As Facebook comes under fire Brampton and Mississauga saw a recent decline in some hate crimes but a rise in race-based incidents

As Facebook comes under fire Brampton and Mississauga saw a recent decline in some hate crimes but a rise in race-based incidents

The federal Department of Justice dubs the number of hate crimes never reported as “dark figures”, with reason to believe such incidents are on the rise. It’s a trend seen in areas across the world, and a recent report says Mississauga and Brampton are commonly hit by these disturbing acts of intolerance, in two cities where people of different backgrounds share the same spaces in every facet of life. Social media, particularly Facebook, has allowed hate to flourish around the world.



Human trafficking flourishes alongside COVID-19, while services for survivors have to close

Human trafficking flourishes alongside COVID-19, while services for survivors have to close

A raft of human traffic charges around the world, including in Ontario, has highlighted how brazen criminals are taking advantage of the pandemic. While drug and gun smuggling have been thwarted by the air and border restrictions, domestic and international human trafficking have continued unhampered. 

Peel is the epicentre for the heinous crime in Ontario, but service providers and the Region of Peel have been forced to delay efforts to help survivors, leaving many without the help they need.  



High COVID-19 rates in Mississauga and Brampton raise concern over Stage 2 reopening

High COVID-19 rates in Mississauga and Brampton raise concern over Stage 2 reopening

Public health officials have made clear that regions and cities need two weeks of consistent decline in new COVID numbers before it’s safe to loosen social distancing restrictions. In many parts of Peel this is not happening despite the lifting of safety measures that creates a much rosier picture.

The region continues to struggle with new cases of COVID-19. Data from the tail end of June shows Peel experiencing levels of infection similar to those in Toronto, despite having half its population. 



Peel’s recent plea for housing help distracts from failure of high-priced councillors to fulfill their commitments

Peel’s recent plea for housing help distracts from failure of high-priced councillors to fulfill their commitments

The affordable housing crisis across much of Peel is getting worse.

In a recent staff report, the Region admits it can’t handle the problem, and points to higher levels of government as the solution. But it leaves out a key fact – council’s repeated unwillingness to allocate funds for housing because it simply isn’t a priority for Peel’s highly-paid elected officials.



Police board green lights body cameras; members quiet on other reforms

Police board green lights body cameras; members quiet on other reforms

Peel police officers will be equipped with body-worn cameras soon, after members of the board that governs the force voted to adopt the technology.

The move, touted to improve transparency and accountability, came during a meeting Friday that saw almost 100 letters sent by community members, most calling for police reform or defunding, which the board chose not to address, for now.



In Mississauga’s competitive real estate advertising market, City failed to protect local realtor, documents suggest

In Mississauga’s competitive real estate advertising market, City failed to protect local realtor, documents suggest

A Mississauga-based realtor is taking legal action against the City of Mississauga and Outfront Media, the company that manages advertising on municipal bus shelters. Court documents show that, when approached by the realtor with a complaint, the City took no action to resolve the issue between him and its advertising vendor, which A.J. Lamba alleges is unfairly advantaging other competing firms. 



No time for rest inside Peel’s care homes as some declare second outbreaks

No time for rest inside Peel’s care homes as some declare second outbreaks

After months in battle with the novel coronavirus some long-term care homes won’t be getting a break any time soon.

Numerous homes caring for Peel's seniors have suffered from tragic outbreaks, some more than once, with homes appearing on the list in recent weeks for a second time, despite measures to keep COVID-19 out of these vulnerable spaces.



Mississauga rapper Darren John, aka Avalanche the Architect, has been stopped by police more than 200 times; he’s fought back from the start

Mississauga rapper Darren John, aka Avalanche the Architect, has been stopped by police more than 200 times; he’s fought back from the start

Darren John says he’s been harassed by the police and stopped hundreds of times while going about his daily life. Dozens of charges against him have either been dropped or he’s beaten them in court. Sometimes judges have displayed overt discrimination toward him.

His story, an extreme example of the treatment many people face at the hands of police just for being Black, highlights systemic issues within the criminal justice system that might finally be overcome by the Black Lives Matter movement. 



COVID-19 is helping push our healthcare system into the future

COVID-19 is helping push our healthcare system into the future

Healthcare is a necessity, a foundation of society. When COVID arrived to shake up our lives many industries had to adapt. Canada’s universal health care is praised by people around the world, however, there are some glaring areas in need of improvement that physicians, nurses and administrators have known about for years. The pandemic has sped up the race to get better, and it all starts with technology. 



It’s the last day of school: what will learning look like in September?

It’s the last day of school: what will learning look like in September?

