Ryerson President says Brampton to become a world leader

Ryerson University plans to implement programs that will make Brampton a hub for learning.

Stand UP for Brampton’s Paul Vicente and Rowena Santos met with the President of Ryerson University, Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, to discuss his vision for a new university in Brampton. Through collaboration, Ryerson will be a key part of the transformation of our downtown core resulting in economic growth and job creation in our city.

But how else will Ryerson help differentiate our city from other municipalities? In this final article we share Dr. Lachemi’s description of the programming at the new campus which will position Brampton a leader on the world stage.

 

Ryerson University Part III: Brampton as a world leader with specialized programming

Currently, Ryerson offers its 45,000 students in Toronto over 60 different undergraduate programs, but in Brampton, the program offering will be tailored.

“We don’t want to duplicate what we are already offering. We want to offer something that will be useful, something that will offer to serve the city in terms of job opportunities for those that go to the school.” Dr. Lachemi explained.

Increasingly, students need to be prepared for jobs of the future. Ryerson is responding to this need especially in Brampton, by prioritizing the mandate from the province to offer courses geared toward science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).

Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, President of Ryerson University speaking on a new university in Brampton.

Dr. Lachemi believes there is an area in which a huge gap exists in terms of talent and offers significant opportunities for students. He was excited in sharing that Ryerson University is planning to lead program development in Cyber Sciences and Security at their Brampton campus. This would be a groundbreaker for an institution to develop much needed talent.

“We have a broad vision for Brampton. We don’t want a school just like any other school. We want to create an opportunity for Brampton to shine, not just locally, but globally.”

Referring to cyber sciences and security, Dr. Lachemi explained that “We want the programming to focus on that aspect, but not just from the science and engineering side, but also from the business side. All of our partners here on Bay Street; everyone is telling us that cyber security is important.”

Financial institutions, banks, police services, governments, and utilities are looking at their operations and the new risks presented by global hackers looking to steal information or potentially cause disruption. The area of cyber security has become a top priority with burgeoning demand for skilled people.

Programming focused on cyber security would attract investment from around the world. Settled only fifteen minutes away from the country’s most important airport, and as mentioned in Part II of this series, Ryerson’s university campus in Brampton is at the center of the GTA’s innovation hub where it can reach out to both Toronto and Waterloo to bring them to the table.

“In terms of cyber security, when I am talking to banks, they have thousands of people working for them. That’s also an aspect of training. This is new stuff,” Dr. Lachemi explains while highlighting the demand for such programs within the private sector.

Dr. Lachemi speaking with Rowena Santos and Paul Vicente.

Ryerson is known for its integrated, hands-on and collaborative approach to learning as shared in Part 1 of this series of articles. It is the only university in the system that has an advisory board composed of industry leaders for each of its one programs. They advise on what’s important to the industry in order to create opportunities for the students they hire.

“I think at Brampton we will focus on building a platform where students will be walking alongside with people in the industry and benefit from that experience. We need industry leaders to be involved.”

Dr. Lachemi believes that the new university in our city is poised to become a world-class source for talent. “Brampton can be that hub; it can become a global center for cyber security. It will differentiate Brampton from anything else in the country, I tell you.”

After our meeting with Dr. Lachemi, we felt incredibly inspired by what’s to come. Ryerson’s commitment to collaborate and help build our city with a vision to make Brampton a global center for cyber security will have economic and social ripple effects across generations. Stand UP for Brampton looks forward to this transformational growth.

In case you missed it, here is the entire series of articles generated from our meeting with the President of Ryerson, Dr. Mohamed Lachemi.

Part I: Community collaboration to build a city – Click here.

Part II: Economic Benefits and the Innovation Hub – Click here.

Part III: Brampton as a world leader with specialized programming – Click here.

 

Photos by Shelby Morell.

 

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Paul Vicente, Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, and Rowena Santos.

