A collaborative of more than 50 social organizations is calling on Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk and the Ontario integrity commissioner to keep digging into the PC government and conduct a fulsome analysis of the behind the scenes work that went into creating the myriad of development policies rammed through during Premier Doug Ford’s tenure—many of which have benefited prominent home builders in Ontario.
The group posits that if the auditor general found wrongdoing in the flawed Greenbelt land removal scheme—a process Premier Ford said the ends justified the means—there could be more wrongdoing to uncover.
In light of an announcement by Education Minister Stephen Lecce to investigate the circumstances around a lawsuit by late TDSB principal Robert Bilkszto, Black community advocates gathered at a press conference on August 2 calling for the protection and continuation of anti-racism work and diversity/equity/inclusion efforts in Ontario school systems.
Across North America, equity work is meeting more and more resistance.
James Dick Construction, one of the biggest aggregate companies operating in Caledon, has had direct involvement in the process to update regional mapping that will guide the future of resource extraction in Peel’s northern reaches.
The company’s engagement, which also includes sitting as a representative on Caledon’s Aggregate Resources Community Working Group, has triggered concerns there is a conflict of interest, and the potential for James Dick to put its private interests over those of Caledon residents.
With the transition board now in place to carry out the incredibly complex task of breaking up the Region of Peel over the next two years, serious questions are being raised about how Peel will continue to deliver critical social services while trying to disconnect the complexities of regional government.
Advocates at prominent community agencies are worried the Region will be unable to juggle the ongoing dissolution, without creating ripple effects that will slow down services like affordable housing, public health, mental health and addiction, and long-term care for the residents who depend on them.
The leaders of the three opposition parties in Ontario are all calling for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, to resign following the release of the auditor general’s report that provided a detailed account of how the PC government worked behind the scenes, holding hands with some of the country’s most powerful developers, to open up large swaths of the Greenbelt for development.
For some, a resignation is not enough and are calling for the lands to be returned to the Greenbelt and a criminal investigation into the scandal.
As auto giant Stellantis moves toward a future dominated by electric vehicles, uncertainty continues to plague workers at the Brampton Assembly.
In May of last year, workers were told the company would stop production of its muscle cars in 2024, during which time the plant would be retooled to begin producing electric vehicles. Questions about what this means for the plant’s thousands of employees are swirling in the background of Unifor’s ongoing contract negotiations, with workers seeking improved wages, pensions and benefits.
Residents of Belfountain, a modest community with a population of just over 200, are banding together to appeal a decision made by the Niagara Escarpment Commission to approve the development of 75 large rural estates that will essentially double the population of the hamlet.
Increasingly, locals are concerned about how the addition of these large homes will impact the water table that supplies their drinking water, and how the already strained Credit River can continue to withstand the urbanization occurring along its borders.
A report by Bonnie Lysyk offers a detailed account of how the PC government, led by Premier Doug Ford, worked behind the scenes, taking directions from some of the most powerful developers in the country, to open up Ontario’s protected Greenbelt so they can pocket billions in profits by destroying greenspaces for sprawling subdivisions.
Lysyk estimates the Greenbelt land owned by developers, much of it bought after Ford won the 2022 election, is now worth $8.523 billion.
Ahmad Attia, a previous member of the Peel police board between 2019 and 2023, has been reappointed by the provincial government. The move fills the board complement at a critical time for the force as it attempts to tackle systemic racism in partnership with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
The PC government continues to avoid explaining why Ron Chatha, the former provincial appointee, was ousted suddenly from the role in April.
A new joint report from the United Nations Environment Program and the Sabin Centre for Climate Change Law at Columbia university shows climate change litigation is on the rise globally.
Citizens are increasingly taking corporations and governments to court over their failure to responsibly act on emissions reductions and other environmental harms. The process has moved slowly and many cases have been lost in the past, but lawyers say the tide is changing toward the strongest form of climate action. New Canadian legislation could speed up the fight.
As Brampton battles the ongoing issue of driveway widening, a staff report brought to council on July 31st highlighted the efforts made by City Hall to address this problem.
