2009 City of Toronto inside and outside workers strike

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City of Toronto workers on strike.

The 2009 City of Toronto inside and outside workers strike (also known as the 2009 Toronto strike) was a legal strike action that was undertaken by the Toronto Civic Employees Union Local 416 and CUPE Local 79, two locals of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in the city of Toronto.

It involved approximately 24,000 city employees.[1]


Trash seen being put into the plastic covering sealed trash bins on June 22.

On June 22 at midnight Toronto municipal workers belonging to 2 separate unions (CUPE Local 416 - representing the outside workers, and CUPE Local 79 - representing the inside workers) went on strike following six months negotiating with the municipality over contract renewal.[2]


The union said that the main issue for the strike were requests, from the city, for concessions from the union in the new contract.[2]

According to the CBC, the main issues were regard changes to job security, seniority and the banking of sick days.[3] The previous contract allowed some[citation needed] union members to bank unused sick days and cash them out upon retirement. The city proposed contract was to disallow the practise.

CUPE Local 79 President, Ann Dembinski was quoted as saying "This is about getting a fair deal similar to what everyone else got. Everyone else was able to negotiate a collective agreement without huge takeaways. These are huge concessions. No other City of Toronto workforce has had to negotiate any concessions in order to get a collective agreement."[3]

Services affected[edit]

A sign points the way to the drop-off site at Moss Park
Temporary trash site at Christie Pits Park

Union members from Local 416 and Local 79 work in various departments within the city and the work stoppage affected many of their services, including:[4]

  • Garbage Collection - from single detached dwellings, low-rise residential dwellings and some small commercial businesses. (exception: former city of Etobicoke which contracted out services before amalgamation).
  • Parks and Recreation - including city run pools and recreation facilities, grass cutting in parks and summer programmes. Toronto Island ferries halted for visitors and residents.
  • City run daycare facilities.
  • Municipal Licensing - including building permits, signage permits, taxi cab licenses and burlesque licenses. Marriage licenses were not affected.
  • Public Health - including regular health inspections of restaurants, public pools, city beaches, city run health clinics and dental offices.
  • Toronto EMS - Ambulance service running at 75% capacity with priority calls unaffected.
  • Water Supply/Water Treatment
  • Animal Services

Garbage collection[edit]

The cessation of garbage collection was one of the more noticeable effects of the labour disruption. Four days into the strike the city announced 19 temporary garbage drop off locations for residential waste. This decision proved controversial in the neighbourhoods containing the sites as residents expressed concerns about pesticide and rodenticide spraying, as well as odour and leaching caused by the piles of garbage.[5] Junk removal entrepreneurs took the opportunity to increase their customer base, specifically because plenty of residents were left without options to deal with their garbage.[6]

Final resolution[edit]

On July 27, after extensions to a union-imposed midnight deadline to reach an agreement, CUPE local 416 President Mark Ferguson announced that the union had "the basis for a deal" with the City of Toronto. Ferguson exhorted the city to turn its attention to resolving outstanding issues with the city's inside workers represented by 416's sister local, local 79.[7][8]

The final vote by the council on the agreement put forward by the mayor resulted in 21 "yes" votes, 18 "no" votes, and 6 absences.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Garbage strike looms in Toronto as city, union both refuse to budge". cbc.ca. 2009-06-21. Archived from the original on 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
  2. ^ a b "Toronto city workers strike < Strikes and Lockouts, Ontario | CUPE". CUPE website. 2009-06-22. Archived from the original on 2009-06-24. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
  3. ^ a b "Toronto civic strike prompts warning against garbage dumping". cbc.ca. 2009-06-22. Archived from the original on 27 June 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2009.
  4. ^ "How the Strike Affects City Services". City of Toronto government website. Retrieved 14 July 2009.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Contractors get access to Christie Pits dump site". Ctv.ca. 2009-07-05. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  6. ^ "Junk companies ramp up services". ScrapHaul. 2009-06-25. Archived from the original on 2009-07-11. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
  7. ^ "Union announces a deal with city". The Globe and Mail. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 27 July 2009.
  8. ^ "Union has "basis for a deal" with City of Toronto". CP24. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
  9. ^ "How your councillor voted". The Globe and Mail. 2009-07-31. Archived from the original on 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2009-08-04.

External links[edit]