University to bring massive change to Brampton

Ryerson University is a public research university located in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Stand UP for Brampton’s Paul Vicente and Rowena Santos met with the President of Ryerson University, Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, to discuss Ryerson’s proposal for a new university. From that meeting it was clear that Brampton has found a collaborative partner committed to community building. This is the second of a three-part series.

 

Ryerson University Part II: Economic benefits and the Innovation Hub

Promoting innovation and business development are hallmarks for Ryerson. Their new campus in Brampton is uniquely positioned to engage the city’s young and diverse population.

“We are in the business of talent development. Our role is education. We think that there is an opportunity for a university like ours to capture the talent of the region,” explained Dr. Lachemi. “Brampton is a city with a lot of youth, but it’s also a city that has this aspect of diversity where I can tell you, for families, the priority for them is education for their kids.”

Ryerson has already proven through its collaborative approach in Toronto that it can do a lot to engage the business community to provide its students with real-life work experiences that will prepare them for the workplace of the future. But the benefits of having a local university go further.

“When you have a business idea, location, location, location is important. I personally think that Brampton has a huge strategic advantage in terms of its location; You are fifteen minutes from the airport, a major airport, the most important airport in the country.”

There will be an immediate and long term economic ripple effect when Ryerson comes to Brampton. Construction, hiring of faculty, demand for campus housing, student materials and supplies will be imminent. Existing businesses will be supported by more customers downtown with students and visitors coming to the city. This will also open the market for new cafes, restaurants, and small businesses.

The Ryerson campus will organically provide support for the creative energy already bubbling in our city, possibly leading to a boom in the arts and culture sector in Brampton, another important ingredient for economic growth. In the longer term, students who choose to live in Brampton after graduating will be generating a higher income and have more money to spend locally.

Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, President of Ryerson University.

Through the leadership of Dr. Lachemi and partnership with the city, we will attract businesses around the world interested in the talent that Brampton has to offer.

“I was in Mumbai, and there, they are very excited about our project in Brampton. Last week I was in Dubai, talking about some collaboration, and people there mention to me, ‘I heard you are doing something in Brampton.’ Everyone is very positive about the project.”

Dr. Lachemi emphasizes Brampton’s unique geographical positioning within the innovation corridor of the GTA.

“Brampton is the connector between Waterloo and Toronto, and if you can have a university like Ryerson that is focused on innovation and entrepreneurship at the center of the corridor; with the creation of an innovation hub at the center, we can attract people from both sides. It’s like a magnet attracting talent and people from both sides.”

This is part of why the collaboration with Metrolinx is key. Local excitement within our city, across the GTA and abroad, matched with Ryerson’s entrepreneurial spirit and collaborative approach mean that people want to seize this opportunity.

The Board of Directors of Ryerson, a panel comprised of some of the top executives in Canada, including companies like Rogers, Brookfield, Canada Infrastructure Bank, and others, are inspired by the vision of a university of Brampton. “They are telling me to move faster. Go, go, go! That’s the message I am getting from them now,” Dr. Lachemi says.

The good news is that the land around the property owned by Metrolinx near the GO terminal in downtown Brampton is rumoured as the preferred location. The area is an ideal seeding ground for transformational change in the city. Studies show that the economic impact would be substantial.

Downtown Brampton. (Google)

According to a report issued by the Council of Ontario’s Universities in July 2017, “spending generated as a result of the activities of Ontario universities spurs regional economic and social development. It is responsible for the creation of 478,096 FTE [Full Time Equivalent] jobs and contributes $42.4 billion to Ontario’s GDP. But the impact of universities also goes well beyond the ripple effects of spending.”

In June 2016, Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon attempted to push a motion at Council for more job growth by highlighting the low and uncompetitive employment activity rate in the city at only 33%. After decades of residential development, it’s time to open the doors to business and employment opportunities for our residents. Ryerson will propel this.

New economic activity is expected in Brampton as soon as Ryerson begins developing and settling in. We will begin to shift revenue generated in the city – one that is currently relying on a heavy residential property tax base, to a more balanced structure that includes a healthier level of commercial and businesses in the city.

