Brampton might join class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers accused of putting millions at risk

Brampton might join class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers accused of putting millions at risk

A recent settlement in Oklahoma awarded the state $572 million in damages against Johnson & Johnson, in response to misleading marketing of highly addictive and often fatal opioids. The award marks one of the largest successes in the fight by governments to hold opioid makers accountable for their role in the addiction crisis. 

Now, the City of Brampton is looking to join the fight.



Federal policies on student visas could affect Peel as international student population grows

Federal policies on student visas could affect Peel as international student population grows

Brampton and Mississauga, which host an increasing number of foreign students every year, are grappling with the effects of an aspect of immigration policy largely overlooked in federal election platforms: student visas.

One international student laid out his concerns to The Pointer.



Raj Grewal not seeking re-election in Brampton East

Raj Grewal not seeking re-election in Brampton East

Independent MP Raj Grewal, who officially resigned from the Liberal caucus this year among swirling controversy surrounding his gambling problems, has reportedly decided he will not be seeking re-election in October. 

The decision, coming less than two weeks before the official registration deadline, is not a surprise to many in his Brampton East riding, who watched scandal after scandal unfold around their elected representative over the course of 2018.



As blood spills on the streets politicians and the public grow frustrated in their search for answers

As blood spills on the streets politicians and the public grow frustrated in their search for answers

Neighbourhoods in Mississauga and Brampton are in crisis. A mass shooting in Malton Saturday was followed by two more gangland-style ambushes, one in north Brampton Monday and one in central Mississauga Tuesday. In total, two people were murdered and seven others were rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds.

While the bloody attacks and their alarming details are consumed as attention-grabbing headlines by millions across the GTA and, increasingly, around the country, for frustrated local politicians and trembling residents caught in the criminal web, the situation has reached a tipping point.



Over a hundred sections of road in need of ‘traffic calming’ in Brampton

Over a hundred sections of road in need of ‘traffic calming’ in Brampton

With typical speeds often reaching dangerous levels, the city is looking into implementing further traffic calming measures to put a leash on Brampton’s speed demons. The move could help bring down the city's sky-high auto insurance rates, which are partly due to the large number of accidents here involving high speeds.

A report will go to council on Wednesday detailing what those projects will entail.



As federal party leaders weigh in on chaotic Malton shooting spree, local councillor says area’s crime has long been ignored

As federal party leaders weigh in on chaotic Malton shooting spree, local councillor says area’s crime has long been ignored

Gunfire erupted outside a busy Mississauga apartment building on Saturday leaving one 17-year-old bystander dead and several others with gunshot wounds. 

The fatal act of violence has shaken the city and drawn the attention of federal politicians early in the election campaign, with mixed messages from the party leaders about how to address violent crime, which has spiked dramatically across two of the country's largest cities over the last five years. Local Councillor Carolyn Parrish has for years demanded more resources for policing in her ward.



Federal candidates snub invitation to public safety townhall after Malton mass shooting

Federal candidates snub invitation to public safety townhall after Malton mass shooting

Two major shooting incidents in as many days, both of which left victims dead and wounded, have rocked residents of Mississauga and Brampton.

Concerned Residents of Brampton hosted a Sunday townhall on the topics of public safety and housing. All five federal incumbents were invited but disappointed organizers with their failure to attend. This despite the fact that national leaders have been commenting on the tragedy.



“The province” is “putting council in a very difficult position,” says senior Peel Region financial planner 

“The province” is “putting council in a very difficult position,” says senior Peel Region financial planner 

Provincial backpedalling will spare the Region of Peel some pain, but funding will still shrink by $39 million over three years. The chaos at Queen’s Park, with stark cuts being ordered without much detail and then mitigated or delayed in response to public outcry, is creating no end of headaches for the region’s financial staff and planners. Not to mention councillors forced to decide whether to reduce services residents have come to count on or hike their property taxes — just to keep things as they are.



