UPDATE: ‘There seems to be a pattern of not caring’ – Brampton MPP defends rights of Sikh paramedics

UPDATE: ‘There seems to be a pattern of not caring’ – Brampton MPP defends rights of Sikh paramedics

Days after an arbitration involving a Sikh paramedic in Hamilton who was unable to work because of new helmet regulations that in rare cases prevent the wearing of a beard, questions have been raised in the provincial legislature. Gurratan Singh asked Premier Doug Ford on Thursday what he would do to allow Sikh paramedics to continue to work and practice their religion.



Mississauga’s largest ward, with twice as many residents than its smallest, gets a raw deal

Mississauga’s largest ward, with twice as many residents than its smallest, gets a raw deal

Since the City of Mississauga last reviewed its ward boundaries in 2006, its population has grown by more than 100,000 people. As a result some councillors represent tens of thousands more residents than others. With the 2022 municipal election already on the minds of staff and councillors, the city has begun work on a review of the city’s wards.



Policing at the centre of regional feud as Brampton members walk out of meeting

Policing at the centre of regional feud as Brampton members walk out of meeting

A tense day at the Region of Peel saw the divide between Mississauga and Brampton continue to grow. With police funding at the centre of combative deliberations, the two cities clashed on how to proceed.

After Mississauga councillors led a vote forcing Peel Regional Police to reduce its budget request, they pushed to shift $69 million in policing costs to Brampton arguing the city is responsible for more of the force’s work, angering its members on regional council.



Peel’s paramedics move to challenge regulations that restrict religious freedoms

Peel’s paramedics move to challenge regulations that restrict religious freedoms

Safety standards applied by the province to Ontario paramedics in 2017 have been highlighted in a recent arbitration case in Hamilton.

Rules put in place to change the helmets worn by paramedics throughout the province, including in Peel, have left some, particularly Sikh workers, struggling to balance their individual rights with workplace rules.



New shelter spaces for human trafficking survivors a bright spot in region’s housing budget 

New shelter spaces for human trafficking survivors a bright spot in region’s housing budget 

With a Region of Peel 2020 budget that is short on solutions and investments to tackle the growing affordable housing crisis, one critical area is being looked after. 

Peel is moving forward with help to make sure survivors of human trafficking have somewhere to go when fleeing these dangerous criminal networks operating in the region. 



New economic growth plan calls for total rethink of Mississauga’s strategy

New economic growth plan calls for total rethink of Mississauga’s strategy

The City of Mississauga has approved a new economic growth strategy which sets out steps to make the city more appealing for people to live and work in.

Following the recent announcement that Bombardier will be setting up in the municipality, the new plan outlines steps to further boost the city, including how to make it less reliant on the car.



Cuts to police budget could impact community safety, regional council hears

Cuts to police budget could impact community safety, regional council hears

With regional councillors threatening to slash the proposed Peel police budget, efforts to improve efficiency were made clear by new chief Nishan Duraiappah during his first budget presentation last week. 

But despite those efforts, the chief made it clear to councillors that any reduction in the proposed 5.4 percent budget hike could mean less new officers and compromised policing across Mississauga and Brampton.



Mississauga failing to keep up with regulations to control Uber, Airbnb and other disruptors

Mississauga failing to keep up with regulations to control Uber, Airbnb and other disruptors

Following an LPAT victory for the City of Toronto against Airbnb, municipalities around the province are considering the issue of short-term rentals again.

In Mississauga, like many other cities, technological disruptors such as Airbnb and Uber have caused councils plenty of headaches, and there remains a lack of ongoing scrutiny.



Broken promises on the waterfront as Indigenous Village pushed aside in latest plan for Lakeview

Broken promises on the waterfront as Indigenous Village pushed aside in latest plan for Lakeview

A reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and a city named after the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, might have taken place on the old hydro lands in Lakeview. However, a planned Indigenous village meant to honour our past and open up possibilities for the future, was eliminated in the latest version of this massive mixed-use development.

A group of activists will interact with Mayor Crombie later this month in hopes of reviving their dream.