“Others have missed the opportunity,” says Dr. Lachemi. “Ryerson gets it.”

Discussing Ryerson’s university proposal with Dr. Mohamed Lachemi.

In our third and final article generated from our meeting, we will discuss Dr. Lachemi’s ideas on the unique programming that Ryerson will offer – another differentiating opportunity that will position Brampton as a world leader and specialist.

 

Photos by Shelby Morell.

 

Part I: Community collaboration to build a city – Click here.

Part II: Economic Benefits and the Innovation Hub – Click here.

Part III: Brampton as a world leader with specialized programming – Click here.

 

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Dr. Mohamed Lachemi’s provides a bird’s-eye tour of Ryerson University’s extensive Toronto campus as it can be seen from his 13th floor office.

 

 

Ryerson University President enthusiastic about Brampton’s future

Ryerson University’s eagerly anticipated arrival in Brampton is a game changer. Stand UP for Brampton had the privilege to meet with the President of Ryerson University, Dr. Mohamed Lachemi to discuss Ryerson’s proposal for a new university to be built in Brampton. This is part one of a three-part series generated from our discussion.

 

Ryerson University Part I: Community collaboration to build a city

Sitting on the 13th floor of the President’s office overlooking Ryerson’s downtown Toronto campus, Rowena Santos and Paul Vicente of Stand Up for Brampton met with Dr. Lachemi, inspired by a view of what could also be possible for Brampton. It didn’t take long for Dr. Lachemi to share his own enthusiasm about the potential in our city.

“I am excited that Ryerson is going to Brampton,” said Dr. Lachemi. “Brampton has a lot to offer. It has youth, it has energy. I am very interested to work with stakeholders and see how we can benefit the population.”

Ryerson’s downtown Toronto campus currently serves 45,000 students, and classrooms are being fully utilized. Dr. Lachemi explained that that it took several years to reach this point of success especially for the community.

Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, President of Ryerson University speaking with with Rowena Santos and Paul Vicente.

“The role of an urban university, when we look at city building, is not just about ourselves, it’s about the communities around us. And as a university in the 21st century, if we don’t think about the communities that surround us, we will not serve the population well.”

Dr. Lachemi has been at Ryerson for the last twenty years, and has witnessed the full transformation of the area in which they are currently situated. “This area, twenty years ago, was kind of empty; with no life here,” he describes.

Dr. Mohamed Lachemi

His description of what was twenty years ago can be compared to the feel of our own downtown Brampton today. Being one of the fastest growing municipalities in the country our downtown core is lagging.

You need a catalyst to attract talented people including a comfortable space for experimenting and interacting with mentors, Dr. Lachemi explained. “A university is not about building walls; it is about opening doors with your neighbours and collaborating with people. That is what I see in the opportunity for downtown Brampton.”

Ryerson’s expansion into Brampton appears to be an opportunity for everyone. Now at full capacity at its current location, Ryerson is ready to expand as soon as possible, taking with it a successful experience in transforming a barren block into a booming hub of creative and economic activity in Toronto.

“I think Brampton needs that anchor; a university in the downtown area, and that will bring more businesses, more collaboration and more opportunities.”

Dr. Lachemi provided a number of examples of collaborations benefiting students, the community, and the economy. Ryerson’s business school is located on Bay Street, a partnership that benefits the private sector and gives students direct networking and professional access to heart of the financial district.

Ryerson’s collaboration with St. Michael’s Hospital is another example where the university has a direct presence in occupying an entire floor. Engineering and science students work alongside with clinicians in the hospital, in an institute for research, but in partnership they also created an innovation hub called the Biomedical Zone.

Dr. Lachemi is excited about the great partners the university will be working with in Brampton including Sheridan College, the City of Brampton and the local business community.

“I would say the nature of the work we do here is to focus on partnership and collaboration. I think the way that I see an innovation university in the 21st century, you need to push boundaries. You need to think out of the box. You need to develop strategic partnerships.”