Youthful team backs NDP candidate Saranjit Singh in Brampton East

Youthful team backs NDP candidate Saranjit Singh in Brampton East

Saranjit Singh launched his campaign Sunday to win the riding of Brampton East from independent incumbent Raj Grewal. At an event seemingly powered by young people, Singh promised to “fight” for would-be constituents in his longtime hometown.

Speaking to The Pointer after the event had finished, he pointed to ways federal attention to the riding could make life better there — including funding a new community centre to supplement the single one Brampton East’s 120,000-plus residents share.



Brampton, Mississauga voters appear unaffected by controversy surrounding local candidates

Brampton, Mississauga voters appear unaffected by controversy surrounding local candidates

The reasons aren’t entirely clear: Are voters unaware? Don’t care? Or just focused on the national race, with little regard for the local candidate? Whatever the reasons, scandals over offensive social media posts and the like have done little to budge the needle on polls as the federal election campaign wears on.

Brampton North candidate Arpan Khanna and Streetsville candidate Ghada Melek, both Conservatives, are among those who seem to be weathering the storm after controversy.



Malton councillor laments loss of community police station in her ward after devastating shooting

Malton councillor laments loss of community police station in her ward after devastating shooting

In the wake of a mass shooting in Malton that killed a 17-year-old, Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish wishes the community police station at Westwood Square Mall was still open.

So do some local residents who feel unsafe and dispute the impression that crime in the area had decreased enough to warrant shutting it down. It was closed to cut costs in February 2018, despite Parrish’s battle to keep it open.



Motivated Green candidates spread the word on climate action; but can they be convincing?

Motivated Green candidates spread the word on climate action; but can they be convincing?

International recognition of a climate emergency has offered the Greens a boost for the upcoming federal election. However, while the party seems to be on the upswing across Canada, the message continues to struggle in Brampton and Mississauga, where the car reigns.

With just over a month to go, local candidates of varying professionalism are working to open the eyes of the electorate to an issue they have been campaigning on for years. 



Ryerson study shows only 28 percent of Canadians trust social media in an age when fake news can swing an election   

Ryerson study shows only 28 percent of Canadians trust social media in an age when fake news can swing an election   

British technology expert Sam Jeffers told a Brampton audience this week that our upcoming federal election might be riddled with security worries, as waves of disinformation from unchecked social media sites spit out cyber advertising and fake news that have plagued campaigns around the world, and could rear their ugly head here. Over the next few weeks in our hyperactive news environment that will fill the cybersphere ahead of October 21, “Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour” will again become a sign of our times.



Scheer, Khanna avoid controversy in Brampton North, offer no specifics on local issues

Scheer, Khanna avoid controversy in Brampton North, offer no specifics on local issues

News swirled Friday of Conservative candidate Arpan Khanna’s homophobic social media post almost a decade ago. But there was no mention of that at a campaign rally in the Brampton North riding featuring party leader Andrew Scheer, despite mounting calls for Khanna to step out of the race.

Nor did Scheer or Khanna talk about any of the local challenges facing voters, such as a crisis in healthcare — in contrast to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s pledge a day earlier to fund a new hospital in Brampton.



Temporary relief for Peel as paramedic funding is unfrozen and offered a small 2020 boost

Temporary relief for Peel as paramedic funding is unfrozen and offered a small 2020 boost

The province has reversed course on a controversial decision in May to freeze funding for paramedic services and will now provide a small boost into next year.

The flip-flop epitomizes the confusion experienced by municipalities across Ontario as the Doug Ford PCs continue to make cuts, only to reverse them in response to public outcry. One regional councillor tells The Pointer that Peel is in a “holding pattern,” waiting for a semblance of certainty.



Brampton North Conservative candidate latest to be tainted by unearthed cyber-skeletons, as news focuses on personality not policy 

Brampton North Conservative candidate latest to be tainted by unearthed cyber-skeletons as news focuses on personality, not policy 

Arpan Khanna, who secured his candidacy a year ago, is the latest parliamentary hopeful to be dogged by his past comments posted on social media, as the theme has dominated the federal election campaign over the first few days ahead of the October 21 vote. He used homophobic language years ago and is now facing mounting pressure to step down.

