This backgrounder was provided to media and stakeholders at the March 9, 2020 briefing on the City’s plan for service delivery in the event of a CUPE Local 79 labour disruption. For updated information on labour disruption service delivery, visit toronto.ca/labour.

March 9, 2020

During a labour disruption by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 79, the union representing City of Toronto’s approximately 24,000 inside workers, some City services would be reduced or suspended, and meetings and events may be cancelled or rescheduled.

The City remains prepared to respond to emergencies. Emergency response by Toronto Police, Fire Services, and Paramedic Services will not be impacted. Seniors Services and Long-Term Care, TTC, Toronto Community Housing, and Toronto Water operations will continue during a labour disruption. Critical Toronto Public Health services will also continue, including infectious disease monitoring and leading the City’s COVID-19 response.

During a labour disruption, residents and businesses should visit toronto.ca/labour for the most up-to-date service impacts.

Current Situation

The collective agreements with Local 79 expired on December 31, 2019. On March 6, City Council approved the City’s new collective agreement with TCEU Local 416 – CUPE, the union representing the City’s outside workers.

The bargaining committees for the City of Toronto and Local 79 have been in collective bargaining since December with the aim of achieving a renewed collective agreement. To date, the parties have reached agreement on a number of items.

On February 21, following conciliation, the union requested a No Board Report from the Ontario Ministry of Labour. On February 26, the Ministry issued the No Board Report, starting a 17-day countdown to a potential work stoppage. Local 79 and the City are in a legal work stoppage position as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 14.

As a responsible employer accountable to the people of our city, and building on contingency plans of past bargaining years, the City of Toronto is prepared to deliver critical services in the event of a labour disruption. Management and non-union employees have been preparing for redeployment to critical program areas.

The City’s objective remains to negotiate a collective agreement that reflects the important role City employees play in Toronto, and is affordable for the city’s residents and businesses.

Service Impacts

Animal Services

All Toronto Animal Services shelter locations remain open seven days a week between 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Most non-emergency and all emergency Animal Services field operations will continue, including responding to calls regarding sick or injured animals and animals threatening public safety, stray dog pickup, dog bite investigations, cadaver pickup, and rabies investigation and vaccine provision.

Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal hearings will be suspended.

Apartment and Residential Property Bylaw Services

Emergency bylaw enforcement and investigation services will continue for emergency orders and in response to unsafe conditions, including no heat, no water, boarding of vacant properties, and illegal dumping. To make an emergency complaint, residents should call 311.

The processing of permits and Property Standards Tribunal and Rooming House Licensing hearings will be suspended.

Building Permits and Inspections

Only emergency building inspections will continue. All other zoning and Building Code reviews will be suspended.

Building permits for critical, large-scale public infrastructure projects may be issued.

Children’s Services

All City-operated child care centres (Toronto Early Learning & Child Care Services) will be closed.

All Children’s Services district offices will be closed, and child care assistance services and My Child Care Account online services will be suspended.

Child care in private homes offered through Toronto Home Child Care (THCC) will continue. Many community-operated child care programs housed within City-owned buildings will continue to operate.

Payments, collection of fees and billing, and response to emergency issues related to fee subsidies will continue. Some services may be subject to longer wait times.

City Planning

Most City Planning services will be suspended. Some exceptions may be made for large-scale or time-sensitive projects, as well as public infrastructure projects.

Committee of Adjustment meetings will be cancelled and rescheduled. New applications to the Committee of Adjustment will not be received. There will be delays in the review of applications received prior to the labour disruption. Updates to the online Application Information Centre will be suspended.

All Design Review Panel meetings will be cancelled and rescheduled.

There will be limited Heritage Preservation Services application reviews.

Civic Centres and City Buildings

All meetings and events at civic centres, including City Hall and Metro Hall, will be cancelled.

East York Civic Centre, Etobicoke Civic Centre, 2 Civic Centre Crt., 18 Dyas Rd., and North York Memorial Hall will be closed.

City Hall, Metro Hall, and North York, Scarborough, and York Civic Centres will be open but with reduced hours. The public will be able to access the five civic centres Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Public access will be restricted to the first two floors and the third floor Wedding Chamber of City Hall and the ground floor of Metro Hall.

Individuals accessing civic centres may encounter picket lines causing delays.

Council and Committee Meetings

All regularly-scheduled City Council and Committee meetings will be cancelled. Meeting information and schedules will be updated daily at toronto.ca/council.

Some of the City’s boards and corporations will continue to meet as scheduled, while others may cancel or postpone meetings. Continuing meetings scheduled at City Hall or civic centres will be relocated. Notice of cancellation will be provided 24 hours prior to the scheduled start of the meeting.

