Tag Archives: Canada

Toronto saves $800,000 from contracting-out building cleaning — far less than promised

Source: Paul Moloney Toronto Star, January 3, 2013

The amount Toronto taxpayers will save by contracting-out cleaning at police facilities will be less than a third of the original estimates. Instead of saving $2.5 million a year, budget papers indicate the annual savings will be only about $800,000. The city has pondered putting cleaning services out for contract for years, but council didn’t go along with the idea until last year, after Mayor Rob Ford was elected and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, vowed to outsource anything that wasn’t nailed down. … Under the Ford administration, garbage pick-up west of Yonge St. and TTC bus cleaning have also been outsourced.

The savings on the police contract fall “wildly short of the $2.5 million that was predicted,” said Councillor Pam McConnell, who opposed extending the contract. The $2.5-million figure was extrapolated from a private-sector quote in 2003 to clean four police buildings: police headquarters and three stations. … Councillors were told heavy-duty contract cleaners make $12.27 an hour and light-duty cleaners earn $10.59 hourly, while the city had been paying $23.83 and $22.60 an hour, respectively. …

Private trash collectors off to a slow start in Toronto, leave recycling behind at 500 homes

Source: Peter Kuitenbrouwer, National Post, August 7, 2012

Union sets up complaint hotline for privatized garbage collection service
Source: Megan O’Toole, National Post, August 7, 2012

The union representing Toronto’s outside workers has set up a “waste watchers hotline” where residents can lodge complaints about the city’s new privatized trash collection service. On the same day Green for Life Environmental formally took over residential garbage pick-up in the west end, CUPE Local 416 president Mark Ferguson held a news conference to decry the move, urging people to call 1-866-419-2227 to report “shoddy service” or other problems.

Niagara Health System cuts ties with Aramark, U.S. firm that managed housekeeping

Source: Theresa Boyle, Toronto Star, March 27 2012

The Niagara Health System, which battled a deadly C. difficile outbreak last year, is cutting ties with the U.S. firm that manages its cleaning services amid allegations of lax housekeeping…Meantime, an investigation into hospital cleanliness by CBC’s Marketplace, revealed that housekeeping at three of seven hospitals in the Niagara Health System is wanting. An episode that aired last week showed how a harmless gel was placed on high-touch surfaces like light switches and elevator buttons. Some 24 later, the gel was still there, indicating the surfaces had not been cleaned.

Aramark had managed cleaning services at NHS since 2002, but organization spokesperson Caroline Bourque Wiley said a decision has been taken to move the management position in-house. In addition, she said the organization will be adding the equivalent of 18 new full-time cleaning positions.

Stop contracting out Toronto cleaning jobs, academics say

Source: Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star, February 15, 2012

Toronto must stop contracting out municipal cleaning jobs to stem the alarming growth of working poor in the city, academics and community leaders say….”Turning good jobs into poverty wage jobs will only deepen the current job crisis,” they say in an open letter to Mayor Rob Ford and council being released Thursday. “Toronto’s budget issues should not be resolved at the expense of these cleaners, their families and their neighbourhoods.”…

…It also comes a week after the Toronto Police Service signed a $1.7 million one-year contract with a private cleaning company, eliminating 100 jobs with benefits that paid about $20 an hour. Private cleaners typically earn the minimum wage of $10.25 an hour and receive few benefits….
Ford vows to contract out cleaning jobs
Source: Don Peat, Toronto Sun, April 15, 2012

Alberni Valley campaign sinks P3 – keeps water public

Source: CUPE, November 7, 2011

BEAVER CREEK, BC – Beaver Creek residents are keeping their water public. They saw little value in a proposed P3 water infrastructure plan. They proved it by voting 73 per cent against a pricey P3 plan on Oct. 29. Instead, the improvement district will be converted into a regional service area within the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD).

Pensions, Privatization and Poverty: The Gendered Impact

Source: Claire Young, Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2011
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article focuses on the disparate impact of Canadian pension policy on women as compared to men, which in turn contributes to the poverty experienced by elderly women in retirement. The major contributing factor is the increasing privatization of the responsibility for economic security in Canada, with a preference for reliance on the private market or private family rather than on the state to provide for the welfare of its citizens. The article discusses the negative impact on women of issues such as the trend towards the establishment of defined contribution workplace pension plans rather than defined contributions plans, the increasing use of tax expenditures to encourage private retirement savings, and pension income splitting. The analysis takes place against the backdrop of the socio-economic realities of women’s lives and concludes that public pensions such as the Old Age Security pension and the Canada Pension Plan must be strengthened if women’s economic inequality in retirement is to be redressed.

Canada to Close Nearly All Government Data Centers

Source: Government Technology, August 5, 2011

…Canada’s government announced Thursday, Aug. 4, it will shut down more than 90 percent of its 300 data centers, leaving the nation with fewer than 20 when the plan is complete.

In addition, Canada’s government will make the move away from 100 different e-mail platforms to one all-encompassing system. Furthermore, all resources associated with the delivery of e-mail, data center and network services are being transferred from 44 departments and agencies to a new entity called Shared Services Canada….

B.C. shackled with private-prison experiment / More debate needed before province puts giant prison in the Okanagan

Source: Daphne Bramham, Edmonton Journal, July 25, 2011

….. One solution for cash-strapped B.C. is private prisons…… Canada’s only experiment with a private prison ended badly in 2006 when the Ontario government took back the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene from Management and Training Corp. While the private prison saved Ontario money, a study done by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the province’s publicly run ones had better security, better prisoner health care and – perhaps more importantly – reduced repeat offender rates. On all accounts, the American experience has been dismal.

Implications of the Canada-EU CETA for municipal governments

Source: Scott Sinclair, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, June 2011

In ongoing Canada-EU trade negotiations, the European Commission is seeking full coverage of sub-national (provincial and municipal) procurement. In Canada, as in Europe, many important public services, such as waste, water and public transit, are delivered by local authorities.
The exclusion of local purchasing and services from the procurement restrictions of trade treaties has provided policy flexibility to use such purchasing as a tool for local economic development. It has also reduced the risk of litigation and demands for compensation from foreign investors and service providers when privatisation schemes are halted or reversed.
In this briefing paper, based on his remarks to a Centre for Civic Governance event held in conjunction with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ annual conference, Scott Sinclair explores the implications of the Canada-EU CETA for municipal governments.