Attempts to bring awareness of adverse impacts (while enforcing bylaws aimed at preventing driveway widening violations) continue as Brampton’s mismatched housing stock creates unusual pressures to meet the demands of residents. Driveway widening not only makes neighborhoods overcrowded with parked cars, environmental impacts on the city’s storm management system put properties at greater risk of flooding.
As temperatures continue to rise it’s not only the human habitat that is changing. More and more ecosystems are becoming increasingly suitable habitats for a variety of biting insects that transmit pathogens and diseases, which can be harmful to humans.
A Freedom of Information request filed by The Pointer has revealed Mayor Annette Groves and Town of Caledon staff participated in media training from Redbrick, a company specializing in “strategic communications” prior to a public meeting about a mega blasting quarry application in Cataract.
Mayor Groves says the training did not change her message of full transparency to members of the community.
Several months after Brampton resident and former police board chair Ron Chatha’s unexpected removal from the Peel Police Services Board in April, the PC government has failed to provide the public with answers about why the sudden decision was made.
When Chatha, who was in the midst of his second 3-year term on the board, was removed, Premier Doug Ford told the public more information would be coming “in the near future,” but despite requests from The Pointer, the PC government refuses to explain its decision.
Time has run out on the Ontario PC government. The recent by-election losses are the latest evidence that residents are ready for change.
If Doug Ford doesn’t align his policies with the need for immediate action to avert a climate disaster, voters will take the protection of the air we breathe and water we drink into our own hands.
The local organization has been launching youth into future success, in and outside the world of athletics.
For its remarkable record over the years, the Brampton Racers Track Club was recently recognized by City Hall for its collective contribution to local youth sports, leadership and overall success.
The Region of Peel will be no more as of 2025.
From affordable housing to assisted care for seniors and public health to early childcare, how will these critical social safety nets be administered and delivered when the government currently responsible for them no longer exists?
Ongoing construction along Trafalgar Road for the Erin wastewater treatment plant has upended the lives of residents who live in small, century-old homes along the major thoroughfare.
While the Town claims the wastewater treatment plant will bring ‘progress’, residents feel their way of life is being destroyed.
As the Region of Peel battles a homelessness crisis exacerbated by the lack of affordable housing, two Mississauga councillors are working on temporary solutions to help save vulnerable residents from precarious, and sometimes dangerous, housing situations.
Joe Horneck and Alvin Tedjo have requested the Region study the potential for “modular-style” housing units as a rapid response to combat an overcrowded shelter system.
After several months of delays, the case against two former Peel CAS employees charged with defrauding the organization of a combined $250,000 is moving forward. Former director of finance Marino Cader will appear in court for a pre-trial hearing on July 31.
Andre Paul, the organization’s former maintenance coordinator and the co-accused in the case, will appear in court on September 18. Peel CAS has faced more than three years of scrutiny after widespread mismanagement under former CEO Rav Bains was exposed.
Bill C-226 has sparked awareness of environmental racism across Canada. It is an injustice that continues to plague Indigenous, Black and other marginalized communities. The Bill’s passage would be a significant step toward justice, after decades of harm to people forced to drink dirty water, live alongside poisoned lakes and contaminated industrial sites. For Ingrid Waldron, a champion of the environmental racism education and activist movement in Canada, legislation to stop institutionalized harm is long overdue. Meanwhile, Bill S-5 just passed, possibly leading to legal precedents for the protection of environmental rights.
As the need for locally grown produce, wheat and other food staples becomes more and more critical, to reduce the cost of what we eat, dramatically shrink our carbon footprint and to practice sustainable ways of living, the Doug Ford PC government continues to move Ontario backward, writes the architect of the province’s Greenbelt plan, Victor Doyle.
After a harrowing 2019 report revealed Peel paramedics experience violence at an alarming rate while out in the field saving lives and treating the injured, superintendent Mandy Johnston has made it her mandate to shift a culture that frowns on reporting cases of harassment and violence. She and many others want to change the status quo, that it’s just “part of the job.”
Critical services like housing and shelter beds for those experiencing intimate partner violence in Peel have been underfunded for much of the last decade.
Now, regional councillors, spurred by newly elected members, are moving beyond symbolic gestures and declarations, with the approval in principle of $250,000 in next year’s budget to help survivors.