The future of Lakeview Village could be saved by our Indigenous past

The future of Lakeview Village could be saved by our Indigenous past

A consortium of private-sector developers is planning to build a massive mixed-use Lakeview Village on the former lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. It’s a multi-billion-dollar scheme that has evolved from humble beginnings into vertical sprawl. The latest version is almost double the size from the original plan, and is sure to fill the developer’s pockets with what could amount to billions of extra dollars.

What it won’t do is make happy those from Eagle Spirits of the Great Waters, the Lakeview Residents Association, or the supporters of late Ward 1 councillor Jim Tovey who long-ago conceived an award-winning, people-friendly Lakeview Village plan that was sublime in concept, and built to “human scale.”



Mississauga faces tough decisions in years to come as city passes ambitious $450M climate action plan

Mississauga faces tough decisions in years to come as city passes ambitious $450M climate action plan

After seeing a draft version in September, Mississauga councillors officially endorsed the city’s climate action plan. The blueprint for a green future lays out a series of tasks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.

However, turning the sprawling and car-happy city into a Scandinavian paradise will not be simple or cheap.



‘Maybe there has to be a total review of what we’re doing’: Mississauga Council postpones budget vote

‘Maybe there has to be a total review of what we’re doing’: Mississauga Council postpones budget vote

Wednesday, December 4, was meant to be the day Mississauga’s City Council approved the 2020 budget. Instead, staring at a huge tax increase, councillors voted to delay until late-January when they will try to figure out how to cut corners so homeowners aren’t crippled with costs to pay for the city’s widening infrastructure gap. One key cost-cutting area to look at is the city’s hefty expense for staff salaries, benefits and pensions.

 



With new anti-gun & gang grants not coming until spring, difficult decisions loom over Peel police budget

With new anti-gun & gang grants not coming until spring, difficult decisions loom over Peel police budget

The province says a cache of $65 million in initiatives announced this year for anti-gun and gang initiatives will not be available for municipal applications until next year.

With very little wiggle room in the regional budget and hints already made that police will need to tighten the purse strings, it leaves councillors pulled in two different directions: respect the property tax payer while addressing a rise in gun and gang crime.



As province begins $640M 401 widening through Mississauga, drivers still trump the climate 

As province begins $640M 401 widening through Mississauga, drivers still trump the climate 

Last week, the provincial government put shovels in the ground on an expensive 18-kilometre widening of the 401 designed to reduce congestion. The project, which was initiated by the Ontario Liberals and continued by the Progressive Conservatives, will see three years of highway reconstruction to make driving easier. In the background, city and provincial priorities appear unaligned on the issues of transit expansion and protecting the environment.



Province shocked into funding commitment to battle human trafficking

Province shocked into funding commitment to battle human trafficking

The province of Ontario will provide $20 million annually to organizations across the GTA offering support to survivors of human trafficking. 

Not only will the influx of funds help create new programs to help women and men who have been victims of sex trafficking, it will also allow for the creation of much needed, long-term supports.



Region of Peel needs homeowners to cover multi-billion dollar infrastructure shortfall 

Region of Peel needs homeowners to cover multi-billion dollar infrastructure shortfall 

They’re not as exciting as new train systems or glitzy public buildings, but the Region of Peel is responsible for key pieces of infrastructure that keep everything running, including waste management and water pipes and roads that crisscross through Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon. Numbers in the region’s proposed 2020 budget show just how much strain its $30 billion worth of infrastructure is under.



Politically powerful seniors are staying in their homes, making it difficult to raise property taxes 

Politically powerful seniors are staying in their homes, making it difficult to raise property taxes 

In the past, many seniors would sell their family home and downsize to a smaller, more affordable unit. However, a 21st century trend in Canada has seen more and more people hold onto their detached house in retirement, creating a squeeze on the property market. During budget season in municipalities, this creates an even bigger problem, as politically active senior residents on fixed incomes leave councillors in a dilemma. 



