A provincial healthcare funding announcement scheduled for Brampton on Tuesday raised excitement among residents and advocates. Would there finally be a second test site? Perhaps a long awaited new hospital?
To the disappointment of residents desperate for fairshare healthcare investments as the pandemic runs roughshod across the city, the Premier and his Health Minister only offered a few-dozen new hospital beds, while Etobicoke, Ford’s powerbase, will get more than the municipality where the term "hallway healthcare" was popularized. It’s a slap in the face for the struggling city.
With Peel students back in the classroom this week, it will be essential for parents to have as much information as possible about their child’s school and its surrounding area.
The Pointer’s updated interactive map shows all schools located in Brampton and Mississauga neighbourhoods and the COVID-19 infection rates per capita for those areas.
The region’s top public health doctor says the current 28-day modified closure can’t be lifted with COVID-19 battering Brampton and Mississauga.
Recent data from Peel Public Health shows a worrying regression, with 8.1 percent of tests in Brampton returning a positive result and hospitals nearing capacity.
Peel Region councillors are calling for urgent measures after two consecutive regional budgets offered next to no investments into new affordable units or shelter spaces to help the homeless, and those trying to escape abusive relationships.
The country’s first COVID winter has created a desperate situation as the most vulnerable run out of options.
Many keep going to work despite the high risk of infection. Often, they don’t have a choice, relying on their employers to keep them safe. But in some cases, they have been let down.
With the viral spread in Peel picking up speed, keeping our essential workers safe should be a priority.
It took a punishing pandemic and a damning report from our military to expose some of the deep flaws in our retirement homes and long-term care system. But elder abuse goes much deeper, into our tone-deaf legal system, and our ill-designed power-of-attorney rules that put in jeopardy the life savings and well-being of our loved ones.
A local cleanup operation jumped into action Friday after a business allowed diesel to spill into the Credit River. The spill is the worst of its kind since the early 2000s and illustrates the fragility of Mississauga’s natural ecosystem.
Mississauga and Brampton mayors have criticized the Province’s decision to include Peel Region in the modified Phase 2 restrictions, citing a lack of data when targeting businesses, including the food industry. Many entrepreneurs in the sector, like Mississauga's Irine D’Cunha, can’t be helped, even with a new support program rolled out by Ottawa.
In long-term care homes and for those accessing these types of home-based services, creating an environment that caters to a senior’s ‘cultural needs’ is crucial. But a combination of issues is blocking this from happening.
Peel Regional Police unveiled a new anti-discrimination project this week in partnership with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Dubbed by both organizations as “legally binding”, community members have shared their concern that the force, dogged by revelations of its discriminatory culture, is on another PR mission instead of actually seeking transformative change.
The City funded Neighbourhood Watch Brampton, providing $150,000 for a yearlong pilot program in 2019. It served an important function in a community shaken by crime over recent years. Those running it, including the program’s manager, Fazal Khan, say difficulties impacted their success, while council said more could have been done and that’s why it discontinued its support.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton’s Patrick Brown face the same dilemma as most entrepreneurs in their cities: they want to jump start the economy and get revenues flowing but the daily COVID case numbers in Peel continue to trend in the wrong direction. If things don’t turn around, the current 28-day return to much of the Stage 2 lockdown could be extended.
Campaigners in Peel have been pushing since at least June to change the profile of Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) Division 19’s leadership. Last week, the executive agreed to let an anti-Black racism committee appoint three new senior positions. Despite the success, 28 percent of the union’s top brass voted against the move, showing there is still work to be done.
St. André Bessette Catholic School in Brampton is the latest in Peel hit hard by the novel coronavirus. It had to shut six classrooms after Peel Public Health declared an outbreak driven by the school community. The continued spread in the region’s educational setting is creating chaos for boards trying to manage shifting attitudes among parents who are balancing schooling and safety.
Gang violence continues to spread across parts of Brampton and Mississauga in 2020, while Peel Regional Police have been unable to get as many guns off the streets in recent years. The numbers dropped while officers were forced to take up other responsibilities.
The solution: balance the expensive costs of frontline investigations with funding initiatives that deal with the root causes of crime and other crises police are increasingly dealing with.
A majority of those who have survived some form of human trafficking don’t come forward for help or share their stories with police. It’s due to fear and uncertainty, but mostly a matter of trust. Survivors don’t trust police and the legal system to prosecute, or service providers to help them. In a region that’s a hotbed for trafficking, rebuilding broken trust is a must.
On Thursday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced his government would scrap Regulation 274, a rule that values seniority over all else in the hiring of teachers. The move has been criticized by unions and cautiously welcomed by advocates calling for more equity in education.
The two groups agree on one thing: removing the regulation alone is not enough. A robust plan to hire racialized teachers, especially in Peel, needs to come next.
Just days ago, the city had the highest proportion of new cases of any provincial hotspot, while testing levels remain far below Ontario’s per capita targets. The Province has acknowledged the city’s dire situation but refuses to take responsibility for the lack of resources, which only it can provide.
