MPPs, parents, students and teachers within Ontario schools for the deaf and blind still have no answer as to why the PC government refuses to address numerous allegations of abuse, discrimination and ongoing mismanagement—all of which is documented in lawsuits, Ministry of Labour investigations and accounts from parents and teachers.
The current government sees it as nothing more than “opposition rhetoric” and despite overwhelming evidence of failed leadership, the PCs “remain steadfast” in supporting these schools.
Homeowners, landlords and tenants across St. Catharines could be in for more pain as significant property tax increases in the city could for the second year in a row lead to much higher bills for homeowners, large property managers and tenants, whose rent could go up dramatically alongside any tax hikes for 2024.
The actions of councillors in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake have come into question over their involvement and influence in projects where they may have a conflict of interest.
The trio of reports are an opportunity to review the municipal integrity commissioner process, how it came to be and what penalties can be assessed if a council member is found to have broken the rules.
As the controversy over a proposed 800-acre blasting quarry in northwest Caledon unfolds, local business owners speak out about how the aggregate operation could impact the growing local tourism industry and other commercial interests in the area.
On Tuesday the PC government and Premier Doug Ford unveiled the Get it Done Act, an omnibus piece of legislation that Ford billed as a path to getting critical infrastructure built to support housing while keeping “costs down” for people and businesses.
This legislation furthers the environmentally destructive agenda the PCs have been advancing since 2018 by stripping down the environmental assessment process for major infrastructure projects like Highway 413 while doing little to promote the types of housing development Ontario desperately needs.
Studies show Canadians know human sex trafficking is a problem in this country, but many wouldn’t know the warning signs if they encountered them and have no idea how to talk about it with their loved ones.
This lack of knowledge and education has allowed this crime to flourish in recent years.
The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking is releasing a new tool to try and get people talking.
The decision by councillors to block a motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza continues to create ripple effects in the community.
The Pointer speaks with Chair of the Region’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, Councillor Laura Ip, who has been called to resign as committee chair following council’s decision.
A proactive investigation carried out by the Niagara Regional Police into individuals looking to purchase underage sex over the internet has led to the arrest of 13 men over the course of 4 days.
The results highlight the ongoing demand for illicit sex in Niagara’s busy tourist destinations.
Community activist and longtime Caledon resident Joe Grogan has, since his retirement from the academic world two decades ago, involved himself in numerous local issues that directly impact the lives of residents. He fears virtual government, a hangover from the pandemic, is eroding public accountability at the municipal level. He writes that our democracy is weakened when voters can’t square off face to face with the elected officials who are supposed to protect them.
The City of Brampton is increasing fines for drivers illegally parking in bike lanes from $35 to $150 as complaints mount. The ongoing conflict between cyclists and drivers highlights a challenge in Brampton where a push for active transportation infrastructure, necessary for achieving critical emission reduction targets, clashes with the city’s historic car-centric design.
While the PC government continues to push a new 400-series corridor across the southern edge of the Greenbelt, Highway 413 has faced widespread community opposition for years. One Caledon councillor might follow the lead of local elected officials across the GTA whose motions cemented formal opposition to the controversial project.
Stealing cars has been happening since they were invented, but the recent increase in violent auto thefts across Peel and beyond has drawn the attention of the federal government. In an effort to tackle the growing trend, Ottawa recently announced two funding envelopes — $121 million for Ontario and another $28 million for the Canada Border Services Agency. As these organized crimes become increasingly violent, local officials are calling for tougher penalties and stricter sentencing, which is nothing new.
As the PC government pressures some of Ontario’s largest municipalities to get housing built, a recent policy report from the Ontario Real Estate Association reveals housing starts were down in 2023. Based on data from the report, the annual pace of construction would need to nearly double to 150,000 new units by 2025 to have any hope of achieving the PCs’ ambitious goal.
Municipalities want the PCs to adjust the criteria for provincial funding incentives, using units approved, rather than housing starts, which cities often can not control.