With razor thin margin, regional council hints at further changes to budget that could put services at risk

With razor thin margin, regional council hints at further changes to budget that could put services at risk

Councillors from Mississauga dominated discussions at the first major Region of Peel budget meeting of the season.

Staff at the region say the proposed budget, with its tax increase of 1.7 percent for the region’s portion of the bill, is already as thin as it can safely be, yet the tone of discussions suggests changes will come. In particular, it was Peel Regional Police’s request for 35 new officers and an extra $23 million which came into question.



Update: Malton’s police sub-station to reopen in the first quarter of 2020 as an interim measure

Update: Malton’s police sub-station to reopen in the first quarter of 2020 as an interim measure

Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish recently told the new chief of Peel Regional Police that he would be “a hero in Malton” after he announced plans to re-open the area’s community police station, which was closed in 2018. At the region’s most recent Police Services Board meeting, Chief Nish Duraiappah offered more details on an opening date and the free rent provided to the force, promising that the community station is just a short-term measure, with medium and long-term solutions to follow. 



Peel revamping housing services as waitlist, debt and lack of progress continue to plague system

Peel revamping housing services as waitlist, debt and lack of progress continue to plague system

The Region of Peel is transforming its affordable housing service delivery in an attempt to make sure those who are most in need get into affordable housing first. 

It remains unknown what impact this change will have on the centralized waitlist which has grown to nearly 15,000 people.



Illegal basement suites advertised online are a sign of Mississauga’s toothless enforcement policy

Illegal basement suites advertised online are a sign of Mississauga’s toothless enforcement policy

It is free for landlords to register secondary suites with Mississauga, where Brampton charges $200. Yet, as of November 1, fewer than 900 properties were registered with the city, while 163 complaints were made about units that might be illegal.

Research by The Pointer found multiple illegal basement units advertised for rent on online marketplaces, with the city confirming it had laid no charges in 2019 for unlawful rental properties. 



‘Challenges can not be swept under the rug any longer’: Mayor urges PDSB to take action against anti-Black racism

‘Challenges can not be swept under the rug any longer’: Mayor urges PDSB to take action against anti-Black racism

After weeks of turmoil at the Peel District School Board, and an upcoming probe by the province into allegations of anti-Black racism within the board, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is speaking out. 

In a letter to board chair Stan Cameron, Brown urges the board to get its act together, to stop dismissing community concerns and he suggests the board should undertake a diversity and inclusion audit – like those completed for Peel police and the City of Brampton – in order to find solutions.



244,000 students in Peel could be locked out with teachers and provincial negotiators at a standstill and unions in pre-strike position

244,000 students in Peel could be locked out with teachers and provincial negotiators at a standstill and unions in pre-strike position

The unions representing Ontario’s elementary and secondary school teachers have taken the first step toward a strike that would lock out almost a quarter of a million students across the region. 

While union leaders urge that today’s work-to-rule action will keep teachers in the classroom and have little impact on students, it should be a signal to the province that things are not okay. Thousands of families across Peel would have to make alternate arrangements if teachers strike.



Healthcare system transforms, but Peel remains the worst funded region, receiving less than half the Ontario average

Healthcare system transforms, but Peel remains the worst funded region, receiving less than half the Ontario average

According to their own description, the PC government is bringing Ontario’s healthcare system into the 21st century. It’s a line many PC MPPs have touted when describing the shift toward less public health units and a new health network system in the province. 

While the Ford government makes changes, one thing remains constant for the Region of Peel: the lack of investment into its public healthcare infrastructure.



The reimagining of shopping malls as parking lots become a thing of the past

The reimagining of shopping malls as parking lots become a thing of the past

We paved over paradise and put up parking lots – and giant malls. Plazas and strip malls have been part of the boilerplate suburban sprawl planned in Mississauga and Brampton. But they are now being reimagined as their land-use mix does not fit in a world going through tremendous innovation and transformation. What was once wasteful land could be the catalyst to a paradigm shift in the way we look at future growth in two of the country’s most dynamic, rapidly changing cities.



