Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads across the province
The Toronto City Council was planning to re-open the city’s door to contract workers Friday, but the proposal is no closer to reality than when city staff first got the go-ahead two months ago.
Councillor Gary Crawford said the meeting went “very well” and that the city had “some very positive changes” in mind for the employees.
“A lot of the feedback we’re hearing from employees is that they are ready to do the transition that we’ve put forward, and will look at other opportunities as well,” he said, and added that the city’s “most visible contract workers” will need to “be re-evaluated on a year-by-year basis.”
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His comments came a day after the Omicron Group Inc., a company which is seeking Ontario government contracts but which also owns the Odeon cinema chain, announced it was expanding into North America, with plans to expand its operations at the Cinemark chain at more than 100 Ontario properties while continuing to operate Odeon.
But the mayor and other city staff members were still planning to open the city’s doors to contract workers after an election campaign that saw the former Progressive Conservative Party oust the Progressive Alliance Liberals.
Council voted to open the city’s doors to Odeon contract workers on two occasions, once when the cinema chain was being asked to come back to Toronto after leaving 10 years earlier and again in the midst of a dispute over city parking rates. Both times, the Odeon chain filed a request to be treated as an “incumbent employer,” and the city could not ignore that request.
But, as it turns out, Omicron has no intention of working at city-owned parks and other city-owned properties in Toronto, and the city’s administration is looking at ways to limit Omicron’s operations, including a request to refuse service of other companies