The great promise of a new-look mayor and council after the 2018 municipal election was that they would remain steadfast in their support of the 2040 Vision document that was a by-product of thousands of hours of meetings and discussions with the Brampton public. Those tenets were embraced as more than a vision but a real game plan for future growth. A blueprint.
But recent signs are worrying. Embracing the 2040 Vision might only go so far. The latest planning decisions on the Queen Street East Corridor and the GTA West Corridor stand in sharp contrast and make the city look inconsistent in its long-term outlook.
Residents were invited to a special council meeting Wednesday to learn how the city will implement a shift away from bad urban planning towards a dynamic city of the future. It seems like an earlier initiative driven by input from more than 13,000 local residents might need some modifications.
On Wednesday, after pleaful delegations from the Concerned Ontario Doctors organization were delivered to city council, Brampton officially declared a healthcare emergency. Each year, thousands of patients wait in hallways to be treated at Brampton Civic, the city’s lone full-service hospital. With a second hospital operating as a ‘glorified walk-in clinic,’ the city is unprepared to deal with its staggering care crisis.
In January 2019, the parent and grandparent program was heavily criticized after it closed to applications in less than ten minutes. People living in Brampton, Mississauga and across Canada hoping to reunite with their loved ones were left disheartened. Two days before 2020 applications were set to open, the submissions were delayed with no fixed date in sight. Now, the program faces further uncertainty.
The Vision, an aspirational document shaped with the input of more than 13,000 residents seeking to make Brampton a future ready city of dynamic complete communities, could come with a hefty price tag. Will council members be willing to follow through on a master strategy, if it means those same residents will have to pay for much of what they want?
Brampton’s tree canopy has been suffering for years and it could take decades before it returns to its former glory, despite all initiatives the city has taken to reverse its decline.
The push by Mayor Patrick Brown and local councillors to bring BramptonU to the city, to finally create a full post-secondary university campus in the country’s ninth largest municipality, is getting plenty of attention from staff involved in the marketing campaign.
But lost in the city’s press releases, the designated website and a YouTube-video are any real details of how the strategy will work and tangible evidence the city can even get such a monumental project done.
For the first time in 20 years, all four of Ontario’s teachers’ unions are taking job action.
Next week, elementary teachers and Catholic teachers across the province will take part in a one-day strike, the latest in a string of efforts by the union to propel ongoing bargaining in their favour.
A vibrant arts scene not only has the power to create a beautiful city, but the ability to promote development and job creation.
Brampton’s vision for 2040 relies heavily on a strong arts and culture community and the creation of spaces dedicated to nurturing young creatives.
Enter the Agency, a new group dedicated to supporting Brampton’s ailing arts sector, and transforming it into the foundation for the city’s future plans.
As initial plans for Phase II of the Peel Memorial Centre expansion are set to be submitted to the province at the end of this month, the City of Brampton and William Osler Health System have received some unwelcome news.
Recent word from the province suggests the city and Osler will need to come up with much more money than originally thought, possibly hundreds of millions more.
Mayor Patrick Brown wants a tax freeze, a move that boosts his popularity among property owners.
Last year he was able to achieve his campaign pledge of freezing local taxes with some creative accounting and delayed investment in small projects that most taxpayers don't pay close attention to.
Holding the line on taxes won't be so easy this year, especially with the province demanding tens of millions of dollars for the expansion of Peel Memorial.
Brampton’s court system is at a breaking point, with little help on the horizon. Recent admissions by the province of Ontario about its struggling appointment process for judges offers little hope as future pressures loom.
In 2016, the Region of Peel brought in a bylaw banning the smoking of shisha products inside buildings and on patios. The new rule was protested by the owners of several hookah bars in the area, who said the ban would drive them out of business. The legal fight made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which recently quashed the appeal, leaving local business owners with few options moving forward.
With the rise of violent crime in Peel over the last few years, Peel police have had to consistently devote more resources to solving the more heinous, highly public crimes, spreading thin a workforce that is already too small for a region this size.
The hard work has paid off, with Peel police maintaining high solvency rates for these violent crimes, but at what cost?