A number of controversial remarks captured in the cryptic space of the internet have forced party leaders to stumble off their policy platforms, while having to address a growing list of questionable past remarks made by candidates. 



Surge in fentanyl-related deaths in Peel adds urgency to calls for public health funding

Surge in fentanyl-related deaths in Peel adds urgency to calls for public health funding

Ten years. That’s all it took for fentanyl to go from a potent painkiller used to manage only the most serious post-surgery pain to one of the most deadly street drugs in the country. 

In Peel, opioid-related deaths involving fentanyl have skyrocketed, leaving the Region of Peel and community organizations struggling to tamp down the problem —  a task made even more difficult by the region’s underfunded public health budget.



‘We won’t forget Brampton’ — NDP candidates pledge not to leave home concerns behind if voters propel them to Ottawa

‘We won’t forget Brampton’ — NDP candidates pledge not to leave home concerns behind if voters propel them to Ottawa

Brampton is home to a pool of floating voters ahead of every election. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his Brampton candidates have laid out priorities in healthcare and affordable housing, while drawing attention to unfulfilled Liberal promises.

Given that the city is chronically forgotten after elections end, The Pointer asked what guarantees they would make to Brampton if elected.



New national strategy will guide fight against human trafficking across Canada

New national strategy will guide fight against human trafficking across Canada

In 2016, the federal government’s national action plan to combat human trafficking expired. For three years, service providers and community organizations have been pushing for Ottawa to step up and once again make human trafficking a priority. 

Days before Parliament was officially dissolved, signalling the start of the federal election campaign, the Liberal government finally took that step.



Show us the money; Trudeau Liberals ignore Peel’s growing infrastructure gap, with Mississauga and Brampton receiving $150M while Edmonton gets $1.9B

Show us the money; Trudeau Liberals ignore Peel’s growing infrastructure gap, with Mississauga and Brampton receiving $150M while Edmonton gets $1.9B

With the 905 set to be a key battleground this federal election, major party leaders should pay attention to Peel’s rapidly growing infrastructure needs.

With 12 seats up for grabs, two fewer than each of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the booming region becomes a hotbed of election activity every four years, but the question is, what are party leaders and elected MPs doing for residents in between?



Residents face off over density worries in one of Brampton’s oldest neighbourhoods

Residents face off over density worries in one of Brampton’s oldest neighbourhoods

In Marysfield, a neighbourhood founded in the 1950s as one of Canada’s first housing co-ops, tensions are rising. Some residents hope to split their property, often as much as two acres, into smaller lots to allow redevelopment, while others favour preserving the historic character of the area.

The broader issues are familiar to citizens across Brampton as the city grapples with sometimes conflicting desires for affordable housing and heritage preservation.



NDP commit to funding a new hospital in Brampton, alongside pharmacare for all Canadians

NDP commit to funding a new hospital in Brampton, alongside pharmacare for all Canadians

Chronic underfunding of Brampton’s infrastructure has put the city at the heart of Canada’s hallway healthcare crisis. Population growth led to record wait times in June of 21 hours for emergency room beds, well above the Ontario average. 

On the second day of the official campaign, New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh was in Brampton to pledge funds to build a new hospital in the city, as well as a promise to roll out free pharmacare to all Canadians by 2020.



Brampton mayor pushing united front on tunnelled LRT

Brampton mayor pushing united front on tunnelled LRT

With council clearly divided on the biggest transit issue facing the city, a remnant of the heated debate that derailed the previous group of local leaders under former mayor Linda Jeffrey, Patrick Brown wants his colleagues to come together in support of an underground option for the Main Street LRT. But with some members on council aligned closely with Jeffrey and her vision, to build a surface LRT through the entire length of the Main Street route, it remains unclear if the mayor can avoid a repeat of the 2015 battle that created a deep schism in the previous council. 