The statement of claim against Holland Christian Homes details the lawsuit on behalf of those residents impacted during the spread of the novel coronavirus. The claim outlines problems witnessed over the past decade, alleging the organization failed to provide adequate care long before the pandemic.
Families with elderly members in long-term care facilities know the importance of personal support workers, but the lack of critical staff is painfully obvious. Residents and their loved ones in Mississauga and Brampton want to know why more isn’t being done to increase alarmingly low staffing levels as a second wave of COVID-19 spreads across the two cities.
Less than two years after a much vaunted revamp of Canada’s family reunification immigration program, Ottawa has scrapped recent controversial changes and reinstated random selection. The system, one of only a few non-economic routes into Canada, offers a chance for Peel families to reunite with grandparents who have felt particularly far removed in a world separated by the novel coronavirus.
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new program in early September aimed at members of the Black business community, many people, including the president of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, were cautiously optimistic. More than a month later, the application process for business loans still hasn’t opened and no timelines have been provided. Meanwhile, the pandemic’s second wave is ravaging companies, big and small, across Peel.
Experts say issues with cohorting, class sizes, and ventilation exist.
But a ruling from the Labour Relations Board means there will be no widespread changes, based on the position of Ontario’s four main teachers’ unions. Any issues that come across a teacher’s table will have to be brought to their board's attention individually.
Bars, restaurants and gyms are among the businesses in Peel that will be forced to close their indoor services starting Saturday.
The move is being billed as a version of Stage 2 protocols by the Ontario government, which has finally acted to slow down surging COVID-19 case numbers in three hotspots.
Experts are warning hospitals need space to treat sudden outbreaks of COVID-19.
With Brampton Civic facing extreme gridlock numerous times in September, it’s unclear how the hospital will handle any increasing patient numbers during COVID-19's second wave.
For weeks, schools in Peel have been reporting new cases of COVID-19 as students attempt to learn in the midst of a global pandemic.
October has brought the first official outbreaks in the region's schools, while one in Brampton had four cases on top of other classroom closures.
COVID cases in Peel schools continue to rise and 27 classrooms are currently closed. As thousands of students hope to keep learning in person, the weight of teaching in an incredibly challenging environment is compounded by the constant worry of an invisible killer looming around educators. But they are persevering, performing an essential duty to keep millions of Ontarians moving forward.
In June, members of OSSTF in Peel voted to create three new executive positions designed to help dismantle the anti-Black racism that permeates education in the region.
The new positions were a victory for racialized staff, desperate to be represented by their bargaining unit. However, union leadership has proved unwilling to cooperate.
Mississauga Ward 2 Councillor Karen Ras last week tabled a successful motion asking Queen’s Park for the ability to enter buildings whose owners are suspected of making renovations without a permit. The move is directed at unscrupulous landlords who cram tenants into badly built spaces, but the retrofitting of suburban family homes into apartment dwellings also raises questions about how to accommodate the city’s exploding population.
The Peel District School Board is offering parents and students a chance to switch from in-person to online learning as COVID-19 cases pile up in Ontario. The welcome move will take more than a month for the board to process, meaning families who want to make the move won’t be able to remove children from the classroom until November 18.
Three Black staff members plan to take the Peel District School Board to the Human Rights Tribunal, alleging anti-Black racism has contributed to poor mental health. The lawyer representing all three hopes a tribunal ruling in their favour would change how mental health and racism are viewed across Ontario.
When schools shut down in March and parents were forced to change their work schedules, daycare was a pressing topic on many minds. But now that schools are open and more students are staying home, childcare options aren’t nearly as tight as usual.
Council members in Brampton have backed a contradictory motion expressing their support for a sprawl-inducing highway and smart growth urban boulevard along the same route.
It’s an idea the Province has dismissed as unworkable, with no one at City Hall able to offer a technical solution for the two incompatible plans. The highway represents land use in direct conflict with City Council’s so-called climate emergency declaration.
After a brief retirement, Janice Baker is returning to city building.
The distinguished former head bureaucrat of Mississauga is taking the reins of the Region of Peel at a critical time when big decisions around growth are needed to guide the region toward a smart and sustainable future, away from the costly sprawl still favoured by Caledon.
Only one week after it opened, Brampton’s second COVID-19 testing centre shut its doors to the public, leaving one facility for the city’s 670,000 residents to get tested.
Business owners fear this lack of testing will only draw out the pandemic and force more businesses to close.
Colder temperatures are on the horizon and the province is preparing to fight rising COVID-19 case numbers with enhanced restrictions for Ontario.
In Peel, despite some of the highest daily case counts since the start of the pandemic, health officials and politicians continue to deny the region is in a second wave.
The new facility was promised to be in the city for the “foreseeable future” and was to assist with long lines at Brampton’s lone COVID-19 assessment centre. The Province has since introduced testing at private pharmacies to help with screening in hotspots, but the expected impact hasn’t been felt in Brampton yet. Meanwhile, the man heading the region’s public health response and the mayor are again trying to minimize local problems.
