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Health icon
Care about Toronto’s health?
So do we.
More than 1,700 of our members in Toronto Public Health go to work every day to keep our city thriving. We administer vaccines, help new mothers get the resources they need, control pests, and provide medical and mental health support for our city’s most vulnerable.
Dining out

When you dine out, we make sure you only have to worry about the cheque.

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Ever wondered how clean your go-to sushi spot is behind the scenes? Just check DineSafe, Toronto Public Health’s restaurant food safety program run by members of CUPE Local 79. We monitor for everything from food borne illnesses and pests to safe food storage and handling. It’s not just restaurants: our members inspect bakeries, grocery stores, hot dog carts and anywhere else food is sold.

Restaurant cooks
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Each Public Health Inspector is responsible for inspecting hundreds of businesses every year often with multiple follow-up visits. More than simply checking in, they educate owners and staff about food safety, building close relationships to ensure they stay safe and in business.

If businesses don’t follow the rules, our members make sure they aren’t putting the public at risk: in 2018, 25 businesses were shut down due to failed inspections.

And outbreaks aren’t just dangerous: they’re expensive. By preventing the spread of communicable diseases, Public Health Inspectors save our city millions.

The Right Person
Member Beth
Elizabeth,
Public Health Inspector
“When nothing happens, we’ve done a good job. As a public health inspector, you’re a jack-of-all trades, because we respond to complaints about bedbugs, food, mold, pools, rabies, and all kinds of miscellaneous requests. So when we encounter something new, there’s a lot of research we have to do. A lot of collaboration. It’s challenging, but that’s what I love about it.”

Members like Elizabeth are fast learners with a keen eye for detail. They also bring a wealth of experience and institutional knowledge they share with their colleagues and the business owners they work with every day.

Rat

We help take care of unwanted guests.

Another way our members stop the spread of disease is by controlling the population of rats and other critters that threaten our health. We respond to reports of infestations, and ensure that animals suffering from rabies and other dangerous infections are safely and humanely removed.
Bedbug bites
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Did you know Toronto has a bedbug problem? The tiny biting insects multiply quickly and travel easily, so anyone can experience an infestation, regardless of income or housing. Our Public Health workers provide information on how to prevent, identify and treat for bedbugs, and inspect buildings for any signs of them. If you’re moving into a new building, check the city’s Bedbug Registry. You’ll find more than 2,200 reports — each thanks to an inspection by a member of CUPE Local 79.

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Did you know Toronto has a bedbug problem? The tiny biting insects multiply quickly and travel easily, so anyone can experience an infestation, regardless of income or housing. Our Public Health workers provide information on how to prevent, identify and treat for bedbugs, and inspect buildings for any signs of them. If you’re moving into a new building, check the city’s Bedbug Registry. You’ll find more than 2,200 reports — each thanks to an inspection by a member of CUPE Local 79.

We reduce the impact of drug use in our neighbourhoods.

CUPE Local 79 members support over 50 programs across the city dedicated to harm reduction supplies and services. We work with people who use drugs to ensure that they do so in ways that protect themselves and the public, which reduces both the health risks and the financial costs to our community.

Without judgement, our members provide a safe environment where people can come to exchange used needles for sterile ones keeping them out of parks and playgrounds. Our harm reduction site sees as many as 100 people per day. We protect against overdoses with education and intervention, administering life-saving medication such as Narcan when necessary.

The Right Person
Member Jeremy
Member Jeremy
Jeremy,
Harm Reduction Counsellor
“It’s about connections. You try to present yourself as a kind, compassionate person, because the people we work with don’t see that very often — someone who’s there to just accept them as they are.”

Members like Jeremy are on the front lines of care for a segment of our city’s population that is so often overlooked. Their compassion saves lives every day, relieving the strain on our city’s overburdened healthcare system. By treating people who use drugs as human beings, they keep a critical avenue open for those people to begin rebuilding their lives. Being a Harm Reduction Counsellor demands empathy, courage and the firm belief that everyone in our city deserves care.

Now these vital services are under threat.
Now these vital services are under threat.

Public Health workers prevent disease and save lives. But the City has delayed filling many open positions, so members already stretched thin are forced to do the jobs of multiple workers. This leads to unsafe conditions for both our members and the people they care for every day. For example, the City failed to meet its own health inspection quotas in 2018 due to a lack of Public Health inspectors.

Now even more cuts to our city’s Public Health are being proposed by the Province, and we don’t yet know how the City plans to further reduce critical services.

Toronto deserves better. Help us continue to deliver the services our communities depend on.