Court Services

All court locations will remain open from Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Email and phone service will be suspended.

Payment of provincial offences fines, provincial offences trials and early resolution meetings, filing of provincial offences matters, and general inquiries services will be available at all court locations.

The Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) will remain open and hearings will continue.

The Administrative Penalty Tribunal (APT) will remain open and hearings will continue.

The Toronto Licensing Tribunal will be closed.

Emergency Response

Emergency response by Toronto Fire Services, Toronto Police Service, and Toronto Paramedic Services will not be impacted.

The City of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management will remain prepared for emergency management response and able to provide emergency social services as required.

Should Environment and Climate Change Canada forecast a temperature of -15° C or colder, or a wind chill of -20° C or colder, the Medical Officer of Health will issue an Extreme Cold Weather Alert and the City will carry out the Cold Weather Response Plan. The Metro Hall Warming Centre will be relocated to St. Luke’s Church, 353 Sherbourne St., and operated by a third-party service provider. Streets to Homes outreach services will operate 24/7 for the duration of an alert.

Employment and Social Services

Applications for Ontario Works will continue online and by phone from Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Three Toronto Employment & Social Services (TESS) locations will be providing essential services from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Metro Hall and the Scarborough Village and York Humber Employment and Social Services offices. Clients will continue to receive their monthly payments (via direct bank deposit (DBD), payment cards or mailed cheques).

Only urgent client issues, including critical case management changes, emergency medical and dental services, and funerals and burials will be addressed. All service planning appointments with caseworkers will be suspended.

Clients should call the relevant office prior to visiting in person as many services can be provided over the phone. Clients accessing TESS locations may encounter picket lines causing delays.

All employment-related services, including job fairs, workshops, resumé review, and interview assistance will be suspended.

Garbage, Recycling & Organics

Garbage, Blue Bin materials (recycling), and Green Bin material (organics) will continue to be collected. Apartment buildings, condominiums, and commercial customers should be ready for collection the night before the scheduled collection day as collection days and times may vary. There is a possibility of picketing at Drop-Off Depots (Transfer Stations) and collection yards that could impact collection routes and cause delays in collection.

City litter bin waste collection (garbage, recycling, organics) will continue city-wide, including in parks and public squares.

Operations will continue at the City’s seven Drop-Off Depots (Transfer Stations) and Green Lane Landfill. When dropping off waste at a Drop-Off Depot, residents may encounter picket lines causing delays.

Household hazardous waste depot services will be suspended. Toxic Taxi services will also be suspended. Hazardous waste should be safely stored until a labour disruption is over.

Response to service requests for missed collection, bin exchanges and bin repairs will be suspended.

Housing Support

Most Housing Stability Services will continue, including payments to service providers and landlords, and processing of Housing Allowance applications. Some services may be subject to longer wait times.

Access to Housing (Housing Connections) offices at 176 Elm St. will be closed. Residents can continue to submit applications by fax, online, or by mail. Information on Rent-Geared-to-Income Housing is available at toronto.ca/accesstohousing or by contacting Housing Help Centres.

Responding to general inquiries regarding files and requests for program information is suspended. Emails sent to ask@housingconnections.com will be responded to once normal operations resume.

Libraries

Most libraries will remain open with regular operating hours. The City Hall library will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The following libraries located in City facilities will be closed:

  • Flemingdon Park – holds can be picked up at the Don Mills location
  • Todmorden Room – holds can be picked up from the S. Walter Stewart location
  • St. James Town – holds can be picked up at the Parliament location
  • Port Union – holds can be picked up at the Morningside location

Some Bookmobile stops will be relocated offsite to the street:

  • Driftwood Community Centre
  • North Kipling
  • Lawrence Heights
  • Oakridge

The Ward’s Island Bookmobile stop will be suspended.

Customers may return library materials to any Toronto Public Library location.

Licensing and Permits

The Licence and Permit Issuing Office at the East York Civic Centre will be closed.

Toronto Licensing Tribunal hearings will be suspended.

Animal Licensing

In-person and by-phone pet licensing will be available but may be subject to delays. Online pet licensing will not be available.

Banner and Signage Permits

Banner and temporary signage permitting activities will be suspended.

Building Permits

Only emergency building permitting and permits connected to large-scale public infrastructure projects will be issued or retrieved.

Business Licensing

The issuing and renewal of all business licences will be suspended.

Event Permits

The issuing of new event permits will be suspended. All event permits for civic centres, including City Hall and Metro Hall, City of Toronto Archives, Old City Hall, and City parks, community centres, pools, outdoor sports fields, picnic areas, and some arenas will be cancelled.

