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Deputation to Toronto Police Services

Board

My Name is Miguel Avila, a proud Latino-Canadian and a Toronto


taxpayer. I am here to speak on behalf of hundreds of Latino-Canadian
members of the “Asociacion de Arrendatarios Latinoamericanos de
Vivienda Social del GTA, translated the “Latin American Tenant
Association of Social Housing of the Greater Toronto Area.” We are a
group of Latinos/as working together to find common solutions to
common problems. Our group represents residents of the Co-op sector,
Non-for Profit Housing and T.C.H.C.

I am here to speak on the ballooning and out of control Toronto Police


Budget. Last fall, Mr. Rob Ford’s cheering slogans: “Stop the Gravy
Train at City Hall” and “Respect for Taxpayers” won him the mayoral
seat. A difficult challenge since Mr. Del Grande, our current Budget
Chief, is telling us that we face an $877 million hole in the city budget
for 2012.

At the same time, the T.P.S agreement affords our police force pay
hikes totaling 11.5% over four years, which is counter to Mr. Ford’s
promises, our current economic situation and the will of the
communities I am representing today. We are taxpayers and we
deserve RESPECT. We are not getting any from the T.P.S Board.

Yes, the T.P.S keep us safe. We look to them to enforce the law, catch
the bad guys, and help us when we need help. We want to attract and
retain educated, competent and caring men and women in our police
forces. For these reasons, and for the fact they have chosen a
profession in which the risk of injury is high, we thank them. And we
agree to pay them reasonably well. The key word is “reasonably.” Is
the Mayor following blindly the T.P.S’s argument to raise salary rates?
Last week, Mr. Ford remained silent when asked by the media on the
new deal with the T.P.S Board.

It is somewhat disturbing to ponder the potential ripple effect of this


tentative agreement between the Toronto Police Services Board and its
police officers. The problem is that this agreement sets up the city of
Toronto for some tough negotiations in the coming months with other
unionized workers. You may wonder, who is next in line for handouts
from our Mayor? The T.T.C or firefighters might want the same goodies
just like the Cops, and the list goes on.
Here are our demands and solutions for Mayor Rob Ford:

We demand a wage freeze for the police and if not hold the line at
inflation, which is running at less than 2%. We cannot accept a 11.5 %
salary increase. It seems excessive, especially in the current economic
climate.

We demand the board to look for inefficiencies, to have an officer work


10 hours a day is totally absurd. We should compare how other cities
make adjustments to their operating budget. Work 24 hours and get
paid 28 hours? Most Toronto taxpayers don’t agree with this
arrangement. Can the Board adjust the time shift it pays its officers?

We also demand accountability. Each year, across the province of


Ontario, some 50 officers are suspended with pay, which costs the
public around $5 million. These practices are also bad for morale and
create a trust issue with the public. Currently 29 T.P.S officers are on
paid duty leave while their cases are deal at the courts. We wonder: Is
it fiscally prudent to have T.P.S officers awaiting for their legal cases
decision ( be review by the court system) on payroll and who are
basically useless to the Toronto Citizens who pay their salaries with
our hard earned money?

In closing, I should mention that during the last public forum at the
North York Civic Center on Wednesday, April 27, I presented and
shared my views on the police service. Board Member Ms. Judy Cohen,
who sympathizes with the reduction of T.P.S’s ballooning budget, took
my concerns for consideration. I am also a big supporter of adding
YOUTH from our Communities to the composition of the Board.

Thank you for your time and consideration. The tenant association and
community will monitor Mayor Ford’s response. The Latino-Canadians
who pay your salaries deserve respect. Keep in mind the promise you
made to Torontonians when you were elected: “To Stop the Gravy
Train at City Hall”.

Miguel Avila
Latin American Tenant Association
Executive Member