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Zamboni Crisis correspondence

29-May-2010 [65]

• NFB Citizen Z film - 2004

Friday April 23rd 1 pm. (e-mail)

Ms. Mason,

I recently had the opportunity to view a video of the short film that was aired on CBC last month, which reflects the Friends of Dufferin Grove's reaction to a Health & Safety report prepared by two City employees. The report noted many concerns related to the safety of the facility and made recommendations on changes needed to ensure that the facility offers a safe environment for City employees and members of the public.

The City of Toronto is committed to providing and maintaining safe and healthy working conditions for all employees. The Parks and Recreation division is committed to providing people in the diverse communities of Toronto with full and equitable access to high calibre, locally responsible recreation programs, efficiently operated facilities, and safe, clean and beautiful parks, open spaces, ravines and forests. The film that you prepared ridicules the work of my staff, the Health & Safety Inpsectors who are committed to the health and safety of City employees and the public, and is highly offensive. To make a mockery of efforts to ensure a safe working/recreational enviornment is irresponsible.

I do hope, that in the future, efforts to ensure a safe environment for staff and the public, are recognized and appreciated.

Yours truly,

Barbara Shulman
Director, Human Resources
Economic Development Culture & Tourism and
Urban Development Services

Dear Ms.Shulman,

I’m so sorry that you found the NFB/CBC film “Citizen Z” upsetting. There are however several things I think you should know about the case.

1.I was interviewed in the film but I did not make it, as you seem to think. The film was a co-production between the NFB and CBC Newsworld, for a series on democracy. I would have liked the film to be different too – I think it was rather mystifying in its presentation of what goes on at our park. But people who are interviewed by the media don’t get to determine what’s in the final product, not even a little. That’s how the media work, they don’t let people make the films or write the articles for them. They make up their own minds -- freedom of the press.

2. You seem to feel I have a poor grasp of the work of your inspectors. If that is the case, their unwillingness to let me read the report you refer to may have contributed to my ignorance. Although I twice asked for a copy of the report, which you say “noted many concerns,” my request was refused. Two recreation staff at our park asked for a copy of the report and they were not given one either. I believe this latter refusal contravenes the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which requires reports of hazards to be open and available to workers. Moreover, when I asked for a copy of a more general report, referred to in a MHSAO newsletter, Mr. James Creighton wrote back (January 21 2004): “Unfortunately I am not allowed to go public with internal stats as there is private information in them.”

An organization that allows no public access to any details of what it does may find itself, in the end, exposed to mockery.

The cure is simple: please let me read the inspectors’ report about Dufferin Rink, and also make the unit’s more general summary of their results available.

I look forward to hearing from you.