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February 2011 President's Report

Dear Fellow Local 79 Member:

In January, I made deputations at the Community Development and Recreation Committee on two items that could have a potential impact on Local 79 members. One of the items was a proposal from the Chair of the Committee, Councillor Mammoliti, to form a Childcare Development Task Force. I questioned the need for, as well as the goal of, the task force, as early childhood development and child care delivery options have been explored for over 35 years. Studies have consistently found that non-profit, publicly operated centres provide the best levels of care and programs. Local 79 will closely monitor this task force to ensure that it is not used as an excuse for opening the door and allowing “Big Box”, profit-seeking companies to push their way into the largest child care system in Ontario. I reminded the Committee that the City of Toronto has played a significant leadership role in the provision of child care, and emphasized that another task force is not what is needed. The Committee’s primary goal should be to focus on getting more Federal and Provincial funding for the existing municipal and community based not-for-profit model for early childhood education services.

At the February 7th meeting of City Council, this proposed task force became the Mayor’s Task Force reporting to Executive Committee and Council. Local 79’s concerns remain the same. We want to make sure that the task force is not being used as a way to opt out of directly-operated, City of Toronto child care.

In my other deputation to the Community Development and Recreation Committee, which I also presented to the Budget Sub-Committee Consultation, I stressed that in order for the Ward 35 community to be appropriately serviced, the new Warden Hilltop Community Centre and all of its programmes must be directly delivered and operated by the City of Toronto. The proposal from the General Manager, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, which did not offer any direct City of Toronto programming, is simply unacceptable to Ward 35. The residents of this community have told the City repeatedly that they want the stability that comes with a community centre that has the full backing and resources of the City of Toronto. I reiterated that during the recent municipal election campaign, Mayor Ford assured the suburbs that they would receive their fair share of City services. This must include a directly operated recreation centre in Ward 35!

Following my deputation, the Community Development and Recreation Committee amended the staff proposal and made the following recommendations:

  1. City Council authorize that the Warden Hilltop Community Centre be operated by Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PF&R) beginning in the 2011 fiscal year and based on a hybrid staffing and program model that would see PF&R staff anchor the facility, and directly operate a variety of core programs, along with permitting of spaces within the facility by either individuals or groups in accordance with the council approved PF&R Permit Allocation policy.
  2. City Council request that the local Councillor hold a community consultation meeting with PF&R staff, as well as local stakeholders to determine and report back on the final programming and operations of the facility.

The Warden Hilltop Community Centre was also before City Council on February 7th, and Local 79’s campaign has been a success with Council voting 41-0 in favour of this new recreation centre being directly-operated by the City of Toronto. But there is still work to be done for the upcoming community consultations that will determine the final operations and programming for the new centre. Local 79 members living in Ward 35 need to participate in the consultations to ensure that the operation and delivery of services remain with Local 79.

This year, the theme of the International Women’s Day Rally and March is “Our City – Our Services – Our Future”. The IWD Rally and March will take place on Saturday, March 12, 2011. On International Women’s Day (IWD), we commemorate and celebrate the struggles and achievements of women here in Canada and around the world. The rally will be held at OISE, 252 Bloor St. W., at 11:00 a.m., and the march to Ryerson University will begin at 1:00 p.m. IWD began just over 100 years ago when women marched through the streets of New York, calling for shorter work hours, better pay, and voting rights. Save the date and be sure to join us for this important event that marks the ongoing struggle for equality faced by women all over the world.

Lastly, I want to mention several occasions to celebrate our rich cultural diversity this month. A number of communities are celebrating Black History Month, and Lunar New Year, and February 15th was National Flag of Canada Day. Local 79 is proud to have a membership that so well reflects the rich diversity of the City of Toronto. We extend our best wishes to all our members and their families and hope they enjoyed the many events connected to these festivities.

In solidarity,

Ann Dembinski
President

 

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Shall replenish. Tree doesn’t face. There which creepeth multiply fish unto of Seed. Behold made two Rule divided. Fruit form.

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