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The Report highlights the services that make Toronto a liveable City

The work of the Divisions reporting through the Economic Development Committee underscores the importance of ensuring staffing levels meet community needs.

Dear Councillor Thompson and Member of the Economic Development Committee:

RE:     ED24.11 Service Level Review

Economic Development & Culture, Social Development, Finance & Administration, Toronto Employment & Social Services

The Service Level Review before the Economic Development Committee today highlights the many services and supports that are needed to make this a liveable City — for everyone.  There are unique challenges for each of these Divisions, but in order to maintain 2013 service levels and increase service levels in 2014 there must be more information provided.  The actual number of staffing positions won’t be known until the end of the year so there is no way to predict if the current staffing levels can maintain or increase the levels of service.

Economic Development and Culture

Visitor Information Services provides a good example of how impossible it is to forecast increased service levels without accurate staffing level information.  One of the Key Service Levels is the number of consultations at the Toronto Desk.  There were nine thousand, four hundred consultations in 2012, ten thousand targeted for 2013, twenty thousand proposed for 2014 and a “tenfold increase to clients served by 2015”.  The increases are anticipated as a result of the Toronto Desk relocating to Union Station.  What about the staffing levels to go with this huge jump in service levels?

Cultural Services continues to enrich the vibrancy of the City and showcase the talent and creative spirit that exists in communities all across Toronto.  I was pleased to see reaffirmation of investing $25 per capita for arts and culture.  This increased investment will put Toronto on a par with other North American cities and greatly improve the budget from the inadequate 2012 level of only $18.30 per capita. 

Council is to be applauded for its direction to increase “culture funding to leverage future funding and significantly expand cultural and artistic opportunities for Torontonians especially; the revitalization of heritage programming, expanded grants programs and leveraging the Pan Am/Parapan AM Games”.

Social Development, Finance and Administration Division

The mandate of the Division to “provide leadership on the City’s social inclusion and community safety agenda of building safe, strong neighbourhoods and communities” is essential, especially for youth services.  Investing in programs, support, training & skills development for high risk youth is an investment in the future of Toronto.

Toronto Employment & Social Services (TESS)

The work of this Division is vital.  Some of our most vulnerable populations seek out and receive help through the direct, hands-on work of the front-line workers at TESS, increasingly; our residents are struggling to find jobs, homes, training and counselling.  The Service Level Review cites that a Key Outcome in 2012 was the delivery of financial assistance and employment benefits to 270,500 individuals (1 in 9 residents).  That’s a very heavy load.

The services provided by the staff at TESS are under pressure in many different areas.  Although recent reports in the media have indicated that the City of Toronto’s unemployment rates are finally at the national unemployment average, there is no information available about the quality of the jobs.  The Review does cite employment challenges because of the “high incidence of low wage/part time employment especially impacting specific populations (e.g. youth, notably racialized youth)”.

The work of the Divisions reporting through the Economic Development Committee today underscores the importance of ensuring staffing levels meet community needs.

 

Yours truly,

Tim Maguire, President

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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