Lets Get The Job Assessment Tool Toronto Needs!!

Hey Torontonians!

It was a pleasant watch of the Noon news today to see our municipal government being one step of the provincial government!

During the Government Management Committee held yesterday (which I also happen to be the Chair of) we dealt with an update report on the creation of a “job assessment tool”.

The link to the report is here:


The text of the important amendment to this report put forward by myself & supported unanimously by the Committee ( I also want to give credit to my Councillor colleague Anna Bailão  from Ward 18 –Davenport for her input, and a great discussion on this report last week in City Council!) is here.

  1. The Chief Corporate Officer and the Executive Director, Social Development, Finance and Administration report to the Government Management Committee in the fourth quarter of 2017 on options for requiring the following standards in City contracts:
  2. Paid Sick Days – workers can accrue at least 7 paid sick days a year.
  3. Fair Scheduling – workers are provided their schedules at least two weeks in advance of their shift, with penalties and premiums applied for last minute changes or on-call work.
  4. Equal Pay for Equal Full-time Work – part-time, casual, contract, temporary, and seasonal employees have a right to the same pay and level of benefits (pro-rated) of comparable full-time workers.
  5. A Living Wage – workers are paid at a rate which provides sufficient income to predictably meet their needs based on the Toronto cost of living.
  6. Getting Paid on Time – workers, whatever their status (permanent, temporary, contract etc.), get paid within 30 days of doing the work.
  7. A plan and required resources for monitoring and enforcing these new standards in City contracts, including a penalty system.
  8. Plans, programs or policies needed to ensure fair and equitable hiring practices are being employed by contractors, as well as the City, to provide equity-seeking communities and historically disadvantaged groups access to decent jobs.

Many of the components of this motion have been discussed at various times in the 11 years I have been a Toronto City Councillor.

In particular they are important to myself and the community I represent.  While we often refer to Toronto as a ‘world class city”, we cannot escape the fact we have a lot of poverty in our City.

If you compare the demographics of our city the gap between the well off and those considered living on the poverty line is increasing….do diminishing.  This is very evident if you take the time to read the 2016 Vital Signs Report.  The link is here to help you out!


In eastern Toronto< below Highway 401 we are faced with seven…..yes seven….Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.  Four of those are either in my Ward, or residents who live in my Ward go to work in them.

The biggest complaints I hear?  People not only having to work not one, but two part-time jobs.  Youth who are forced to drop out of school to support their families and work an endless cycle of short-term contract.  Benefits?…..Forget it.  Come to work and do your thing or don’t bother punching the time clock at all.

Nobody can raise a family in the City of Toronto on minimum wage.  If you don’t believe me I will refer you back to the Vital Signs Report which is linked above. Don’t even get me started on the concept of “equal pay for equal work”.  I can’t believe in 21st Century Toronto this is even an issue for people to worry about, but it is.

I could go on more….and I probably will at a later date.  I have been told by many to not make my blog postings too long…..

So I was happy to put the above motion forward at Yesterday’s Government Management Committee and see it get passed on a unanimous vote.

In a 21st Century Toronto….we should be leading by example and not following others!

Even happier today to see on a number of the points in this motion, the government of Premier Kathleen Wynne moving forward this motion. Let’s all work to see it become a reality!

All my Best,






Latest Update On Negotiations Between the Toronto Zoo and CUPE Local 1600:

Here is the latest update on negotiations between the Toronto Zoo and CUPE Local 1600:
Negotiations Update – May 20, 2017
CUPE Local 1600 Rejects Zoo’s Recent Proposal Including Job Security Provisions
The Toronto Zoo’s negotiation team regrets to report that, despite its efforts to end the current disruption, the Union has, once again, rejected a reasonable compromise which was reached with the assistance of the provincially appointed mediator. As a result, the Union walked away from the bargaining table earlier today.
While the Union may claim its job action is intended to preserve the job security that its members enjoy, today it rejected a p‎roposed compromise that would have preserved the current collective agreement’s job security language for all existing employees, and resulted in the return of the ‘150 clause’ until the end of the renewal term. This clause guarantees the Zoo will maintain a work force of not less than 150 employees during the course of the next agreement. This is a clause unique to the Zoo and does not exist in other City of Toronto collective agreements. In addition, the Zoo proposed the following:
All current employees in the bargaining unit continue to be protected from contracting out. After 11 years of service, new employees will be protected from contracting out.
Duration of the proposed contract is until March 31, 2021
No change to employer paid pension plan
No change to multiple weeks of vacation time annually
The continuation of a generous health and dental benefits plan including access to more than 100 sick days each year
The Zoo operates with the benefit of what, in 2016, was a $12 million annual operating subsidy from the City of Toronto. Given that level of financial subsidy and the job security language that is provided to the City of Toronto’s own employees (CUPE Locals 416 and 79), and those of the Toronto Public Library, Zoo management believes that its proposals related to job security, are entirely fair and reasonable. The union appears intent on continuing this job action despite the City’s proposal to continue the present level of job security for all existing employees. In addition, the current dispute does not relate to wages and the union has indicated that the only outstanding issue is job security.
Toronto Zoo employees, including our valued employees represented by CUPE 1600, are well paid, receive an employer paid pension plan, multiple weeks of vacation each year, and are covered by excellent health and dental benefits which includes access to more than 100 sick days per year. We value the work of our unionized staff which is why the Zoo is committed to reaching a fair and reasonable deal with our employees. At a special meeting of the Toronto Zoo Board of Management on Friday, May 19, 2017 the board confirmed its instructions to the negotiating team. On the morning of Saturday, May 20th, the Zoo presented its offer, with the assistance of the provincially appointed mediator, to the union’s bargaining team which the union quickly rejected and again walked away from the table.
The Toronto Zoo has a proud history of saving and protecting species since it first opened in 1974. We are more committed than ever to continue our efforts against extinction for some of the world’s most vulnerable species, particularly Canadian species. Everyone who works at the Zoo has embraced our mission to be a living centre for education and science, committed to providing compelling guest experiences and inspiring passion to protect wildlife and habitats.
The Toronto Zoo remains committed to providing our valued unionized staff with a fair and reasonable agreement and we remain ready to return to the bargaining table in order to finalize an agreement. On Friday, the Union suggested that we were 95% of the way to a settlement. Today’s proposal, which maintains the current level of job security for all existing employees, should have provided that last 5% and allowed striking employees to return to work.
The Toronto Zoo will remain closed during the strike by CUPE Local 1600 members.
Jennifer Tracey, Senior Director, Marketing, Communications and Partnerships
The key job security elements of the proposal that the Zoo’s bargaining team gave to the Union, today, are:
• Appendix D to the prior collective agreement, which guaranteed the Zoo’s continued employment of at least 150 permanent employees, would be extended with a new expiry date of March 31, 2021. The parties had previously agreed, in 2013, that Appendix D expired on March 31, 2017;
• Current employees would continue to enjoy the same level of job security, in the event of contracting out, that they received under the prior collective agreement. Employees who are hired, following ratification of the renewal collective agreement, would be provided with job security, in the event of contracting out, after they have acquired eleven (11) years’ service with the Zoo; and
• The level of job security that the Zoo is offering new employees is equivalent to the job security that is presently enjoyed by permanent employees of other City agencies, including the Toronto Public Library and Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
It is more favourable job security than the level that is provided to the City’s own permanent employees.

Spring and Summer Updates

Dear Residents of Ward 43,

Despite the expected heavy wet conditions better weather is on its way, here are a few updates on events in our city and ward that you might like to check out!

An exhibit on the Impact of immigration on Toronto from the 1700’s is open until mid-July, “Settling in Toronto: The Quest for Freedom, Opportunity and Identity” at the City of Toronto’s Market Gallery to July 15. The exhibit is a part of the 150th anniversary of the province of Ontario along with TO Canada with Love and in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday.

Guild Alive is back this year and we are celebrating its 10th anniversary. As per usual the festival will be leaded by my office and The Guild Renaissance Group. This July 29th to 30th we will return to The Guild Park and Gardens with its newly renovated space.

Look out for your favorite returning artist but also give a warm welcome to those who have finally decided to join us this year. You can keep posted on this year’s line up at www.guildalivewithculture.ca or follow our twitter and like our Facebook page @Guild_Alive

Renovations of The Guild Park and Gardens took place last year, 2016, which is the reason why The Guild Alive with Culture Festival did not happen out last year. Luckily renovations have now been completed and the festival will go on. With that being said, we look forward to seeing you all this summer!




It’s Going To Be A Wet Weekend…Here Are Some Tips To Deal With The Weather

Dear Residents of Ward 43,

As you probably already know, we are in for a lot of wet weather this weekend. “April showers bring May flowers” is a thought which we can definitely apply as we try and endure these conditions in the City.