Pocket dials are costing communicators—responsible for getting emergency calls to police, fire, or ambulance—precious time that could be the difference between life or death. SOS settings in smartphones initially designed to help alert others when the owner needs help, are causing serious problems for frontline emergency services staff.
These poorly designed smartphone features are clogging 911 call centres around the globe, and in Peel, the people who direct first responders are spending almost half their time dealing with misplaced calls or ones that have nothing to do with an emergency.
Peel Police tell The Pointer that fire-related injuries were not what caused the trauma suffered by an elderly resident who was renting a basement unit in a Brampton house.
A man who lives in the same home where the fatality took place has been charged with second-degree murder and he remains in police custody.
Among all of the stressors of growing up in the 21st century, climate change tops the list for causing anxiety in youth. While this type of stress can be debilitating, experts and young climate advocates say channeling this fear into action can have a monumental impact.
After a limited survey was carried out in Brampton to understand the municipal responsibilities most important to residents, Council has placed a third hospital (it still does not have a second one), sustainability and improving community safety as top priorities for the current term.
With a poor track record on these initiatives, and a strapped budget to implement new projects, council members will need to change their ways in order to accomplish what Brampton desperately needs.
The Region of Peel is considering emergency action to address its ongoing affordable housing crisis, following the failure of its last two plans.
Despite a policy to never turn away anyone looking for emergency shelter, officials admit more than 300 people over a recent two-week period were denied a bed, as facilities continue to operate beyond capacity. New council members are pushing their veteran colleagues to finally do something about the dire situation.
Despite a growing workload and limited resources, Peel’s Internet Child Exploitation unit saw incredible success in 2022, identifying and saving more child victims from further sexual exploitation online than in any previous year.
The good news story is tainted by the reality of our time, as ICE units across the country grapple with an exponential increase in online abuse.
In a city plagued by fire fatalities, Brampton’s latest tragedy has led to a criminal investigation after an 80-year-old man renting a basement unit died following a July 2 fire. His roommate has been charged with arson and second-degree murder.
The circumstances around the case remain unclear, but there is no legal basement apartment at the address on the City’s official list of registered secondary suites.
In the face of increasing overdose deaths across the Region, Peel councillors have approved the location for a safe consumption site in Brampton’s Bramalea neighbourhood.
The facility is planned to open in the fall and will offer life-saving services for Peel’s drug-using population.
Staff and councillors have exposed the ill-conceived, and illegal, motion by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown for the Region of Peel to take out $11 billion of debt.
Brown claimed the debt is necessary to build infrastructure to solve the housing crisis, but staff explained that much debt—more than double the amount taken out in a single year by every municipality in Canada combined—is simply impossible and would financially cripple the region, with taxpayers burdened by about $2,000 more every year to pay for Brown’s plan.
A $14 million investment made by the PC government to support conservation efforts is being praised as a crucial step forward for sustainability. However, the funds come alongside cuts Doug Ford has made to conservation authorities, impacting their ability to shape a more sustainable future.
Through a recent notice of motion, Mississauga Councillor Alvin Tedjo is looking to change an existing City by-law that prohibits residents from playing on City streets. The motion asks staff to review the existing by-law, which has been in place for over two decades, and make amendments so children and others can indulge in their favourite outdoor pastime, such as street hockey, in their own neighbourhood.
A recent report from Peel Regional Police revealed the number of reported hate-motivated crime offences across Mississauga and Brampton increased by seven percent between 2021 and 2022. While advocacy groups say the numbers are troubling, they are no longer shocking. They attribute the steady rise in cases to digital echo chambers like social media that create large spaces to fuel hate crimes in communities, including in Peel.
Environment Canada released its climate outlook for the summer which predicted particularly hot temperatures that have now set in across much of the province. Ontario’s electricity grid has to expand and the PC government on Wednesday announced the largest new nuclear project in decades. But alternative energy sources such as solar and wind are falling behind the global take-up of greener electricity supply.
Peel Regional Police, in partnership with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, recently revealed a draft document of recommendations to address and dismantle systemic racism and discrimination in the regional police force, which has been under public scrutiny for years for not reflecting the community it serves. Racial profiling, discriminatory hiring and the refusal to promote deserving visible minority officers forced the Commission to intervene. The recommendations, 64 in total, are a culmination of work that began in 2020 to develop and implement strategies to identify and address systemic discrimination within the force after a 2019 report revealed a disturbing culture operating within one of the most diverse regions in the world.