In Mississauga and Brampton and across Ontario, Doug Ford is the biggest threat to smart, green growth

In Mississauga and Brampton and across Ontario, Doug Ford is the biggest threat to smart, green growth

The Ford government’s pointed attack on our conservation authorities is short-sighted and will result in this province paying a heavy ecological price over the next few years. The green movement can work in concert with the business community, and the best example is an ongoing reclamation project on the old Ontario Power Generation lands in the southeastern section of Mississauga. This Lakeview miracle could remake the city. But any possible divinity, in Mississauga and Brampton and beyond, lies in the hands of citizens, including those in the seats of power, who can stare down the premier. 



Owner of secondary suite shows laundry list of city demands ordered on his property

Owner of secondary suite shows laundry list of city demands ordered on his property

Khalid Nazim owns a second house as an investment property. He hopes to rent out a secondary suite in the house, but registering it means expensive renovation work to satisfy inspectors.

Disputing that it’s all really necessary, he went to City Council asking for relief.



Crombie, Brown join other big-city mayors demanding Ottawa get its act together on transit funding

Crombie, Brown join other big-city mayors demanding Ottawa get its act together on transit funding

Sometimes it’s not the wheels on the bus but the endless quest for transit cash that keeps going round and round. The country’s sixth and ninth largest cities are at a watershed: get the funding to get residents out of their cars and into public transit, or continue the suburban trends of the past few decades. 

Representatives of 22 of Canada’s biggest cities, including Mississauga and Brampton, want to end the cycle of transit funding dependency on the federal government that Ottawa ignores. They have a plan to make sure good transit keeps being built in places large and small until at least 2038 — if the feds will only sign on.



Brampton making the right noises on climate change, but big-impact projects remain a dream

Brampton making the right noises on climate change, but big-impact projects remain a dream

Ambitious internal planning at City Hall dating back to 2012 has provided Brampton with a strong environmental plan — on paper.

However, stalling on major infrastructure projects in favour of small energy-saving tweaks has left the city behind, treating climate change as just another policy area — not the emergency it declared in June.



Limiting media access at campaign events begs the question: Are candidates avoiding scrutiny?

Limiting media access at campaign events begs the question: Are candidates avoiding scrutiny?

Campaign kickoffs, speech-making and canvassing are going on all over Peel Region as the federal election season goes into high gear.

But why are local candidates, often little known to their prospective constituents, being shielded from media questions?



Update: It’s week 2 of school for thousands of Peel students, with no teacher contracts in sight

Update: It’s week 2 of school for thousands of Peel students, with no teacher contracts in sight

Whispers of strikes and job action abound among educators. So far, the teachers’ unions have been opaque about how negotiations with the province are going.

In Peel schools, much depends on how those higher-level talks proceed.



Study of immigration in Ontario suggests it’s time to spread the love around

Study of immigration in Ontario suggests it’s time to spread the love around

The GTA, including Peel Region, welcomes nearly eight of every 10 immigrants arriving in the province, according to a report from the Conference Board of Canada. That means other centres, despite efforts to attract newcomers, are missing out on the economic benefits immigration brings to an aging population. There may be strategies to change that.



Jagmeet Singh’s NDP circling the drain seven weeks from the election, polls show

Jagmeet Singh’s NDP circling the drain seven weeks from the election, polls show

The numbers don’t look good just days ahead of the expected federal election call. Jagmeet Singh’s NDP stands a good chance of losing a significant number of seats. Procrastination in naming candidates and internal strife have given the NDP an air of disorganization — not least in Mississauga, where only one NDP candidate has even been named, as of Saturday.



Trudeau hopes to go 11-for-11 in Brampton and Mississauga, again

Trudeau hopes to go 11-for-11 in Brampton and Mississauga, again

The Liberal Leader made a surprise fundraising visit to Brampton Thursday. Strangely, the event was for an Oakville candidate, but it’s clear Justin Trudeau is looking to consolidate the 905. The country’s sixth and ninth largest cities, which the party swept in 2015, will be the key. The evening gave some of the incumbents a moment in the spotlight, including Mississauga Centre’s Omar Alghabra, who said residents in his riding have one clear message about the type of leader they don’t want to see.



