The Ford government’s plan to carve out certain parcels of land from the Greenbelt is facing scrutiny from a range of stakeholders.
Two MPPs have asked for an investigation by both the Auditor General and the Integrity Commissioner into lobbying actions by developers who bought up land in the Greenbelt, then saw the PCs identify those properties for future subdivisions.
An environmentally significant forest in Welland is at risk of being destroyed by a developer, after the municipality broke its commitment to preserve the land for future generations. The proposal for a three-storey condominium is the latest threat to the area's oasis of greenery and wildlife.
Neighbourhood residents are now fighting back.
Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act is yet another example of the Ford government violating Indigenous and Treaty rights with destructive legislation that has been reported to benefit the developers or land owners involved. Countless First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples have come forward in the last few years alone making statements citing disrespect and lack of consultation by the PC government, leading to legal battles.
The Chiefs of Ontario and the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation are the latest to speak out against Bill 23, citing clear violations and blatant disregard for rights over their ancestral and traditional territories.
The PC’s controversial housing legislation has passed at Queen’s Park, mandating urban sprawl onto Ontario’s largest municipalities, compromising climate change goals and threatening vital greenspace.
It also opens the PCs to significant liability, following a lack of consultation, and the possibility of legal challenges.
The 2022 Emissions Gap Report shows targets set in the Paris Agreement are not supported by policies around the world. In Canada, governments on all levels have a responsibility to take swift climate action to prevent further harm to the planet.
While the Region of Peel has a climate action plan in place, its recent decisions have pushed it further from its goals. Ottawa and Queen’s Park have also pursued policies contrary to their climate commitments.
A massive collection of stakeholders across the province has mobilized to fight the Doug Ford PC government and its development industry backers. Their proposed Bill 23 would push the construction of 1.5 million new homes, mostly in the GTHA, in just eight years.
From destroying Southern Ontario’s protected ecosystems and crippling municipalities with unmanageable costs for infrastructure to leaving future residents without services such as healthcare and education, the Bill is being described as the height of reckless decision making.
Crown attorneys are a pillar of the justice system, yet they work with a startling lack of oversight.
Mississauga rapper Avalanche the Architect says the Crown involved in his 2014 trial for uttering threats in connection to his music lost a key piece of evidence that could have swung the ruling in his favour.
The provincial government does not track complaints against Crown attorneys, despite repeated recommendations from the auditor general and professional bodies to do so.
A warming world is a breeding ground for sickness and a playground for vector borne diseases.
As the climate warms at an increasing rate, there may be no stopping these threats to our health from arriving. From our drinking water to impacts on air quality that affect our breathing to mental health, and the cascading risks caused by natural hazards, one particular question researchers in our warming world are asking is fundamental to our future well being: is our healthcare system prepared for the fight?
Premier Doug Ford is backtracking on a promise to not touch Ontario’s protected Greenbelt. A proposed plan could remove 7,400 acres within the lungs that pump fresh air across Southern Ontario.
Ecologically, the PC pledge to “expand” the Greenbelt elsewhere makes no sense, experts say. Meanwhile, the headwaters that arc above the GTA will be devastated if developers are allowed to erase the Greenbelt, one piece at a time.
The PC government’s decision to increase natural gas use for electricity production comes as emissions across most of Southern Ontario make climate targets virtually impossible.
A new report by The Atmospheric Fund shows the province and its municipalities need to dramatically reduce emissions in order to avoid catastrophic impacts.
A long-time resident of Caledon, Kathleen Wilson, decided to create and widely circulate a report card detailing the votes taken by Caledon council members prior to the October 24 municipal election. Her work drew widespread attention across the town with some fully supporting her, and others going out of their way to discredit everything she has done. Wilson is an anomaly, a citizen who believes one person can take a stand to protect the values held by many.
The architect of Ontario’s Greenbelt Plan, Victor Doyle, writes that sweeping changes to the management of Southern Ontario’s growth under Bill 23 were never mentioned during Doug Ford’s provincial election campaign. Despite its profound impact on climate change, the way we move and work and the financial burden shifted to home buyers and property taxpayers, the PC government has neglected to mention the numerous negative consequences its proposed legislation will have on all Ontarians.