Film Permits

Filming permits for all civic centres, including City Hall and Metro Hall, City of Toronto Archives, and Old City Hall will be cancelled. Film permit requests, production information, insurance certificates, and park maps will be able to be submitted through FilmPAL. Some administrative services may be subject to longer wait times.

Licence to Serve Alcohol

Requests for letters of endorsement from the City to temporarily serve alcohol and processing of Municipal Information Forms for liquor retail stores will continue.

The issuing of Municipal Clearance Letters from Toronto Building, Toronto Fire Services and Toronto Public Health for permanent liquor sales licences will be suspended.

Lottery Licences

Limited lottery licensing services will be available. Urgent requests for lottery licences, amendment to lottery licences and Letters of Permission will continue to be processed. Requests for urgent lottery licensing can be made by contacting lotterylicences@toronto.ca or in-person at the City Hall Registry Services Office (ground floor). Services may be subject to longer wait times and individuals accessing City Hall may encounter picket lines causing delays.

Marriage Licence

Online and in-person marriage licensing services will continue. The City Clerk’s Office at City Hall will remain open; registry services counters at the North York, Etobicoke, and Scarborough Civic Centres will be closed. Services may be subject to longer wait times and individuals accessing City Hall may encounter picket lines causing delays.

Neighbouring municipalities also offer marriage licensing services.

Parking Permits

In-person on-street and off-street permit parking issuance will be suspended. Online parking permit applications will be accepted.

Photography Permits

The issuing of new photography permits will be suspended. All formal photography permits for City parks, civic centres, including City Hall and Metro Hall, City of Toronto Archives, and Old City Hall will be cancelled.

Right of Way Permits

Only emergency right of way construction permits and permits connected to large-scale public infrastructure projects will be issued or retrieved.

Trade Licences

All trade licensing activities will be suspended.

Vehicle-For-Hire Driver & Vehicle Licences

The issuing and renewal of all taxi and other driver and vehicle-for-hire licences will be suspended.

Museums and Galleries

All City-operated museums, galleries and art and cultural centres will be closed with no programming taking place. March Break camps and activities at City-operated museums, galleries and art and cultural centres will be cancelled.

All event permits for City-operated museums and galleries will be cancelled.

Parks

City parks will remain open. Waste collection, snow clearing, and grounds maintenance in parks will continue. Public washrooms in parks will be closed.

All event permits, including permits for wedding receptions and formal photography permits for City parks, community centres, pools, outdoor sports fields, picnic areas, and some arenas will be cancelled.

Tree maintenance, planting, tree inspection and tree bylaw enforcement will be suspended. Emergency tree removals will continue.

Off-season ferry service to Ward’s Island (for residents only) will operate on a reduced schedule from the foot of York Street. Toronto Island Park will not be accessible.

Parking Tickets

Parking ticket operations, including issuing tickets, payment processing, and the dispute process, will continue.

Parking violation payments must be paid by the deadline noted on the ticket. In-person payment at civic centre Inquiry & Payment Counters is suspended. Payments can be made online or via mail.

In-person parking violation disputes can be made at the North York Civic Centre only. Parking violations can also be disputed online. Individuals accessing the North York Civic Centre may encounter picket lines causing delays.

Property Tax Payments

Property tax payment by the due date is expected. Inquiry & Payment Counters and drop box locations will not accepting property tax bill payments in the event of a Local 79 labour disruption.

There are multiple ways for residents to pay their property tax bill, including through their financial institution, by mail or pre-authorized payment.

Recreation Centres

All City of Toronto community and recreation centres, greenhouses and conservatories, pools, fitness centres, and ski hills (Earl Bales and Centennial) will be closed. Arenas not connected to community centres will remain open for unsupervised public skate and existing permits will be honoured. Some outdoor rinks will be available for unsupervised public skate. The full list of rinks can be found at Toronto.ca/labour. The Nathan Phillips Square skating rink will be closed.

All City- and community-operated programs, including March Break camps, classes, and drop-in clubs held at City community centres, swimming pools, fitness centres, and some arenas will be suspended. City recreation programs, After-school Recreation Care (ARC) programming, and March Break camps at Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) locations and non-City of Toronto facilities, including Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre and Toronto Track and Field Centre, are also suspended.

In-person, operator-assisted, and online registration for recreation programs will be suspended.

All event permits for City community centres, pools, outdoor sports fields, picnic areas, and some arenas will be cancelled.

Road, Sidewalk and Bikeway Maintenance

Critical road, sidewalk and bikeway operations and maintenance, including snow removal, winter maintenance and emergency road, pot hole and sidewalk repairs and maintenance, will continue.