As the cost of living continues to skyrocket in Mississauga and Brampton, more and more families find themselves relying on food banks. These last resort safety nets offer help to those who cannot afford to put food on their table, with the number of people using them generally considered a good barometer of a city’s poverty. However, while the Mississauga Food Bank keeps detailed records and produces statistical data, food organizations in Brampton are more disorganized with nobody keeping track. As a result, councillors at the Region of Peel have a dilemma when it comes to finding solutions, without statistics to guide their decisions.
Over the course of 2019, the provincial government made a series of announcements for hospital redevelopment projects across Ontario. However, in Brampton, where the city’s frontline healthcare providers are being crushed under the pressure of trying to serve a growing city with only one full-service hospital, they were continuously left out. Now, with the government’s first infrastructure announcement of the new year, that trend is continuing.
In January 2019, the updated parent and grandparent reunification process came under harsh criticism as it closed just nine minutes after opening. Across Mississauga, Brampton and Canada as a whole, people who had hoped to bring their relatives to live with them were left disappointed, frustrated and forced to wait another year to try again. However, just as January 2020 was about to present a second opportunity to invite relatives to Canada, the Liberal government slammed on the breaks.
When John F. Kennedy circled himself with loyal lieutenants, he pushed out many with the knowledge and expertise to help lead his country at a crucial time. His shortened presidency, despite the disturbing behaviour revealed after his assassination, is remembered as one of the greatest in American history.
For Patrick Brown, questionable decisions to hire inexperienced senior staff with checkered pasts, will only be overlooked if he and his team start getting significant wins for Brampton.
It’s becoming unavoidable. Any future urban planning must include the caveat of preparing for the looming impacts of climate change. For Peel Public Health, our warming planet has become a key threat to the well being of residents.
As the new decade dawns, a recently released plan lays out the public health agency’s priorities for the next 10 years, and how it will deal with global warming, its impact on a rising tide of mental illness and a healthcare system the most vulnerable often can’t access.
Early in the new year, Brampton will face a major checkpoint in the city’s journey to a denser, more urban future.
A rezoning request for the Shoppers World redevelopment will be received on January 13, with plans in place to turn the mid-sized mall into a retail and residential space with 28-storey towers and nearly 5,000 living spaces. The plan could mark one of the first significant shifts toward the goals of Brampton's 2040 Vision.
A program that has seen great success in the United States, identifying approximately 1,200 victims of human trafficking, is expanding into Canada for the first time.
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) offers training and education to the trucking industry to help turn thousands of sets of eyes and ears that travel the nation’s highways — areas frequently used by traffickers — into crime-fighting tools to spot these pimps at work. A horrific case in the U.S. serves as an example of how truckers here can help fight this brutal crime.
While thousands across Peel spend Christmas and Boxing Day with their families, some will wake up in the wee hours to get to work. With public transit services limited for the holidays, it takes longer for some to commute on a day when everyone else is resting. As most relax, someone has to keep vital services running across Brampton and Mississauga.
In the Region of Peel, shelter facilities for the homeless have been stretched for years. Every budget, worries around tax increases and other financial pressures leave the region’s housing crisis as a problem for the next year. Though homelessness is now an unavoidable issue, between 2018 and 2019, some beds were taken away and some added through the region’s shelters, leading to a net increase of five spaces in total.
While highly-paid public officials pontificated about justice for taxpayers and the structure of the region, debating optics that impact their political fortunes, issues such as affordable housing, the growing crisis of homelessness, public health and child care funding were largely ignored during the just-completed budget approval process. Emergency shelters are groaning under the strain of ever soaring demand as winter arrives, but those most in need this holiday season have once again been ignored.
Regional Council celebrated the approval of the 2020 Peel budget with much praise for staff who were able to trim a little more from an already lean budget, resulting in a 1.5 percent tax increase in the regional share of the property bill, down from the initially proposed 1.7 percent. The most recently proposed police budget was not touched, despite a council request to trim it.
While council members celebrated their efforts on the tax increase, what wasn’t mentioned was the utility rate jump which spiked from an initial 6.3 percent increase to 7.2 percent.
Chief Administrative Officer David Barrick, hired in October to oversee almost 4,000 staff, and Director of Communications Jason Tamming, hired in May to control the information in and out of City Hall, both have employment histories that would appear to disqualify them from ever holding a municipal-sector job again, after being fired from roles in Niagara. They are now part of an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police.