Innovation Corridor: The GO Transit Kitchener Line which connects Toronto-Brampton-Waterloo.

Ryerson’s vision to expand in Brampton coincides with local demand from a growing population where immediate access to transit is an issue. The partnership with Metrolinx was discussed as a natural solution for students to access transit. But Dr. Lachemi also described Metrolinx as a collaboration that puts Brampton at a strategic advantage within the innovation hub.

“If you take the train from Toronto, going to Waterloo, Brampton is the mid-point. So I need to think about a way for us to capture this, and Metrolinx can be a strategic partner in that aspect, for sure. The location is extremely important, and the linkage to both cities, to Waterloo and Toronto, is extremely powerful.”

Being directly linked to transit and the innovation hub opens new doors for our students and community creating further opportunities to expand.

“A lot of people said you are coming here with only a thousand or two thousand students. I told them we are not talking about two thousand students. We are talking about the big picture at this point. You have to think about what kind of synergies you can create for a better future for Brampton.”

Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi, Paul Vicente, and Rowena Santos.

We have been inspired by Ryerson’s creative community approach to city building and we are excited to see what this partnership will bring for our city.

In the second part of our series, we will delve into the economic benefits of Ryerson in Brampton and we will end with our third article discussing the unique programming that Ryerson will bring to our city.

Photos by Shelby Morell.

 

Part I: Community collaboration to build a city – Click here.

Part II: Economic Benefits and the Innovation Hub – Click here.

Part III: Brampton as a world leader with specialized programming – Click here.

 

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Paul Vicente, Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, and Rowena Santos.

 

 

 

Brampton Councillor Elaine Moore announces retirement

Brampton Ward 1 & 5 Councillor Elaine Moore has announced that she will be retiring from politics after the current Council term.

Stand UP for Brampton wishes to acknowledge Regional Councillor Elaine Moore for her many years of service to the City of Brampton and the residents of Wards 1 and 5.

Stand UP for Brampton advocates and works to raise the voices of the people of Brampton by actively engaging the community to move our city forward.

We look forward to what this means for the future of our city and the direction of the next council, particularly for our neighbours in Wards 1 and 5.

Paul Vicente and Rowena Santos

Things to do for March Break in Brampton

 

As far as we are concerned, Brampton is the center of the universe, and there is always a lot to do in our beautiful city. March Break is no exception. Here are a few ideas for you.

1. Celebrate hockey.

Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour is heading to Brampton for a celebration of hockey. The two-day hockey festival begins on Saturday, March 10 at noon at Garden Square, in Brampton, and will conclude Sunday evening following the Rogers Hometown Hockey outdoor viewing party. The weekend will feature broadcast hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone, meet-and-greet opportunities with NHL alumni Darryl Sittler, Rick Vaive and Wendel Clark, live local entertainment and engaging activities for the whole family. In addition, the Hockey Night In Canada: Punjabi Edition broadcast team will be on-site on Sunday as part of the weekend festivities. Check it out here.

2. Go to an art gallery.

Beaux Arts Brampton is a great place to explore new art and see artists at work. Throughout March Break, they will have a special exhibit called “Hockey Tribute, Sign Paintings by Dale Boyd”, featuring a collection of hand-painted signs celebrating one of Canada’s most beloved sports, hockey! Learn more here.

3. Fun at the museum.

For the kids, nothing beats a learning trip to the museum; check out Peel Art Gallery Museum + Archives (PAMA) during the March Break, as they have a ton of activities on tap. Throughout the week, you can enjoy family art and stories, multiple arts and crafts classes and events, outdoor activities on the historic grounds, animal face painting, and you can even meet and learn about guide dogs. Educational, creative, and fun for the whole family! Visit their website for all the details.

4. Go skating!

The mercury is hovering near zero again, so that means the rinks are open! Take advantage of all the awesome skate parks that Brampton has to offer. Enjoy a skate through beautiful Gage Park in downtown Brampton or visit the skating trail at Chinguacousy Park with its 2,000 square metres of winter fun, or the Mount Pleasant skating rink. Skate rentals are avialable, and bring your favorite warm drink or grab a bite on the way.