The destruction of critical greenspace, higher property taxes and the reduction of future affordable housing were issues of concern raised by key stakeholders in Peel Thursday. They told the provincial government that if left unchanged its proposed Bill 23 will create widespread problems across Ontario.
The CUPE strike has ended and schools have reopened but the Doug Ford government is still at an impasse over how the Canadian Union of Public Employees’ 55,000 education workers should be treated. The PCs have repeatedly cited their motive to protect the well being of students, but residents want to know why this government seems to care so little about the well being of employees who look after those students.
Announced by the PC government, under the recently proposed Bill 23, the new provincial housing target for Brampton is 113,000 units by 2031, a stark increase to the City’s own Draft Official Plan which forecasts 102,000 housing units by 2051. If passed, the legislation would diminish affordable housing goals; and there is no indication of how provincial services and infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools and GO Trains, would be funded to support the massive build-out.
Doug Ford’s PC government is about to gut environmental regulations and the province’s conservation authorities, stripping away safeguards meant to protect the most important natural spaces in Ontario.
The public has been shut out of the process, but the head of the Ontario Headwaters Institute writes that far too much is at stake. Citizens, he says, have to stand up against profit-seeking developers; otherwise the environmental agenda will be destroyed.
The PC government’s new housing Bill is receiving major backlash from politicians, environmental and housing activists alike.
It cuts environmental roadblocks meant to govern development, more proof that Doug Ford and his party do not prioritize the preservation of our natural surroundings.
A study released by Environmental Defence has found, at minimum, close to 30 at-risk species will face dire consequences if Highway 413 is constructed—confirming the results of an investigation completed by The Pointer in 2021.
With the PC government under Premier Doug Ford continuing to show its unwillingness to prioritize environmental action, the advocacy group is turning to the federal government, demanding the project be designated for a full impact assessment, something that could see the project cancelled for good.
After the case was dismissed in February, an Ontario Justice has now awarded The Pointer over $64,000 in legal costs following a $12 million lawsuit brought by a Brampton doctor after reporting showed she spread anti-vaccine information on social media.
The financial demands of learning in a new country, and restrictions on the amount of time an international student is allowed to work, leave many of these newcomers vulnerable to labour and sexual exploitation.
New changes by the federal government could help alleviate some of the pressure, but advocates say Ottawa needs to do more to protect international students.
After a decade of ‘planning’ – including closed in-camera council sessions, questionable land sales, and rushed consulting and construction – the build for Erin’s Wastewater Treatment Facility is underway and predicted to be fully operational by 2028, dumping 7.2 million litres of effluent into the sensitive Missinnihe, or west Credit River, daily.
Hooked up in phases, the Town of Erin and the private sector partner have stated new developments will be connected initially, leaving current residents at the end of the line. After selling the lands for the Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) to the Town for just $2, Solmar Development Corp. is one of three builders that will be serviced first.
With the decision of Walter Sendzik to step down from his mayor’s seat, three candidates are vying for the position in the upcoming municipal election.
One of them, Mike Britton, has a slew of green policies he plans to roll out, if he’s elected.
A recent article in The Pointer Niagara detailed Freedom of Information documents that exposed the extent of backroom activity between mayor Walter Sendzik, developers and senior staff who tried to push a major mixed-use community on the contaminated former GM lands, with little regard for the public’s health. They need to be held accountable for how they have mishandled the project.
With the population expected to grow by about 50 percent by 2051, urban growth is inevitable across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. This will put immense pressure on our land, wildlife and watersheds.
A new tool developed by the Ontario Headwaters Institute provides a glimpse into the future of our province—for better or worse.
Impaired driving is on the rise across many of Ontario’s large urban centres, and a new survey from MADD Canada shows that young males are largely to blame.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission delivered its final report to Ottawa in 2015, after eight years of work. The 94 “calls to action” are crucial to the wellbeing of First Nations communities and other Indigenous peoples who have endured centuries of trauma caused intentionally by governments across the country and historically by the British and French.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald has stressed the need for immediate action to implement these desperately needed changes. But she says at the pace the government is moving, following decades of criminal-like behaviour, it will take 40 years before any real benefits of so-called reconciliation are seen.
The Pointer’s Alexis Wright has created a virtual walk of reflection to consider our collective obligation to First Nations communities and other Indigenous peoples.
