Toronto Strike Can Be a Life and Death Issue

Toronto residents have been raising a big stink recently over the CUPE Local 416 strike recently, now entering its second month.

The union’s president, Mark Ferguson, has indicated that if a decision is not reached by today they will break off negotiations.

Meaning this could go on even longer…

Paramedics part of the union also have a partial right to strike. Response times before the strike, eight minutes and eighteen seconds, has risen to nine minutes and eleven seconds, twelve seconds longer than the gold standard.

The Ontario Ministry of Health is conducting an inquiry to see whether a wait of over a half hour for James Hearst contributed towards his death, although EMS denies any connection.

The City of Toronto is taking legal action to increase ambulance services by filing for additional ambulances to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).

Some health professionals have asserted that the increase response time is a matter of life and death.

Benefits are important, and the recession should not be used as an excuse to cut wages or erode worker conditions. But the cost of these labour disputes should also be kept in mind by both sides as they approach the tables today.

Previous decisions by the OLRB on emergency workers can be found linked from the City’s site.


  1. Regardless what side of the fence you sit on, I think all will agree that a resolution HAS to be reached soon for the benefit of all. Residents and city workers included.

  2. “The recession should not be used as an excuse” but perhaps it can be used as a reason why the city cannot afford to pay what it has been paying, or large increases to that amount. What other unions got last year is only marginally relevant, though when one reads the liberature about comparative pay being more important to happiness than absolute pay, one understands why it get brought up.

    The union says it did not cause the recession (true) and thus should not have to suffer because of it. But the city did not cause it either but is definitely suffering, with lower income and higher expenses (welfare notably).

    So the new reality has to be taken into account, though it is fair to test how real any picture of that reality is. Both parties should have a pretty good idea of the validity of the picture by this point.