On September 30, the third National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was recognized across the part of Turtle Island now known as Canada. As the 15th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples passes, the federal government has completed 13 of 94 calls to action established by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and implemented in 2015.
While progress has been slow at the federal level, in Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government has introduced multiple pieces of legislation that completely negate free, prior and informed consent—a cornerstone of the truth and reconciliation commitments to undo centuries of injustice done to Indigenous peoples.
City Council declared gender-based violence and intimate partner violence an epidemic in Mississauga, similar to motions brought forward to Brampton and Regional council earlier this year. It is a move advocacy groups are calling a “first step” toward addressing the root cause of these extreme acts of violence common across the region, but without sufficient recognition and funding from the Province, these violent crimes will continue.
As The Mississauga Food Bank announces its rebranding to Food Banks Mississauga, a name the organization’s CEO says better reflects the work it does, the community service has also revealed in its latest report that five percent of the city’s population is now turning to the food bank to meet one of its most basic needs. The shocking statistic comes as the organization predicts a further surge in food insecurity in the community with no government intervention in sight.
A report coming to St. Catharines council on Monday includes a recommendation for the approval of incentive applications for three development proposals as part of the City’s 2020 Community Improvement Plan. Monday’s report raises questions and stirs previous concerns about the effectiveness of these incentive programs that have historically been criticized in Niagara Region for giving wealthy developers even greater profits at the expense of taxpayers who see few benefits.
Premier Doug Ford announced the reversal of the widely reviled Greenbelt Plan Thursday, putting all 14 remaining parcels of land removed last November back into the protected greenscape. Despite an apology and admission of his mistake, advocates remain cautious of the government’s integrity and intentions, turning their attention to projects like Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass which have been under intense scrutiny.
With the climate movement growing across the globe, organizers are seeing more young people of diverse backgrounds (in many ways) get involved. Two young Ontario activists, Sophia Mathur and Miranda Baksh, say this diversity is important because climate change affects all, regardless of race, class or political stripe. The purpose is not to alienate any particular segment, but to galvanize generations demanding government protection.
Following the resignation of former housing minister Steve Clark and a reshuffling of Ford’s cabinet ministers, the PC government will conduct a review that will include all requests for Greenbelt land removals — as many as 800. While this is mandatory every ten years, experts say the intent is to strengthen Greenbelt policies and expand the protected area, not remove parcels for development.
Following months of speculation about her time as mayor ahead of November’s vote for the Ontario Liberal Party leadership, Bonnie Crombie has confirmed she will take a leave of absence from her role as Mississauga mayor. With a good chance she might not return, who are some of the likely candidates that will vie to replace the popular leader?
The first week back to school across much of southern Ontario featured humidex values in the low 40s, temperatures that make it difficult for learning.
As high temperatures arrive earlier in the spring and persist into fall, which future climate models point to, schools will need to keep students and staff safe and cool.
Immediately after Steve Clark resigned as Ontario’s housing minister, demands rained down for the protection of all Greenbelt lands.
Doug Ford, the man responsible for approving carve outs that stand to earn developers more than $8 billion, has yet to explain his role in the scandal. A review he announced Monday already has critics questioning what good it will do, after the premier refused to halt development of the vital protected greenspace.
A damning report from Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner detailed the utter failure of Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, who said he had his “head in the sand” while 15 parcels of land in the once protected Greenbelt were approved for home construction at a value of $8.3 billion to prominent developers.
The report, which follows a blistering probe by Ontario’s Auditor General, has left the Ford PC government reeling, exposing the cozy relationship between powerful builders and the ruling party.
In a slew of press releases last week, the PC government introduced the Building Faster Fund at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario annual meeting in London.
The funding incentives will provide up to $1.2 billion over three years for municipalities that meet or exceed the housing targets they have pledged to achieve by 2031 as part of the Ford government’s plan to build 1.5 million homes. Premier Ford also extended existing strong mayor powers to municipalities once again, on the condition they sign onto the provincial housing pledge.
An investigation by The Pointer has revealed just how damaging the Ontario government's ongoing push for development is to its most at risk species.
