Peel is Ontario’s hardest hit region, so why was it left out of a major vaccine rollout?

Peel is Ontario’s hardest hit region, so why was it left out of a major vaccine rollout?

Dr. Lawrence Loh is just as puzzled as everyone else, following Friday’s announcement that almost 200,000 new doses of the recently approved AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered to those aged 60 to 64 in certain parts of the province, but not in Peel, which has had Ontario's highest rates of infection throughout most of the pandemic. The news has left the region reeling as the Doug Ford PC government appears to once again be ignoring Peel’s dire situation. 



Swing and a miss: What’s the future of sports in Peel?

Swing and a miss: What’s the future of sports in Peel?

COVID-19 has challenged the present and future prospects of pro and amateur sport franchises alike in major cities around the world. But two of the most significant teams here in Peel seem to be striking out because of an ever-shrinking fan base. Meanwhile, the rabid support for the Raptors proves how passionate residents here are about sports. 



Finance minister apologizes for vacationing in Caribbean as Ontario’s daily infection count hits new high & Peel hospitals reach intensive care capacity

Finance minister apologizes for vacationing in Caribbean as Ontario’s daily infection count hits new high & Peel hospitals reach intensive care capacity

Rod Phillips is facing heavy backlash and promised to return home immediately, as more than 2,500 new viral infections were reported in the province Tuesday, a week after Mississauga and Brampton’s three full-service hospitals already reached the threshold for critical care capacity, leaving the region’s frontline healthcare system vulnerable as COVID-19 cases continue to mount.



In a year like no other United Way asks for donations to help Peel’s most vulnerable

In a year like no other United Way asks for donations to help Peel’s most vulnerable

United Way Greater Toronto, which supports 280 frontline agencies, is in the final few days of a major fundraising campaign. The dollars it’s able to collect are funnelled to the residents who need help most, after a range of charities already stepped up like never before.



Mississauga hospitals need more doctors as COVID-19 admissions mount

Mississauga hospitals need more doctors as COVID-19 admissions mount

It’s unclear if published daily case counts since Christmas are underreporting actual numbers. Meanwhile, hospitalizations including those COVID-19 patients in intensive care continue to put pressure on the province’s strained frontline healthcare system. Both Mississauga hospitals are reportedly trying to hire more physicians as capacity is stretched close to the limit.  



Part 2: The Digital Main Street dilemma

Part 2: The Digital Main Street dilemma

Will a short-term fix for smaller businesses, especially in our retail sector, help close a digital divide, and help thousands of stores modernize their way of doing business? Or have government-imposed shutdowns due to COVID helped addict us to online shopping and home delivery? Has the old in-store model of retail become passé, and will this forever change the look and feel of our downtowns?



On this quiet Boxing Day, as Ontario moves into province-wide lockdown, a model to close the great retail digital divide

On this quiet Boxing Day, as Ontario moves into province-wide lockdown, a model to close the great retail digital divide

Part 1 of a 2-part series: COVID-19 has created a reckoning for businesses around the world, forcing the hand of those not upping their digital offerings. A private-public sector program called Digital Main Street now offers small businesses, especially retailers, a chance to play catch-up and close the profitability gap.



SIU lays no charges in police shooting of D’Andre Campbell but criticizes officers’ behaviour

SIU lays no charges in police shooting of D’Andre Campbell but criticizes officers’ behaviour

In April of this year, 26-year-old D’Andre Campbell was shot dead by police after he called 911.  

The SIU decided there is no evidence to lay criminal charges against the officer, but the Director notes the case highlights systemic issues in how police respond to calls involving those with mental health issues. 



Now that would be a Christmas present — Don Cherry helps to save beloved Mississauga community ice rink

Now that would be a Christmas present — Don Cherry helps to save beloved Mississauga community ice rink

Following a petition asking the City of Mississauga to reconsider its plans to demolish a rare outdoor ice rink, staff are now weighing alternative locations for the beloved local skating pad. A successful campaign led by resident Joe Galati can be credited for the move, which pushed the mayor and local councillor to get behind plans to keep skating and hockey in the community alive.



As SIU charges another former Peel police officer with sexual assault Kevin Dickman’s friends wait for an apology

As SIU charges another former Peel police officer with sexual assault Kevin Dickman’s friends wait for an apology

A former officer who had questionable ties to at least one known criminal while he served on the force, has been charged by the SIU with sexual assault in an alleged 1992 incident. The charge comes after crimes inflicted on a Brampton boy by a sexual molester on the force five decades ago. The horrific acts seem more obscene considering Frank Kohler was allowed to dodge justice for 50 years, despite admitting his guilt to police investigators in the mid-70s. After he was finally confronted last year and recently pleaded guilty, he will be sentenced in March. But others need to be called out and investigated, and if complicit in wrongdoing, should face the full force of our criminal justice system, even if it thoroughly failed citizens in the past.  