June worst month ever for hospital-bed waits in Ontario

June worst month ever for hospital-bed waits in Ontario

Count Brampton resident Frank Murphy as one of those not fazed by the news that the average waiting time for a hospital bed in Ontario recently hit 16 hours — a signal of a worsening trend. But then, he once spent three days in a Brampton Civic Hospital hallway waiting for a bed after he injured a leg. 

Civic’s average remains higher than the provincial one.



Procurement changes on the horizon, in light of The Pointer’s investigation

Procurement changes on the horizon, in light of The Pointer’s investigation

Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish is proposing rules that would put Peel Region councillors in charge of approving all regional contracts over $50,000 — much lower than the current $250,000.

The move follows revelations that senior regional staff quietly hired and directed a consultants’ report to prove that Peel Region should stay intact — while undermining Mississauga’s bid to secede.



Nuit Blanche may be coming to Brampton in 2020

Nuit Blanche may be coming to Brampton in 2020

Work is underway at Brampton city hall to host a multidisciplinary arts festival as early as October 2020, as a means of boosting the city’s neglected arts scene.

Championed by Councillor Charmaine Williams, the event would build on the popularity of the all-night festival in Toronto and other cities, in keeping with the city’s ambitious Culture Master Plan.



Heated delegation to council illustrates the catch-22 of registering secondary suites

Heated delegation to council illustrates the catch-22 of registering secondary suites

A trio of property owners at Wednesday’s committee meeting took councillors to task about the significant hidden expenses involved in registering a basement apartment.

The inspection and renovation requirements can be complicated, costly and intimidating. But balancing the needs of the city and landlords isn’t easy, especially when there is safety to consider.



Red wave to continue rolling in Brampton after October vote, polls suggest

Red wave to continue rolling in Brampton after October vote, polls suggest

Contrary to the last federal election, when all five of the city’s federal seats flipped from one party to another, it looks like voters may be sticking with the Liberals come October.

At least, that’s what the polls seem to be showing. Here’s a look at where things stand across the city as the campaign gears up ahead of the fall sprint to the federal election.



Justice system shows prejudice against Peel rapper Avalanche the Architect, judges find

Justice system shows prejudice against Peel rapper Avalanche the Architect, judges find

Darren John, who raps under the name Avalanche the Architect, is appealing a 2015 conviction for uttering threats contained in the lyrics of one of his songs, following a feud with his former music promoter. 

As that case is set to be heard in December, two judges and a judicial body have identified issues with John’s treatment in court during other legal matters, pointing out bias and prejudice against him. It’s a systemic issue that John says has plagued him over the past two decades while he’s been forced to deal with a justice system that only sees him as a big, bad Black man, not a person.



Senior Peel government staff secretly worked to undermine Mississauga’s exit from the region, documents show

Senior Peel government staff secretly worked to undermine Mississauga’s exit from the region, documents show

Emails and documents obtained by The Pointer show an external analysis quietly ordered by senior regional staff to study possible scenarios for the future of Peel was preordained to favour the preservation of regional government.

Top region executives Nando Iannicca (chair/CEO), Stephen VanOfwegen (CFO) and David Szwarc (former CAO), working with an outside consultant without regional council’s knowledge, took steps to ensure the outcome while undermining the credibility of a financial report Mississauga used to back its claim that the city would be better off as an independent municipality. 



Brampton doctor alleges colleagues misused family clinic funds for expensive family trips and other expenses, court documents show

Brampton doctor alleges colleagues misused family clinic funds for expensive family trips and other expenses, court documents show

Court documents allege that a group of doctors with the Brampton-based Wise Elephant Family Health Team may have misappropriated $700,000 or more from the organization's funds.

Dr. Andrew Johnson is suing doctors Sanjeev Goel and Lopita Banerjee, among other physicians, accusing them of misusing the funds, including for expensive trips to Peru and India, breaching their contract with him, and defamation. 



