toronto city hall

Toronto City Hall is still using fax machines in 2021 but perhaps not for long

Last year was obviously the year of COVID-19, but also the year of virtual everything as a result: virtual learning, remote working, online shoppinglivestreamed events and even e-hangouts with loved ones.

But while many industries and businesses have pivoted to improving their online offerings, some aspects of life in Toronto are still very much stuck in the past — like the City itself, which still apparently uses fax machines.

And two councillors now want to bring City Hall into the present.

In a new motion coming to council on Wednesday hilariously titled "The Last Time Internet Regulations Were Passed, People Said, 'Fax It To Me,'" two members are asking that the city cut out telephone fax lines across the board, calling the technology  "a relic of an era when the 'web' was still something spiders spun."

Ward 24 Scarborough-Guildwood Councillor Paul Ainslie and Ward 2 Etobicoke Centre Councillor Stephen Holyday add that the anachronistic devices are not only obsolete at Toronto HQ, but pose unnecessary costs and even risk.

They also point out that the province is set to get rid of its own 1,200 fax machines by the end of this year — inspiration for the City to do the same.

Though City Hall meetings can be quite dry for the average resident, it is clear that the duo have strong stance on the topic, and are ready to steadfastly — and humorously, given lines from the motion such as "for residents more familiar with Instagram than gramophones" — argue their point

Fittingly, at the same meeting, a new online platform for government services like bill and ticket payments will also be debated.

Surely things will not get as heated as previous Zoom council meetings in which one participant was ousted for taking the call while driving, or the one where a staffer forgot to mute their microphone before swearing at a peer, but it will be interesting to see what argument there could be for keeping the out-of-date appliances around.

Lead photo by

Anthony G. Reyes


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