Families refuse to comply after Ministry of Health supports Osler’s sudden closure of chronic care in Brampton

Families refuse to comply after Ministry of Health supports Osler’s sudden closure of chronic care in Brampton

The change is the latest update in an ongoing saga that started in October, when the organization asked families who rely on complex chronic care to find alternate options for their loved ones.

Officials have said the move is necessary to make room for more patients in the city’s lone hospital, which is chronically overcrowded, but families are demanding the changes be halted.



UPDATED: After a holiday spike, interactive map shows COVID-19 neighbourhood infection rates and outbreaks at Mississauga and Brampton schools

UPDATED: After a holiday spike, interactive map shows COVID-19 neighbourhood infection rates and outbreaks at Mississauga and Brampton schools

With viral spread continuing across Peel, parents and other residents want information about their neighbourhoods and schools in the surrounding area. 

The Pointer’s updated interactive map shows all schools located in Brampton and Mississauga neighbourhoods and the per capita infection rates for those areas. 



After ‘region hopping’, Ontario residents placed in lockdown and classroom learning will be delayed 

After ‘region hopping’, Ontario residents placed in lockdown and classroom learning will be delayed 

Peel students will join others across the province in an extended winter break from the classroom under the new pandemic restrictions, which call for virtual learning until schools reopen later in January.

Premier Doug Ford defended his decision to delay the start of the province-wide shutdown until after Christmas, in order to give businesses in those regions not currently under lockdown a chance to prepare. 



Report says Ontario needs a province-wide blueprint to eradicate anti-Black racism instead of empty words

Report says Ontario needs a province-wide blueprint to eradicate anti-Black racism instead of empty words

The report targets the education sector, social services, healthcare and the justice system. The goal is to move past pointing out the problem while simply saying change is needed. Policy makers need a clear, uniform strategy that can be effectively implemented to tackle institutionalized discrimination, which has far-reaching implications across the province.



Dysfunction at Peel Region continues: Brampton and Mississauga cut two seats from Caledon

Dysfunction at Peel Region continues: Brampton and Mississauga cut two seats from Caledon

A Region of Peel bylaw has been approved that will see two additional Brampton councillors elected to the Region in 2022. The decision moves Peel closer to representation by population and leaves Caledon licking its wounds, despite still being overrepresented around the regional council table. It’s the latest sign that regional governance no longer works for any of Peel’s three municipalities.



Queen’s Park orders Brampton medical clinic to close; director alleges it’s a cover-up after allegations of widespread fraud

Queen’s Park orders Brampton medical clinic to close; director alleges it’s a cover-up after allegations of widespread fraud

The Wise Elephant Family Health Team has been told by the Ministry of Health to shut down, under a clause in its funding deal that requires no explanation.

Shocked by the news, the organization’s current executive director fears the move will end investigations taking place into allegations of financial mismanagement by the previous board of directors, and he now alleges staff at the ministry are behind a cover-up. 



Peel’s emergency funding for homelessness ends in March. What then?

Peel’s emergency funding for homelessness ends in March. What then?

Regional staff are in contingency planning mode.

Come April, there will be no more funding to support COVID-19 emergency programs for the Region’s homeless.  



Disturbing report shows Peel Children’s Aid Society does harm to Black staff

Disturbing report shows Peel Children’s Aid Society does harm to Black staff

As the Peel Regional Police and Peel District School Board begin early work to address decades of harm to Black and racialized residents, the local child welfare organization has deep problems of its own.

Staff say management is blind to the experience of Black workers, choosing instead to use them for “photo ops, so the organization can appear to celebrate diversity”.



As Ontarians ‘region-hop’ health officials warn hospitals to prepare for the worst

As Ontarians ‘region-hop’ health officials warn hospitals to prepare for the worst

The warning comes as case numbers across the province hit an all-time high and hospitalization rates mimic those seen during the first wave.

With Peel leading the rate of new infections, it’s not clear what hospitals in the region are doing to prepare for the coming months, before vaccinations will have any impact on the pandemic.



