City Council Meeting Stretches Into 4th Day Friday


Toronto city council has voted in favour of a fair wage policy, deferred a motion on Wheel-Trans surveillance cameras and is expected to rule on taxes for the island airport on Friday after a two-day monthly meeting stretched into four days.

A lengthy debate on the Scarborough subway pushed the meeting over schedule, with council eventually deciding to proceed with a subway over light rail transit. However, that plan could be scuttled if provincial and federal funding doesn’t come through.

E-bingo is coming to Toronto after council voted to approve an agreement with the Ontario and Lottery Gaming Corp. (OLG). Bingo halls will now offer an electronic version of the popular game, with charities receiving some of the profits. Slot machines are excluded from the deal.

Council also voted 25-13 in favour of rejecting a petition asking them to cut council in half, and voted 37-0 in favour of asking the province to reverse a $150-million funding cut for social housing programs.

On Wednesday, the city decided to send a request for a shorter municipal election campaign to the executive committee, approved the creation of a cedar hedge maze at Toronto Island and accepted apologies from councillors Adam Vaughan and Mike Layton for code of conduct violations.

Here’s a look at what’s on Friday’s agenda:

Island airport taxes

The Toronto Port Authority has requested a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) fee for the island airport, formally known as Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The city’s legal staff has recommended that council accept a proposed fee, but the amount is being kept confidential.

Click here to read the motion.

Fair wage policy

Pay rates for cleaning staff as well as the use of subcontractors was already approved by the city’s executive committee earlier this month. Anti-poverty advocates say the minimum wage must be increased to a “living” wage, just over $17 an hour, while the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition argues the fair wage policy should be scrapped in favour of the minimum wage.

The motion was held by Coun. Pam McConnell.

Click here to read the motion.

Vexatious bylaw complaints

After one person made nearly 60 bylaw complaints in his Scarborough Centre ward, Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker is proposing the city allow its investigators to use their discretion when looking into infractions.

If approved, investigators would also be allowed to have some leeway when dealing with complaints between feuding neighbours.

As it stands, De Baeremaeker said last week, “Our inspectors have no discretion — you’re either in compliance or you’re not compliant.”

He also pointed out that when an inspector is called, “whether it’s a two-inch infraction or a five-foot infraction,” the inspector is required to issue a notice of violation.

Click here to read the full motion.

Wheel-Trans video surveillance

City council voted Friday to defer a request from the ombudsman concerning the use of video surveillance on Wheel-Trans vehicles.

Last week, the TTC suspended the use of video cameras on Wheel-Trans vehicles after Fiona Crean concluded that passengers were never warned about their use.

Crean’s report also found riders were given no information about the reassessment process or its criteria beyond the time and place of the interview and neither the appeal process nor the application is posted on the TTC website, among other findings.

Click here to read the motion.

About Matt