Routine operations including street cleaning, event support, and routine repairs and maintenance to expressways, roads, sidewalks and bridges will continue in a limited capacity.

Non-emergency (contracted) road and sidewalk repairs will be suspended.

Shelters and Supports for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

All City-operated shelters, respites and 24-hour women’s drop-ins will remain open and support activities will continue. Streets to Homes outreach will continue from Monday to Friday between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Financial services and contract administration activities will continue. This includes Social Housing Apartment Improvement Program (SHAIP) and Toronto Renovates payments.

Response to non-urgent community and client complaints and community meetings and site visits will be suspended. Shelter and overnight service daily occupancy reporting will also be suspended. No encampment clearings would take place during a Local 79 labour disruption.

Should Environment and Climate Change Canada forecast a temperature of -15° C or colder, or a wind chill of -20° C or colder, the Medical Officer of Health will issue an Extreme Cold Weather Alert and the City will carry out the Cold Weather Response Plan. The Metro Hall Warming Centre will be relocated to St. Luke’s Church, 353 Sherbourne St., and operated by a third-party service provider. Streets to Homes outreach services will operate 24/7 for the duration of an alert.

Special Events

All events, filming, and meetings at civic centres, including City Hall and Metro Hall, Old City Hall, City of Toronto Archives, and Memorial Hall will be cancelled.

All events in Nathan Phillips Square, David Pecaut Square, Albert Campbell Square, Mel Lastman Square, and East York Civic Centre Square will be cancelled. The Toronto Sign will remain one colour.

All flag raising ceremonies at civic buildings and issuing of ceremonial documents will be suspended. All study tours will be cancelled.

Toronto Archives

The City of Toronto Archives, located at 255 Spadina Rd., will be closed to the public with no access to the Research Hall. Public education programs and school and community group tours will be cancelled.

Film shoots, events, and meeting room bookings at the Archives will be cancelled.

Toronto Public Health

Critical Toronto Public Health services will continue, including infectious disease monitoring and leading the City’s COVID-19 response.

Supervised injection, needle exchange and methadone maintenance services will continue.

Non-emergency services, including immunization clinics, dental outreach programs and sexual health clinics will be suspended. Select dental clinics will be open for emergency care only for eligible clients. A list of emergency clinics is on toronto.ca/labour.

Some prenatal, postpartum, and at-risk children and family services will continue. Home visits and breastfeeding clinics will be suspended.

Investigation of foodborne illness, outbreaks and food complaints, and Infection Prevention and Control and Personal Service Settings (nail/hair salons, tattoo premises) compliant investigations will continue. Routine DineSafe and BodySafe inspections and updates to the DineSafe and BodySafe webpages will be suspended. Routine inspections, including inspection of Personal Service Settings and recreational water facilities (swimming pools), will be suspended.

Issuing of Municipal Clearance Letters for permanent liquor sales licences, special event food safety review and monitoring, and training and public education programs will be suspended.

Toronto Water

Critical Toronto Water operations will continue, including drinking water, wastewater collection and treatment, stormwater management, and emergency repair and response. Some non-critical operational activities may be subject to delays.

Regular and preventative maintenance activities will be suspended. Customer service and public education activities, including processing of applications for Toronto Water subsidies and programs, will be suspended.

Issuing of utility bills will continue with payment expected by the indicated due date. Civic centre Inquiry & Payment Counters and drop box locations will not be accepting utility bill payments. There are multiple ways for residents to pay their utility bill, including through their financial institution, by mail, or pre-authorized payment.

Billing dispute resolution will be suspended, and active disputes will be placed on hold.

Weddings

Online and in-person marriage licensing services will continue. The City Clerk’s Office at City Hall will remain open. Registry services counters at the North York, Etobicoke, and Scarborough Civic Centres will be closed. Neighbouring municipalities also offer marriage licensing services.

Wedding Chamber bookings already scheduled for City Hall, North York Civic Centre, Scarborough Civic Centre, and York Civic Centre will be honoured. No new bookings will be scheduled. Individuals accessing civic centres may encounter picket lines causing delays.

Event and photography permits for civic centres, including City Hall, City of Toronto Archives, Old City Hall, and City parks, community centres, greenhouses, and outdoor areas will be cancelled.

Contacting the City

Labour disruption service updates will be posted to toronto.ca/labour and communicated from the City’s Twitter account (@cityoftoronto).

Any outstanding questions about service delivery and program impacts should be directed to 311. 311 will be available 24/7 by phone only:

  • 311 (within city limits)
  • 416-392-2489 (outside of city limits)
  • 416-338-0889 (TTY)

Those contacting 311 during a labour disruption should expect longer wait times.