The current school year abruptly ended classes in March as the province announced learning would shift online. But a new school year is around the corner, and as officials begin to share details on what that will look like, questions and concerns are mounting over how the plan will work.



Senseless dangerous driving horror in Brampton reignites anger over excessive speeding across Peel

Senseless dangerous driving horror in Brampton reignites anger over excessive speeding across Peel

A violent crash that killed a Caledon mother and her three young daughters on June 18, stirred emotions across the country. The 20-year-old driver of the car that hurtled into the family vehicle is now facing multiple dangerous driving charges. It’s the latest tragedy in a region where speeding has become a common killer. 



‘The student comes from a typical Jamaican family where the mother does nothing’: PDSB principal’s comment during a staff meeting

‘The student comes from a typical Jamaican family where the mother does nothing’: PDSB principal’s comment during a staff meeting

A letter sent by a Peel District School Board superintendent to staff apologizes for a shockingly racist remark toward the mother of a student, and the entire Jamaican-Canadian community, made by a Mississauga elementary school’s principal last year. It is unclear if any action was taken to discipline the principal, who is listed as retiring at the end of June. 



Calls for defunding police a hard sell in Peel where 94% of operating budget is committed to wages

Calls for defunding police a hard sell in Peel where 94% of operating budget is committed to wages

Demands to defund the police have grown louder since the death of George Floyd at the end of May and the shooting of a Malton man by Peel officers on Saturday. 

As Peel Regional Police prepare to enter discussions for its 2021 budget, almost all of the nearly $500 million allotted to the force, for salaries and benefits, can not be touched. 



Peel taxpayers continue to subsidize public education elsewhere while Queen’s Park shortchanges the booming region

Peel taxpayers continue to subsidize public education elsewhere while Queen’s Park shortchanges the booming region

From policing to healthcare, funding in Peel is inadequate. Add education to the top of that list. The funding formula used by the province to distribute money to school boards has been a concern of educators and parents for years, as students in Peel receive considerably less than their Toronto counterparts and far fewer dollars per capita compared to much smaller boards in Ontario.



Sound the alarm: Amid COVID crisis, organizations report ‘soaring rates’ of gender-based violence in Peel

Sound the alarm: Amid COVID crisis, organizations report ‘soaring rates’ of gender-based violence in Peel

A spotlight was placed on sexual and gender-based violence at the start of the pandemic when isolation measures forced people to stay indoors, often with their assailants.

But as measures begin to ease, there’s a worry the other crisis will be forgotten. Interim Place and Hope 24/7, two organizations helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, warn that these problems will not go away when COVID-19 wanes. 



COVID-19 and the financial mess will throw a big wrench into Mississauga’s transformative plans

COVID-19 and the financial mess will throw a big wrench into Mississauga’s transformative plans

In its first meeting to sort out the financial chaos created by the pandemic, Mississauga’s budget committee heard the dire reality facing the city. Staff stopped short of specific recommendations, but – without funding from higher levels of government – cuts and delayed projects seem inevitable, even though growth pressures in the booming municipality show no sign of letting up. 



Deadly house fires on the rise during pandemic

Deadly house fires on the rise during pandemic

Ontario’s Fire Marshal shared news of the dangerous trend in the number of house fires days before Brampton was hit with tragedy.

He’s urging people to stay attentive and safe while spending more time at home, often while distracted or under increased stress because of the disruption in their life.



Fatal police shooting of Mississauga resident raises complex questions around mental health calls

Fatal police shooting of Mississauga resident raises complex questions around mental health calls

Two days after a wellness check ended in the death of a father of four, questions and anger continue to swirl, as the family demands answers.

Police are often forced to deal with individuals suffering mental health issues, which raises concern about their lack of expertise, but when there’s a risk of danger to others, sometimes use of force is the only option.



‘That’s Act One: Scene One’ – PDSB advocates say province’s removal of director Peter Joshua Tuesday is only the beginning 

‘That’s Act One: Scene One’ – PDSB advocates say province’s removal of director Peter Joshua Tuesday is only the beginning 

After two alarming ministry reviews, a historic vote to hand over control of the board and the forced withdrawal of legal action against Black advocates, Peel District School Board’s director of education, Peter Joshua, has been removed by the provincial supervisor now in charge.

While activists celebrate a symbolic victory, they say the real work to dismantle a system of institutionalized discrimination, that has harmed students for decades, is about to begin. 