Mayor Patrick Brown, who has numerous connections to both men and chaired the committee that oversaw Barrick’s hiring, denies any direct or indirect help to get them their lucrative jobs with the municipality. So how did they land two of the most senior and influential positions within the City of Brampton?
After criticism of 2017 standards which effectively bar baptized Sikh paramedics from frontline work, the province has introduced changes that allow paramedic services to accommodate all employees.
The decision follows an arbitration in Hamilton on the subject and much debate, with Brampton East MPP Gurratan Singh raising the issue in the legislature, leading to the amended standards that should come into effect in January.
Days after an arbitration involving a Sikh paramedic in Hamilton who was unable to work because of new helmet regulations that in rare cases prevent the wearing of a beard, questions have been raised in the provincial legislature. Gurratan Singh asked Premier Doug Ford on Thursday what he would do to allow Sikh paramedics to continue to work and practice their religion.
The term Special Policy Area (SPA) sounds Orwellian, and Brampton is intent on trying to disentangle itself from its downtown floodplain SPA. This has stymied growth throughout history, but it will take a very high price tag to fix what ails us. The city, in concert with the TRCA and Peel region, is now taking steps to reach its ultimate goal: complete flood mitigation. The TRCA made an application and received $1.5 million in federal funding from the Ministry of Public Safety through its National Disaster Mitigation program. This money was specifically earmarked for an environmental assessment on Brampton’s SPA, a horseshoe-shaped piece of land in the downtown core. Will this eventually lead to a massive re-do of an “extremely complex urban environment”?
A tense day at the Region of Peel saw the divide between Mississauga and Brampton continue to grow. With police funding at the centre of combative deliberations, the two cities clashed on how to proceed.
After Mississauga councillors led a vote forcing Peel Regional Police to reduce its budget request, they pushed to shift $69 million in policing costs to Brampton arguing the city is responsible for more of the force’s work, angering its members on regional council.
Safety standards applied by the province to Ontario paramedics in 2017 have been highlighted in a recent arbitration case in Hamilton.
Rules put in place to change the helmets worn by paramedics throughout the province, including in Peel, have left some, particularly Sikh workers, struggling to balance their individual rights with workplace rules.
With a Region of Peel 2020 budget that is short on solutions and investments to tackle the growing affordable housing crisis, one critical area is being looked after.
Peel is moving forward with help to make sure survivors of human trafficking have somewhere to go when fleeing these dangerous criminal networks operating in the region.
Speeding continues to be a growing issue on the streets of Brampton and now city councillors are looking to take advantage of freshly released regulations from the province allowing the use of photo radar.
But while council pushes for rapid implementation to improve safety on local roads, city staff are worried the certain influx of speeding violations would cause Brampton’s overburdened court system to collapse.
A crowd unlike any city hall has ever seen arrived last week to protest a development proposal that a local community feels will disrupt the existing neighbourhood.
The plan, seen by many as too dense for the surrounding single-family homes, sparked fierce debate at the committee level before councillors approved it in a tight vote. The final vote at full council this week highlights the challenges of smart growth in a city that loves its space.
With regional councillors threatening to slash the proposed Peel police budget, efforts to improve efficiency were made clear by new chief Nishan Duraiappah during his first budget presentation last week.
But despite those efforts, the chief made it clear to councillors that any reduction in the proposed 5.4 percent budget hike could mean less new officers and compromised policing across Mississauga and Brampton.
In 2016, Canada legalized medical assistance in dying, mandating provinces around the country to legislate how the process would work. In Ontario, the province passed legislation which some argue threatened physicians’ right to consciously object to the process. In Alberta, a system was created to directly link patients with those who were happy to offer the service.
Now, one Brampton doctor is leading a campaign to modify Ontario’s system to allow physicians to become conscientious objectors to the process, one which raises many different moral debates.
Several Brampton councillors expressed dismay at the fact that less than 30 percent of city staff took part in a diversity and inclusion survey that cost $90,000 to carry out.
Council is now looking to get further, more in-depth results by having a complete audit done of the corporation to find out if its hiring and promotional practices are fair and reflective of one of the most diverse cities in the world.
In October last year, the PCs cancelled $90 million of funding promised for a downtown Ryerson University satellite campus in Brampton, marking the first plot twist in the city’s attempt to land a major post-secondary investment.