Ontarians waste a great deal of food.
It’s a sad reality as the cost of staple items skyrockets, and a growing number of families are unable to put enough on their table. Wasted food comes with significant financial and environmental costs that are becoming increasingly hard to ignore for municipalities and corporations.
Gender-based violence has been labelled an “epidemic” in the Region of Peel.
While elected officials have strong words of support for advocates dedicated to ending the violence and helping survivors, they stopped short of providing any financial assistance to the cash-strapped organizations.
Mississauga’s Living Green Master Plan, which guided the City’s sustainability actions, is set to retire after a decade-long run. City staff have assured council and residents that Mississauga is not backtracking on action, in fact they are pushing ahead full throttle with further contributions to the Climate Change Master Plan and more specific and detailed plans throughout City departments that will help tackle some of the top priorities for climate mitigation and adaptation.
A grassroots organization calling for stricter penalties when municipal council members are caught abusing their oath of office wants Brampton to support legislation that was recently introduced at Queen’s Park.
In 2018 the city’s mayor was accused by two young women of sexually assaulting them (he denies the allegations) and has been dogged throughout his career by accusations of behaving inappropriately with young women.
Patrick Brown urged regional staff to break the law through a motion that would have saddled Peel taxpayers with $11 billion of debt. Despite the absurdity of taking on such a crippling debt load, Brown argued the step was necessary to battle the ongoing housing crisis. That was until the true purpose of his motion became clear.
He was criticized for attempting to squeeze Mississauga into paying for Brampton’s future infrastructure needs (while refusing to expand his own city’s budget since being elected in 2018) after Peel’s dissolution.
Leading Mississauga Fire through one of the most challenging periods in its history, Chief Deryn Rizzi has stepped up to the task, with finesse. She is a dynamic force who was just named Ontario Fire Chief of the Year for the work MFES has done to keep residents in a booming city safe. Improving the department she took over in 2021, while tight finances and hyper-growth create ongoing problems, is a responsibility she seems perfectly suited for.
Provincial politicians arrived at the annual general meeting of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario to deliver praise for a profession that has suffered with low wages and crushing workloads for years.
While the PC health minister refused to acknowledge the role her government has had in this crisis, including their ongoing fight to preserve legislation that was labelled unconstitutional by the courts and has kept wages for nurses well below the rate of inflation for the last three years, opposition leaders took quick aim at the majority government’s track record, often to raucous applause from the nurses in attendance.
A non-profit organization breaking ground in Peel is hoping to strengthen climate initiatives across the region.
While the group hopes to propel Mississauga further down its path to sustainability and help Brampton revitalize its lagging environmental efforts, two major pieces of provincial legislation forced by the PC government will drastically hamper these efforts.
Brampton is falling behind other GTHA cities in efforts to protect tenants from exploitation at the hands of landlords as more and more are displaced from their homes.
ACORN, a province-wide tenant organization, appeared before council members to highlight issues making Brampton one of the most expensive rental markets in Canada. Solutions, the group says, are available.
Nine months after the provincial government issued an MZO for a sprawling warehouse development along Torbram Road in Caledon’s southeast end, the applicant, Rice Group, is holding public meetings to hear the concerns of residents.
Constituents want to know why they were not part of any consultation on the development before its approval, and feel they are only now being included as part of the lip service by those responsible for their treatment.
Brampton residents are demanding answers after a home builder was supposed to protect wildlife in wetland areas that were approved to be drained to accommodate future construction. Instead, fish and other species that populated the local ecosystems were left to die without the proper management the developer was supposed to oversee.
Neighbourhood members want to know why requirements were not followed.
With only four months until the end of Caledon’s one year interim control bylaw limiting aggregate operations, residents and councillors are cracking down on town staff to complete necessary studies and policy upgrades within the remaining time. The Town has taken the steps to hire an outside consultant and develop an aggregate community working group. A review provided to the Town by the Region of Peel surprised residents, suggesting Caledon’s aggregate situation is far better than what the evidence suggests.