Toronto sets January date for city workers to return to the office, amid rising COVID-19 cases, Omicron uncertainty
Toronto looks at expanding capacity by an additional 1,000 staff to deal with a growing shortage of workers to fill the hundreds of vacant offices, amid an uncertain coronavirus response, sources close to the city’s office staff said on Sunday.
The city is considering a new shift in its work-from-home policy amid rising health concerns, as its first confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, continue to rise in the city, leaving many in the office to wonder whether their workplace days are numbered.
The move would bring the city’s total number of open positions in the city to 2,000 — not including the 2,000 temporary staff who are not yet on the payroll, according to the sources. The current goal is to have 1,500 open staff positions in the office by the end of this year.
By the end of the month, the staff size at the office is expected to reach 3,000, the sources said, adding that this would be about the same as if all 2,000 staff members in the office were working at the office.
The decision to expand the workforce comes as the number of staff working from home has increased from a handful last year to about 30 per cent, according to Omicron, the city’s office of real estate, construction and capital markets.
With the city’s office understaffed, Toronto is considering ways to expand the service it will provide residents and businesses — such as virtual meetings and online appointments — in the event the city needs to meet increased demand for its services, the sources said.
“The city needs to have the same number of people in the office, period. The only way is to double the number of workers in the office,” one source said.
Toronto City Manager John Tory’s office said in a letter to staff that the city needs to respond to COVID-19 “