In 2018 Metrolinx quietly cut Hurontario LRT capacity, increasing peak wait times by 50% 

In 2018 Metrolinx quietly cut Hurontario LRT capacity, increasing peak wait times by 50% 

Details in the provincial Auditor General’s annual report show significant cuts to the Hurontario LRT will result in longer gaps between service, even during rush hour.

The revelation was included in a document that shows construction costs for the project increased 26 percent over initial projections before shovels went into the ground.



Peel’s homeless population gets badly needed support as winter looms

Peel’s homeless population gets badly needed support as winter looms

Peel Region has spent less than half the $28.9 million in homelessness support funding, secured from higher levels of government, so far.

Staff are cautioning Regional Council that COVID-19 services provided to these communities so far cannot be maintained beyond March without additional funding. 



Brown’s pay-for-it-later approach to governing sees another tax freeze on City’s share of 2021 property bill

Brown’s pay-for-it-later approach to governing sees another tax freeze on City’s share of 2021 property bill

Council cited the freeze as a positive for the many residents struggling during the pandemic, while ignoring its ongoing impacts in the new year.

The move does nothing to help renters, while many comfortable homeowners including council members will benefit, even though the public health emergency has not impacted them financially.  



Could fare integration fix the GTA’s transit woes and help meet carbon targets?

Could fare integration fix the GTA’s transit woes and help meet carbon targets?

A new report from the Toronto Region Board of Trade has laid out a carefully constructed zonal system for GTA transit. The proposal would eliminate the extra costs of riding the TTC for Peel residents and would better integrate GO Transit across the region. The primary obstacle is cost, with an estimated bill of $165 million annually.



Hockey in Mississauga takes another hit; devastated residents fighting plan to destroy unique outdoor ice rink

Hockey in Mississauga takes another hit; devastated residents fighting plan to destroy unique outdoor ice rink

Plans to overhaul a Ward 3 community centre in the city’s west end will result in the dismantling of a covered outdoor ice rink. The move has upset residents who see the skating surface as an important recreational, and cultural feature in their community and hope to stop its conversion into a swimming pool.



Mississauga sees 82% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in last month; Peel lockdown yet to reduce cases

Mississauga sees 82% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in last month; Peel lockdown yet to reduce cases

Across Ontario, hospitals can’t wait for the widespread vaccination of residents that is set to begin through a months-long process shortly.

They are already facing surging rates of admission as the province’s healthcare system tries desperately to hang on until the second wave starts to subside.



After 50 years Kevin Dickman’s abuser, a former Brampton policeman, is finally brought to justice

After 50 years Kevin Dickman’s abuser is finally brought to justice

Molester Frank Kohler pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts each of indecent assault and gross indecency in a case that spans back over 50 years. A Brampton man suffered horrific abuse and decades of torment afterward, before he took his own life last year.



Peel identified as priority for vaccine distribution

Peel identified as priority for vaccine distribution

Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Wednesday, with the first shipment of doses expected to arrive as early as December 14.

As a COVID-19 hotspot, Peel is a priority destination for vaccine shipments. While the Region’s health authority mobilizes for vaccine distribution, Mississauga councillors continue to debate paths to loosening lockdown restrictions to help small businesses.



PCs ram through budget bill, sending environmental protections back to the days of Mike Harris

PCs ram through budget bill, sending environmental protections back to the days of Mike Harris

Conservation authorities provide vital services to regions across the province; this week the PC government stripped many of those vital powers away, and handed a veto power for municipal planning to the Province.

The approval of Schedule 6 has left many politicians, citizens and environmentalists concerned for the future of the province’s green spaces. 



Ford’s elimination of green car subsidies tanked sales, one example of PC attack on our environment, report says

Ford’s elimination of green car subsidies tanked sales, one example of PC attack on our environment, report says

A short-sighted and outdated pandemic recovery plan under Doug Ford could cause environmental damage for decades to come. A new report by Environmental Defence highlights Ontario’s broken climate promises, noting emissions rose in 2018 for the first time in years. 



Are low taxes a lifeline for Peel’s most vulnerable or a handout to comfortable homeowners?

Are low taxes a lifeline for Peel’s most vulnerable or a handout to comfortable homeowners?

As Brampton and Mississauga councillors mull over their own budgets, staff at the Region of Peel are adding the finishing touches to their annual financial document. Regional government is responsible for a host of programs for low-income residents, and it is unclear if property tax breaks are an effective way to provide relief for those who need help most, or just a short-term gain for many unaffected by the pandemic.



After Ford quashed decriminalization for drug use, Peel hiring more staff to fight worsening overdose crisis

After Ford quashed decriminalization for drug use, Peel hiring more staff to fight worsening overdose crisis

Calls from public health officials in Toronto to explore the potential of decriminalizing simple drug possession were quickly shot down by the Premier. 