Development proposals, whether for a highway, a water main, or a subdivision, are analyzed in silos. Projects in Mississauga do not consider the impacts to wildlife in Pickering or Niagara, and those in Caledon do not analyze what goes on in Markham or Oshawa. But what if all these projects are harming the same species? Or the same threatened ecosystem?
That’s exactly what is happening to Ontario’s species at risk. Despite repeated calls from the provincial auditor general, the PC government refuses to analyze the cumulative impacts of its manic push for growth.
While the world transitions to a low carbon economy, it is often overlooked that smoke billowing from smokestacks is more than just the greenhouse gasses that warm the atmosphere. Hidden within the noxious clouds blooming from industrial smokestacks is a large sum of toxic chemicals, many of which can have adverse effects on human health.
A provincial policy that allows certain companies to break air quality standards put in place to protect human health is being questioned by a group of environmental lawyers.
Scrutiny of the PC land swap that removed 7,400 acres from the protected Greenbelt continues as the RCMP announce it has received a referral from the Ontario Provincial Police to investigate the matter.
The potential police investigation comes after auditor general Bonnie Lysyk exposed the process used by the PC government to choose parcels of land for removal heavily favoured prominent developers and PC donors.
A collaborative of more than 50 social organizations is calling on Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk and the Ontario integrity commissioner to keep digging into the PC government and conduct a fulsome analysis of the behind the scenes work that went into creating the myriad of development policies rammed through during Premier Doug Ford’s tenure—many of which have benefited prominent home builders in Ontario.
The group posits that if the auditor general found wrongdoing in the flawed Greenbelt land removal scheme—a process Premier Ford said the ends justified the means—there could be more wrongdoing to uncover.
In light of an announcement by Education Minister Stephen Lecce to investigate the circumstances around a lawsuit by late TDSB principal Robert Bilkszto, Black community advocates gathered at a press conference on August 2 calling for the protection and continuation of anti-racism work and diversity/equity/inclusion efforts in Ontario school systems.
Across North America, equity work is meeting more and more resistance.
The leaders of the three opposition parties in Ontario are all calling for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, to resign following the release of the auditor general’s report that provided a detailed account of how the PC government worked behind the scenes, holding hands with some of the country’s most powerful developers, to open up large swaths of the Greenbelt for development.
For some, a resignation is not enough and are calling for the lands to be returned to the Greenbelt and a criminal investigation into the scandal.
In the 1990s a local family sold a cherished greenspace in the heart of Welland to the City with the promise that it would be protected. Three decades later the lands have been sold to a local developer for a three-storey condominium, leaving residents up in arms that the City did not hold up its end of the deal.
After elected officials caught wind of the area’s unique history, the development application has been under the microscope. Now, the developers are appealing to the Ontario Land Tribunal to obtain the necessary approvals.
A report by Bonnie Lysyk offers a detailed account of how the PC government, led by Premier Doug Ford, worked behind the scenes, taking directions from some of the most powerful developers in the country, to open up Ontario’s protected Greenbelt so they can pocket billions in profits by destroying greenspaces for sprawling subdivisions.
Lysyk estimates the Greenbelt land owned by developers, much of it bought after Ford won the 2022 election, is now worth $8.523 billion.
Residents of Niagara Region’s largest city were blindsided by a 10.5 percent tax increase last month.
In a special meeting meant to open the door for them to comment on this unprecedented tax hike, councillors blocked delegates from speaking. A young resident describes the scene and the shock of seeing elected officials ignore the basic tenets of our democratic process.
A new joint report from the United Nations Environment Program and the Sabin Centre for Climate Change Law at Columbia university shows climate change litigation is on the rise globally.
Citizens are increasingly taking corporations and governments to court over their failure to responsibly act on emissions reductions and other environmental harms. The process has moved slowly and many cases have been lost in the past, but lawyers say the tide is changing toward the strongest form of climate action. New Canadian legislation could speed up the fight.
As temperatures continue to rise it’s not only the human habitat that is changing. More and more ecosystems are becoming increasingly suitable habitats for a variety of biting insects that transmit pathogens and diseases, which can be harmful to humans.