In the latest chapter, Mayor Patrick Brown and his council have launched an ambitious bid to create a brand new university, while a local college presence grows and Algoma also plans its latest expansion.
The province says a cache of $65 million in initiatives announced this year for anti-gun and gang initiatives will not be available for municipal applications until next year.
With very little wiggle room in the regional budget and hints already made that police will need to tighten the purse strings, it leaves councillors pulled in two different directions: respect the property tax payer while addressing a rise in gun and gang crime.
The province of Ontario will provide $20 million annually to organizations across the GTA offering support to survivors of human trafficking.
Not only will the influx of funds help create new programs to help women and men who have been victims of sex trafficking, it will also allow for the creation of much needed, long-term supports.
They’re not as exciting as new train systems or glitzy public buildings, but the Region of Peel is responsible for key pieces of infrastructure that keep everything running, including waste management and water pipes and roads that crisscross through Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon. Numbers in the region’s proposed 2020 budget show just how much strain its $30 billion worth of infrastructure is under.
Councillors from Mississauga dominated discussions at the first major Region of Peel budget meeting of the season.
Staff at the region say the proposed budget, with its tax increase of 1.7 percent for the region’s portion of the bill, is already as thin as it can safely be, yet the tone of discussions suggests changes will come. In particular, it was Peel Regional Police’s request for 35 new officers and an extra $23 million which came into question.
A town hall meeting organized by a group of residents saw over 300 people attend to provide feedback on a proposed development at the corner of Mayfield Road and Kennedy Road.
With approximately 360 units planned for the site, residents say the city is trying to shoehorn too many people into a community that can’t support it.
Inside the walls of Brampton city hall, things look a lot different than the municipality outside its doors.
The results of a recent audit have found that only 37 percent of Brampton’s staff are racialized individuals compared to nearly 75 percent of the city’s population.
But Mayor Patrick Brown’s office is a completely different story, with the vast majority of his own hires representing the diverse communities of his city.
It is free for landlords to register secondary suites with Mississauga, where Brampton charges $200. Yet, as of November 1, fewer than 900 properties were registered with the city, while 163 complaints were made about units that might be illegal.
Research by The Pointer found multiple illegal basement units advertised for rent on online marketplaces, with the city confirming it had laid no charges in 2019 for unlawful rental properties.
After weeks of turmoil at the Peel District School Board, and an upcoming probe by the province into allegations of anti-Black racism within the board, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is speaking out.
In a letter to board chair Stan Cameron, Brown urges the board to get its act together, to stop dismissing community concerns and he suggests the board should undertake a diversity and inclusion audit – like those completed for Peel police and the City of Brampton – in order to find solutions.
Since his election, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has made clear his desire for finding efficiencies and getting the business of the city on track, with a number of crucial files that need serious attention.
The last CAO was let go shortly after disagreeing with the new mayor’s plan to audit all city departments, but now council itself seems in disarray, with the city clerk even suggesting that councillors need to do a better job of managing the agenda. One member, Rowena Santos, seems most interested in matters outside her jurisdiction.
Mayor Patrick Brown says the City of Brampton is ready to apply to Ottawa and Queen’s Park for LRT funding. However, his claim doesn't make sense because of requirements for a completed environmental assessment. A new document shows the city is years away from qualifying for funding.
Meanwhile, councillors made the Main Street route, which was cancelled by their predecessors, the only option, without considering the numerous problems with the corridor. Brown says privacy issues prevent him from disclosing why he wants to tunnel the LRT, at a possible cost four times higher than a surface route.
The unions representing Ontario’s elementary and secondary school teachers have taken the first step toward a strike that would lock out almost a quarter of a million students across the region.
While union leaders urge that today’s work-to-rule action will keep teachers in the classroom and have little impact on students, it should be a signal to the province that things are not okay. Thousands of families across Peel would have to make alternate arrangements if teachers strike.
The former premier and the city’s most famous son will be given the key to the city this evening by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, one of thousands who still consider Bill Davis the epitome of the gentleman politician. At the age of 90, his body might be frail, but his legacy has never been stronger.
According to their own description, the PC government is bringing Ontario’s healthcare system into the 21st century. It’s a line many PC MPPs have touted when describing the shift toward less public health units and a new health network system in the province.
While the Ford government makes changes, one thing remains constant for the Region of Peel: the lack of investment into its public healthcare infrastructure.