TORONTO - It’s either a wake-up call for the City of Toronto or a coffee break.
The photo of three city employees looking extremely relaxed in a city van was snapped July 11 at 9 a.m. in front of Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church near Bloor St W. and Spadina in the city's downtown core.
City spokesman Jackie DeSouza said Wednesday that officials were still looking into the photo — a digital copy was obtained by QMI Agency — and can’t explain what’s going on.
“I won’t have any answers for you today,” DeSouza said in an e-mail Wednesday.
“It occurred a number of weeks ago and we need to investigate to determine exactly what happened, why the staff were in that location, what they were doing, whether they’re on a break, waiting for another vehicle to arrive, etc. We can’t speculate without investigating further.”
A source said the van was assigned to the city’s technical services department.
CUPE Local 79 president Tim Maguire said he hadn’t confirmed if the employees in the photo were part of his union.
City employees are afforded a 15 minute break for every four consecutive hours worked.
Maguire said survey crews typically start their shifts at 7 a.m. and — if it is a survey crew in the photo — they could have been on break around 9 a.m.
“It may be they are taking their morning break on a hot summer day,” he said.
If there was an issue, city officials hadn’t contacted the union yet, Maguire said.
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, chairman of the public works committee, cautioned it was important to get context for the photo.
“They could be on lunch,” he said.
But Minnan-Wong hoped the photo wasn’t what it appeared to be.
“It looks like they are sleeping and if they are sleeping they shouldn’t be doing it on company time,” he said.
“It reinforces the need for greater management control over our employees.
“Most of our employees, I think, are hardworking people but there are examples where we don’t have management control and we should be using the management tools of 311 and other tools like GPS to make sure that we don’t have employees sleeping on company time.”