Mervat Ghaboun recently fled Gaza amid the ongoing bombardment by the Israeli army. She has landed in St. Catharines with relatives, but her siblings are still stuck in the middle of a war.
She is working to bring them to Canada—with every step another roadblock sets her back. She is desperately trying to rescue them from the same fate that took the life of her youngest brother two weeks ago.
Ontario NDP Education Critic Chandra Pasma is calling on the provincial auditor general to investigate the systemic issues plaguing Ontario’s provincial schools for the deaf and blind.
The request follows years of sustained advocacy from parents, teachers and union officials who have sounded the alarm about underfunding, understaffing, abuse and neglect within the board which has led to two class action lawsuits settled by the Ontario government at a cost of over $20 million.
In Fort Erie, Council will consider a new “private” tree by-law that will prevent egregious clear cutting and deal with the possible protection of individual trees within the urban boundary.
Residents of Niagara Falls are disappointed after elected officials passed off the chance to join 20 other municipalities and 41 community organizations in calling on the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to implement a moratorium on new pits and quarries in light of the findings of a scathing Auditor General's report in December.
That report found aggregate operators have very little oversight and are seldom held to account for breaking the law. Council was reluctant to accommodate the request after the City’s CAO warned that making a political decision when staff have a pit application in front of them could trigger an appeal.
As oil companies and plastic producers stand strong on their challenge of the federal government’s listing of plastic as a toxic substance — the basis for the single-use plastic ban that began to unroll in 2022, individual municipalities are considering their own single-use-plastic bylaws within their own borders that support the federal bans.
The electoral landscape in Pelham could shift ahead of the next municipal election as councillors consider ward boundary and composition changes. Pelham residents will finally get a schedule for resolving long-standing odour issues from local cannabis operations.
A contentious quarry expansion in Wainfleet will be under the microscope at a public meeting hosted by Niagara Region.
When planning for luxury lakeside condos, a giant wastewater plant next door, radiating putrid smells across the area, is not an ideal scenario for future residents. The Region of Peel, City of Mississauga and development consortium Lakeview Community Partners are working together to upgrade the G.E. Booth wastewater treatment facility, to make it more sustainable and far less stinky.
Last week, the federal government announced $362.4 million in funding for provinces and municipalities struggling to meet demand as asylum seekers rely on overburdened shelter systems across the country. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marc Miller told reporters more details on the funding will be released in the coming days, but it remains unclear how much Peel’s overcrowded shelters will get.
In a recent 26-2 vote, Niagara Regional councillors prevented any debate on a proposed motion—which never got to the floor—calling to support a ceasefire in Gaza. Local elected officials blatantly contradicted themselves, claiming regional government is not the place to deal with geopolitical issues, after doing exactly that when they previously passed a resolution in support of Ukraine. How will they overcome charges of discrimination and rebuild broken relationships in their communities?
A month after announcing the procurement of new renewable energy contracts, the PC government announced it would be financing the refurbishment of the Pickering nuclear facility in its efforts to ensure Ontario’s energy grid can keep up with future demand.
Nuclear currently provides about 60 percent of the province’s energy supply, as experts encourage the transition to alternative sources such as wind and solar, while warning that the PC government’s investments in natural gas are moving us in the wrong direction.
At its most recent meeting, the overwhelming majority of Regional Council members refused to consider a motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
While the subject was clearly outside the Region’s jurisdiction, that hasn’t stopped councillors from wading into geopolitical issues before. A previous show of support for Ukraine was not met with the same response. Frustrated community members are now demanding answers from their local elected officials.
As the region, like much of the country, continues to see demographic shifts, the new chief’s past comments on police culture raised concerns.
Chief Fordy, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, who worked with the RCMP in B.C., in charge of one of Canada’s most diverse areas, has recognized the need to root out discrimination in policing.
Amid more resignations and newly surfaced emails, Premier Doug Ford is still struggling to regain support from much of his political base, after his PCs schemed to remove 7,400 acres from the protected Greenbelt. While the land has since been returned to its previous status, new information continues to emerge about the backroom deals and unethical process that caused the scandal.