But as more Peel residents die of overdose than at any other time during the ongoing opioid crisis, innovative solutions are needed to protect those using drugs to cope with the pandemic and other mounting pressures. 



Ontario hits ‘critical point’ as Mississauga councillors single out Brampton

Ontario hits ‘critical point’ as Mississauga councillors single out Brampton

With COVID numbers across the province putting severe pressure on the healthcare system, Peel's situation grows increasingly dire. Mississauga councillors are worried their neighbour's particularly bleak picture might cause unfair damage to local businesses, while a group of Brampton professionals is confronting stigmas being spread about their city's largely visible minority population, many of whom do the essential work needed to keep society running.



‘The worst is still to come’: Food banks brace as pandemic pushes people to the brink

‘The worst is still to come’: Food banks brace as pandemic pushes people to the brink

While many can’t relate, the COVID-19 pandemic has stripped families of their income and forced residents in Mississauga and Brampton to the very edge.

A new report released by Feed Ontario shows the scale of this devastation and predicts food insecurity will get much worse for families across the GTA. 



‘People should be worried’: Province moves to hobble conservation agencies, hand power to developers

‘People should be worried’: Province moves to hobble conservation agencies, hand power to developers

Under the guise of COVID-19 recovery, Premier Doug Ford and the PC government are making moves to strip power away from conservation authorities and make it easy for developers to build in some of Ontario’s protected and most environmentally vulnerable places. 



Hospital capacity on the edge as Peel’s COVID case numbers decline slightly from November’s highs

Hospital capacity on the edge as Peel’s COVID case numbers decline slightly from November’s highs

Many have moved away from watching daily infection counts. It’s the patterns we’re now looking at. When will they provide a clear signal that the worst is behind us? Data over the last week show numbers, while not trending upward, remain extremely high, as infection spread continues to make Peel one of the worst hit areas in all of Canada.



Because we need more democracy not less, journalism needs to meet citizens at their doorstep

Because we need more democracy not less, journalism needs to meet citizens at their doorstep

A new concept of media has been shaped over the past decade. Social publishing platforms unrestrained by libel laws or any rules of responsible journalism have elevated serial liars and fabulists. The outgoing president of the United States, devoid of policies and even a passing familiarity with the ways of effective leaders, has gamed these networks. His remarkable success, just like the rise of other dictators and thugs whose singular focus is their grip on power, coincided with the failures of democratizing conventions. Journalism is a guilty party and Barack Obama has put the institution on notice. If citizens are not understood and empowered so they can mount their own defence, democracy will continue to crumble.  



Brown gets support for motion to approve Brampton’s third tax freeze in as many years

Brown gets support for motion to approve Brampton’s third tax freeze in as many years

Councillors say the freeze is needed to help families struggling during the ongoing pandemic.

The move raises questions about how the City will pay for a growing list of unfunded projects that are needed to move Brampton forward, while the infrastructure deficit will add to hefty future tax increases needed to cover the costs of a hyper-growth municipality. 



Brampton declared a healthcare emergency in January, its 2021 budget ignores this

Brampton declared a healthcare emergency in January, its 2021 budget ignores this

The need for better frontline care has been an unfortunate feature of Brampton for decades.

The City has called on the Province to fix the glaring funding disparities, and promised residents improvements will come. But some are questioning if it’s all talk and no action. 



Brampton’s plans for future downtown redevelopment on hold

Brampton’s plans for future downtown redevelopment on hold

The City has promised downtown business owners that the withering area is a priority. After decades of neglect, change will come soon, they have been told.

But there’s little mention of plans for the city centre in the 2021 budget proposal, leaving businesses with more questions than answers.



Brampton Civic shutting down Complex Care unit, leaving desperate families scrambling

Brampton Civic shutting down Complex Care unit, leaving desperate families scrambling

Those with loved ones suffering serious maladies who receive constant care in the program were given just over two months to find an alternative. With the deadline around the corner families are racing to find help during the middle of a pandemic. It’s the latest bleak illustration of a city whose healthcare is utterly failing its residents.



Paramedics forced to unload ambulances outside Mississauga hospitals during COVID-19 surge

Paramedics forced to unload ambulances outside Mississauga hospitals during COVID-19 surge

At Mississauga’s two hospitals, ambulances have been unloading curbside since the spring to make space for extra beds inside. Now, as frigid temperatures and the first snow storms of the season threaten, paramedics are concerned about patient safety and their own well being, battling the elements in emergency situations. 



