City moving to outsource garbage collection
Web Staff, cp24.com
Published Monday, February 7, 2011 10:06PM EST
The City of Toronto has notified the union representing garbage collectors that it plans to start outsourcing trash pick-up in the city, even though the move may not save as much money as previously thought.
The Toronto Civic Employees' Union Local 416 has been told that the city will open up bidding for curbside garbage collection west of Yonge Street to Etobicoke.
The city also wants to contract out parks litter/recycling operations and more of its vacuum operations.
Mayor Rob Ford says the move will fulfill a campaign promise to reduce the size of government.
"We're going to save millions of dollars," Ford said at a press conference Monday.
Councillor and public works chair Denzil Minnan-Wong says the proposal only includes the section of Toronto west of Yonge Street, because of a "Jobs for Life" provision in the workers' collective agreement.
Minnan-Wong says about 300 part-time workers collect garbage in that region of Toronto and they would be affected if collection is privatized. Those protected by the "Jobs for Life" provision could still work east of Yonge Street.
He also says the city will save about $8 million a year, while previous estimates during Ford's mayoral campaign pegged the savings at $20 million a year.
President of CUPE Local 416 Mark Ferguson says more needs to be done to explain the change in projected savings.
"This fuzzy math shows a contempt for the citizens of Toronto," Ferguson says.
"We wish that Mayor Ford had taken the time to carefully analyze his plan and calculate actual costs before making his announcement this morning."
Garbage collection is already contracted out to a private company in Etobicoke. The union was required to receive notice of the city's plans three months before the matter goes to council May 17.
Councillor Adam Vaughan says the move isn't in the best interest of the environment or taxpayers. Vaughan says the city could have problems meeting garbage quotas often required in private contracts.
Vaughan says the city could still have to pay the same amount of money for garbage collection even if more waste is diverted to be recycled or composted.
"We lose our ability and incentive to recycle and find other ways to deal with garbage," Vaughan says.