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Don’t privatize sheriffs, Toronto Labour Council says

Ministry of the Attorney General
Court Services Division
Civil and Family Policy and Programs Branch
720 Bay Street, 2nd Floor
Toronto ON  M7A 2S9

March 3, 2016

The Toronto and York Region Labour Council represents 205,000 women and men who work in every sector of the economy. For 145 years, the Labour Council has been a strong advocate for working people in Canada’s largest urban centre, focusing on social, racial and economic justice.

We are very concerned about the direction of the consultation on civil enforcement services. The approach is that these services should be outsourced from the public realm and delivered in the future by other entities. In the introduction to the public document, it states that “Changing the way that civil enforcement services are delivered would create access to more enforcement officers, in more locations, with the objective of speeding up the enforcement of court orders across the province.”

Is that an indication that the budget will be expanded for this work? Or is there some formula that provides more service for lesser funds, that the public should be made aware of?

The only way this goal would be achieved would be to reduce the salaries and benefits of those who perform the work. For the Labour Council, that is an unacceptable outcome.

We object in the strongest possible terms to more privatization of public services. Across the board, privatization ends up costing more and delivering less. Typically the front line workers have their standards reduced while top level managers and CEO’s have dramatic increases in their compensation. A profit margin must be factored into the revenue stream, as well as risk. In some cases it results in a race to the bottom, as we have seen in homecare tendering that now must be fixed with wholesale adjustments. Or it results in monopoly gouging, as we saw in the electricity sector re-location of gas generating plants.

For the thousands of union members who work in low-wage jobs or are tenants, the last thing they want to deal with is private enforcement representatives working on a quota system. The American private prison system is rife with horror stories of competing interests at play. We do not need to import any of that culture into the province of Ontario.

I trust you will take these concerns into account as you undertake your review.


John Cartwright
Toronto and York Region Labour Council

Read the original letter

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