With a harsh winter forecast, governments need to plan for climate emergencies

With a harsh winter forecast, governments need to plan for climate emergencies

Climate change was one of the key themes of the 2019 federal election. The Green Party added its first ever MP outside of British Columbia, while pro-carbon tax parties scored a comfortable majority in the House of Commons. However, as a harsh winter arrives in Peel a little earlier than anticipated, some feel it’s time for the federal government to create a permanent fund to support cities, as previously rare weather events become a common occurrence. 



Parents, please read this: Peel police ICE unit facing an alarming surge of child exploitation online

Parents, please read this: Peel police ICE unit facing an alarming surge of child exploitation online

On a daily basis, the Internet Child Exploitation unit inside Peel Regional Police is viewing new online images or video of children being sexually exploited. They’re not alone. 

The volume of this content is becoming a global pandemic with police organizations and policy makers struggling to keep up and hold perpetrators accountable. Peel has seen a 332 percent increase in sexual crimes against children over the last five years.



Autonomous vehicles and more bus rapid transit among options MiWay is considering

Autonomous vehicles and more bus rapid transit among options MiWay is considering

Mississauga’s transit service is approaching the end of its first MiWay Five plan, a roadmap the service followed for half a decade. Director of Mississauga Transit (MiWay), Geoff Marinoff, spoke to The Pointer about his plans for the next five years, including the wide-spread introduction of faster bus service to the city’s express routes and the possible use of self-driving vehicles to serve routes with low ridership. 



With only half the fire stations Mississauga needs, response times are dangerously slow

With only half the fire stations Mississauga needs, response times are dangerously slow

Mississauga’s rapid growth has put pressure on its fire service, which has struggled to meet industry standards for response times. In recent years, the city has been more than 100 seconds behind the recommended time of response for fires, a significant delay when considering how fast fires spread. The city just got its first new station in 13 years.



Ford quietly moves to give developers a seat at the provincial planning table

Ford quietly moves to give developers a seat at the provincial planning table

In the middle of October, the Ontario Minister of Infrastructure, Laurie Scott, announced a new government structure allowing private businesses to pitch unsolicited infrastructure plans to the province.

It would allow developers and other companies to bring forward plans for power generation infrastructure, transit and even hospitals. It remains unclear how the move could impact city planning in the future. 



Peel budget proposal includes huge utility rate hike, moderate tax increase, while ignoring infrastructure & housing needs

Peel budget proposal includes huge utility rate hike, moderate tax increase, while ignoring infrastructure & housing needs

The Region of Peel has released staff’s proposed budget for next year, and many residents can celebrate a relatively low tax increase (on the region's share of the bill) that, if history is repeated, will be whittled down further by councillors. Property owners won’t be as happy when they open utility bills, with a massive hike being proposed. 

With reserves dwindling fast and infrastructure and housing needs growing just as fast, councillors will have to decide if they can afford to keep ignoring problems that will have severe ripple effects.



PDSB in racially charged chaos as trustees slam report clearing colleague over ‘McCriminal’ remark

PDSB in racially charged chaos as trustees slam report clearing colleague over ‘McCriminal’ remark

A Peel District School Board meeting Tuesday erupted with anger after trustees and Black community members ripped into an integrity commissioner report that exonerates a trustee who used a racially charged nickname to describe a middle school. 

Another trustee who has fought to get answers, suggested she might take action against the commissioner for disparaging her in the controversial report. 



‘The federal government has completely dropped the ball’: region demands stricter rules around vaping

‘The federal government has completely dropped the ball’: region demands stricter rules around vaping

Councillors at the Region of Peel voted unanimously in favour of advocating for significantly stronger rules around vaping at the federal and provincial level, with usage exploding among young people. In particular, recommendations call for a ban on the sale of flavoured vaping products as well as a strict ban on advertisements.



80 percent of Peel paramedics experience physical assault on the job

80 percent of Peel paramedics experience physical assault on the job

In spring 2018, paramedic Mandy Johnston had a terrible experience on a call. While trying to perform her life-saving duties, a family member of the patient hurled abuse at her. After the call she was unable to shake her distress, internalizing her feelings. Instead of bottling it up, as so many are forced to, she set about writing a report investigating the matter and is now campaigning for a culture change across the region. 



