Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads to more offices
Toronto’s top civil servant says the city isn’t planning to move immediately to a return-to-office arrangement for all non-union staffers, after an apparent backlash over the recent mass firings.
The Toronto Star
November 30, 2013 – 1:43 AM
While the city still hasn’t signed off on a return-to-office plan, Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly says the city is committed to exploring all possible options for those who can’t return to work after the mass layoffs that occurred last week.
A spokeswoman for the deputy mayor said Friday the team was gathering information from municipalities across Ontario to see if the current situation is being replicated in other communities.
Kelly, who oversees the day-to-day operations of the city, said he would not comment on whether the team is actively exploring changes at the bargaining table, but he said he is exploring the possibility of an arrangement that allows staff to get a few days notice before the end of their current contract.
Kelly did however say there would be a “very firm enforcement” of the rights of staff, including members of collective-bargaining units.
Kelly said he and the deputy mayor for labour relations are in regular contact with staff “to ensure we’re all talking about the same things and understanding what’s going on,” but he did say it was up to the union whether there would be a specific return-to-office arrangement or not.
An official at the labour ministry, which oversees labour relations at city hall, said that it had received “no formal request” to start up a process to explore return-to-office arrangements.
However, the city is certainly examining the idea.
Kelly, who met with staff last week, said he also met with Chief Administrative Officer Joe Pennachetti Wednesday to discuss the return-to-office policy.
“All I can say about that is that the mayor and I talked about it in terms of trying to ensure staff feel that they were heard,” said Kelly. “It was not about me being fired. It was about ensuring that people were at a workplace that would, obviously, address some of the frustrations and the problems that were identified and then work to try to improve the situation for everyone.”
Kelly would not comment when asked whether staff were being offered more days on the job.
Last week, city workers