Mayor Patrick Brown, along with some councillors, appear to be speaking out of both sides of their mouth about a massive 4-series highway the Province is determined to build right through the city’s undeveloped west side.
In 2019, they threw their weight behind the GTA West Corridor, endorsing the Doug Ford government’s plan to restart the project, which had been cancelled by the previous Liberal regime. Now, they support a smart growth design for the huge stretch of land, with dense communities, transit and a boulevard concept. The problem: it’s incompatible with Queen’s Park’s approach.
Classrooms in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon have been closed as the number of schools with COVID-19 cases in the Region of Peel passes 70.
Rising community cases continue to increase the risk of in-school transmission.
Mississauga-based rapper Darren John, aka Avalanche the Architect, argues there are several reasons why his conviction for uttering threats against his former music promoter in connection to the lyrics in one of his songs should be overturned.
After the original trial and conviction gained widespread attention across North America, placing freedom of expression rights and rap culture up against interpretations of the law, John will be back in court this week to convince a judge the initial finding should be turned around.
The region’s largest city has watched its COVID-19 case count balloon over the last ten days, after almost four months of good results. With Ontario recording 700 new cases on Monday, the highest since the start of the pandemic, Mississauga and many other GTA cities are caught in a dilemma: either shutdown completely, once again, or deal with the reality of viral infection when businesses, services and private social gatherings are allowed to carry on. Will recent restrictions imposed by the Ontario government help the city get back to where it was for most of the summer?
A pandemic that has laid bare the region’s social ills, combined with irresponsible investment into a failing affordable housing system have created significant problems for downtown Brampton.
The Region of Peel has promised new drop-in sites for the homeless will be open by the end of the year and it has also purchased a new building it intends to convert to shelter space to help fill the wide gaps in the social support system.
The provincial pandemic hotspot continues to pose a major problem for public health, with disturbing rates of infection in recent days. On Friday, more cases of COVID-19 were reported in the city than any other day during the planet-wide crisis. The out-of-control viral spread in the city raises questions about whether Brampton, and possibly all of Peel, will be plunged back into Stage 2, with tighter restrictions and the possibility of shutting down certain businesses and services.
Urban designer Yvonne Yeung told The Pointer it’s way past time Brampton re-did its mazy land-use mix. The result: a prototype, the Shoppers World Hub. It promises to usher in a “new urban vibe”. And instead of the pandemic stalling this revolutionary design change, it has acted as an accelerant. The challenges: trying to find funding; and a premier who prefers sprawl.
Ontario has plans to boost daily testing to 50,000 within the next month, and is actively trying to increase the amount of tests it can process, but has hit some roadblocks. Mississauga and Brampton residents will be able to visit 17 pharmacies in the two cities, as of Friday, to get a COVID-19 test.
Brampton, in particular, needs test results returned as fast as possible, to disrupt the rapid community spread of the novel coronavirus.
In Peel, Lester B. Pearson is the region’s first school to record three separate COVID-19 cases. With infections spreading rapidly in an area considered a provincial hotspot, Brampton-based NDP MPPs are again calling for the province to lower the size of elementary school classes.
The Doug Ford government, critics say, is more concerned about other public spaces, now under dramatically limited social gathering restrictions recently imposed, while the safety of children in schools is being ignored.
COVID-19 has disrupted the world’s drug supply, forced people into isolation and has led to a surge in opioid related overdoses.
In Peel, much of the long-term effort to battle the opioid crisis has been placed on hold with the lion’s share of public health resources allocated to fight the novel coronavirus, a fight that should be mirrored to deal with mounting drug-related deaths.
The Peel District School Board has published an apology to parent Idris Orughu for a trespass letter issued against him in February.
The statement, which admits the move represented anti-Black racism, is signed by supervisor Bruce Rodrigues and not the leaders in charge at the time.
The first wave of COVID-19 exposed a critical problem in long-term care homes across Canada: many are unable to maintain properly staffed shifts.
Through the first wave of the pandemic, a number of recommendations and calls to action have been made by political leaders and seniors’ advocates to ensure the problem doesn’t repeat itself in the inescapable second wave. So far the province has remained silent.
With schools in Brampton and Mississauga reporting new cases of the novel coronavirus daily, Peel finds itself vastly overrepresented in the total number of elementary and secondary education institutions with infections.
As the virus continues to enter the classroom, the region’s two school boards are struggling to finalize plans while students and parents grow more impatient.
Parts of Ontario have forced the entire province backward, as rules to reduce the size of social gatherings originally applied to just Peel, Toronto and Ottawa, are now in effect for all of Ontario. The recent viral spread in Peel, with seven times as many cases over five days compared to a five-day period about a month ago, comes as the number of schools reporting cases across Brampton and Mississauga increases rapidly.
Two weeks after Doug Ford said he could send pop-up testing centres to help Brampton with its COVID-19 crisis, new spaces have opened.
One will be in place for more than just temporary relief, offering desperately needed help to William Osler and its pitiful testing record in the city.