Item - 2011.CD8.5

Tracking Status

  • This item was considered by Community Development and Recreation Committee on November 4, 2011. The Community Development and Recreation Committee has referred this item to an official or other body without making a decision. Consult the text of the decision for further information on the referral.

CD8.5 - Request for a Study of the Social Impacts of Lower Wage Jobs

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Referred
Wards:
All

Committee Decision

The Community Development and Recreation Committee referred this item to the Executive Director of Social Development, Finance and Administration, and the General Manager of Employment and Social Services with the request to:

 

1.         Report, in consultation with the Medical Officer of Health, on the social impact of hundreds of jobs being performed at salaries that are barely above minimum wage, often with no benefits, and particularly the impact on priority neighbourhoods, and

 

2.         Present the study to the Community Development and Recreation Committee in January if possible, and then to Council.

Origin

(November 2, 2011) Letter from Councillor Ana Bail„o, Ward 18 Davenport

Summary

The purpose of the Community Development and Recreation Committee (CDRC) is to monitor and make recommendations to strengthen services to communities and neighbourhoods.  With this in mind I would like to ask the CDRC to request a study of the social and economic impact of contracting out cleaning and custodial work in City facilities.

 

The City of Toronto has signalled its intention to contract out cleaning services at Toronto Police Stations, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation and City child care centres.  There has also been an indication that further contracting out of cleaning jobs is imminent. Up to a thousand jobs could conceivably be contracted out, as the process extends to other city properties including City of Toronto long-term care facilities.  The impact and its direct effect on residents and neighbourhoods has not been determined.  This is a very serious matter.

 

City Council needs to know what the impact would be on neighbourhoods in order to make informed decisions about contracts that total millions of dollars.  In fact, Standing Committees, like the CDRC, haven’t had a chance to debate this issue at all.  The final decisions about contracting out these services will go only to the Bid Committee.  Councillors and City Council, sitting as a whole, will not be part of the decision-making process.  These jobs and services need to be studied, evaluated and reported to City Council.

 

Economic impact

 

The growth of precarious employment has been noted as a serious concern by organizations as varied as the International Labour Organization - to the United Way and the Toronto Community Foundation. City of Toronto cleaners earn a living wage and contribute to their neighbourhoods and to the city as a whole. Given that the cleaning sector is a place where multiple waves of immigrants have found work, these jobs provide access to economic stability and social mobility for newcomers.

 

The loss of up to a thousand jobs that pay a living wage will create a significant impact that has not been considered fully by City Council. Replacing these jobs with private cleaning contractors that are likely to pay cleaners barely above minimum wage will result in more people, particularly vulnerable immigrant populations, not being able to afford to live in Toronto.

 

Middle incomes in Toronto have dropped significantly in the past 30 years while poverty has risen as a result of unstable and precarious jobs. Such income polarization and widening inequality has led to “three cities within Toronto."  This trend of rapid segregation of neighbourhoods according to socio-economic status is a threat to the social cohesion as well as the overall inclusiveness and health of our city.

 

By sharp contrast, most cleaners in the private sector have to take on two or in some cases even three jobs, to ensure that their families barely survive. Low wages and minimal or no training is a reality in private cleaning companies. On the worst end, some companies even misclassify employees to evade employment standards requirements and bypass the Fair Wage policy.

 

Public Health & Safety Impact

 

Whether it is security at the Police Stations, or cleanliness standards that Toronto parents value at City child care centres, public health and safety could be affected. The cleaners currently employed by the City of Toronto are provided with appropriate equipment and safety training to sanitize City property such as jail cells in the police stations. Private cleaning companies are not accountable for public health and safety in the same way.

 

This needs further study.  As a Councillor I need more information.  As a member of City Council we need to have a complete review.

 

Background Information

(November 2, 2011) Letter from Councillor Ana Bail„o, Ward 18 Davenport on Request for a Study of the Social Impacts of Lower Wage Jobs
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2011/cd/bgrd/backgroundfile-42146.pdf

Communications

(November 4, 2011) Letter from Anne Dembinski, President CUPE Local 79 (CD.New.CD8.5.1)
(November 4, 2011) Letter from Pablo Vivanco, Communication Coordinator, Barrio Nuevo (CD.New.CD8.5.2)
(November 4, 2011) E-mail from Nazerene Edwards, Cleaner, Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) (CD.New.CD8.5.3)

Speakers

Preethy Sivakumar, Coordinator, Good Jobs for All
Nazrene Edwards, Cleaner, Toronto Community and Housing Corporation (TCHC) (Submission Filed)
Trish O'Brien, Cleaner, Toronto Police Services
Ted Schmidt, St. Peter's Parish
Jeff Ince, Member, Justice and Global Initiatives Team (JGIT) Toronto South East Presbytery United Church
Councillor Ana Bail„o

Motions

1 - Motion to Add New Business at Committee moved by Councillor Joe Mihevc (Carried)
Ruling by Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (Not Upheld)
That the letter from Councillor Ana Bail„o is out of order because it is beyond the authority of the Community Development and Recreation Committee, and would properly be before the Executive Committee.
Challenged by Councillor Joe Mihevc


2 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Joe Mihevc (Withdrawn)

That Recommendation 2 be deleted and replaced with the following:

 

"2.        That the City Manager report directly to the November 29, 2011 meeting of Council on the various outsourcing of cleaners being considered by various City departments for Council's consideration." 


3 - Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Josh Matlow (Carried)

That recommendation 2 be amended to now read:

 

"2.        That the study be presented to the Community Development and Recreation Committee in January if possible, and then to Council."


4 - Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Janet Davis (Carried)

Amend recommendation 1 to now read:

 

"1.        That the Executive Director of Social Development, Finance and Administration, and the General Manager of Employment and Social Services, report, in consultation with the Medical Officer of Health, on the social impact of hundreds of jobs being performed at salaries that are barely above minimum wage, often with no benefits, and particularly the impact on priority neighbourhoods and"


5 - Motion to Adopt Item as Amended moved by Councillor Janet Davis (Carried)
Source: Toronto City Clerk at www.toronto.ca/council