Toronto may extend buyout offer to TTC, libraries

The city's buyout offer to 17,000 employees may be extended to those who work for boards and agencies.

Friday is the deadline for City of Toronto employees to accept or decline the city's a voluntary separation package, or a VSP, from their employer. 

The city manager put the offer out to about 17,000 city employees two months ago — but speculation is there won't be enough people taking the buyout package for the city to find the kind of savings it was looking for.

City officials won't say how many have applied for the voluntary separation package but union officials predict it will be a low number.

"We have information that there has not been a great deal of uptake on the VSP," said Mark Ferguson, president of Local 416.

The package being offered to eligible employees is three weeks of salary for every year of service - four weeks for managers.

Ferguson says the package doesn't make sense unless a worker is close to retirement or has another job lined up.

"Had the package been more comparable to what we see [from] private [industry] there would have been a greater uptake," he said.

Mayor Rob Ford is on record as saying he wants to reduce the city's payroll and has threatened layoffs.

Ford said he believes the city has "too many employees" and wants to "find ways of giving then packages to move on."

But CBC News has learned that the city may broaden the VSP offer to include employees of boards and agencies.

There are a further 20,000 of those workers in such areas as libraries, police, the zoo, the TTC — and they could soon get a similar offer.

The Toronto library board is wrestling with whether to offer a VSP to some of its 2,000 workers.

"We have [VSP] on our upcoming library agenda," said Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, vice-chair of the board.

TTC chair Karen Stintz says the commission will look at everything including the buyout option, in order to cut costs. 

Stintz said Thursday a VSP offer is not formally on the agenda for its next TTC meeting scheduled for Sept. 16.