Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads the word
Toronto’s chief administrative officer, Peter Wallace, and a number of other city administrators face the prospect of having to return to work, at least for a few hours, without their regular jobs, if they want to keep their city jobs.
It’s a potential hardship that has come to be known as a “corridor day”—also known as “non-mandatory work leave.” It became an issue in late March when the city announced it would allow employees to receive their full salary and benefits in lieu of taking the time to catch up on work, for 30 days if necessary. That meant, in essence, that city employees would be required to work for the city until they returned to a job they wanted to hold.
The new policy came in response to the province’s recent announcement of a phased-in return-to-work plan for public service employees with some sort of medical condition that prevented them from working.
This week, the issue has been taken into a new and potentially embarrassing level of attention, after the City of Toronto’s chief ombudsman, Michael Callander, announced the findings of a six-month inquiry into the issue. Callander says that while city officials have taken steps such as providing more resources for employees to use to complete their work, they haven’t taken other steps that might help them avoid mandatory leave days.
“This leaves the public with a feeling that the city is not addressing this issue fully and that the city doesn’t take serious action when it’s required,” Callander said in a statement released Tuesday, following the report’s release.
The issue has become a hot topic on Cityhall Facebook, and in the news headlines on city-run websites, after photos of “Corridor Days” were posted, some with humour, on a number of local and government pages.
The photos featured employees of the police, fire and municipal services divisions, in