Mayor continues to mislead public about local testing numbers while Brampton sees increase in new cases 

Mayor continues to mislead public about local testing numbers while Brampton sees increase in new cases 

The city has become a sore spot in the region’s battle to move onto the second phase of the province's reopening schedule. But while the number of new cases increased over the past week, compared to the previous one, Mayor Patrick Brown channelled Donald Trump while offering inflated testing numbers that included Etobicoke facilities, claiming they were done by "our hospital”.



Peel given green light to enter Stage 2 on Wednesday: region sees largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases since June 3rd

Peel given green light to enter Stage 2 on Wednesday: region sees largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases since June 3rd

After a frustrating week, left behind by most of the province, Mississauga and Brampton will enter Stage 2 of Ontario’s reopening framework on Wednesday.

With Brampton still seeing a high number of new COVID-19 cases every day, is the move to open things like patios and personal care services coming too soon?



PDSB and its controversial director drop legal threat against Black advocates as new provincial supervisor prepared to order the retreat

PDSB and its controversial director drop legal threat against Black advocates as new provincial supervisor prepared to order the retreat

On the same day Education Minister Stephen Lecce named a supervisor to take control of the Peel District School Board, Director of Education Peter Joshua has confirmed the board is cancelling legal action aimed at Black advocacy groups. 

The lawyer representing those groups says the withdrawal of the threat does not go far enough, with more concerning issues about a deeply troubled organization raised by its intention to litigate against proponents of racial equality. 



Bobble-heads on Peel's police board won't do

Bobble-heads on Peel's police board won't do

Police reform won't happen if people like the current Peel board Chair Ron Chatha, a real estate agent with zero background or experience in policing, keep getting appointed to oversee the budgets and many of the governance issues that determine policies for local forces.



Peel police received $23M more in 2020, marking a 69% budget increase in a decade; Is throwing money at crime working?

Peel police received $23M more in 2020, marking a 69% budget increase in a decade; Is throwing money at crime working?

Saturday's fatal police shooting of a man in Malton, who reportedly suffered mental health issues, raises more questions about the way we fund police and whether a new model for dealing with "upstream" issues needs to be considered, to prevent crime and tragic altercations, before they ever happen.



PDSB and embattled director Peter Joshua pursue legal action against Black advocacy groups

PDSB and embattled director Peter Joshua pursue legal action against Black advocacy groups

Just days after trustees at Peel District School Board unanimously voted to bring in a supervisor to take over, The Pointer has learned the board has commenced legal action aimed at Black advocacy groups in the region.

A Notice of Application asks Twitter to identify the users behind various Black social media accounts to help PDSB take legal action against the individuals. 



Postsecondary experience for students and schools will be drastically different in the age of COVID

Postsecondary experience for students and schools will be drastically different in the age of COVID

The uncertainty of students deciding if they should enrol in university or college for the fall has left many institutions planning creatively for the start of the academic year. Accommodating students who expect in-person classes, juggling innovations to make remote learning meaningful and salvaging all the other campus activities central to postsecondary life make it clear that things will look very different this September.



Greenbelt Foundation sets its sights on Peel’s lack of trees

Greenbelt Foundation sets its sights on Peel’s lack of trees

Natural infrastructure has been suffering in the region for years as municipalities struggle to keep pace with their exploding population, which needs a healthy tree cover for a range of reasons.

In an effort to underscore how important natural urban canopies are, the Greenbelt Foundation’s new framework highlights the economic benefit going green could have for Mississauga and Brampton.



COVID-19 might speed up not slow down transit use

COVID-19 might speed up not slow down transit use

When the novel coronavirus hit Canada, everyone who could was told to work from home. Fear of the virus stopped many from taking public transit. Not everyone had that choice, meaning transit remained a vital lifeline for many. Now, as the world looks to recover, experts say cities should double down on their transit investment and innovate for a safer, more luxurious future. 



In stunning move, PDSB trustees unite and vote for province to take over embattled board

In stunning move, PDSB trustees unite and vote for province to take over embattled board

It appears Peel District School Board’s refusal to take proper action to stop anti-Black racism and other forms of systemic discrimination within the board, has led to self-implosion. Trustees unanimously voted late Wednesday evening to have a provincially appointed supervisor step in to take over the board. The move could pave the way for the removal of Director Peter Joshua, as calls for his resignation among a growing list of diverse and influential community organizations get louder. 



Minister confirms province will take over governance of PDSB a day after rally demanding racial equality and historic vote by the board

Minister confirms province will take over governance of PDSB a day after rally demanding racial equality and historic vote by the board

After a tiring few months and years of work by anti-Black racism advocates, the Peel District School Board has agreed to hand over control of its governance to the provincial education ministry. A day after Wednesday’s large Black Lives Matter march, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said a supervisor will take over the embattled board.



