Editorial Archive

Office of the Chief Executive

Commission seal 12/11/20 6:00 PM

Board reports

I am writing to you today (December 11) regarding three reports going to the Board next week.

> Item 6: The findings of an external investigation of a February 7, 2020 altercation involving four TTC employees and a passenger on the 501 Queen streetcar and recommendations stemming from it.
> Item 7: Embrace Diversity: The TTC’s 10-Point Action Plan and Five-Year Diversity and Human Rights Plan. This report is a comprehensive overview of the TTC’s immediate and long-term actions aimed at achieving its objectives of creating a more diverse and inclusive organization.
> Item 8: An interim report from the TTC’s external advisor on diversity and inclusion, Arleen Huggins.

Since becoming CEO in 2018, I have been firmly committed to transforming the culture of the TTC into something that better reflects the world we live in and the great city we serve.

Central to that commitment is how we approach diversity and inclusion.

The reports released today all touch on the important work we are doing in these areas. In different ways, they all inform and play into to my commitment to changing the culture at the TTC and to making it a more diverse, inclusive, welcoming and modern organization.

Taken together, these reports show that while we have work to do to get to where we want to be and, frankly, where we should be, the TTC is striving to become a leader in these areas.

We are having tough conversations and we are taking on challenges in ways few other large public sector organizations have done or would dare to do. We have reached out to experts for their advice and guidance and we are starting to deliver on the promises we have made.

An essential part of this systemic transformation is the work Arleen Huggins is doing for me.

In her interim report, she gives us an honest and frank assessment of where we are on the diversity and inclusion file while recommending how we build on the work we’ve done to bring about the systemic changes we want to see.

When I brought her in to advise me, it was for her extensive experience in this field and it was for exactly this kind of analysis. A large, complex organization like the TTC cannot possibly make systemic improvements without a critical assessment. And that’s what Arleen has provided.

If we want to see change for the better, we cannot be afraid to invite and accept that kind of analysis and the guidance that follows.

To that end, I’m pleased that this agenda also includes the Embrace Diversity report and 10-Point Action Plan, which will guide our systemic improvements (see link below).

Board Meeting Agenda and Reports – December 15, 2020

I know we have our work cut out for us as we push ahead to match the makeup of the TTC workforce with the population we serve. A key component of this will be ensuring that all our employees feel welcome and accepted here at the TTC, and that all of our customers feel comfortable riding the TTC.

To move this forward, earlier this year I pulled together a cross-section of employees, including frontline employees, to advise on this very subject.

The group was tasked with identifying things that the TTC could start doing now in response to its diversity and inclusion challenges. Specifically, the group was responsible for coming up with a 10-Point Action Plan – 10 things that the TTC could do to really make change both internally and externally and for which we would be held publicly accountable.

I am fully committed to making the TTC a leader in the diversity and inclusion space. I want all Torontonians to be proud of us and to feel welcomed by us.

But again, as was demonstrated during an altercation between TTC Special Constables and Fare Inspectors and a customer on February 7, 2020, we have work to do.

After I became aware of this incident, I immediately called for a thorough independent, external review. I committed to our customers that I would seek the advice of an investigator to:
1) Determine what happened;
2) Look into the conduct of our employees and potential contraventions of our policies; and
3) Make recommendations stemming from the investigation to improve our policies.

Rubin Thomlinson LLP was brought in to do that investigation and their findings are before the Board next week (December 15).

The TTC has an obligation to provide a service that is safe, inclusive, welcoming and fair for all our customers. That’s an obligation I take with the utmost seriousness and one to which I am personally committed.

Rubin Thomlinson makes four recommendations in the areas of mental health awareness training, independent note-taking by staff in the aftermath of an incident, use of force by Fare Inspectors and removal of a court-imposed ban of an individual travelling on the 501 Queen route.

We have taken this report and its recommendations to heart. In the TTC response included in the Board report, we have provided details as to how we are, or will be, addressing the operational improvements the report envisions.

I know people will have other questions about this incident, like the status of those involved. However, as an internal review process is still underway, we cannot speak to personnel matters at this time.

Finally, I want to thank Toronto’s Ombudsman, Susan Opler, for her guidance and advice on this and other matters dating back several years. The Ombudsman’s role is, by definition, to be an advocate for the public. I share her belief that public agencies need to be held to account to ensure they are providing the best service possible for all Torontonians.

Stay safe,

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
December 11, 2020

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