5. City activities.

The City of Brampton has a list of fun things to do for March Break. They offer a great selection of camps, drop-ins and registered programs to keep kids active and learning. Check it out by clicking here!

6. Tease your taste buds.

Foodies rejoice! The Taste of Downtown Brampton presents a culinary experience for foodies to explore the wonderful delights downtown Brampton has to offer. From specials, to prix-fixe menus, the Taste has a tasty option for everyone to explore and enjoy. To view this year’s participants and deals, visit their website here.

7. Go to a library.

Brampton has an amazing collection of great libraries across the city. Reinvigorate your love for reading or instill that love in a new young reader. All branches have a number of activities during March Break, and the new spectacular Springdale Branch has just opened. Check out their calendar of events for the week here.

8. Plant a seed.

The Brampton Horticultural Society presents their sixth Annual Seedy Saturday & Garden Show. Admission is free, with lots of free parking. You can participate in multiple offerings including their seed exchange, swap and buy seeds, checkout their exhibits and presentations, and they will help you to create gardening communities. A large selection of used gardening books are offered, and you can “Ask an Expert”. Also, a great Kids’ zone helps kids learn about seeds & plants, and be sure to enjoy the Seedy Café. The first 100 visitors receive a free plant. All the details are here.

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Minister visits Brampton to announce parental leave benefits

Patricia Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour speaks in Brampton.

Brampton hosted the Honourable Patricia Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour, to announce a new initiative the federal government has introduced through its 2018 budget to support gender equality at home and in the workplace.

Making the announcement at Gore Meadows Recreation Centre, Minister Hajdu was joined by Brampton’s five Members of Parliament, Kamal Khera, Sonia Sidhu, Raj Grewal, Ruby Sahota, and Rameshewar Sangha.

Last week, the federal Liberals tabled their 2018 budget in which “every single decision on expenditure and tax measures was informed” by a gender-based analysis.

In the document, the government has introduced a new Employment Insurance (EI) Parental Sharing Benefit to promote equal parenting roles in families. The new benefit will provide an additional five weeks of Employment Insurance Parental Benefits to parents that share parental leave. The program will provide an additional eight weeks of benefits to parents that choose the extended parental benefits option, with the additional aim of encouraging women to re-enter the workforce.

This benefit will be administered in a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ system; parents that do not share leave time between the two parents will not be eligible for additional weeks of EI Parental Benefits.

Kamal Khera, the Member of Parliament for Brampton West and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue, in a statement, says the new measure provides an opportunity for parents.

“This benefit will give parents that share parental leave a total of 40 weeks to spend with their newborn; a critical time for both a mother and father to bond with their child. Shared leave time will keep more women in the work place, while giving fathers the opportunity to further participate in the care of their children.”

The incentive is expected to be available starting June 2019, and is projected to cost $1.2 billion over five years. After the first five years, the program will require an annual investment of $344.7 million per year.

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Brampton Members of Parliament at the announcement.

 

 

Residents give Riverstone a thumbs up at public meetings

Riverstone Golf Club Exterior (City of Brampton).

The City of Brampton hosted two public meetings at the recently purchased Riverstone Golf Club, and from the reaction of the residents who attended, the future community centre is likely to be seen as a welcome addition to the portfolio of recreational facilities that have become a source of pride for the residents of the city.

The City of Brampton agreed to purchase the golf club in December, 2017, after a staff review recommended the purchase of the building and some associated land parcels, to allow its conversion to a recreation centre focused on delivering programs for seniors. The facility is located in the east end of the city, near Queen Street East and McVean Drive.

Approximately two hundred residents attended information sessions held inside the Riverstone club house where they had an opportunity to view portions of the building and see proposed layouts which were revealed to the public for the first time. City staff were on hand to answer questions and provide guided tours.