All jokes aside…. many problems arise as these wet conditions worsen. Southern Ontario is expecting between 40 & 70 millimetres of rain between Thursday afternoon and Sunday evening. This is on top of the 100 millimeters we have already received since early April. Due to this large quantity of rainfall, Lake Ontario’s water levels have risen and flooding has also occurred in areas along the city’s waterfront. Recently 1/3 of the parking lot at the mouth of the Rouge River was under water!

A large part of our ward is just along the city’s waterfront so I highly advise residents to stay clear rivers and streams. Also it would be best to avoid travelling in heavy rain storms.

With the amount of rain we have already received the ground has reduces its ability to absorb rainfall. During storms,the rainfall will flow on top of the ground and drain into the sewer system.

The City has its crew working on clearing catch basins anticipating the heavy rainfall,  in hopes to minimize the risk of road flooding. If I could please ask our residents to call 311 to report any cases of road flooding.

Many parts of the city can be affected by flooding with little to no warning. Flooding is prone to occur in areas that have previously experience flooding such as the Don River Valley, eastern and western beaches, the Toronto Islands, and other lakefront/shoreline areas.

In the case of basement flooding residents should immediately report issues to 311, where the Toronto Water crews are available 24/7. To prepare and/or prevent basement floods residents are suggested to clear catch basins around homes, consider moving valuables to upper shelves or floors. If  flooding does occur, cleaners, paint and chemicals should be removed from the floor to prevent contamination of floodwater which have entered your home. Also something to consider during extreme storms: please try to reduce the usage of water in the home, for example, avoid doing laundry to prevent water adding to the amount of water entering our sewer system.

For more information about basement flooding please visit www.toronto.ca/basementflooding.

Stay safe Ward 43 Residents, check up on family and elderly neighbours as well!


All my Best,


“Do We Have Too Many Parks?”…..

No word of a lie….these .words were stated by one of my colleagues last week during Toronto City Council as we debated the merits and to some….and the crazy idea to others of building a park at Bathurst and Queen!


We also spent part of the same day as the 6th largest government in Canada (who knew?) debating the joys of whether or not a single tree should live or die. On the floor of Toronto City Council. A debate I would have hoped 20 years in to the amalgamated life of the City of Toronto we would have left back on the floor of the appropriate Community Council.

But enough of the tree debate.  Let’s get back to the riveting park needs discussion.

For the entire report you can find it here: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2017.TE23.5

In a nutshell?  A polluted piece of land, just over 2.5 acres in size, in an area considered by the City of Toronto to be “parkland deficient”.

On one side Build Toronto who felt once remediation of the property was done, it could probably be sold for about $50 million an acre.  On the other side Councillor Mike Layton who would like to see the site cleaned up, a clay cap put on it for $5 million, and there you have it a new park!

Build Toronto pegged the clean-up at between $25 -30 million dollars to make it pristine enough to sell.  One developer was interested about 5 years ago and took a pass when they saw the price tag.  There is also the small issue of it having to fit in with the adjacent Fort York National Historic site.

The land is too pricey for condo towers…..and the days of industrial use here are long gone. Although a did think a micro-brewery on the site would be fun? “Lil’ Molson’s”?

And I don’t what many people know about cleaning up contaminated land, but developers would expect the municipal government to clean it up.  Which isn’t going to happen.

Another little ditty for people….Toronto City Council is divided up in to four community Councils.  Each Community Council district has a reserve fund (like a bank account) for the sole purpose of buying parkland.  It can be used for no other reason than buying parkland.  When the City of Toronto receives monies from development charges, a certain percentage from each application goes to the Parkland Acquisition Account.

The building boom in Toronto has ensured land in the downtown core is no longer cheap….or available.  You won’t find 2 acres of empty land for sale anywhere.

So, when you look at all the dynamics and what can be achieved by remediation of the 2 acres of property at Bathurst Street and Lakeshore Boulevard using the Parkland Acquisition Reserve Account to purchase the site made perfect sense. And the majority of City Councillors, including myself  thought so too..  Park land approved….on to the Great Tree Debate!

And to answer my colleague’s question: “Do we have too many parks in Toronto?” The answer….”No” (In case you were wondering? There are 1, 600 parks in the City of Toronto!!)

All my Best,