Calls for better police training and SIU reform are being ignored while avoidable tragedies continue

Calls for better police training and SIU reform are being ignored while avoidable tragedies continue

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has been the subject of review, analysis and reform since its inception in 1990. Many recommendations, particularly from Coroner’s Inquests after a police-involved death, have called for  improving police training to deal with those in mental health crisis. 

Despite these recommendations, and decades of review, police are ill-equipped to deal with many in crisis, leaving devastated families to pick up the pieces. 



Police budget balances fight against increasingly complex crime and calls for new funding model 

Police budget balances fight against increasingly complex crime and calls for new funding model 

Ensuring Peel Regional Police can deal with the increasing complexity of modern crime and meeting demands to rethink how police are funded is the delicate balancing act that begins today as the Peel Police Services Board starts discussions on the 2021 budget. 



Will the 2021 budget put an end to Brown’s tax freezes?

Will the 2021 budget put an end to Brown’s tax freezes?

As the city met for its first discussion of the 2021 budget, there was a notable concern among councillors about the possibility of taxes not being raised once again.

While the opposition to another tax freeze was strong, others questioned if an increase during the pandemic would be appropriate.



Peel neighbourhood positivity rates as high as 20%

Peel neighbourhood positivity rates as high as 20%

In some Brampton and Mississauga neighbourhoods, the positivity indicator that shows the percentage of tested residents infected with the novel coronavirus is even higher than the rate across each city.

Many Peel neighbourhoods have among the highest rates of infection in the province.



Pandemic divisions grow as Auditor General’s report raises questions about who’s taking the lead in Peel 

Pandemic divisions grow as Auditor General’s report raises questions about who’s taking the lead in Peel 

A report by the Province’s Auditor General has raised concern over the role medical experts are playing in Ontario’s pandemic management.

In Peel, the report’s criticism of testing and contact management may be familiar, while emboldened councillors preoccupied with economic impacts grow more vocal in their attempts to influence Dr. Lawrence Loh as infection rates in the region appear to be out of control. 



Head of Brampton Transit disputes troubling audit finding that department needs ‘significant improvement’

Head of Brampton Transit disputes troubling audit finding that department needs ‘significant improvement’

An internal audit by The City of Brampton raises concerns about how transit is being managed at a time when the system is under unprecedented pressure.

Ridership over recent years has increased rapidly in tandem with the city’s population, but the review of operations raises red flags about how transit is being run.



Brampton’s proposed 2021 budget aims to incubate innovation downtown but forgets to invest in the area

Brampton’s proposed 2021 budget aims to incubate innovation downtown but forgets to invest in the area

The document outlines the City’s financial priorities for the next year and includes numerous funding goals for consideration.

Emphasis is on finally creating a formidable Innovation District in the downtown, while desperately needed work to support the success of such an investment in the city centre has been given little attention.



Teachers perform balancing act amid Peel’s pandemic crisis  

Teachers perform balancing act amid Peel’s pandemic crisis  

In Ontario’s COVID-19 hotspot, Peel’s two large school boards are in an increasingly precarious situation.

Staff are juggling in-class and online students simultaneously, while those teaching exclusively online at the Catholic board are being told they have to remain inside the classroom. 



New data show Ontario’s terrible approach to testing turned Peel into COVID hotspot

New data show Ontario’s terrible approach to testing turned Peel into COVID hotspot

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Peel has been skipped over by Queen’s Park.

Now, newly released testing data show a rigid approach to screening by the Province and woefully low testing levels in Peel, which are probably largely to blame for Brampton and Mississauga’s unwinnable positions. 



William Osler wanted a ‘White man’s country’; Brampton's healthcare system says it’s open to conversations about the name on its buildings

William Osler wanted a ‘White man’s country’; Brampton's healthcare system says it’s open to conversations about the name on its buildings

For years, the city’s residents have been denied adequate care. In a place whose population is dominated by visible minorities, the attitudes of the man intertwined with Brampton’s healthcare legacy are being either coincidentally or purposely carried forward.



Ford PCs backtrack on developer giveaway but buyers will end up covering new community features

Ford PCs backtrack on developer giveaway but buyers will end up covering new community features

In 2019, Queen’s Park all but declared war on municipalities, pushing through a slew of changes that benefitted big developers and hurt cities. In the year that followed, Premier Doug Ford has continued with many of his controversial changes, but there is one area where the Province appears to be relenting and listening to its municipal partners.