Time has run out on the Ontario PC government. The recent by-election losses are the latest evidence that residents are ready for change.
If Doug Ford doesn’t align his policies with the need for immediate action to avert a climate disaster, voters will take the protection of the air we breathe and water we drink into our own hands.
Bill C-226 has sparked awareness of environmental racism across Canada. It is an injustice that continues to plague Indigenous, Black and other marginalized communities. The Bill’s passage would be a significant step toward justice, after decades of harm to people forced to drink dirty water, live alongside poisoned lakes and contaminated industrial sites. For Ingrid Waldron, a champion of the environmental racism education and activist movement in Canada, legislation to stop institutionalized harm is long overdue. Meanwhile, Bill S-5 just passed, possibly leading to legal precedents for the protection of environmental rights.
On May 29th, St. Catharines city council, forced by its mayor and six councillors, endorsed, by the narrowest of margins, an across-the-board 10.51% property tax increase. It’s the highest in the city’s history. As residents receive their tax bills, citizens are beginning to understand how this record increase will impact their lives; many have been pushed to the edge of a personal financial crisis.
As the need for locally grown produce, wheat and other food staples becomes more and more critical, to reduce the cost of what we eat, dramatically shrink our carbon footprint and to practice sustainable ways of living, the Doug Ford PC government continues to move Ontario backward, writes the architect of the province’s Greenbelt plan, Victor Doyle.
Among all of the stressors of growing up in the 21st century, climate change tops the list for causing anxiety in youth. While this type of stress can be debilitating, experts and young climate advocates say channeling this fear into action can have a monumental impact.
A $14 million investment made by the PC government to support conservation efforts is being praised as a crucial step forward for sustainability. However, the funds come alongside cuts Doug Ford has made to conservation authorities, impacting their ability to shape a more sustainable future.
Environment Canada released its climate outlook for the summer which predicted particularly hot temperatures that have now set in across much of the province. Ontario’s electricity grid has to expand and the PC government on Wednesday announced the largest new nuclear project in decades. But alternative energy sources such as solar and wind are falling behind the global take-up of greener electricity supply.
Ontarians waste a great deal of food.
It’s a sad reality as the cost of staple items skyrockets, and a growing number of families are unable to put enough on their table. Wasted food comes with significant financial and environmental costs that are becoming increasingly hard to ignore for municipalities and corporations.
Provincial politicians arrived at the annual general meeting of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario to deliver praise for a profession that has suffered with low wages and crushing workloads for years.
While the PC health minister refused to acknowledge the role her government has had in this crisis, including their ongoing fight to preserve legislation that was labelled unconstitutional by the courts and has kept wages for nurses well below the rate of inflation for the last three years, opposition leaders took quick aim at the majority government’s track record, often to raucous applause from the nurses in attendance.
While smoke is hanging low across much of the country, Canadians are calling on the federal government for details on how a net-zero electricity grid will be achieved by 2035. A massive deep water drilling project planned by two European oil giants off the east coast has been delayed for three years — environmental groups continue to question why the federal Liberals support a project that sets our clean energy policies back by decades.
The PC government wants legislation to better protect those suffering from intimate partner violence. A motion by MPP Christine Hogarth seeks to create Ontario’s own version of “Clare’s Law” which allows individuals to obtain information from police about their partner’s abusive past. A local organization wants new tools in the province to address intimate partner violence, but says there is a lack of resources to properly support those who come forward for help.
Despite the PC government scaling back portions of Bill 97 that would have allowed the carving up of valuable farmland, concerns remain high among environmental and agricultural organizations that significant risks remain after Premier Doug Ford revealed his true feelings about Ontario’s Greenbelt, labelling the world’s largest collection of protected greenspace nothing more than “a scam”.
Wildfires are burning across the country, with forecasts predicting much of the country will be covered by a haze of smoke by early morning Wednesday.
Climate experts have been warning about the dangerous ripple effects of increasing wildfires for years. The degraded air quality across much of Peel Tuesday, may only be the beginning.
A new program from the PC government is mandating naloxone kits in “high risk” workplaces in Ontario.
