City Council meeting of June 14 to 16, 2005
Review of Toronto's governance system
Council decided to establish a three-member advisory panel to participate in a review of Toronto's governance system. The City anticipates receiving new powers and a new legislative framework as a result of the joint City/Province review of the City of Toronto Act (PDF). The advisory panel, which consists of Centennial College president Ann Buller, University of Toronto law professor Sujit Choudhry, and businessman and community leader Martin Connell, will lead an engagement process to hear from civic leaders, community members and other stakeholders.
Swimming pool strategy
Council supported a general strategy called Everybody in the Pool, which is intended to promote more swimming in the City's indoor pools. The main thrust of the strategy involves investing in new, larger pools while gradually phasing out City support for old, smaller pools - many of them in schools and in poor condition. The City wants its pool strategy to increase aquatic activity, as well as to improve the quality and safety of swimming experiences in City pools. As part of the implementation, Council agreed to set up an advisory committee.
Wage harmonization for Local 79 members
Council authorized funding to cover the costs resulting from a recent arbitration award that harmonizes the pay scales of unionized inside workers at the City. The ruling affects about 10,000 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 79, reducing some 2,500 job classifications (inherited from the pre-amalgamation municipalities) to 335 job classes. The arbitrator also introduced a pay equity system that brings the wages of Local 79's female-dominated jobs in line with male-dominated jobs involving work considered to be of equal value.
Citizen role in environmental assessment
Council approved plans for the City to assemble a group of up to 25 interested Toronto residents to help undertake an environmental assessment of options for dealing with the city's residual solid waste. Residual waste refers to trash that cannot be recycled or composted. Toronto currently trucks its residual waste to a landfill site in Michigan. The citizen group will work closely with Council's Works Committee over the next four to six years. Qualifications for selection as a member of the team include expertise in, or experience with, Ontario's environmental assessment process.
Schedule for Council meetings
A revised schedule for City Council and committee meetings from September to December 2005, and a meeting schedule for 2006, received Council's endorsement. The fall schedule will enable Council to approve the 2006 capital budget by the end of this year (2005). Separate review and early approval of the capital budget, an innovation for the City this year, will benefit the management of capital projects. The 2006 operating budget is expected to be approved at the end of March.
Community grants for 2005
Council authorized funding for the allocation of about $20.6 million to fund this year's City of Toronto grants in support of community service groups, cultural organizations, festivals, community health programs, access and equity initiatives, anti-violence projects and commercial research projects whose applications for support were approved.
Regulation of professional dog walkers
Council agreed to temporarily allow dog walkers to take as many as five dogs a person for walks and exercise in parks. A relatively new City bylaw limits the number of dogs to three and bylaw officers were preparing to enforce the limit by fining offenders. Professional dog walkers have complained that the three-dog limit is unreasonable. The City is reviewing the bylaw, which is designed to help control the large numbers of dogs that sometimes run free in off-leash areas of public parks.
Distribution of old computers
Council approved a policy for the disposal of the City's information technology assets, modifying an existing Technology Asset Disposal Strategy. The City will distribute its outdated, surplus computers and related equipment at no charge through a provincial program called Computers for Schools Ontario. After the local school boards have an opportunity to take any of the surplus City equipment that they want, not-for-profit organizations that are supported by City grants will be next in line. Then, other not-for-profit groups will have an opportunity to receive any computers that remain available.
Under a new bylaw adopted by Council, operators of pedicabs (two-wheeled carriages pulled by a person on foot) are no longer allowed on certain downtown streets and must charge standard fares on the basis of time rather than based on the number of passengers. Pedicabs are prohibited on Front, King and Queen streets between Spadina and Jarvis streets, and on Gerrard Street between Yonge and Bay streets in the interests of nuisance control and public safety. Passenger rates are $30 for the first half hour (or less) and $15 for each additional hour.
Previous Council Highlights
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