It’s budget season and career politicians want your vote

It’s budget season and career politicians want your vote

No one likes to see their property tax bill increase. But many taxpayers dislike opportunistic politicians even more. Local leaders around the Brampton and Mississauga and Peel Region council table have a bad track record of claiming progress on issues like the affordable housing crisis, while turning their back when they have to put the public’s money where council’s mouth is.



Piece of Mississauga heritage on the chopping block as province tries to cut costs of QEW improvements

Piece of Mississauga heritage on the chopping block as province tries to cut costs of QEW improvements

Forty years before Mississauga was conceived, the Queen Elizabeth Way’s bridge across the Credit River was built. Updated in 1960, it has been a landmark of provincial significance since it was recognized in 2009. However, amidst plans to widen the QEW, the province is planning to tear down the bridge and replace it in order to save time and money on the project. 



Mississauga’s proposed budget hopes 4.9% tax increase can help bridge growing infrastructure gap 

Mississauga’s proposed budget hopes 4.9% tax increase can help bridge growing infrastructure gap 

The proposed 2020 budget for Mississauga makes grim reading for some. The document outlines Mississauga’s plans for the next year, alongside its financial commitments and shortcomings. In particular, the budget shows an infrastructure gap which has grown by $214 million dollars in five years, as well as $1.5 billion in approved projects that are currently not funded.



Iannicca misses chance to apologize for unethical behaviour as attempt to reprimand him is shut down 

Iannicca misses chance to apologize for unethical behaviour as attempt to reprimand him is shut down 

This week Nando Iannicca, chair of the Region of Peel, was cleared of wrongdoing in an integrity commissioner report which, nonetheless, painted his recent actions in a negative light. At the first regional meeting since the public release of the report, which dealt with Iannicca’s mishandling of the province’s review of regional government, Mississauga councillors wanted the chair to be formally reprimanded. In the end, he survived unscathed, while the divide on regional council continues to deepen.



New chief will be a 'hero in Malton' after confirming shuttered station will reopen with bigger footprint

New chief will be a 'hero in Malton' after confirming shuttered station will reopen with bigger footprint

Just under two years after Jennifer Evans, the former police chief, closed its community police station, Malton has been offered a lifeline. Located just minutes from the site of a tragic mass shooting in September, calls for an increased Malton police presence have been loud since the community station was shut down to save money. Many are hoping today’s good news signals a shift in attitude about policing priorities. 



Iannicca acted unethically but watchdog clears him; Mississauga probably won’t

Iannicca acted unethically but watchdog clears him; Mississauga probably won’t

The integrity commissioner investigation into the conduct of Peel Region Chair Nando Iannicca has cleared him of wrongdoing despite behaving unethically in his dealings to keep the region intact. But Mississauga members now have their sights squarely on the back of the man who betrayed their trust.



Councillors in support of new developer-fuelled highway, while endangered species don’t stand a chance

Councillors in support of new developer-fuelled highway, while endangered species don’t stand a chance

The GTA West Highway, a planned corridor through Peel that will bisect the Greenbelt, border the Oak Ridges Moraine and cut across other sensitive habitats, while propelling urban sprawl and more vehicle use, is moving ahead with the support of Peel councillors who also claim to support the environment. 

Critics call it outdated transit planning, with runway-sized swaths of pavement and accompanying housing subdivisions that will destroy and fragment habitats for a number of the province’s most vulnerable species at a time when the planet is facing record loss of biodiversity.



Black market for cannabis continues to flourish in Peel

Black market for cannabis continues to flourish in Peel

The province has doled out nearly $1 million to the Region of Peel to help in its efforts following the legalization of cannabis. However, that money has yet to flow from regional coffers to the departments that need it. 

Peel Regional Police have incurred over $1.4 million in costs tied to legal cannabis, and the continued fight to shut down the black market, but have yet to see any money from the region.



