Yesterday’s shocking report by City of Toronto Ombudsman Fiona Crean into management practices at Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) should serve as “a wake-up call to all Torontonians,” the President of Local 79 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 79) said today.
“While the Ombudsman’s report dealt specifically with TCHC’s management-level tier, it is no exaggeration to say that a ‘culture of fear’ at the top always filters downward,” said Tim Maguire, President of CUPE 79.
“We welcome this report and the sensible recommendations contained within. We also welcome the commitment from TCHC’s chair Bud Purves to implement those recommendations,” he added.
Yesterday’s report by the Ombudsman revealed multiple failures on the part of senior TCHC management to follow basic human resource policies on hirings, firings, promotions, raises and job evaluation, to name just a few.
Of the 45 managers terminated since the arrival of TCHC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gene Jones in 2011, 41 were done ‘without cause,’ meaning TCHC was required to pay severances and, in at least one instance, was taken to court by a former employee for wrongful dismissal.
“For our members, it is extremely frustrating to see funds that might have gone to ensuring TCHC buildings were properly looked after and had the necessary people and supports to be successful – go to lawyers, out-of-court settlements and astronomical double-digit wage increases, with no apparent meaningful oversight other than the CEO’s so-called ‘prerogatives’,” said Maguire.
“That such activity occurred while TCHC insisted to our members that there were no funds for front-line staff to provide support to at-risk youth in TCHC communities or to pay fair wages to existing staff is almost beyond belief. Residents deserve better than chaos at the top filtering down. Our members deserve better than to be intimidated. Every Torontonian should expect better from the second-largest landlord in North America,” he added.
Maguire reiterated Local 79’s long-standing policy recommendation that Toronto City Council bring TCHC under the city’s direct management.
“For years, we have advocated that direct City of Toronto management would bring greater control, accountability and transparency to TCHC. Yesterday’s report from Fiona Crean clearly demonstrates the need for these qualities,” he said.
For more information, please contact:
Tim Maguire, CUPE 79 President, 416-977-1629
Kevin Wilson, 416-821-6641