After two damning provincial investigations and mounting calls for PDSB director to resign, he appoints anti-Black racism consultant

After two damning provincial investigations and mounting calls for PDSB director to resign, he appoints anti-Black racism consultant

With a provincial deadline looming, the Peel District School Board’s director has hired education specialist Dr. Avis Glaze to advise the board on its anti-Black racism work. However, the timing of the decision and description of the role have raised more questions, while calls grow louder for Director Peter Joshua to step down because of his failed leadership on equity and inclusion in one of the country's most diverse regions. 



As coronavirus hot spots continue to emerge across Brampton, city needs a solution for illegal secondary suites

As coronavirus hot spots continue to emerge across Brampton, city needs a solution for illegal secondary suites

A recent report from the City’s building department highlights the ongoing problems home owners face when trying to create legal secondary units, or basement apartments. A lack of consistent guidelines, spotty inspections and no clear rules for the number of these ubiquitous units have created a dilemma that might be contributing to high rates of infection in the city.



Brampton holds Peel back from stage-2 reopening as region’s hospitals near capacity 

Brampton holds Peel back from stage-2 reopening as region’s hospitals near capacity 

Peel is now one of just three regions in the province that will not be allowed to progress to the second stage of reopening. While neighbouring York Region has been given the greenlight to reopen at the end of this week, ICU and acute care beds in Brampton, where testing has been woeful, and Mississauga remain filled while local rates of the novel coronavirus in parts of Peel continue to pose a major problem. 



Peel officer who killed D’Andre Campbell won’t speak to SIU; Ford government paved way for refusal to cooperate

Peel officer who killed D’Andre Campbell won’t speak to SIU; Ford government paved way for refusal to cooperate

The Special Investigations Unit, which is conducting a probe into the fatal police shooting of 26-year-old D’Andre Campbell in April, is unable to get a statement or notes from the subject officer.

A recent amendment to the Police Services Act under the Ford government in 2019 shields officers who don’t want to cooperate with the police watchdog.



Queen’s Park needs to take over the PDSB

Queen’s Park needs to take over the PDSB

The Peel District School Board has a long history of looking the other way when it comes to systemic discrimination and bigotry, allowing racists like Paul Fromm to infest its ranks. By not facing up to the problem of its anti-Black bias, or having administrators and teachers who don’t reflect the demographic changes that have created a disconnect with communities served, the board has forced the hand of the provincial government. Now, it must protect students forsaken by the board. 



Peel District School Board director should resign

Peel District School Board director should resign

Brampton City Councillor Harkirat Singh, a former PDSB trustee, says he witnessed firsthand the damaging actions of Director Peter Joshua. The elected official believes systemic anti-Black racism and other forms of discrimination plaguing the board and harming students will only be eradicated if Joshua quits.



The new ‘work life’ might create more happiness and productivity

The new ‘work life’ might create more happiness and productivity

More and more people are returning to work. Others continue to work from home. While nobody can say for certain how the structure of employment and labour will change, the reality could be a pleasant twist for many, including some of our largest corporations.



A more equitable and inclusive way to enforce Brampton Transit fares aims to educate not punish as we slowly return to normal 

A more equitable and inclusive way to enforce Brampton Transit fares aims to educate not punish as we slowly return to normal 

If you don’t pay your fare on a Toronto bus, you could land yourself a fine of more than $400, even if you’ve just forgotten your wallet. In Brampton, as the city moves on from free fares during the height of the pandemic, a different approach to police passengers shows there is a more human, more welcoming way. And it might help grow ridership.



Recent killings of Black men in Minneapolis and Atlanta sparked calls to defund police, but what does that mean?

Recent killings of Black men in Minneapolis and Atlanta sparked calls to defund police, but what does that mean?

Terms like abolish, defund and reform have been flying across social media and in conversations across North America since the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer almost three weeks ago. What do these terms really mean and how can public officials best take care of both functions that police are supposed to provide: serve and protect? 



‘Nothing has changed’: Province ignores mental health and addictions crisis in Peel, children waiting up to 737 days for help

‘Nothing has changed’: Province ignores mental health and addictions crisis in Peel, children waiting up to 737 days for help

Regional Council wants a more aggressive stand on the mental health crisis in Peel. An already desperate situation has worsened since the pandemic, with more demand for mental health support within a system already severely underfunded and overwhelmed.

While councillors blame the province, they too have ignored the increasingly dire reality for years.



