Author: Kyle

Toronto City Council Reopens Star City Public Library

Toronto City Council Reopens Star City Public Library

Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads its wings

By Jennifer C. Jones and Nick Stockton

14 March 2019

The Ontario government has backed off the idea of giving Toronto employees a pay raise even as the City of Toronto continues to struggle with the city’s own budget crisis.

While city staff still face an unfavourable pay deal, the city has not had to make any significant cuts to its staff since 2018. The city has even moved back into the black by selling off many of its surplus real estate assets.

On Monday, Toronto city council voted to re-open the closed Star City public library, a decision which was heavily pushed by councillors Pam McConnell and Jennifer McKelvie.

While the Star City project still had some funding coming from the province, the money was diverted into the municipal budget.

“Toronto’s library is an essential service and I’m delighted it’s been reopened,” said Councillor McConnell. “There are some exciting things happening right now with the city staff pay deal, but now there’s a lot of uncertainty about how that’s going to evolve.”

McConnell is one of the people who opposed the deal that was approved at the city council meetings last September.

“When you look at staff, we are still paying a big chunk of the cost of the Star City project,” said the councillor.

She pointed out that the library staff pay deal was approved based on a number of factors that included city staff wanting changes to the city’s financial plans that didn’t include a pay increase. Those changes included staff demanding the creation of a more formal human resources process and reducing the number of internal positions.

McConnell was concerned that the city would not be able to implement those changes without a pay raise, and the council rejected the staff pay raise.

“We have to give them more,” said McConnell.

There are also concerns that without a pay increase, the city will have to make significant cuts or risk staff layoffs.

Councillor McKelvie spoke about the staff pay increases, but also noted that there were concerns about the “size of the pay increase.�

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