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Reducing staff at summer camps flies in the face of City policies

Local 79 President Ann Dembinski criticizes the reduction in staff at summer camps, noting there’s a sustained need for programs in the City, advises staff be relocated instead.

Janie Romoff
Director Community Recreation
Parks, Forestry and Recreation

RE: City of Toronto summer camps – proposed staff reductions

Your letter of July 6, 2011, stated that some part-time recreation staff may be laid off because of low enrolment in summer camp programs. Parks, Forestry and Recreation sent Local 79 the same notice in 2010, citing the same reason.

As Local 79 pointed out last year, the City does not actively promote the summer camps and the new emphasis to register and pay on-line presents an additional barrier to many families and children wanting to access these summer programs. Registrations have been hampered further by the City’s ill-advised decision to cap the Welcome Policy, further eliminating any chance for children from some of the City’s lowest income neighbourhoods to go to summer camp.

The City’s FUN Guide is an excellent publication but circulation in past years has been woefully inadequate, and the shift this year to on-line promotion and registration for the summer camps has presented another barrier for many families. The City’s summer camps are of the highest quality – it’s a shame that the City falls short in promoting this wonderful asset for children and families.

Local 79 members working in the City’s summer camps are a group of skilled, experienced, well-trained youth who chose to work at the City this summer instead of seeking employment elsewhere. The City has always been proud that it is one of the largest employers for summer jobs. Proposing to reduce the staff at summer camps flies in the face of solid City policies to promote the importance of both children’s programs and youth employment.

As indicated in your letter, staff reductions should not be necessary if the uneven enrolment in camps across the City is addressed by moving children, currently on waiting lists, to camps that are underutilized. By using the existing, available spaces, the children of this City are well served and the City’s young workers will continue to be employed.

 

Yours truly,

Ann Dembinski
President

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