Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads concerns
A growing group of Toronto city employees is challenging the right of a city councillor to seek a return-to-office vote on city policy by going back to old office numbers.
It’s a case of democracy versus politics — at the city level, that is.
The city employee group is urging the Toronto Board of Control to reconsider the decision of Toronto city councillor Joe Mihevc to seek a return-to-office vote on city policy.
A meeting between the employee group and the board on Friday will likely make a decision very soon about the city employee group’s position.
But at this time last week the city employee group believed they had a majority on the board to reverse the councillor’s decision.
But as of Friday evening, it was looking more and more like City Hall and the three city councillors on city council were going to go back to the drawing board.
It’s possible, the employee group believes, that a majority of the board still may be supportive of the councillors’ attempts to call a return-to-office vote. But that’s likely up for question.
This is one of a number of issues for the city’s employee group to face. A few other issues include an attempt by councillors to strip the city and Toronto Hydro of some of their power — the ability to raise rates — and an attempt by councillors to strip the city of some of its property tax power.
The group also is lobbying the City of Toronto about a new property tax that would raise about $2 billion each year.
The group has already made a lot of noise on this issue.
“We have had councillors and staff members threaten that if we continue to agitate, that they would continue to use their powers to get our way,” says employee group member Michael Armstrong.
But the debate over the property tax issue has been difficult at times.
“It is a high-tech tax. The amount and value of the new tax is unknown. The amount they would get is unknown,” says Armstrong.
He said the amount is estimated at $2 billion.
The group is also very concerned