Toronto sets January date for city workers to return to the office, amid rising COVID-19 cases, Omicron uncertainty, and city’s financial crisis
The City of Toronto is preparing for some of the biggest changes to workers’ lives amid COVID-19.
The city is hoping to have in place by Jan. 20, 2021, a return to the office for all city employees, and in that timeframe, has already set itself a return date of April 15.
The decision follows multiple moves by the city including extending shifts for all employees and establishing a task force to improve operations, both in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The moves came amid a city-wide financial crisis and more than 2,500 job cuts over the last few months.
The most significant change, however, is a return to the office.
The idea is that office workers will return to their desks, albeit with new conditions. Mayor John Tory says the return is driven by the need to protect the most vulnerable.
“We do have the capacity here to continue to go out into the world and be able to reach out to the front line and the front lines are the people who are most vulnerable to this thing and if we can figure out how to do that, and then find ways to make it more affordable for them, then I think we will be able to get to the point where we can keep the economy going,” he said.
“We’re at a very, very critical point,” Tory continued.
“Our entire health-care system right now is struggling. Our health-care system needs to keep people alive. They need care services from us and to make sure we’re not putting our families at risk. So what we have to find is a different way of providing care so that we can make sure that we put our families at the safe side, but at the same time continue to provide those critical services.”
The mayor is hoping that some of the city’s most vulnerable will be spared from a return to the office.
“The reality is if we are going to reopen