Peel Region is home to the country’s largest collection of South Asian-Canadian communities. Hundreds of thousands of residents have family back in India, where the recent viral spread has decimated the planet’s second most populous nation. For residents here, each day is met with anxiety as the situation half-way around the world worsens.
For years, the Peel Regional Police reduced the number of community police stations it ran.
The nine locations the force operated in 2000 were reduced to just two by 2018. A December motion by Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon, amended by his colleagues, supports opening a new station in east Brampton and asking police brass to pivot their philosophy, as residents demand a fresh approach to increased violent crime on the streets of two of Canada’s largest cities.
Calls for stricter measures grow as community spread accounted for almost a third of the total infections in Peel last week. After the PC government ignored calls to focus on essential workers and educators, infection rates, unsurprisingly, have gone in the wrong direction.
Now, Peel Public Health has ordered all the region’s schools shut down, immediately, as the local pandemic rollercoaster continues in Ontario’s hardest hit area.
For a city looking to become a “climate change leader”, and for councillors who pledged to ease the tax burden on local residents in 2021, a generous taxpayer funded allowance to cover a vehicle seems out of place.
Yet, when the idea of reducing the grant was proposed, many Mississauga councillors balked.
“I’m not using public transportation,” Councillor Ron Starr said.
A virtual Peel District School Board event organized to celebrate the beginning of Sikh Heritage Month was infiltrated by internet trolls sharing homophobic and racist slurs. The talk, featuring NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, was designed to allow Sikh students and staff join in a celebration of their faith, while educating peers in the diverse region.
The Pandemic has shown the worst of greed and self-interest. It has also brought out the best of humanity. Paying too much attention to the gluttony and self-centredness in our society denies us of our most basic need – to be good and do good for our partners in this complicated thing called life.
At its height in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Brampton was the nation’s biggest exporter of cut flowers, known for Edward and Harry Dale’s decades-long work producing some of the world’s finest roses.
Today, known as the “Flower City” in homage to its rich botanical and rural history, Brampton has capitalized on the opportunity to create curated, blooming gardens known for their beauty and colour. In the age of climate change, the commitment to naturalize and restore native plants and pollinator gardens is arguably more important now than ever.
Vaccines are starting to move into the region in greater volumes, but COVID-19 transmission continues to rapidly outpace vaccination rates, pushing Peel and Ontario’s healthcare system further beyond its capacity.
Secondary units are a vital source of housing in Brampton as affordability across Peel continues to be an issue. With prices climbing the temptation to enter the illegal secondary suite market grows. These unregistered units are difficult to inspect and often are not in compliance with safety codes, a major problem for bylaw officers in Brampton. After charges in 2018, it remains unclear if Sandhu has complied with the City’s rules.
The Pointer has obtained documents through a freedom of information investigation that show the City quietly awarded $218,000 worth of contracts, without council approval, to a man named Tony Quirk who worked closely with Brampton’s CAO, David Barrick, when they were part of a cabal of Conservative Niagara Region politicians embroiled in a series of controversies.
Mayor Patrick Brown, who oversaw the hiring of Barrick, has political ties to both men.
Many politicians are active on social media; they have to be in order to keep up with their communities. But some have been slow to effectively staff up for the reality of political communication in the digital age. The mayor of Mississauga is miles ahead of those still trying to engage using yesterday’s methods, and she’s not afraid to admit it.
The updated plan was introduced during the City’s second public consultation on the Riverwalk project recently. The final master plan will be introduced in May and will focus on the public spaces residents will have access to along the impressive waterway being planned through the decaying city centre.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie was one of many leaders across North America who promised to confront anti-Black racism last summer.
A laundry list of to-dos was established during a council meeting in June, but meaningful actions have yet to be taken.
While last year saw COVID-19 create the worst public health crisis in decades, another lingering epidemic continued to unfold.
The opioid crisis has been taking lives across Canada for years, including in Peel, and last year was the worst yet.
A backlog of approximately 600 cases a week has forced Peel Public Health to redirect its contact tracing efforts to the high priority outbreaks.
Peel’s top doctor is urging residents to push through their COVID-fatigue while slow vaccine distribution is causing frustration.
Sentencing for ex-police officer Frank Kohler’s five-year sexual abuse of former Brampton schoolboy Kevin Dickman has been remanded to next month as his defence counsel asks for mercy, and a lighter penalty. They cite his age, his noble life, and contrition for his repeated assault of a boy. But he is not the only one guilty for his heinous crimes. Peel police, which buried the evidence against its own officer and let him walk away, also needs to bear the burden for what it did to Kevin Dickman.
The beds are part of expansion plans for Phase 2 of Peel Memorial and the first set of details outlining the long awaited project.
More than $18 million will go toward the development of an emergency department, and the expansion itself could begin in 2023. Not much is known beyond this and no money was set aside for the capital cost of the project in the just released 2021 provincial budget.
