Weekend Newsstand: February 20, 2016



Weekend Newsstand: February 20, 2016

Saturday news you can use: union talks have reached a tentative end for one group and are continuing for the other; Zika has appeared in Ontario, and David Soknacki is on board to help cut the police budget.

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Outside workers employed by the City (parks and recreation, waste management, etc) have reached a tentative deal in bargaining for a collective agreement. Details haven’t been made public, as the union’s membership still has to decide whether or not to accept the proposed agreement. The indoor workers represented by Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 79 were set to be in a legal strike or lockout position this morning at 12:01 but have extended that deadline by 24 hours to continue negotiations with the city. Local 79 and the city are still “far apart” on more than one key issue, according to president Tim Maguire.

Ontario has reported its first case of the Zika virus, in someone who recently traveled to Colombia. There have been cases elsewhere in Canada but all were contracted outside the country in areas where the illness is more common, like in South America. It’s unlikely the disease will spread far in Canada: the mosquito that carries it is neither seen in Canada nor suited to the country’s climate.

Former city councillor and mayoral candidate David Soknacki has been asked to join a task force to recommend ways to overhaul the Toronto Police Service’s massive budget. While he initially declined the invitation, Soknacki says that follow-up conversations with Mayor John Tory and TPS board chairman Andy Pringle have convinced him the two men might truly be committed to changing the service’s budget, which will likely require standing down the powerful police union. The task force will be expected to consider some of the many cost-cutting measures proposed in a study by KPMG, including decreasing the size of the force by making some jobs civilian, and prioritizing sending police out to emergency situations rather than things like parking disputes.

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