Adam Vaughan is the City Councillor representing Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina.

Prior to joining City Hall, he was a reporter for CityTV and CP24.

Labour Disruption Update - Friday June 26

Dear Ward 20 Residents,

Thank you all for your patience and understanding during the current labour disruption with the City of Toronto's CUPE workers.

I have no doubt that each and every one of you is affected by the suspension of City services - everything from daycares, to community centres, parks maintenance, garbage removal, access to business and taxi licensing services, building permits and planning application reviews.

In Ward 20, my office has worked hard to ensure that local farmers markets - driven by local residents in partnership with Ontario farmers have been able to continue operating on City property.

Unfortunately, the Ward 20 Environment Day originally scheduled for this Saturday, June 27th will have to be postponed until the fall.

Many of our neighbourhoods' Canada Day celebrations have also been cancelled.

All public meetings planned by City staff have also been postponed. This includes meetings to review planning applications, off-leash dog applications and parks improvements. They will all be rescheduled when work resumes.

At this point, it is unclear how long the strike might continue. I will keep you all updated as new information becomes available.

Rebecca, Dale, Binh, Jen, Ange, Eti, Ada and I continue to do our best to resolve issues as they arise for you and your neighbours. Our capacity to respond quickly or to address matters that require support from City staff is somewhat diminished.

A full listing of City Services impacted by the strike is available on-line on the City of Toronto website at

Updated information about all City services, programs and facilities is available by contacting Access Toronto at [email protected] or 416-338-0338 / TTY 416-338-0889.

Waste Information


If possible, please hold on to your waste until the labour issues are resolved. If this is not possible, you can take your residential waste to one of the City's transfer station or temporary drop sites. A list of locations and hours of operation is available on the City website.

Please note that there are picketers at these sites and you may have to wait long periods of time before you are able to drop your waste in the appropriate area.

Do not dump illegally. Our parks and streets are already suffering from illegal dumping. Especially with the heat this past week, pests, animals and odours are quickly becoming a problem in every neighbourhood.

The fine for illegal dumping ranges from $365 - $5000 per offence.

For Business Operators:

You can also take your yellow bag waste to one of the City's Transfer Stations. A list of locations and hours of operation is available on the City website.

The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Associations (TABIA) is offering a group rate for temporary removal of commercial waste. If your BIA is interested in participating, please contact TABIA for details at 416-263-3295 or by email to [email protected]

Many of you have contacted my office looking for an update on my position as far as the labour dispute goes. Earlier this week, the Toronto Star published the following Opinion Editorial piece that summarizes my views on this complex matter. I am forwarding it to you for your information.

What's at stake in city strike: A councillor's view

Nothing says not working like a strike. On the other hand, the folks involved in the blame game seem well employed. Working overtime in the business of finger pointing has its benefits.

Some have cast the latest labour dispute as a problem between management and staff in the civil service. Others want to blame the mayor but not council; others want the unions held responsible but not politicians. Nobody says it out loud, but how about those taxpayers who always demand the impossible: better service without paying for it?

The recession has provided elected officials all over the globe with a rare opportunity to create change. In fact, the public is demanding it. Unlike the climate crisis or the housing crisis, the economic crisis is creating amazing momentum and consensus. Sadly, many at city hall are still studying the problem and looking to the past to start fights. Ideology is in great supply but new ideas are scarce.

Let's take the sick pay issue. What started out as an incentive to get workers to book off less in exchange for deferred pay - effectively a bonus for showing up - has morphed into an entitlement for the union and a financial liability for the city.

The recession has raised the stakes for everyone. The collapse of the stock market has seen the savings of workers shrink as they head into retirement. Social service demands created by unemployment have jacked up the city's budget costs as we respond to people's needs. Now a work stoppage at city hall has kicked in just as more and more people turn to government for help. The system is failing.

But the system has been failing for some time: our labour agreements have been built up over a century, as have our methods of operating as a council. Service delivery isn't much different: water still runs through underground pipes; garbage is picked up at the curb side; and you still have to go to city hall for a permit to exercise your property rights.

What this strike presents all of us with is a rare opportunity to make fundamental changes to how we run and create our city. Changing the mayor, changing the collective agreement, changing ward boundaries or the size of your garbage bin are all ideas, some better than others, but the change that is needed is far more fundamental, and it's time everyone at city hall got to work.

City residents are way out in front of us on this one. Whether it's the innovative programming at Dufferin Grove Park, where park users program the park, or Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market, where residents run the festival. Whether it's Luminato taking over Dundas Square or the mobile computer lab started by a teacher in Jane Finch for young people, or the initiation of a neighbourhood camera club in Lawrence Heights, the reality is that citizens, neighbours, residents and folks just visiting the city are prepared to bring solutions forward instead of just complaining about the problems.

Yes, the garbage will still need to be picked up, the water will still have to run through underground pipes and the fire trucks and ambulances will still need to arrive in an emergency. But those are called the basics for a reason. What we need to incentivize is not the act of showing up, we need to encourage innovation, and this round of labour talks is either going to tackle the problems of the future or stew in the miseries of the past.

Until we rethink what local government is for, restructure how it should work and find a new way forward, we'll just find ourselves around the table shouting at each other instead of finding a way to build a better city.

Thank you for your time and understanding.



Questions and Answers

Q: Why is Council asking the unionized workers for concessions while taking a pay increase for themselves?

A: I agree that we all need to pull together and do our part to ensure sustainable responsible public service.

I personally returned the full increase as soon as it was given. Several other Councillors have done the same.

Q: The meeting or service I need is very important. Why can't work continue during the labour disruption?

A: The City of Toronto employs about 24,000 people. 20,000 of these workers are currently on strike. The remaining 4,000 workers are still on the job - many of them working longer 12 hour shifts including evenings and weekends to keep our essential services keep working.

This means that city staff who might normally be lawyers, clerks, policy staff, planners or management may be running the overnight shift at a homeless shelter, or caring for the animals at Riverdale Farm. Others are answering thousands of telephone calls from the public and doing their best to resolve problems every day.

This is why it is not possible to go ahead with work regular day to day service.

Q: If City staff have all been reassigned - what will happen with Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) or Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) hearings scheduled during the strike?

A: The City Solicitor has asked the OMB and the AGCO to postpone hearings where the City of Toronto is one of the parties until after the labour disruption is resolved.

Q: My family's daycare is closed due to the strike - are there alternate programs for children we can access?

A: In Ward 20, there are many summer day programs run by not-for profit and cultural groups that are still operating.

Harbourfront Centre, the Art Gallery of Ontario, OCAD, the Royal Ontario Mueseum are still operating Camps and have some spaces.

Alexandra Park Community Centre, University Settlement House, Harbourfront Community Centre, Scadding Court Community Centre, St.Stephen's Community House also have some spaces in their programs.

My office is putting together an up to date listing and we'll send it to you over the weekend and post the information to

Councillor Adam Vaughan Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina 416-392-4044

Toronto City Hall 100 Queen Street West 2nd Floor, Suite C50 Toronto, ON M5H 2N2