Mayor Patrick Brown to meet with PM and other party leaders this month

Mayor Patrick Brown to meet with PM and other party leaders this month

When it comes to getting the ear of Ottawa, there’s no time like election time. Brown says he’s ready and able to put Brampton’s case in front of the party leaders, who are all calling for meetings.

Here’s a look at what the mayor and Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh are likely to talk about when the big party leaders arrive at city hall.



Brampton City Council slate fully loaded as fall session set to begin

Brampton City Council slate fully loaded as fall session set to begin

There’s an ambitious agenda ahead for councillors that will inevitably add up to some delays on important projects.

The anticipated appointment of a new CAO might help, especially in the fallout from this fall’s expected announcement on the future of Peel Region government.



Precariously housed Peel residents left behind as Ottawa celebrates success of $13B housing fund

Precariously housed Peel residents left behind as Ottawa celebrates success of $13B housing fund

The Liberal government touted the numbers last week as it marked four years of investments in affordable housing through its National Housing Strategy.

But the nearly 14,000 households on the waitlist in Peel might be left wondering why more of that largesse hasn’t come to the fast-growing region.



Brampton is speaking up. Will the province finally listen?

Brampton is speaking up. Will the province finally listen?

Mayor Patrick Brown says a united front, graphic numbers and frank conversation are going a long way toward convincing the province that Brampton has a point when it complains it’s not getting its fair share.

A recent conference in Ottawa may prove to have been a turning point.



Brampton needs a visionary with principles and expertise, like Jennifer Keesmaat, to lead our city into the future

Brampton needs a visionary with principles and expertise, like Jennifer Keesmaat, to lead our city into the future

Does this city want a professional star and visionary to occupy the office of chief administrator or someone who will just keep the seat warm while the real powers that be, the politicos, continue to flail away at trying to turn this into a world class city? The next big hire at city hall will be the most important one yet – and could impact Brampton for decades to come.



Loved ones remember Chris Rix, Peel paramedic who lost his battle with PTSD

Loved ones remember Chris Rix, Peel paramedic who lost his battle with PTSD

The high-pressure, high-stress world of a paramedic’s daily work contributes to a rate of suicide almost triple the national average. PTSD took the life of Peel paramedic Chris Rix two years ago.

His widow, Michelle, and work partner Caitlin remember Chris and the deep inner pain that led to his untimely death at the age of 40.



Transportation Minister reannounces more train service on the Kitchener line

Transportation Minister reannounces more train service on the Kitchener line

Caroline Mulroney, along with Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster, MPPs Prabmeet Sarkaria, Amarjot Sandhu and Kinga Surma were at Brampton GO on Thursday to announce expanded service on the Kitchener line.

Just like they did two weeks ago, with no further details. 



Changing of the guard: trio of new police chiefs has power to modernize the course of policing in Canada

Changing of the guard: trio of new police chiefs has power to modernize the course of policing in Canada

Nishan Duraiappah in Peel and Peter Sloly in Ottawa are among the progressives recently named chiefs of major municipal police forces.

Their fresh perspectives could shake up entrenched police cultures that have created a divide between officers and the people they serve and lead to a more community-based approach to crime prevention.



A Brampton couple’s love of food might help save our planet

A Brampton couple’s love of food might help save our planet

The fate of food production will be front and centre when two billion more people populate this planet by the year 2050. A Brampton couple has started a company that blends old-style gardening with new techniques in urban agriculture to feed us with wholesome food.

While the earth battles a climate crisis, a world-wide movement called agroecology might help save us from ourselves. This is now playing itself out in full leafy colour on the streets of downtown Brampton.



Education minister offers assurance to parents despite rocky negotiations with teachers

Education minister offers assurance to parents despite rocky negotiations with teachers

With only a few days left before the start of school Ontario teachers still don’t have a new contract.

The province and union teams are negotiating quietly, but there appears to be no imminent deal before contracts expire Saturday Aug. 31. Education Minister Stephen Lecce might update the situation later today.