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City Staff Report Validates Local 79 Concerns, Findings on Gapping

 

Councillor David Shiner, Chair And Members, Government Management Committee
c/o Clerks Office
City of Toronto
City Hall
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Councillor Shiner, and Members, Government Management Committee,

Re: Item Number GM28.8 Follow-up Report on the Impact of Delays in Filling Vacant Positions

In the past number of months, I have appeared before the City’s Budget Committee and the Standing Committees where I talked about the risks created by gapping. Thank you for the opportunity once again to address this crucial issue. Delays in filling vacant positions, coupled with the accrual of cuts and freezes over a number of years and budget cycles, have led not only to an untenable situation for front-line workers throughout the City, but there have been detrimental effects on services.

I realize that this report specifically focuses on the impact that the delays in filling staff positions have had on Divisions reporting to the Government Management Committee. However, I believe that my comments can be applied to all Divisions dealing with gapping.

I am immediately struck by the timeliness of this report, coming so soon after the release of the report from the City’s Ombudsman and her subsequent appearance before City Council. She spoke eloquently about the stress that gapping has created on staff, and the impacts on services is apparent. Her report only reinforces what Local 79 was told by frontline workers when we conducted a survey of our own members. There has been significant damage to programs and services as City staff have been asked to do more and more, with less and less.

A good example of the negative effects of gapping is also well articulated when this City Staff report looks at 311 Toronto:

During critical events such as floods and snow storms, it has been a challenge to meet service levels as there is insufficient staffing to handle the increased call volume. 311 Toronto has experienced an increase of 5-10% in call volumes each year since inception. With the challenges to fill vacancies, in some cases staff are required to work overtime in order to meet approved service levels.

This is not only happening in 311 Toronto. Local 79 members told us in our own survey that 80% of them felt that their job was more difficult and more stressful than it was four years ago: management needs to hear this too.

 The City must keep to its commitment to fill these vacant positions. Divisions should not be forced to keep facing the dilemma of gapping in order to meet unrealistic budget targets.

Local 79 is asking Councillors to ensure the Divisions that this Committee is responsible for take all steps necessary to guarantee that the commitment made by Council to fill vacancies is kept.

Yours truly,

Tim Maguire
President

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