Some of the tour highlights included the saltwater pool area, the large banquet hall, a fully equipped exercise room, and a set of squash courts on the lower level.

The deal to purchase the golf club saw heavy debate at City Hall last year, with most of the information regarding the plan being kept behind closed doors to protect the privacy of the real estate negotiations. Media coverage and discussions on social media raised concerns as to whether or not the purchase represented good value for the Brampton taxpayer.

But all seemed forgiven as attendees learned about the City’s future plans for the facility, and when given a tour of the building, residents were giving the deal a thumbs up, as evidenced by conversations between residents and staff.

Ground level proposed layout.

One person answering resident’s questions was Al Meneses, the Commissioner of Community Services for the City of Brampton, the lead on the project to study the acquisition. When asked, he was ready to explain the merits of the purchase.

“It’s a 35,000 square foot facility that is going to provide amenities for the community. We spoke extensively to the residents in regards to the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and one of the recommendations we got was that we needed an additional seniors’ centre, or seniors-focused centre on the east side.”

The building was purchased for $9 million, with the seller, a developer, also being paid an additional $2.6 million to refurbish and renovate the building to meet the City’s community centre standards, which includes reconfiguring and repurposing a number of rooms, building family change rooms, and ensuring all parts of the facility are wheelchair accessible.

Meneses says that the deal was an opportunity. “It was at the right price. The timeline was great. It was an opportunity-driven purchase where, when we looked at the alternative which was to acquire some land, building a 35,000 square foot facility, and how much it would cost and how long it would take, clearly, what came out was that it was going to cost us about twice as much to build new, and it would take about five to seven years before we actually got the doors open.”

Under the current deal, the facility will open in a year. According to Meneses, “It was a no brainer.”

The purchase also includes the handover of over 60 acres of valley lands, which the City will restore back to natural state at an additional estimated cost of $1 million. The greenspace will remain protected and provides additional recreational space for local residents as well as a continuous cycling and walking path from Brampton’s northwest end down to Lake Ontario.

Riverstone indoor saltwater pool area.

Back inside, one of the significant features of the facility is the pool area. A saltwater therapeutic pool with a continuous five foot depth is certain to become popular. Once open, it will be the only saltwater pool in the City’s property inventory.

Meneses notes that an important factor in the details of the purchase is that only half a million dollars of actual taxpayer dollars went into the purchase. “The balance of the purchase price, from a funding source perspective, was development charges and cash-in-lieu reserves. So, from a taxpayer perspective, it was half a million of tax dollars, and the rest of it came from reserves that we have that are developer-funded.”

Basement level proposed layout.

Residents who attended were asking questions and providing additional input, with one expressing gratitude for the City taking over the golf club. “I’m really happy that this building has been saved, and I know that when I come here, I will enjoy using it. We were wondering what was going to happen to it, and I think this plan is going to serve everyone very well.”

When asked about the controversy surrounding the purchase, Meneses explained the drivers involved in the recommendation to purchase the site, and the behind-the-scenes process which lead to the decision.

“From a staff perspective, we don’t get involved in the politics. We are aware of the politics, but as staff, we’re paid to provide the best advice we can to our Council, based on what’s value for money, what’s best for the taxpayers and what’s best for the long-term future of the city and the residents of the city. That’s what we base our recommendations on. Staff was asked to review the option of purchasing this facility, and here is good value for the taxpayer.”

The new recreation centre is expected to open to the public in Spring 2019, after the seller has completed the necessary renovations. While the centre is intended to serve residents of all ages, there will be an emphasis on programming to meet the needs of seniors, with programs that are similar to the Flower City Seniors Recreation Centre located at McLaughlin Road and Queen Street West, with the additional benefit of the existing aquatics and fitness facilities at Riverstone.

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Fitness and exercise room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walk with us during the Coldest Night of the Year in Brampton

Volunteering with our youth team in December, 2017.

In December, our Stand UP for Brampton youth team volunteered with Regeneration, a community outreach program that serves the homeless, those at risk of homelessness, and those living in extreme poverty.

