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Home » Open Clamshell, TOStrike

TOStrike: Dinner in the Dumps – Why Christie Pits could not have been sprayed Friday night, Orkin contractor had unsafe boots

Submitted by on Saturday July 4, 2009 – 10:12 am | No Comment
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TOStrike: Week 2, Day 12: Friday July 3, 2009 8:30 pm.

The Orkin pesticide truck has rolled up Crawford Street to the entrance of the Christie Pits Park Dump Site , now a de facto inner city open air landfill .

The pesticide truck’s arrival is anticipated by the CUPE picket line as well as eight police officers already present.

The City’s district collection manager arrived earlier. He too is on the scene. As predicted by Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown, the expected "health hazard order" is duly served.

Dr. Boris Steipe, a member of Friends of Christie Pits Park , was able to photograph the order. Later, from that photograph he transcribes and makes the order publicly available:

Date: July 3, 2009

Made pursuant to Section 13 of the
Healt Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter H.7

To: City of Toronto
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M5H 2N2

Attention: The City Clerk

I, Reg Ayre, a Public Health Inspector for the City of Toronto Health Unit order you to take the following action:

1) Commence forthwith the removal and appropriate disposal of all standing water accumulating on the outdoor ice rink pad at the elevated northwest section of Christie Pits, located at 750 Bloor Street West.

2) Maintain this temporary garbage storage site free of fly and rodent infestation at all times by ensuring the daily assessment of the site by a licensed pest control contractor and treatment as indicated by this assessment.


1) I inspected the Christie Pits temporary garbage site on Friday July 3, 2009 at approximately 13H45 and observed that the site was littered in places with exposed putrescible garbage and the hardened surface contained standing water.

2) Evidence of an active fly infestation was detected in that fly larvae and adult flies were observed in the exposed putrescible garbage.

3) The standing water on the site is impeding the effective and safe application of fly control measures.

4) Attempts to undertake pest control measures and to remove the standing water have been prevented by ongoing community and labour picketing activities.

I am of the opinion on reasonable and probable grounds that:

1) A health hazard exists in the health unit served by me.

2) The requirement specified in the order are necessary in order to decrease the effect of or eliminate the health hazard.


TAKE NOTICE THAT you are entitled to a hearing by the Health Services Appeal and Review Board if you deliver to me […] notice in writing, requesting a hearing within [some text obscured by thumb holding paper on my photo] (15) days after service of this Order.

[obscured] FURTHER TAKE NOTICE THAT although a hearing may be requested, this Order takes effect [obsc.] it is served to you.

CUPE is informed that each person blocking entry may be fined up to $5,000 personally, and the organization upwards of $50,000. CUPE responds to the order by re-stating their position: "Nothing gets in, nothing comes out."

The City manager thereafter presents the Health Hazard Order to the Police.

But …

… the Police Officer clarified that according to the Labour Act , the workers have a right to strike and the Police may not interfere in their job action.

The Order was passed by a City Department.

Unless an injunction were passed by a court of law, i.e. by an entity that is neutral in the labour conflict, Toronto Police would not order the workers to cede passage to the City nor Orkin , their contractor.

They were present merely to keep the peace.

Meanwhile, the pest control contractor eyeballs the ice rink . He realizes he cannot drive his Orkin truck into the rink as there is now no space left to manoeuver his vehicle. Not being able to move the vehicle in means he cannot spray the meter-plus high garbage properly.

Looking at the inches high pond of what locals have dubbed garbage juice and which is more accurately termed leachate , the Orkin guy states his company has not issued him adequate footware to protect his own health in this circumstance.

Walking up the incline from the rink back up to Crawford Street, he answers a question on how he feels about the dump getting sprayed with pesticides or not tonight, "I get paid either way, whether I spray or don’t spray. I don’t really care."

The City manager and the pesticide contractor then left for the night.

In other words, Order or not, the Christie Pits dump site could not have been sprayed on this first Friday night in July.

What was learned today:

  1. The City can Order itself to action.
  2. The details of the law can be as surprising to municipalities as they are to its citizens.
  3. A City of Toronto Public Health Inspector believes spraying and mopping will eliminate the health hazard.

City unrolls worlds largest "shamwow!" To soak up garbage jui... on Twitpic The City of Toronto does have in place a ban on pesticides . It isn’t clear how that pesticide ban has been observed in this case.

The garbage juice / leachate will likely continue to soak through a sham-wow ! like yellow hazmat sponge.

A smaller version of the hazmat sham-wow ! snakes around the ice rink .

Consequently, leachate may be entering the sewer system, running off into streams and the lake and impacting our shared environment.

A reminder of what Reg Ayre is talking about, for those who haven’t been there in a while, seen Friday evening around 8:00 p.m.

What local residents have not seen, is the public health officer ordering (or even asking for permission) to clear the garbage out of Christie Pits Park nor any of Toronto’s other parks .

Week 2, Day 13 of TOStrike begins Saturday.

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