With the new strong mayor legislation, municipal councils only need to vote on possible amendments to a mayor’s proposed budget. The new powers are meant to expedite home construction, while ensuring taxpayers are still fully involved in decisions about how their money is spent. That didn’t stop Niagara Falls City Council from adopting the lion’s share of the 2024 budget with next to no public input.
Mayor Mat Siscoe faced significant pushback from his council colleagues, following a public backlash over his proposal to use private contractors to take care of St. Catharines’ tree canopy, instead of the in-house forestry services department, which he wants to cut as part of the 2024 budget approval process.
While all levels of government grapple with increasing pressure to adopt low and zero emission technologies rapidly, more homeowners are choosing heat pumps for their home’s heating and cooling systems.
Provinces in the east have seen incredible success through a series of rebates and other commitments to energy efficiency. But Ontario, which currently has a low rate of heat pump take-up, is falling behind as the province’s own rebate program is set to expire in March.
A spotlight on Algoma University’s Brampton satellite campus, after student protests over marks, exposes the egregious strategy of admitting thousands of foreign applicants to turn around the school’s flagging finances. It is now flush with money, but the students from India who bailed out the school are now asking why they are not getting the education or resources expected for the exorbitant fees they are paying, at least three times more than what their Canadian and American counterparts at the university are charged. Algoma has no housing in Brampton and almost 5,400 students (there were 540 in 2021) are forced to share 38 classrooms.
A recent letter from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is redirecting the provincially appointed Transition Board, previously meant to facilitate the dissolution of the Region of Peel, to conduct a review of major services currently handled by the Region, to hand them over to Peel’s lower-tier municipalities. Is this the beginning of the breakup Mississauga has been waiting for? Hundreds of staff could be impacted.
Two members of Caledon's Aggregate Resources Community Working Group stood before the Town’s planning and development committee last week and demanded local officials reaffirm their commitment to strengthen weak policies for the aggregate industry. The plea came after work to create better accountability over gravel companies has faltered.
An altercation in November involving students at Cardinal Leger Secondary School in Brampton and a plain-clothed police officer has generated two different narratives about what happened that day. The incident has inflamed tensions between Peel’s Black communities and Peel Police while shining a light on the region’s Catholic school board which is now facing disturbing allegations of systemic anti-Black racism.
With councillors announcing their bid to replace Bonnie Crombie, a recent poll from Liaison Strategies revealed well known Mississauga political leader Carolyn Parrish would win an election held now. It shows she has a double-digit lead over her nearest potential competitor. A by-election to replace Crombie will likely be held late spring or early summer.
A report from Ontario’s Acting Auditor General Nick Stavropoulos, published last month, picks apart the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry which has essentially handed the reins to the aggregate industry, failing to enforce regulations. Community advocates across Caledon have long fought the approval of new pits and quarries, with little oversight of these operations after they are allowed by the Province.
After five years of stalling new renewable energy production, prioritizing natural gas instead, the Doug Ford government has announced the procurement of additional renewable energy that will nearly double capacity by 2035. But following the renewable energy pledge that came out of COP 28 in December, which Canada signed onto, Ontario is still out of step with the national and international policies the country is obligated to fulfill.
After Mayor Mat Siscoe brought forward his 2024 budget under new powers granted by the Province, which give him broad authority over the financial planning for the city, St. Catharines council reconvenes on Monday to consider proposed amendments to the blueprint put forward by the mayor. The proposed termination of in-house forestry services and a request to pass a budget with no tax increase, after last year’s controversial 10.5 percent hike, will be debated by council members and the public.
While St. Catharines and Niagara Falls are still in the midst of their 2024 budget deliberations, will Regional Council follow the lead of municipalities like Mississauga and Brampton by supporting a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Seven Ontario youth are refusing to back down in their fight against the Ontario government for its harmful policies which have increased emissions across the province. They were in court Monday before a panel of appeal judges who will decide whether the case can proceed after an earlier decision dismissed the youth’s claim that the PCs should be held legally responsible for harm they are causing by failing to act on climate change.
