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Letter to the City's Licensing and Standards Committee – KPMG Core Service Review – Business Licensing, Waste Diversion, Cat and Dog Licensing

 

Councillor Palacio , Chair
And Members, Licensing and Standards Committee
100 Queen Street West
10th Floor, West Tower
Toronto, Ontario
M5H 2N2

Dear Councillor Palacio,
And Members of the Licensing and Standards Committee,

Re: Item # LS6.1 Core Service Review

I am here today on behalf of Local 79 to question options put forward by KPMG in the Core Service Review regarding:

• Business Licensing

• Waste Diversion

• Cat and Dog Licensing

Business Licensing

Let me begin by addressing the KPMG option of eliminating some business licence categories. This direction appears to be a regressive one, and contradicts the recommendations of Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s highly regarded Medical Officer of Health. He recently proposed that all tattoo and piercing parlours, as well as other aesthetic services, should be licensed. This will help prevent the transmission of bloodborne infections such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C, as well as other infectious disease organisms. Under the proposed licensing rule, tattoo parlours, body piercing and other aesthetic services, would have to be registered before they can open. KPMG acknowledge in their report that this could result in 3000-5000 more business licenses.

The option that, Toronto could also reduce the level of proactive investigation and enforcement of business licensing, is frankly puzzling, especially since KPMG state that this action may not produce a net saving for the City. Furthermore, reduced investigations and enforcement may reduce compliance by businesses.

Local 79 finds it noteworthy that this department is an income generator ($7.3 Million) for the City.

 Waste Diversion

In its Mission Statement, Solid Waste Management Services states that it wants to be a leader in providing innovative waste management services to residents, businesses and visitors within the City of Toronto in an efficient, effective and courteous manner, creating environmental sustainability, promoting diversion and maintaining a clean city. Local 79 believes that these are admirable goals. In fact, according to the Toronto Environmental Alliance, the City of Toronto has some of the most advanced waste diversion programs in the country. Environmental advocates feel that this is due, in no small measure, to the enforcement of solid waste diversion regulations provided by the inspectors in Municipal Licensing!

These programs are essential to a healthy environment. The KPMG option to outsource waste diversion enforcement appears to be one that would take Toronto, and the environment, a significant step backwards.

Cat and Dog Licensing

Cat and dog licensing must be viewed as an integral part of the work done by Toronto Animal Services to promote and support a harmonious environment where humans and animals can co-exist free from conditions that adversely affect their health and safety. If the City of Toronto were to eliminate cat and dog licensing and enforcement, as the option from KPMG has stated, the health and safety of people, pets and animals living together in Toronto communities could be put at risk.

The program does cover its costs, and, according to the Toronto Animal Services website, the money received for pet licensing/registration allows the City of Toronto to:

• feed and shelter stray animals

• support the rescue of lost and/or homeless animals that are injured or in need of veterinary care

• provides 24 hour emergency response to calls for animals requiring immediate medical assistance or are jeopardizing the safety of the public

• return lost pets

• provide public education programs

Local 79 is urging you to reject all of these KPMG options.

Respect, and listen to, the many Torontonians who took the time to participate in public discussions, email and written submissions, and community and Councillor-led sessions. It is reported in the Core Service Review – Public Consultation document that the first choice funding strategy of consultation participants is to pay more property tax to maintain service levels! The residents of Toronto value their public services and want them to remain public!

Yours truly,

Ann Dembinski
President

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