Toronto sets January date for city workers to return to the office, amid rising COVID-19 cases, Omicron uncertainty, and economic uncertainty.
As the city grapples with one of the largest outbreaks of COVID-19 in Canada, we are hearing from city employees who say they are worried about returning to their current routines.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The city is no longer planning public gatherings of more than one person, under health orders
A week ago, on Thursday, May 10, Toronto’s health commissioner approved a plan to allow city employees to return to the office, but only if they avoid large gatherings of more than 10 people.
The city’s labour union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), agreed to the terms of the order, which also applies to “any other workday,” as specified by the health commissioner in an email.
The order is part of a public health, safety and economic mobilization of Toronto’s workers aimed at controlling COVID-19 transmission, and ensuring people are able to work from home safely.
2. CUPE’s return to office is one of several measures proposed to help Toronto’s economy
On Friday, May 11, Toronto City Council is scheduled to hold a meeting for citizens interested in listening to updates on the city’s COVID-19 response measures. During the meeting, City Clerk Michael Lee is expected to update the public on the response, and how the government is working to maintain social distancing and reduce the number of people at public events.
In his opening remarks, Mayor John Tory said Mayor John Tory and City Council have committed to working together to support Toronto’s economy to move past COVID-19. Tory and Council have jointly announced an additional $50 million in coronavirus stimulus funding, and they have committed to working together during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While I want everyone to keep up this fight until we reach the top of the mountain, I know the City of Toronto and all of Canada is in this together,” Tory continued. “We have an economic strategy – and we have an unprecedented response to a real health and safety crisis.”
3. Toronto’s labour unions are committed to