Toronto’s labour code is a step in the right direction

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Mayor John Tory says the city’s proposed reforms to the labour code are a “step in the right direction” and that he would prefer the changes to be applied to all city employees.

The administration is considering a four-year phased implementation in stages, starting with non-union city workers and extending into 2015, with the goal to bring all city employees under the labour code at the same time.

The administration says the labour code has been a difficult issue.

“When we first proposed a workable solution, there were strong concerns, including by the public, that this is not what the public wanted,” said Ted McMeekin, the city’s chief financial officer.

But as it turned out, the public wanted the administration to have a realistic, if somewhat ambitious, plan for enacting the changes.

The city has also recently released an updated plan for implementing the changes with a focus on eliminating the need for employee collective agreements.

For instance, the city is proposing to reduce the number of city employees by almost 30 positions — or 14 per cent.

“This is a good first step, it’s a good start,” McMeekin said. “What we need to do is put this in place now, so we don’t have to go back and do it again later.”

The changes would not be applicable to employees in the city’s transit and public works departments. And, as it stands, the Toronto Star has been told that no union would be interested in bargaining with those employees.

The city has also been consulting with unions in other municipalities, as well as non-union employees in other cities. This has included consultation with school students, who would be able to opt-out of any changes to the labour code.

The goal is to reduce the number of city employees by more than 100 positions — or 16 per cent — by 2015.

“This is a good place to start,” said Mayor John Tory, speaking at the city’s executive committee meeting Thursday night.

Mayor John Tory said that the city will continue to hold consultations on what the final labour code should look like.

“The city will have more consultations so that we know what the final language should be, and we are going to follow through with that

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