A recent presentation from the Ministry of Transportation on Highway 413 — a highly criticized project that will cause significant environmental harm — was met with frustration by Mississauga councillors. Local officials requested details on the project timeline and costs, but their questions went unanswered after PC government representatives tried to trumpet the controversial transportation plan.
After proposing to eliminate the city’s cherished forestry services department to cut costs as part of St. Catharines’ 2024 budget deliberations, Mayor Mat Siscoe was confronted by residents last week. He could not answer many of the questions they peppered him with, including how his financial assumptions about cost savings were calculated.
Bonnie Crombie has officially moved on after nearly a decade in the Mississauga mayor’s seat. The mark she left on her city serves as a template for how she might pull Ontario into the future, with a bold, fearless style of leadership unafraid of change. She ushered in an era of municipal politics that finally allowed Mississauga’s government to catch up to the cosmopolitan swagger that had replaced decades of sleepy, homogenous suburban life.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on Canada’s carbon pricing scheme. When compared to nations like Sweden the Liberal government’s policy approach has failed to yield the same results. Trying to appease Canadians—and corporations—across the spectrum has limited the effectiveness of carbon pricing here. For the policy to succeed a line in the sand needs to be drawn, otherwise emissions will continue to rise in a country that has become a laughing stock for our woeful action on climate change.
With the last day as Mississauga Mayor upon her, Bonnie Crombie reflects on her transformational leadership. She shifted Mississauga’s suburban mindset—a way of life increasingly out of step with modern city building—after decades of sprawling growth. She spoke with The Pointer about her municipal work on cleaner, greener growth ahead of her departure to helm the Ontario Liberal Party.
Brampton’s Residential Rental Licensing Pilot Program has launched across half the city, requiring landlords with four or less units to obtain a licence and be subject to random inspections for compliance. The two-year pilot aims to protect tenants from abuse, but advocates including Peel ACORN are demanding that corporate landlords, currently excluded from the oversight measure, also be included, citing poor maintenance conditions and a lack of compliance with fire and building codes in their properties.
As councillors line up to be Mississauga’s next mayor, residents could see more than one by-election in the year ahead depending on how the eleven remaining members decide to move forward. Councillor Carolyn Parrish has already confirmed her plan to resign from her Ward 5 seat as she contends for the mayor’s chair, and wants to only see one by-election, for the mayor's job and to replace any councillor who decides to run for it. But it remains unclear if other council members who plan to run will do the same, or if they will force a second by-election later in the year if a councillor has to be replaced.
On Wednesday, St. Catharines Mayor Mat Siscoe will present his budget, which does not differentiate much from the one presented by staff in November but does reduce the proposed operating increase to 1.49 percent. Provincial officials will also be in the city to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of Niagara’s two-tier system of municipal government.
In a controversial move, to reduce the proposed budget increase for 2024, St. Catharines’ mayor is proposing to eliminate the department that provides services such as tree pruning, maintenance of plants and monitoring of the city’s flora. Private alternatives could see taxpayers on the hook for huge cost escalations, as was the case in the past when municipal services were offloaded.
During the recent COP28 conference in Dubai, the federal government presented a framework for a cap on emissions by the oil and gas industry, an announcement that has been long awaited by environmental groups across Canada. But the lack of urgency in implementing draft regulations as well as lackluster penalties for exceeding thresholds have organizations worried that government efforts to limit climate change will once again be unsuccessful.
As snowy, frigid winters of the past give way to rain and fluctuating temperatures, Canada’s winter tourism sector is balancing the challenges of adapting to a shorter, warmer season. Technology, according to tourism and sustainability expert Michelle Rutty, will help Canadians enjoy their beloved winter activities—we just have to learn to adapt.
Council is expected to ratify the 2024 budget at a meeting next week, following amendments by members to the first financial blueprint presented by the mayor under new powers designated to the head of council. After 2023’s divisive process, which resulted in a mismanaged increase of 10.5 percent that was implemented long after the usual public approval procedure, this year’s budget decision could be just as controversial, with a proposal to freeze the 2024 budget with no increase.