 120,000 units the PCs have assigned to Mississauga—which is above the initial 100,000 outlined in the Region of Peel Official Plan—but only if a number of conditions are met, many of them outside the City’s control.
“The new Housing Target will only be achieved if favourable conditions exist – which are outside the City’s influence. Specifically, a commitment by the Province and its agencies to fund, and to accelerate the construction of large transit projects is essential. Secondly, a commitment by the development community to fund and build the housing is a vital part,” the report states.
The full staff report can be found here.
The Housing Action Plan can be found here.
Date: February 23 - 9:30 a.m. | Delegate | Full agenda | Watch Live
Advocacy group demands increased investment to help homeless
Right to Housing Peel, an advocacy group composed of organizations and individuals from across the region, is pushing regional councillors to do more to help Peel’s most vulnerable. The group is concerned investments made as part of the 2023 budget will not be enough to address the increasing demand for housing assistance.
“We understand that over time, shelters, community housing all require maintenance and upgrades, but the allocated funding in the 2023 budget does not seem geared towards getting people out of shelter and into housing. Understanding the lack of housing resources, in the future, we would like to see some of the allocation of funds go towards incentives for deeply affordable housing, or more funding towards housing retention,” the letter states.
The letter, and the full list of recommendations from Right to Housing Peel can be found here.
Peel needs almost $1 billion to fill growing housing gap; Trudeau Liberals have provided ‘minimal federal accountability’
Peel’s housing crisis explodes—waitlist for affordable units almost doubles in two years to over 28K households
Support needed to continue housing assistance for Ukrainian arrivals
In June 2022, the Region of Peel set up a program to provide immediate housing and basic needs support for those arriving from war-torn Ukraine. So far the program has cost the Region approximately $5.7 million. A staff report recommends winding down the program “on or before” April 30, 2023 unless support from the federal or provincial government is provided to fund the effort.
The full report can be found here.
Canada’s complicated immigration process strands family fleeing war-torn Ukraine
Peel’s Ukrainian community watches Russian invasion in disbelief and horror
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