Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads $1.3 million in cuts
The city’s return-to-office plan, which includes a new two-year plan and a three-year plan for many employees, is on hold because city administration believes that’s not enough money to implement the plan, and the money being spread out so far isn’t enough to cover all the city costs.
The Toronto city employees — about 200 workers spread across all departments — were notified this week that, for the first time, Mayor Rob Ford “is proposing to continue the use of a current two-year plan and instead is proposing a three-year plan in the budget (that) does not provide a return to work for more than four years.”
A spokesperson for the Mayor-Elect has now issued a statement, saying that the three-year plan, if implemented, would save just $34 million over two years — “in the context of the current city operating budget of $4.2 billion.”
In addition, the Mayor-Elect is “sending a letter to all council members and MPPs” outlining the move back to a three-year plan, in the context of the province’s economic growth and fiscal challenges, according to a statement from Ford spokesperson Tom Wright.
Omicron Capital, which is managing the city’s pension plan and is advising city staff, also sent council a letter, saying that the mayor has “decided to return to a three-year plan for city employees” and that it “appears prudent that such a move would be in line with the best financial advice available.”
City staff say they’re looking at a number of cost cutting options, including changes to the vacation system and reductions in overtime, among others.
“With respect to vacation time, it is our understanding that there is a strong and growing consensus among council that this time is the employee’s personal time, not the City’s time,” said Joe Warmington, mayor’s spokesperson.
“I’m also advised that the council