The following letter was sent to Premier Ford and Attorney General Downey by OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
May 3, 2021
The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
The Honourable Doug Downey, Attorney General
11th Floor, 720 Bay Street
Toronto ON M7A 2S9
Re: Dangers of the New Toronto Courthouse amalgamation
Dear Premier Ford and Attorney General Downey:
I am requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the dangerous plans to consolidate justice services in Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York at the New Toronto Courthouse (NTC) at 11 Centre Avenue. If this amalgamation isn’t stopped, a large group of people will suffer, including justice participants, small business owners, and court workers.
Many marginalized people involved in the justice system (including victims, witnesses and accused) live far from Toronto’s downtown. Many cannot afford a day of lost wages, caregiver costs, and transit fees, so amalgamation will end up increasing justice system costs because of delayed cases, increased arrest warrants, and thrown-out cases.
Many businesses in communities hardest hit by the pandemic – Scarborough, Etobicoke, and North York – rely on customers from nearby community courthouses. How many will be forced to close?
The NTC has only four elevators – not nearly enough to make social distancing possible in a facility with 63 courtrooms. Everybody in the facility, including workers and participants, will be at risk.
Premier and Attorney General, people’s safety and security have to be top of mind. Let’s change things together. Let’s do it now.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union / Le Syndicat des employés de la fonction publique de l’Ontario (OPSEU/SEFPO)