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How will Toronto’s possible work stoppage affect you?

Last Updated Feb 26, 2020 at 3:18 pm EDT

Pedestrians walk outside Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (FILE/Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Around 5,000 of the city’s outside workers could be in for a work stoppage starting Saturday, which means a number of city services will come to a halt.

On Feb. 10, the city received a no board report from the Ministry of Labour after months of bitter negotiation for a new contract, which set the legal strike or lockout deadline for Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 416 at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 27.

However, the city and the union agreed to extend the deadline by 48 hours to Feb. 29.

If the city can’t reach a deal with its outside workers by midnight Friday, this would impact garbage collection for about 50,000 homes every day, close down ice rinks and swimming pools, and force the cancellation of recreation programs and photography on city property.

CUPE 416 represents about 5,000 city employees such as garbage collectors, maintenance workers and paramedics. Union members doing essential work are not allowed to participate in strike action, so paramedics will continue to work.

Here’s what you need to know about the potential work stoppage:

Will my garbage be picked up?

If you live east of Yonge Street, all garbage collection will cease during a work stoppage. That also goes for parks, sidewalks, and public squares.

For residents west of Yonge, garbage collection will continue as it’s done by contracted workers, but there will be no recycling or green bin pickup. There may also be delays as the strike would potentially affect city-run depots where garbage is normally dropped off.

Will my snow be cleared?

Critical snow removal and winter maintenance on roads, sidewalks and bike lanes will continue, but snow will not be removed from city parks.

What city properties can I use?

All regularly-scheduled city council and committee meetings will be cancelled.

Events, film shoots and photography permits for public squares, city parks and other public spaces will also be cancelled.

If you already have a permit for the wedding chambers at city hall, it will be honoured, but no new permits will be issued.

Seniors services, long-term care homes and emergency shelters will be unaffected.

Civic centres will be open, but will be operating on reduced hours from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

City of Toronto-run outdoor ice rinks, pools, ski hills (Centennial and Earl Bales), arenas, fitness centres, community and recreation centres, greenhouses and conservatories will all be closed.

What happens for March break?

If the work stoppage continues into March break, parents will have to make alternative childcare arrangements as city-run community and recreation centres will be closed. City-run programs like camps and drop-ins will also be suspended.

Regular children’s services and child care arrangements will not be impacted, but there may be administrative delays.

A full list of the city’s services and the contingency plan can be found here.