Brampton Councillor Says Doug Ford’s Cuts Forced Him to Cancel Basketball Program

Published September 26, 2019 at 12:54 pm

There have been no shortage of stories on about the provincial funding cuts coming from Doug Ford’s government.

There have been no shortage of stories on about the provincial funding cuts coming from Doug Ford’s government.

Most of them have centred on programs affecting the whole province, but now those cuts may have affected local programs closer to home.

Brampton councillor Gurpreet Dhillon recently announced that he had to cancel his popular youth basketball drop-in program due to the excessive increase in gym rental prices imposed by the Peel District School Board.

The PDSB said the increase is a result of recent educational cuts made by the provincial government.

“It is an unfortunate situation for the kids. I ran this program for five years and paid from my own pocket, however the costs have become too much,” Dhillon said in a press release. “The program was a great way to connect to youth, and provide them a free, safe place to play away from drugs and gangs, while learning about leadership, fair play and sportsmanship.”

Dhillon said he started the program in 2015 after he was elected. The program was hosted weekly and free-of-charge for underprivileged youth. The councillor said the provincial cuts to school boards have resulted in rental fees increasing to approximately $16,000 from $4,000.

He also said he was offered by a business to pay for the program, but didn’t believe the $16,000 cost was a responsible investment.

The school board provided this following explanation for the increase:

“For many years, the Peel District School Board has provided permits for the community use of schools at a reduced rate by subsidizing operational and labour costs required for the permit. Due to reduced Ministry funding for the 2019-20 school year and annual increases in labour and operational costs, the Peel board is no longer able to subsidize permit fees and have made the difficult decision to increase fees to cover the costs associated with the permit. The Peel board is not profiting from these community permits. This increase is necessary to recover costs so that they can continue to provide programming to support student success and well-being in Peel schools.” 

Prabmeet Sakaria, the local MPP for Brampton South, pushed back regarding the funding. “Those rates and decisions to make changes to gym rentals are on the PDSB. We’ve (the provincial government) increased funding to education by over $700 million for this year alone,” he said. 

Sakaria also posted this statement on Facebook:

According to Brampton City Council, the city is one of Canada’s top producers of basketball talent and is proud of their local basketball players’ success. New multi-use sport courts aim to further support Brampton’s youth. 

Obviously, there are other basketball programs other than Councillor Dhillon’s, but if rents are going to be that high then other means of running them would have to be explored.

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