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Local 79's 2016 City Budget Guide


Toronto is a dynamic city with the potential to be the best city to in which to live, work, play and raise a family, but the truth is we face some incredible challenges that stop us from reaching our potential. We are the most unequal city in Canada with the highest concentration of working poor. Inequality and working poverty in Toronto continues to increase. In short, there are too many people in our city who just can’t make ends meet.
One of the core reasons is the lack of jobs – good, stable jobs with predictable schedules – that provide income you and your family can count on.
There have been promises and some signs of hope, such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy and other initiatives the city has taken leadership on, but so far, this budget does not follow through on those promises.
Local 79 understands the close connections between what the 2016 City Operating Budget says, what happens to our members, and how well we can deliver the services Toronto’s communities need and value. Therefore, we are providing a general overview of the Budget as well as specific issues in various Divisions.
So what’s happening?
After years of promising to reduce gapping and vacancy levels there are still over 2,500 unfilled jobs in the City’s workforce complement. That means City workers have fewer resources to deliver services to residents. Dedicated workers are forced to watch as programs are cancelled and service standards lowered.
It’s not surprising that vacancies remain high. Divisions are forced to absorb additional costs while expanding programming. Divisions consistently report that they are underspending their budgets through saving in salaries and benefits through vacancies. That’s how Divisions are hitting the City’s imposed budget targets.
We can see from the details in the 2016 Budget how staffing levels, gapping rates and vacancies have had a major impact on the delivery of City services.
Years of insistence on keeping property tax increases at or below the rate of inflation means the City has a serious revenue problem. Residents and City Council need to finally engage in an adult discussion about what revenue tools we can use to invest in the services and supports that our growing communities need to truly prosper.
Ultimately, Toronto shouldn’t be saving money by fostering temporary/part-time precarious work, cutting services, contracting out, delaying projects, underfunding programs, and leaving 2,500 jobs vacant. We need long-term sustainable solutions to our revenue problem. It’s time to invest in Toronto’s potential as a great, inclusive, liveable city – a city that works for everyone.

Sections

  1. Staffing and Budget Impacts by Division
  2. New and Enhanced Services that would likely be delivered by members of Local 79
  3. Gapping
  4. Contracting Out
  5. Unanswered Questions
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