TORONTO – The union representing social housing workers in the City of Toronto says that the Toronto Community Housing Corporations new restructuring plans will diminish social housing and abolish the jobs of front-line workers.
Proper public social housing has helped to make Toronto the vital, equitable, and safe city we have today, says Brian Cochrane, the president of the Toronto Civic Employees Union, Local 416 CUPE, which represents the workers. We are now seeing a big swing in the philosophy governing this important service to our communities and it is a definite swing to the right. We have more homeless and downtrodden people in this city than ever before. The best way to help them is to invest in social housing, not erode it.
The Toronto Community Housing Corporation intends to lay off front-line workers who take care of the many social housing buildings spread across the city and increase the numbers of corporation managers. Social housing needs front-line workers, not more managers, says Cochrane. If they truly want to save a great deal of money, they can drop the idea of hiring more managers, they can stop hiring high-priced outside consultants and independent contractors, and they can work with the union to find savings that make sense.
CUPE says that the corporations restructuring plans also encourage private contractors to take over services. The proposals that are being considered will change the face of social housing in Toronto, says Cochrane. The focus historically was to provide decent affordable housing for residents of this city who otherwise could not afford it. Now the focus appears to be downsizing the workforce and turning the work over to private, for-profit operators.
Our municipal taxes should not be used for private profits, says Cochrane. We need the city to renew its commitment to social housing for people who need it. If these plans go through, the people of Toronto will lose control over the future of social housing in this city.
For more information, please contact:
Brian Cochrane, CUPE Local 416 President
Shannon McManus, CUPE Communications
(416) 292-3999, ext. 222