Corp Comm Connects

‘We’re very worried’: Region of Peel staff plead for clarity amid transition

Mississauga councillor refers to process as opening ‘Pandora’s box,’ says having second thoughts
Oct. 19, 2023
Alexandra Heck

Peel regional staff heard from several Peel employees recently about their fears amid the uncertainty of Peel’s dissolution.

Union members working at the Region of Peel made presentations to council on Oct. 12, urging local politicians to consider their anxiety about the process, uncertain of what the future holds for their jobs.

“We’re very worried about the unknown future,” said Pauline Gordon, an operator for TransHelp and member of CUPE Local 966.

Gordon said she works within a group of 90 drivers and front-line workers who serve vulnerable members of the community, taking them to doctors' appointments and more.

“Will you be our ally in protecting jobs and service?” Gordon asked.

Staff are worried about renewing their mortgages, whether to search for jobs elsewhere or even about moving.

Some sectors are even worried about privatization.

“I’m not alone in worrying about this,” said Manpreet Gill, an activation therapist at Tall Pine Long Term Care home and member of CUPE Local 966, who fears the province could opt to privatize the long-term care home. “There’s no commitment to preventing privatization.”

Michelle Eagle, a public health nurse at the region, spoke about the mental impact the uncertainty has placed on many workers.

“I really love my job,” she said, explaining many employees want to stay on as long as possible, but without any knowledge on what will happen, make tough decisions to move on leading to a “brain drain,” of talent at the region.

“I ask you to please advocate for clarity on what lies ahead,” she said.

Michelle Oldham, a payments and revenues officer for the Region of Peel, said there hasn’t been much attention given to her department through conversations so far.

She said more concern has been given to larger groups, including Peel Regional Police and Peel Regional Paramedic Services and worries she and her colleagues could be neglected.

“Everyone in every department is just as important,” said Caledon Coun. Mario Russo, as council members acknowledged the difficulty staff currently face. He explained there is little they can do while waiting for the provincially appointed transition board to make their recommendations.

“Some of us are having second thoughts on this whole process,” said Mississauga Coun. Carolyn Parrish, likening the dissolution to opening a “Pandora’s box.”

“I just think this part of it’s just really horrible,” she said.

Chief administrative officer Gary Kent told council that while staff are committed to ensuring no service disruptions through the process, it is already disrupting operations behind the scenes.

The Region of Peel is set to cease operating in its current form by 2025.