Toronto garbage removal inches closer to privatization

The privatization of garbage removal in Toronto took a step forward today with the notification of the Toronto Civic Employees' Union (TCEU) Local 416 that the City plans to recommend that a competitive bid process be put in place for residential pick up west of Yonge Street. The City also seeks to increase use of private companies to remove litter and recycling from parks and to run litter vacuum operations.

The next step is the preparation of a "detailed report" by the Solid Waste Management Services Division, which would go before City Council on May 17-18. If approved, the new services would go in place in mid 2012.

Press release below.


The City of Toronto provided notice today to the Toronto Civic Employees' Union (TCEU), Local 416, of its intention to recommend a competitive bid process for three areas of work currently carried out by TCEU members. The services under consideration are provided by the Solid Waste Management Services Division and include all daytime, residential curb-side collection west of Yonge Street to the Etobicoke border, an increase in privatized City-wide litter vacuum operations, and parks litter/recycling collection within City parks throughout the city. In addition, the City notified the TCEU of its intention to issue a Request for Quotations (RFQ) for contingency collection services to be provided anywhere across the city, as required.

The written notice delivered to the union meets the City's obligation under the collective agreement to provide three months' notice of its intention to put the recommendation before Council for its consideration. In the three service areas, it is anticipated that approximately 300 positions would be affected.

"This initial move to potentially privatize some garbage collection services is a key promise that was made during the 2010 election campaign," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, Chair, Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. "We anticipate that we will see financial savings while, at the same time, ensuring continued high customer service standards and less likelihood of City-wide labour disruptions of the kind we have experienced in the past."

Currently, Solid Waste Management Services Division contracts out approximately half of its solid waste operations including residential curb-side pickup in the former City of Etobicoke, bulk collection in apartments and condominiums, approximately 25 per cent of litter vacuum operations, and various processing operations.

"Private collection has existed in Etobicoke for 16 years and it is proof that the service can be delivered efficiently and effectively. As part of this administration's commitment to reduce the size and cost of government, I look forward to this process getting underway," said Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday.

The area of residential curb-side collection that would be tendered out for competitive bids is bounded by Yonge Street to the east, the Humber River to the west, Steeles Avenue to the north and Lake Ontario to the south. There are approximately 165,000 homes in the area.

This recommendation is subject to City Council's approval. The Division will prepare a detailed report on the potential contracting out of these service operations that will go to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting of April 26, 2011. It is expected that the report would go to Council on May 17-18. Should Council decide to initiate a competitive bid process, there would be no change of service provider for the solid waste operations until mid-2012.


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