The dead of a Canadian winter is an unforgiving time for dogs not made for the harsh climate. But more and more have been forced to the streets in recent years, often abandoned or escaped. Many end up starving and succumbing to the cold, dying in horrendous conditions.
Rescue organizations across the globe have taken on the responsibility of saving these animals. Advocates in Canada, a major importer of rescue animals, fear the just instituted ‘blanket ban’ on animals from certain countries where rabies is a risk only hurts those following all the precautions in the first place, to ensure a safer future.
The Great Lakes Forum in Niagara Falls getting underway this week will bring together scientists, government officials and interested citizens from Canada and the United States to discuss the current state, and the ongoing threats to the Great Lakes Basin.
The warming climate and its impact on the lakes—present and future—will be a key topic of discussion as climate change adds to ongoing challenges faced by the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem.
An “alarming” increase in drug and human trafficking has the Niagara Regional Police Service looking for new tools to fight gang activity that is increasingly spilling over from the GTA.
A provincial grant approved earlier this month will help fund a new set of CCTV cameras to help make Niagara “unwelcoming” to these transient gangs who arrive in the region to commit their criminal acts before fleeing.
Documents obtained by The Pointer show a developer trying to build a mixed-use residential project on the contaminated former GM site in St. Catharines was working with Mayor Walter Sendzik and senior staff two years ago, to “pressure” the local conservation authority for help, while the City claimed it was committed to protecting the public and before the extent of contamination was even known.
The documents also show the developer, mayor and senior staff were secretly working to have residents cover some of the builder’s costs, possibly millions of dollars, after taxpayers had previously been on the hook for the original developer’s property taxes.
Many governing bodies of what we now know as Canada – originally named Turtle Island – have claimed to begin or continue work reconciling relationships with Indigenous Peoples, and respect for Treaty agreements signed decades ago. The federal government in particular is responsible for leading the way. Yet, even through affiliation, it has been shown time and again that these displays of apologeticness may be rooted in performance rather than action. The Niagara Canada Summer Games is the latest example.
Ontario hospitals, battered by nearly three years of COVID, are in crisis. The PC government says it is trying to help, passing legislation that will force hospitals to charge patients $400 a day if they refuse a transfer to a long-term care facility—even if they did not choose the facility which could be 150 kilometres away from their home.
Passed with limited debate or public consultation, legal experts say Bill 7 will be a disaster for Ontario.
Following similar lawsuits undertaken in Europe and South America, seven youth from across Ontario have banded together to sue the provincial government under Premier Doug Ford for stripping down legislation meant to reduce provincial greenhouse gas emissions.
The landmark case could force stricter emissions targets into climate legislation.
Four years ago, a citizen-led effort to remove many locally elected officials brought hope that the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority would return to its mandate of protecting the most sensitive natural spaces throughout the region. Four years later, another municipal election might be the only way to force the NPCA to do its job.
The past few years have shown the power of civic action; and what happens without it. At this crucial juncture in Niagara Region’s history, the most powerful institutions and elected officials need to be held accountable by the people they are supposed to represent. Welcome to The Pointer Niagara, led by three dedicated board members who have seen firsthand the need for an engaged citizenry.
Questions are being raised about the value of municipal funding schemes paid by taxpayers across Niagara Region, meant to create economic growth. Regional Council has been told by KPMG that after 20 years of these programs, there is little evidence to show they work. Now, as St. Catharines adds another condo development to the list of projects receiving millions in taxpayer support, some councillors are calling for reform.
Environmental issues still don’t capture the attention of voters the way economic and public safety concerns do. They are not directly linked to the immediate interests of residents, even though climate change is increasingly impacting the well-being of more and more Canadians. Green candidates have brought plenty of passion to the election trail; now they have to take off the gloves as our times need politicians, like Mike Schreiner, who will fight for the planet.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created even more instability around energy supply. Nuclear power has been hotly debated for decades.
Some see it as the only feasible way to shift from carbon; a goal linked directly to climate change mitigation, and the need to break the global dependence on bad actors like Russia. But the risks associated with nuclear power still loom like the radioactive clouds of past disasters.
The City of Toronto has adopted protocols to prevent conflicts between humans and foxes. These increasingly common interactions are the result of increased habitat loss, driving more and more animals out of the natural spaces where they thrive. Thanks to rescue operations many species threatened by human activity have been rehabilitated which helps maintain their population, but because of constant threats like habitat loss due to urban development, a multitude of species – at risk or not – are still in rapid decline.