Mississauga food bank use grows at four times the GTA rate in tandem with affordable housing crisis 

Mississauga food bank use grows at four times the GTA rate in tandem with affordable housing crisis 

Data from the Who’s Hungry report (2019) has shed light on growing poverty in Mississauga. Over the past year, visits to the city’s food banks have increased by 16 percent, quadruple the GTA rate of increase. In five years, use of food banks in the city has increased an alarming 225 percent. Speaking to The Pointer, one food bank client and the organization’s executive director said sky-high rents and a lack of affordable housing are at the heart of a growing crisis.



As Mississauga enters a critical stage in its development, will the city be able to avoid pitfalls of the past?

As Mississauga enters a critical stage in its development, will the city be able to avoid pitfalls of the past?

An off-chance, fly-by visit by John Graves Simcoe led to the commercial history of Mississauga's waterfront, setting off a massive movement of people and moneyed interests into the city. At the same time came the exiling of our First Nations people who had for generations "lived lightly" upon this land.

The latest business iteration is the building and selling of high-end real estate. Will Mississauga fall into the trap of over-building along our waterfront, following the excesses now foresting the Toronto shoreline?



The day Mississauga and its iconic matriarch made headlines across the world

The day Mississauga and its iconic matriarch made headlines across the world

Tomorrow marks 40 years since the Mississauga train derailment. Celebrating an event that could have turned into a disaster is tricky business. For this community, though, it was a moment when people, and the city itself, finally came together following its formation five years earlier. For Hazel McCallion, it was the first time the world saw what this formidable female leader was all about.



Mississauga’s continued push for foreign investment to help define itself comes as Brampton and other cities do the same

Mississauga’s continued push for foreign investment to help define itself comes as Brampton and other cities do the same

At the end of October councillors agreed to continue Mississauga’s $225,000 per year membership of Toronto Global, a foreign direct investment group for the GTA. Over the past three years the agreement has brought some attention to the city, though 85 percent of all investments it secures land in the City of Toronto. With cities across the GTA, including Brampton, vying to attract foreign companies, how can Mississauga stand apart?



Province stepping in to deal with allegations of systemic ‘anti-Black racism’ within Peel District School Board

Province stepping in to deal with allegations of systemic ‘anti-Black racism’ within Peel District School Board

After at least five trustees in the country’s third largest school board refused to attend a meeting next week where Black community members planned to raise a growing number of race-based concerns, the provincial education ministry announced Thursday that it will intervene, as relationships within the school board, which serves a predominantly non-white student body, have broken down. Trustee Kathy McDonald says the situation is deeply disturbing. 



Double murder of young children is the latest sign Peel’s violent trend is continuing

Double murder of young children is the latest sign Peel’s violent trend is continuing

Two young boys are the 24th and 25th homicide victims in Brampton and Mississauga in 2019. After their bodies were found inside a Brampton home late Wednesday night, the father of the two children is now charged with their deaths. 

It’s the latest in a long string of tragedies that have shaken the two cities since the start of 2019, and is a continuation of a rise in violent crime observed across the region last year. 



Ford government drastically under-funding new dental program in Peel, could put burden on local taxpayers

Ford government drastically under-funding new dental program in Peel, could put burden on local taxpayers

The province of Ontario predicts that around 7,000 seniors will take part in its new Ontario Low Income Seniors Dental Program set to launch this fall. The Region of Peel disagrees, stating the number is more than double that, and that’s being generous. 

In order to prepare for the influx of seniors seeking help with dental care, Peel is seeking almost $6 million from the province in order to drastically expand services to meet the looming demand. 



Lakeview Village project close to becoming a reality with concessions offered by developers

Lakeview Village project close to becoming a reality with concessions offered by developers

The City of Mississauga’s planning and development committee has unanimously approved the new master plan for a Lakeview Village on the city’s waterfront. The plan has reduced some height and density from previous proposals, though issues still exist for some residents. In particular, locals want to see towers moved farther from the water’s edge and council engage in regular information sessions with the community.