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Ombud complaint preparation on late opening of Toronto outdoor rinks

29-May-2010 [76]

• Preparation for rink complaint to Ombudsman

Part of OHSA Ombudsman

From: Jutta Mason

To: Brenda Patterson, General Manager of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, and Andy Koropeski, Acting Director of Toronto Parks

Dear Brenda and Andy,

Prior to submitting a file about the outdoor rinks to the Ombudsman, Ms.Crean said we need to make sure that we've tried all possible ways to address the problem directly with your Division. Our current concern is that although City Council directed 14 rinks to be open on November 21, only two opened near that time. We believe that this had much less to do with "Mother Nature" than with a lack of preparation by Parks.We believe that there was a demonstrable lack of intention to carry out City Council's directive, which restricted our use and enjoyment of the outdoor rinks.

These are our questions:

a) staff assignment and scheduling

1. how many Parks staff had rink maintenance included in their work assignment from Nov.16 and on?
2. how was this Parks staff allocation distributed between the affected rinks?
3. at what times of day were these Parks staff scheduled to work (day shift, afternoon shift, late shift)?
4. how many Parks staff were specifically scheduled to work to suit the needs of ice-making, ie. between 6pm and 2 am? How were they assigned between rinks?
5. How much overtime was used to do ice-making? At what times of the day were the hours of the overtime, if any?
6. For those staff who worked overtime, how many of their hours were daylight hours, i,.e. unsuitable for ice-making? For those daylight hours, what were their work responsibilities?

b) supervision

1. Who is in charge of the citywide supervision of the start-up (ice-making) of the 49 outdoor rinks?
2. Who ensures consistency of approach to ice-making at all 49 rinks?
3. How many supervisors have active roles in the on-site supervision of ice-making?
4. How do they document their supervision, and their observations?
5. Is such documentation public, names removed?

c) training

1. how many hours of staff training are spent in teaching the Parks ice-making staff the principles of how compressor-cooling works?
2. Could we see the written material that's used to teach these staff how compressor-cooling works?
3. What written material does the city have to help supervisory staff to understand how compressor-cooled rinks work?

d) costs

1. what was the budget breakdown for opening the 14 rinks earlier? (note: three of those rinks were scheduled to open on Nov.28 already prior to the City Council extension vote, and two were not ready to open anyway because of unfinished construction, so the budget breakdown needs to reflect that).
2. City Council also voted for 14 rinks to stay open two weeks longer, into March. What is the projected cost for that expansion at the end of the rink season (detailed)?
3. Please break down those budget numbers by area, i.e. west, south, east, north, by rink, and by wage scale.
4. Did Parks go back to City Council and alert them to an insufficiency of funds to carry out the Council directive? If so, when, and what was the text of this warning?

d) communication

1. which section of the Division is responsible for contact with the city website, 311, and the rink hotline?
2. where does the buck stop when mistakes are made, e.g when the information about Dufferin Rink is still wrong on the City website, 311, and the hotline, after a whole week?

e) rink opening 1. who decides when a rink is ready to open, i.e. when the ice is ready for skaters?
2. on what basis is the decision made? What are the measures that decide the question? Are they written?

f) work planning

Parks front-line ice-making staff have repeatedly told us that if they make suggestions about scheduling, ice making, etc., this will be regarded as "insubordination." Please explain.

I hope that these questions won't take long to answer, since you're right in the middle of the rink openings, and so the information will likely be fresh in everyone's mind.

Please let me know an approximate timeline for your answers.