Inspired by our experience, Stand UP for Brampton is participating as a team in Regeneration’s Coldest Night of the Year fundraising walk. Walk with us on February 24th to help raise money for this important community program or make a donation here.

Poverty in the suburbs has been described as “invisible” or something you just don’t talk about. But the evidence is clear- we can no longer turn a blind eye to poverty. Over the past three decades, Peel Region has seen a significant increase in low-income neighbourhoods, from only 2 per cent in 1980, to 45 per cent in 2012 and 52 per cent in 2015. According to a report from the United Way released this last October, the majority of neighbourhoods in Peel are now, for the first time ever, considered low-income.

The volunteers, staff and patrons from Regeneration are on the front lines facing the reality of rising poverty in Peel every day.

Located just north of Main and Church, Regeneration staff and volunteers gather before sunrise to prepare a warm breakfast every morning for hundreds of people seeking shelter, food or a welcoming atmosphere/community. Staff and volunteers cited an increased need for their program with the rise in homelessness due to unemployment and precarious work. Help with their breakfast program is especially necessary at Regeneration.

With a growing number of youth having nowhere to find a warm bed to sleep at night, one patron shared that there are limited places that are affordable and safe in the area.

Just this week at the Region of Peel Council meeting held on February 8, a report highlighted the lack of rental housing stock being built within Peel, leaving people without enough affordable living options.

Regeneration is part of the solution. It is one of only a few programs that provide services for those in need. As highlighted by the United Way, the demand for social services is outpacing what’s currently available in the region.

Staff and volunteers at Regeneration are doing incredible work every day to serve an increasing number of people in our community. We want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Regeneration for their compassion and contribution in making our city a better place. That is why Stand UP for Brampton will be participating as a team in support of Regeneration’s Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser. We hope you will join us or consider making a donation. Together as a community, we can do more.

 

 

 

Sparks fly between Brampton councillors at Peel Region meeting

Peel Region council chambers.

Exasperated Mississauga and Caledon councillors could do nothing but watch as divisions between Brampton councillors played out at a regular meeting of the Region of Peel today.

At different points, Councillors yelled and accused each other of not following procedural rules, while others rose on points of order. The political spectacle and bickering, while common at Brampton City Hall meetings, is very rare at the Region of Peel, and underlines the divisions that exist between Brampton’s elected representatives, in stark contrast to the unity and order exemplified by representatives of both Caledon and Mississauga.

At the heart of the issue was a report from the Integrity Commissioner on a code of conduct complaint originally filed by Regional Councillor John Sprovieri against Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey, stemming from a decision made at a Regional Council meeting last December, to have the Mayor reimbursed for $18,475 in legal fees that she incurred for obtaining a legal opinion related to a potential conflict of interest in another matter.

In his complaint, Regional Councillor Sprovieri alleged that the Mayor violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act by attempting to influence the outcome of the vote by phoning two other members of Regional Council, namely, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, and Councillor Martin Medeiros, asking them to move and second a motion to have the legal fees reimbursed.

The decision was made in closed session, and Mayor Linda Jeffrey, as required by the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, recused herself at the time that the matter was brought to Council for consideration.

In his decision, Robert Swayze, the Region’s Integrity Commisioner, found that he had no jurisdiction to make a ruling against the Mayor, but did say in his written opinion that she “made an innocent error in judgement”.

Not satisfied with the report, Councillor Sprovieri attempted to reopen the matter, with a request that the matter be referred to the Ontario Ombudsman, while Councillor Elaine Moore demanded that the Mayor reimburse the Region for the legal fees.

Tempers flared and several members rose on point of order to challenge whether correct procedures were being followed. The exchange was chaired by Chris Fonseca, Councillor for Mississauga Ward 3, who did her best to maintain order as well as her own composure throughout the entire exchange.

Watch the video of the exchange below.

