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Ice Storm Letter to Members

Dear Local 79 Sisters and Brothers,

I want to thank each and every one of you for your extraordinary efforts displayed as you helped “Take Care of Toronto” during the ice storm.

All across the City of Toronto you, went above and beyond the call of duty 24/7, together with our sisters and brothers in CUPE Local 416 and CUPE Local 1 Toronto Hydro. When Toronto needed you, and as the City dug out from this extreme weather situation, you were there constantly providing much needed services.

Despite the fact that many of you were also under personal duress related to the storm, hundreds of Local 79 members gave up their holiday vacation time to respond to this extraordinary weather event and support the more than one million Torontonians who were affected.

The City Manager said in his communication to City staff:

The Office of Emergency Management worked with Fire Services, Emergency Medical Services, the Toronto Police Service and key City divisions to provide support to Toronto Hydro, Toronto Community Housing and affected residents.

Crews from Forestry, together with Transportation, Toronto Water and Solid Waste, worked tirelessly to clear the roads, so that Toronto Hydro crews could repair fallen power lines. In some difficult weather conditions, these clean-up efforts continue into 2014.

Within hours of the power going out, reception and warming centres were up and running at locations across Toronto. Staff from Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, Toronto Public Health, Children’s Services, Court Services and Toronto Employment and Social Services – in partnership with the Red Cross, provided exceptional support at the centres:

  • In just under two weeks, more than 18,000 meals were served to thousands of displaced residents.
  • Counselling and health services were provided at the reception centres by staff from Toronto Public Health.
  • Toronto Public Libraries were used as warming centres; library staff also visited reception centres with books and magazines.
  • Staff from Toronto Community Housing, the Toronto Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police went door-to-door to make sure that our most vulnerable residents received help as needed.

Staff at 311 Toronto worked tirelessly to take service requests and provide information to residents. Call volumes at 311 Toronto were up nearly 200 per cent during the first 48 hours of the storm (as compared to the same time period in 2012).

Facilities, Fleet and IT worked behind the scenes to keep our buildings warm, our diesel supplies stocked and our systems functioning. The Treasurer’s Office, Legal, Purchasing and Materials Management and Human Resources provided corporate direction to solve logistical, functional and administrative issues in support of frontline staff.

From December 21-25, Toronto Fire Services responded to more than 4,000 calls – about four times as many calls as normal. The Toronto Police Service and Emergency Medical Services managed call volumes that, at times, were 60 per cent higher than normal.

Your unwavering commitment to providing services, no matter what challenges the adverse weather conditions brought, made all the difference. Local 79 members make us so proud every day of every year, but especially under the extraordinary circumstances you faced during the unprecedented 2013 ice storm!


In Solidarity,

Tim Maguire



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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