The number of children attending daycares in Peel Region has dropped roughly 50 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Brampton and Mississauga, the figures raise concern about the future of profit and nonprofit centres, already few and far between.
When Doug Ford campaigned in 2018, he specifically used Brampton Civic Hospital as the prime example of “hallway healthcare” and promised help. After the last two budgets failed to mention Brampton’s healthcare crisis and the long-awaited plans to expand Peel Memorial into a full-service hospital, the 2021 budget landed Wednesday.
In Brampton, residents and local elected officials waiting for desperately needed good news were in disbelief – it appears only a small fraction of the expected beds will be added.
Frank Kohler has confessed to abusing Kevin Dickman to many people. His wife, colleagues and even police investigators in 1974.
Yet, he has never stood in a courtroom to face a prison sentence for his crimes. Until Tuesday, when he pleaded for a lenient sentence.
Staffing issues as a result of COVID-19 measures, cases in schools and the lack of supply teachers continue to impact schools in Peel where closures are ramping up.
Peel is home to just nine percent of Ontario’s schools, but has nearly 40 percent of the province’s closures.
Vaccination clinics in Peel Region stand ready to get residents inoculated.
The only problem: they have very little to administer. Despite being Ontario’s worst hit region, it has received a small fraction of the province’s vaccine supply, and was left out of a pharmacy vaccination pilot program for older adults with no explanation.
A COVID-19 Facebook Live hosted by Mississauga’s MPPs, along with Dr. Lawrence Loh and a brief appearance from Premier Doug Ford, struggled to get to the heart of key questions.
Despite failing to move the conversation, engagement around the event showed the best and worst of online communication for politicians.
The Canadian company behind the world’s largest porn site has been at the centre of controversy following reports of videos depicting child exploitation, rape and human trafficking hosted on the platform.
The RCMP has not committed to an investigation despite evidence MindGeek, the Montreal-based parent company, has violated its obligation to report child sexual abuse material to authorities.
Change in Mississauga is inevitable and City staff have embraced many of the boons associated with modern, urban-style growth. But many residents are still wary. A concerted effort by leaders to bring locals with them could go a long way to foster collaborative change in the city.
Alishba Imran may still be in high school, but she’s already achieved more than most accomplish in an entire lifetime. The Mississauga youth is an autodidact who taught herself advanced artificial intelligence design in her early teens. She’s using the technology to help confront the spread of counterfeit medicine and has launched a company on the cusp of working with Tesla to test its batteries.
Locals desperate to know how many vaccine doses have arrived in the region are struggling to find updated information. The Ministry of Health, led by Christine Elliott, restricted the flow of information until this week, making it impossible to calculate if Peel has been receiving its fair share.
On Friday, the Province announced hundreds more pharmacies across Ontario will soon receive doses.
After weeks of unstable viral transmission trends, some teachers, students and staff across Peel are scratching their heads, wondering why they have not returned to mandatory online learning.
New safety directives for PDSB staff have been introduced, but the arrival of a third wave coupled with Peel’s poor vaccination rate has left many education stakeholders uncertain about the immediate future.
Renewed Computer Technology has been addressing social, economic and environmental issues since the early '90s.
The not-for-profit collects computers from large organizations, hires interns to refurbish them and sells them at dramatically reduced rates to families.
Dr. Lawrence Loh made the comments Wednesday morning, saying conversations are taking place with provincial counterparts.
He stressed sharing details such as the possible lifting of restrictions around outdoor dining doesn’t make anything official, and the final decision is up to the Province.
There’s been little to differentiate spring from winter in Peel, where lockdown measures stretch back to November.
Now, rising case numbers and a lack of information on vaccines are pushing many to their breaking point. Region of Peel CAO Janice Baker was forced to call out harassment and racism directed at her staff.
Last week, the Region of Peel voted to demand Queen’s Park amend its vaccine priorities.
Councillors want to see essential workers in logistics, food processing and warehouses prioritized to stop COVID-19 from continuing to stretch regional hospitals and hold local businesses back.
With over 35 years in politics, Carolyn Parrish could write the rules of the game, with her eyes closed: understand what party lines mean; know when a united front is needed; and never punch down.
Since her days as an MP, Parrish has been a tireless advocate for constituents, a pain in the you know what for adversaries and a gracious mentor to many. She says what most aren’t willing to, even when it gets her in trouble.
Racism has been a hallmark of the British royal family for centuries. It was the defining characteristic of imperial rule in places like India and Africa.
The worst of the royals and their imperious attitude toward all those beneath them is embodied by the behaviour of Prince Andrew. Now, the recent allegation of racism levelled by the disenfranchised Prince Harry is the inevitable outcome of a family that has always lived under the credo of English privilege at the expense of all others.