A ‘shameful’ lack of action; Council of Canadian Muslims demands PDSB chair and director resign

A ‘shameful’ lack of action; Council of Canadian Muslims demands PDSB chair and director resign

In the wake of an independent investigation into Peel District School Board that found the director and trustees are not cooperating with provincial directives, Peel's diverse communities are coming together to demand transformational change.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims is the latest large organization to voice concerns after widespread reports of anti-Black racism and Islamophobia at the board.



COVID-19 highlights something many missed: the medical needs of homeless individuals

COVID-19 highlights something many missed: the medical needs of homeless individuals

While the need always existed, social and medical assistance for homeless people were topics not widely talked about before COVID-19. The failure to do so has led some organizations to provide assistance, with a hope our healthcare system and social service sector can work more collaboratively to protect the vulnerable in the future. 



PDSB ‘lifts’ trespass notice against anti-Black racism advocate without explanation or apology

PDSB ‘lifts’ trespass notice against anti-Black racism advocate without explanation or apology

In February, Peel District School Board issued a trespass notice, banning a parent and vocal critic of the board’s record on discrimination from board property. It alleged Idris Orughu made “threatening” comments, but a police probe found that was not the case. Now, without admitting a mistake or the harm its allegation caused, and while the board faces widespread condemnation from the education ministry and the public for its unwillingness to confront anti-Black racism, PDSB has suddenly removed the ban with no explanation.



‘Change is coming’: Peel police chief promises systemic action to eradicate anti-Black racism

‘Change is coming’: Peel police chief promises systemic action to eradicate anti-Black racism

The problem is twofold for Chief Nishan Duraiappah who is facing issues of anti-Black racism inside his organization and a groundswell of anti-police sentiment fuelled by the horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. 

The progressive chief, just over six months on the job, promises community members they will soon witness changes as a result of work going on behind the scenes.



Blistering provincial investigation report on PDSB reveals an organization incapable of fixing anti-Black racism it perpetuates: Minister issues ultimatum 

Blistering provincial investigation report on PDSB reveals an organization incapable of fixing anti-Black racism it perpetuates: Minister issues ultimatum 

An independent investigation into the Peel District School Board has returned a damning verdict, finding the organization chronically ill-equipped to tackle discrimination, specifically anti-Black racism. The investigation was prompted by the board’s failure to support ministerial directives to fix its systemic problems with race. The new report lays the groundwork for the province to take over a dysfunctional public institution that has caused irreparable harm to Black students for decades.



Mississauga COVID-19 cases finally ‘stabilizing’; Crombie says city could move to phase 2 of reopening in two weeks

Mississauga COVID-19 cases finally ‘stabilizing’; Crombie says city could move to phase 2 of reopening in two weeks

Mayor Bonnie Crombie says the city is “not out of the woods yet” and is happy the province is reopening regions in phases, meaning Peel will not be following the same schedule as areas that have not been impacted as severely. Councillors have voted to cancel all summer festivals, restart some committees and are working on charging fares for MiWay again. 



In a city with its own legacy of racism, Mississauga’s Black Lives Matter demonstration offered a dose of reality and hope

In a city with its own legacy of racism, Mississauga’s Black Lives Matter demonstration offered a dose of reality and hope

Mississauga no doubt has an incredibly diverse mix of citizens, but it also has a dark history of xenophobia. Over the weekend, the spirit of hate based on the colour of one’s skin was confronted during a rally sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. It was also a reflection on just how far Canada’s sixth largest city has actually come, since the days when racism was more openly displayed.



Brampton Transit’s desperate need for new infrastructure set back by mishandled funding request & recent tax freezes

Brampton Transit’s desperate need for new infrastructure set back by mishandled funding request & recent tax freezes

As ridership continues to grow in Brampton, the City is reaching capacity for the number of buses it can store. A badly needed new storage facility was originally scheduled for 2021 and then delayed to 2024, a timeline that could now be in jeopardy too, after news that staff failed to properly apply for assistance from higher levels of government.



‘You are kidding right??’: Peel police union president responds when asked for thoughts on body-worn cameras

‘You are kidding right??’: Peel police union president responds when asked for thoughts on body-worn cameras

Adrian Woolley’s four-word response to The Pointer after Mississauga’s and Brampton’s mayors, who sit on the police board, declared their intention to have the force’s officers wear cameras, leaves questions about support among the rank and file, as voices across North America grow louder, demanding police be held accountable by the technology. 



‘It’s not going to be doors open, back to normal’ for optometrists, dentists and massage therapists

‘It’s not going to be doors open, back to normal’ for optometrists, dentists and massage therapists

Going to get a filling, eye exam or massage will take much longer than it did before as many medical-related practices try their best to accommodate strict guidelines and their patients in a completely different environment forced by the pandemic.