Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads its wings
The City of Toronto is planning to extend its back-to-work mandate to its municipal employees in the near future, and it is going to happen. Premier Kathleen Wynne announced on Monday the provincial government would be reining in Ontario’s private sector unions and using its influence to get Toronto city employees back on the job, including city councillors. “It makes no sense for the city and its taxpayers to pay a municipality to do the work taxpayers don’t have to do,” Wynne said.
City Councillor Jim Karygiannis (Ward E, Toronto Centre) wants to make a direct appeal to Wynne to reinstate Toronto’s current “unjust” back-to-work laws. Karygiannis said his staff has studied the City of Toronto’s back-to-work procedures for over the last year and determined that the city needs to be allowed to extend the mandate to its municipal employees.
“Because they are part of the government of the City of Toronto, they should have the right to do what they do best, which is city government. They should be able to come back to work,” he said.
Karygiannis said he is worried that city staff will not be given the proper time to come up with back-to-work plans, will be fired if they fail to come up with one, or be forced to come back to work during an emergency such as a snowstorm.
According to data provided by the OIEC, the city spends $300,000 per year for the back-to-work mandate. “What we need from the government is to sit down with us as the government and allow us to come up with a plan to allow us to come back and get our job back,” said Karygiannis.
What about the union?
The issue of unionization raises the possibility of another challenge to Karygiannis’s support