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Contracting out cleaners will impact families, neighbourhoods

This letter was submitted by CUPE Local 79 President Ann Dembinski to the members of the Community Development & Recreation Committee on the issue of contracting out City cleaners.  In her letter, Dembinski points to the risks of losing highly-trained employees, and stresses the impacts that contracting out will have on the families and communities of those whose jobs will be taken away.

Dear Councillor Mammoliti,
And Members of the Community Development & Recreation Committee

RE: Cleaners in City Facilities

The City of Toronto is in the process of contracting out cleaning services in police facilities and child care centres. This should be of great concern to Councillors in every Ward of the City.

The people who clean all of the City’s facilities play a very special role in infection control, health and safety and security. Contracting out cleaning services will lead to a loss of control over standards and, in some cases, put the people who work in these buildings at risk. Many of these City facilities – like child care centres – house some of our most vulnerable citizens.

The health and safety impacts of contracting out these services to private cleaning companies are significant. Security at police stations and cleanliness standards at the City’s child care centres is very important. Our City cleaners have extensive training to clean and sanitize City properties. Private operators in the cleaning business are not accountable for public health and safety in the same way.

Private cleaning companies have a history of exploiting cleaners – particularly women and immigrants – by paying poverty wages. Cleaners in the private sector have to work two and three jobs as they struggle to support their families.

The loss of 1,000 living wage jobs will send hundreds of families into a downward economic spiral. It will affect not only these families, but their neighbourhoods and communities as well.

The loss of a decent livelihood for a thousand of our citizens is a very serious matter.

What is really worrying is that the decision to contract-out these services will not go to City Council. Councillors will not have a chance to ask questions, get more information, or even vote on what happens to these services. These cleaning services are slated to go only to the Bid Committee where elected Councillors will not be part of the decision-making process.

I am urging the Community Development and Recreation Committee and all Councillors to insist that City Council have the final decision about the delivery of these services.

Yours truly,


Ann Dembinski

For information on how to support Toronto’s cleaners, click here.



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