It’s a welcome measure that could help to mitigate the opioid crisis that is killing a disturbing number of Ontarians every year. It remains unclear exactly how many employers will be required to carry the life-saving medication.
A new report from Ontario’s auditor general exposes the declining health of the province’s greenspaces and wildlife.
It’s a report the PCs have refused to mention, highlighting the failure of this government to protect the environment and battle climate change.
The Ontario Health Coalition announced results of a regional and province-wide survey on the privatization of healthcare in Ontario after the PCs passed a new delivery model that will allow private clinics to perform certain procedures covered by the province’s publicly funded system.
Critics warn this will eventually lead to a two-tier system that will benefit the rich and marginalize low-income earners.
Under the Conservation Authorities Act, Conservation Authorities are mandated to conserve, restore and responsibly manage Ontario’s water resources. However, the TRCA says most of its flood management infrastructure is outdated and not up to current standards. The cost to update infrastructure is far greater than the budget for these priority projects.
A Federal Court judge has highlighted the utter failure of the Impact Assessment Agency and Environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault to study community concerns around the Bradford Bypass, noting it’s clear the Agency did not even consider some of the significant information community members provided.
The startling decision is at odds with repeated statements from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his environment minister that protecting the environment and battling climate change are a top priority.
Over a year ago, St. Catharines council asked staff to report back on its goal of planting 100,000 trees in a decade. The study has yet to materialize. Environmentalists support tree planting but many are questioning governments that trumpet such efforts while ignoring much more critical solutions, or, as Doug Ford continues to do, enact policies that set us even further behind in the fight to slow climate change.
A recent court decision has dismissed the case of seven youth claiming the Ontario government is violating their Charter rights with ineffectual emission reduction targets.
While the judge found the PC government’s abysmal climate plans put Ontarians at risk, she ruled the harmful actions fall short of a Charter violation.
The PC government has brought forward another proposed piece of development legislation aimed at addressing the ongoing housing crisis: Bill 97, the Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act. It seeks to amend various pieces of legislation making it easier for the Province to achieve its goal of 1.5 million homes by 2031. Land use experts say the legislation would cut more environmental safeguards, put farmland and food security at risk and pave the way for less dense, car-dependent growth.
As avian flu spikes in the bird population, killing millions around the world, experts advise avoiding contact altogether if possible as the virus can be transmitted to humans, pets, and other wildlife through infected bodily fluids.
To report sick or deceased wild animals, residents within the Greater Golden Horseshoe are asked to call both 311 and the Ontario Regional Centre of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.
Police, politicians and the public call for change in a system that allows Canada to remain a ‘source country’ for the international stolen car market.
Vehicles across Ontario and other provinces end up in countries where the illicit trade in stolen cars happens in the open, right under the nose of governments and local authorities.
An audit published by Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk in November found the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is severely lacking in its management of invasive species.
Her audit details the failure to collaborate with other governments, inadequate funding for municipalities and the lack of a coherent strategy as invasive species thrive due to global movement and climate change.
In 2021, despite backlash from the public, Caledon council passed a motion to request an MZO for a warehouse project located at Dixie Road and Mayfield Road.
The development approved in March 2022 will divert the watercourse that runs through the site—which includes portions of the Greenbelt. Despite its role in protecting a large portion of southern Ontario’s natural habitats, and a new report that looks at natural channel restoration in Brampton, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority is repeating the claim that tampering with the stream will be ecologically beneficial.
Bill 56, Fewer Floods, Safer Ontario Act, a private members Bill brought forward by Liberal MPP Mary-Margaret McMahon, was voted down by all PC MPPs last week.
It was not a surprise given the Ford government’s move to gut conservation authorities, which provide critical flood management. McMahon says she will look to municipal leaders to help protect residents from flood risks.
The 2023 Ontario budget puts forth $70.5 billion for public transportation projects over the next decade. But NDP Critic Joel Harden says while that seems like a sizable investment, the money is not going where it is needed most. The PCs are investing almost $28 billion in highway projects, when experts say we need to move away from individual forms of transportation.
On April 1, the Ontario government has a surprise planning announcement for the province's residents.