Mississauga may not be known to many as a notable destination for film and TV production, but it has quietly positioned itself as a serious player in the industry. By the summer, it will boast eight separate studios and City officials are hoping the high-profile sector, with its glitzy appeal, can become a cornerstone of its modern transformation.
It’s a strategy to drive economic growth while drawing from the dynamic vibe of creatives in film and TV.
The testimony before Canada’s parliamentary ethics committee has once again revealed the disturbing increase in the spread of child sexual abuse material on the internet.
While outrage has been directed at Pornhub and Canadian parent company MindGeek for its apparent failure to address the issue, they are not the only bad actors in the vast realm of internet exploitation.
Two weeks after Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish originally brought a motion to regional council, Peel has confirmed its opposition to the GTA West Corridor.
The decision, which adds to municipal momentum across the GTA, was not free from tension, as some Brampton and Caledon councillors continued to back the sprawl-inducing highway.
Around this time in a normal year, Peel Public Health would be busy providing updates on the latest numbers of influenza cases and possibly relaying new travel advisories for residents traveling out of the country. This is not a normal year.
Dr. Lawrence Loh is trying to reopen a region of 1.5 million residents, balancing optimism over vaccine availability with political setbacks and new variants spreading rapidly toward a third wave. No matter what he does, one group or another won’t be happy.
The Province has announced Peel Public Health will get a tiny fraction of its first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines. The news means Peel will miss out on many life-saving doses, while Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, Toronto and Windsor-Essex receive the bulk of the supply.
It’s part of a pattern of neglect in Ontario’s most racially diverse and hard-hit region.
A meeting between municipal, provincial and federal politicians last week offered a less than flattering view of how elected officials in senior levels of government are managing issues in Mississauga, and the rest of Peel.
A series of concerns raised by councillors and staff at City Hall were met with few answers and plenty of platitudes by politicians who work in Ottawa and Queen’s Park.
Social media can play an important role in community safety, connecting residents with timely news, new initiatives and events. Constable Akhil Mooken understands this very well.
The public and media relations officer has taken steps to grow his presence and gain some of the lost trust in communities that have recently had a troubled relationship with Peel police.
Regeneration Outreach Community located inside Grace United Church shares a fence with the store hoping to score a liquor licence from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. For many vulnerable residents in Brampton’s struggling city centre who have problems with alcohol, the move is “of great concern,” Regeneration CEO, Ted Brown, says.
Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill, an outspoken Brampton physician, has received three cautions from The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for her social media comments.
Gill has more than 58,000 Twitter followers and has spoken out against lockdowns and the need for COVID-19 vaccines.
The Brampton mayor, who preaches belt-tightening to others, is avoiding questions about his own use of taxpayer dollars.
Other questions about alarming hiring practices and the handing out of contracts to people he knows are also being side-stepped, as some members of the public call for Brown to come clean about the questionable conduct under his watch.
The Region’s five long-term care homes provide an alternative model to families that either can’t afford or don’t trust private, for-profit facilities that operate in Peel.
But in order to properly deliver the level of care seniors deserve, existing gaps need to be filled by adequate provincial funding, regional staff say.
All eyes are looking to the future in Mississauga, anticipating major developments including Square One, Brightwater and Lakeview Village. In the short-term the city remains a sprawling former suburb, with only 1.5 percent of its land currently dedicated to apartments. Changing the hearts and minds of residents who bought a slice of suburbia is key for the City’s climate ambitions and future plans for dynamic growth.
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.
Top police officials and advocates from North America’s most prominent child protection agencies added their voice to the ongoing parliamentary investigation into Pornhub and similar websites.
Their testimony raised questions about claims made by Pornhub’s top executives last month. Evidence revealed the company has failed to meet its legal obligation to report child sexual abuse material on its platform to Canadian authorities.
Canada is hoping for almost 2-million new doses this week and next, but reports out of Europe suggest manufacturers and export regulatory bodies continue to have differences about shipments to countries around the world.
As Canada continues to lag way behind in per capita vaccinations, Ottawa is trying to reassure residents that doses are on their way, to finally put a dent into the pandemic before a third wave arrives.
Dr. Lawrence Loh, the Region’s top public health official, continued his advocacy for a cautious reopening, stating on Wednesday that Peel should move into the most restrictive category under the Province’s colour-coded pandemic response framework, once the stay-at-home-order is lifted March 8.
Some local politicians don’t seem to understand the scientific rationale, despite a year’s worth of evidence that shows caution is the best approach for everyone.
Progressive Conservative MPPs representing Mississauga and Brampton voted against the introduction of paid sick days on Monday.
The move denies a request voiced repeatedly by Mayors Bonnie Crombie and Patrick Brown as well as Peel Public Health’s top doctor, Lawrence Loh.
Deryn Rizzi has been in charge of Mississauga’s fire service for exactly one month.
Early in her tenure, a fresh perspective is breaking through. The Chief’s Twitter account, in particular, demonstrates an ability to connect with residents across cultures and generations.