Conservation experts and environmental advocates are manufacturing mini miracles across Ontario using small doses of funding doled out by the provincial government.
These projects create a bulwark against a biodiversity crisis that is threatening the vast majority of the world’s species with extinction. If elected officials decided to dedicate just a minuscule amount of increased annual funding to conservation efforts the outcomes could be remarkable.
The critically sensitive ecosystem we are all a part of has countless features that are all interdependent; if even one is affected, the entire system has the potential to collapse. Scientists have warned of what happens when one species goes extinct – human factors being the most prominent recent cause – and what this means for life as we know it. Thanks to rescue operations many species have been rehabilitated which helps maintain their population, but because of constant threats like habitat loss due to urban development, a multitude of species – at risk or not – are still in rapid decline.
An analysis by The Pointer of chloride concentrations in Peel waterways has uncovered a troubling reality. Many of the creeks, streams and rivers that flow through the region are starting to have more in common with a salt water ocean than a freshwater ecosystem.
This poses a serious threat to aquatic life in Peel, and with a new study showing these harms can be triggered at levels lower than what governments have deemed safe, it demands increased urgency from municipalities and provincial officials to find new solutions for winter safety.
Younger generations are spending more time indoors and many are plagued with worry about a future where the natural world has turned aggressive, morphed by the impacts of climate change.
The creation of new outdoor learning standards could be the antidote for this anxiety, and spark a passion for nature in countless young minds. It’s a mindset that will be incredibly valuable in future decision-makers as the world stares down our changing climate.
Data released by Statistics Canada has provided one of the most comprehensive looks to date of the incessant increase of online child exploitation in the country.
It sheds new light on who is being impacted the most, how police are handling the problem—and how so much more needs to be done to stop it.
The Region of Peel has purchased a rail corridor connecting Brampton and Orangeville with plans to convert it into a system of hiking trails.
While additional opportunities for residents to enjoy the outdoors are crucial for a growing population, the plan has created questions for transit advocates who claim the railway would be better utilized as a future transportation corridor.
Population numbers for the monarch butterfly have been dwindling for decades. A recent endangered designation by a global conservation union is the latest signal of the dire position this incredible butterfly finds itself in.
Many hope the decision will signal increased protection, but in Ontario, where the provincial government has been hostile to species at risk, there may be little help for this critical pollinator.
In car-dependent Peel, eliminating reliance on the personal automobile is a tough sell for those who get behind the wheel on a daily basis. But transitioning to a zero emission vehicle, one that still affords the freedoms of a gas-powered car without the climate-harming emissions, could be an option—if crucial barriers are removed.
A new Peel strategy looks to do just that, but with the constant flip-flopping from the PC government on its stance towards electric vehicles, Peel is left with little help to reach its goals.
Two youth climate activist groups in Peel are providing knowledge and community engagement on issues central to the environment.
Their collective action aims to inspire a stronger young adult voice in government, as too many veteran politicians continue to ignore the climate crisis.
Patrick Brown’s hiring of David Barrick as Brampton’s CAO was the first sign that things were not right at City Hall under the new mayor. Jason Tamming had already been recruited by Brown to head strategic communications. The former Niagara staffer had been investigated by Ontario’s Ombudsman, who found he behaved corruptly in a hiring scandal that Barrick was also implicated in. They were both fired from their roles there, before Brown brought them to Brampton. The moves sent up glaring red flags around the new mayor, as he unleashed his disturbing style of leadership, which places Brown’s political ambition, not the public he’s supposed to serve, at the centre of all decision making.
Between now and the fall municipal election, The Pointer is republishing articles that revealed Patrick Brown’s startling behaviour.
Peel will expand its urban boundary into 11,000 acres of prime farmland and greenspace, putting local food security at risk.
The loss of this valuable land comes at a time when food prices are at unprecedented levels while the demand for local-grown food is on the rise. More and more residents are looking for sustainable options to combat the climate crisis.
For years Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) has been marketed as the best practice for families with an autistic child, described as something “essential” to parents.
Against the well-connected establishment is a community of autistic individuals pushing back on the practice which has been dubbed “autistic conversion therapy.”