Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads out at $7.5M
I have been on the road for more than a year now, and I’m looking forward to returning to Toronto this week to talk about the city’s long-term economic and electoral challenges.
But as soon as I hit the airwaves today to speak on the city’s transit-led renaissance, the mayor appeared to surprise everyone when she declared publicly that her administration would be returning to office, not walking away. She announced that the City of Toronto is preparing a plan to address a large deficit on the back end of its infrastructure spending.
The mayor also committed to invest $7.5 million (totaling nearly $10 million over two years) toward a new project at Omicron Data Analytics, a Toronto technology firm whose CEO, Ron Sault, is the founder of the software company. This deal would bring the company new offices at the University of Toronto (a university that the mayor’s office has been trying to lure away from Toronto’s campus) with a commitment to bring back many employees.
This follows the mayor’s public announcement last September that her office was not planning on returning to office after a difficult start to her term. The news about Omicron comes a few days before the annual spring meeting of the Conference Board of Canada, a leading Canadian business-and-management-advisory group, where the mayor is expected to receive a standing ovation due to her economic successes.
On Oct. 4, the day of the mayor’s appearance at the conference board, her office released its final report on the city’s economic-development strategy, which included a request to return to office next year. When the city’s executive committee met last month, the mayor made a commitment to return to her office by April, according to board chair and councilor Stephen Holyday.
To understand how this story might play out, we asked the mayor’s office to weigh in on two key elements of the economic-development strategy released earlier this year. We also asked