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Sparks fly at the Region of Peel

Sparks fly at the Region of Peel today, as Brampton Councillors launch into an internal battle over legal fees incurred by Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey last year.

Posted by Paul Vicente – Stand UP for Brampton on Thursday, February 8, 2018

 

Mayor delivers state of the city address

Mayor Linda Jeffrey delivers her annual state of the city address.

Before a packed room of over 400 members of the Brampton Board of Trade, Mayor Linda Jeffrey delivered her State of the City address.

Touting a number of achievements made recently by the business community, Jeffrey talked about the “resiliency” of the city, its people, and its businesses.

“Resilient cities are those that can survive, adapt and thrive. Resilience is what helps us adapt and transform in the face of these challenges. Over the past three years our city has shown remarkable resilience.”

As proof of this, Jeffrey provided examples, including Brampton’s recent cooperation with Toronto Global, an organization representing municipalities in the region, to bid for Amazon’s second headquarters.

The Mayor, bucking some opinion here at home that economic development trips should not be a priority, discussed her recent visits to health-related companies in New York and New Jersey, to promote Brampton as a place to do business.

“It’s time Brampton started acting like the big city it is. Cities like Markham, Vaughan and Mississauga have planned for and attracted job creators much more effectively than we have.”

Citing unsettling discoveries made by internal inquiries made at City Hall into the city’s financial health and procurement practices, the Mayor suggested more could be done.

“Over the last year our CAO has hired some new internal auditors and they have tabled some reports I found shocking. They highlighted the fact that regular policy reviews were not taking place.”

A recent review by the Ombudsman of Ontario found no evidence of wrongdoing, but he did identify several ways Brampton could improve its practices, including a recommendation that the City should establish an independent, permanent auditor general to help re-establish confidence in the City and ensure accountably and transparently.

“Unfortunately, Council chose not to implement this advice.” Jeffrey said.

In her speech, the Mayor also addressed her relationship with other elected officials, telling of an interaction with a resident who claimed to have read some statements on social media that say she doesn’t work with Councillors.

“That’s just a false narrative. As Mayor, I have a responsibility first and foremost to you, the people who elected me.” She said, as applause within the room broke out. “I will not be a rubber stamp just to get along. I was elected to serve as Mayor with a mandate to do things differently and every now and then I may ruffle some people’s feathers when I don’t agree with them – they need to just get over it.”

Jeffrey also touched upon the highly anticipated announcement of a new university in Brampton, brought forward by way of a partnership between Ryerson University and Sheridan College.

“Our university will be a game changer.” Jeffrey said, using her popular phrase. “It will be a catalyst for significant investments and initiatives to transform creative and commercial space, to inspire a generation of residents, and provide the high skilled jobs of tomorrow.”

Acknowledging Brampton’s rapid pace of growth and the issues it has created in our hospitals, Jeffrey said that she continues to advocate for more hours at Peel Memorial Hospital, and an immediate commencement of the building of Phase 2 of that facility, as well as the need for a third hospital in the city’s west end.

Jeffrey discussed some of Brampton’s recent transit achievements, citing an article by TVO that detailed Brampton’s thriving local transit system, which has seen an increase in ridership of over 19% in the last year.

And finally, Jeffrey outlined recent moves at the Regional Police Services Board to hire 37 additional police officers to address the public’s concerns around safety in Brampton, which has seen a recent uptick in violent crimes, including gun violence and home robberies.

“When bad things happen to us as a city, I want us to be an even better and stronger city than we were before. Resilience is learning from adversity and how you bounce back. That’s what makes Brampton special.”

The Brampton Board of Trade hosts the Mayor’s annual address for leaders of the Brampton business community. In addition to Mayor Jeffrey, today’s event included keynotes by Mohamed Lachemi, President of Ryerson University and Heather Strati, Partner at Deloitte Private and the new Chair of the Brampton Board of Trade.

For more information on the Brampton Board of Trade, visit their website.

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Over 400 attendees at the State of the City luncheon.

 

 

 

 

 

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