CUPE Local 79 deputes at the Casino debate on the excessive strain placed on people working across a broad range of services – just say “No”

Mayor Rob Ford, Chair, and Members of the Executive Committee

 RE:     Executive Committee Meeting 30 (Special)

              Item EX30.1 – New Casino and Convention Development in Toronto

I would like the Executive Committee to receive this deputation from me as Chief Steward of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 79 and as a City employee in Parks, Forestry & Recreation for over 10 years. 

After CUPE Local 79 surveyed our members about why a casino would have a negative impact on their jobs, we have been able to get a clear picture of the excessive strain that would be placed on people working across a broad range of social services.

The comments from our members who were surveyed speak for themselves:

From recreation workers

“We cater to youth and newcomers, if we set a bad example and expose them to negative habits they will pick it up and will suffer the consequences.”

“All those homeless, who I would be trying to service, from parks, would most likely compete for housing and service options [with] those involved with casinos. The City, has yet, to develop a Drug Strategy. I am not interested in any conversation of a casino until that issue is dealt with first!”

From a long-term care worker

A casino would not impact on my work “immediately, however, over the years its impact will affect individuals with a gambling addiction who will eventually need long-term care if social services is not able to rehabilitate them due to cut backs in the community. They will enter our facility with difficult behaviours and aggression due to a life time of gambling abuse. Gambling is one of the hardest addictions to treat because it’s an emotional addiction.”

From shelter support and housing workers

“The shelter does not have beds for the current homeless population and if more is added I do not know where they will sleep.”

“At my work I would be serving a larger amount of families that have lost income through betting.”

Why a casino would have a negative impact on your community

“A casino will drive business away from downtown. Many US cities would love to have as vibrant of a downtown as Toronto. Why chance ruining that on a proposal that can’t provide you with an accurate return.”

 From 311 call centre worker

There would be an “increase in call volume due homelessness, distress calls, police, transportation, public health, etc.  All our services will be affected because we are the first point of contact for the residents of the City of Toronto.”

 Building casinos is no way to build a livable city – just say “No”.


Yours truly,

David Kidd, Chief Steward