Toronto’s employees scramble to get back to work

Toronto sets January date for city workers to return to the office, amid rising COVID-19 cases, Omicron uncertainty and transit disruptions

Toronto’s new year is off to a raucous start as the city’s employees scramble to return to the workplace.

The city announced Sunday on Twitter it’s moving its Jan. 5th deadline for those employees at risk of exposure to the coronavirus from the last in-person workday, Jan. 3rd. This means all employees working on Jan. 5th can still work remotely, and those already in-person on that date can get back to work.

The move is seen as an acknowledgement that for those in the most vulnerable, getting back to work for a prolonged period isn’t possible.

It comes as Toronto also issued a temporary directive at City Hall banning all employees from arriving to work until at least Saturday, Jan. 5th. Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) said Sunday afternoon it would be suspending service on Monday and Tuesday, as well as all other services through at least Tuesday.

In the meantime, city hall says the TTC is giving priority to employees “on approved face-to-face work programs from the TTC, who work from home or have the option to do so.”

A spokesperson for the mayor told the Star earlier in the day that a list of TTC employees, which he could not release, would be posted to the city’s website in the coming days, but said it would involve employees with “a lot of the essential services” employees.

“They have told the city and the public that they need to work from home,” the spokesperson said. “That means that we are not able to have in-person services. At this time, the TTC is working with employees in the essential services areas to work from home where they have accommodation, or have the option to work from home.

“As we speak, we are seeing some staff working from their homes, and the TTC is doing what it can to help staff who have special needs with accommodation.

“We will make sure that all essential staff, including the people who make up the essential services

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