Toronto Mayor John Tory’s Back-to-Work Pledge

Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads the word on Toronto’s’march to the future’

Toronto Mayor John Tory’s back-to-work pledge on Monday, February 2, won applause from some and criticism from others.

Toronto City Hall is seen on Jan. 24, 2018 in Toronto. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese)

The Mayor laid out his commitment to return working staff to the Office of the City Clerk on Monday, February 2, saying it will create “a more united and engaged city government” that can better prepare for the future.

Toronto’s ‘march to the future’?

Toronto had been one of the few cities to extend or cancel their spring 2019 city budget. In March, Mayor John Tory’s administration said it would not be returning to the budget phase or returning to the business as usual period – although other municipalities are expected to.

Tory said that the cancellation of spring budget 2019 was “not a cancellation”, but a “pause and reflection” phase.

“We have paused and reflected on the decisions we made as a municipality — decisions we could perhaps still have taken in other cities,” he said.

The Toronto City Council voted unanimously last week to extend the spring budget to March 31, 2019. However, Tory was reported by the Toronto Sun as saying on Monday, February 2, that it was “not necessary” for the city to be in that budget period.

Tory’s staff said the decision to return to the budget phase was based on the recommendations of staff.

They added that it was “possible” Toronto had not been meeting its financial goals this year and, as a result, the city could have been facing financial difficulties.

It was unclear if the city now believes it should return to the budget.

The city has been struggling with declining tax revenue and an overall rise in the provincial and federal tax levies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an emailed statement to the media on Monday, February 2, city staff said that the city council’s “march to

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