Russ Ford's Blog

The Post National Post, Post

Let me begin by thanking everyone for the tremedous out pouring from across Toronto in support of our stance  against the dismantling of speech and language services by the City of Toronto.  I do not think I have had so many blog hits

A special shout out to Christie Blatchford of the National Post. She not only condensed four years of my life into a few hundred words, she did it in a way that was completely intelligible and thorough  That is not easy. When she said she read the whole 202 page RFP, she really did read it. As an aside, she is really not that tough. I know she won't sue me for saying that because she would never give a lawyer the pleasure.  

The city has not yet sued  me for speaking out.  We have  "counter sued" in a round about way. We filed an official complaint with the city's ombudsman citing the fact we don't believe it is appropriate  that citizens be threatened by the city for speaking the truth and we also don't think it is entirely appropriate that senior management make negative comments about a potential bidder even before a bid has been submitted.  This must have some legs because our complaint has detoured past the normal intake process and went directly to the Director of Investigations.  

But let's be clear, absolutely nothing has changed. The bid process is continuing even though it has now been so tainted. The  next time speech and language is scheduled to appear on the Board  of Health's agenda is to approve management's selection of the winning bids. 

City officials are still refusing to talk. They continue to hide behind the rules that they created which say they cannot talk during the RFP process. Yes, we cannot deviate from the  rules even as in this case it means a cut to the services provided to pre school children. You asked to be put in a position of leadership, well it is time to step up and show some. It is very easy to support things when you are not putting yourself on the line to do it. 

The process stumbles onward  and really the only thing that can stop it is for the board of health to do the right thing and pull the tender. This is not a flip flop. They approved this plan without full information. All service cuts have to be approved by the board. This one never was because it was never described as a cut. Read the RFP, it is only 202 pages and do the math. Services are being cut.

The rules governing the administration of contracts are not divinely inspired. They were approved by city council, a body that many of the members of the board of health also sit on.  Was the intent to use it to shut down legitimate debate?  I doubt it.  If it was, shame on the lot of them..  If it was not, then take leadership and pull this RFP. 

Pulling it will be a huge waste of staff time.  It literally took city staff months to prepare  this document.  That is why there is so much inertia.  The process is strewn with red tape.

It is also promoting systemic discrimination against community organizations.  There is absolutely no possible way for a community organization to compete with an institution like a hospital for a contract. Community agencies do not have the resources to respond to 202 page RFPs.

I sometimes put out an RFP.  At most it is two pages. It says what the job is, what qualifications we are looking for, what  we expect the successful bidder to produce and that is pretty much it    And you know, it works just fine 

As long as this process continues LAMP will continue to oppose.  We are working on a couple of plans now which we hope will force the board of health to at the very least put this on their agenda. Then they can vote, this time with full information. Can we please have a vote. Can we please have a modicum of accountability from the board. 

I really think it is time we get our prepositions correct.  Accountability, a word governments like to throw around a lot, does not just mean accountability TO government. It should also mean accountability FROM government or in this case the board of health.  

So we will not stop as long as this continues.  If you would like to personally get involved drop me an email at or call 416 252 6471. I know many people who work on the front lines have expressed both support and fear that if they spoke up it would hurt their chances of employment in this new system.  Let me assure you, you can contact me without being concerned that I will disclose your name.


Even though I have no young

Even though I have no young children of my own, I am definitely against the board of health taking services from community centres. I believe that community centres are right there at the front lines and all users feel comfortable coming to them with their children to access services that they require. If the board of health changes this and puts the access into one place (and only one place) then a lot of children will be left in daycare or at home with parents and will not get the help they need. My reasoning is that community centres are right within the parents' neighbourhoods and they don't have far to travel (the comfort is there). A lot of parents (and the general public) do not have much faith in the board of health administering the funds properly. In other words, they get the money and the children who need the help don't.

speech and language therapy services

Thanks, Russ, for championing the children and youth who need these services. We are blessed that a Community Health Centre like LAMP is willing to speak up for kids in our community and in the city as a whole needing this core type of help. We don't need a lot more administration and management, we need the front-line direct person to person needs based therapy and care that LAMP has been able to provide to continue.
Thanks for you persistent courage.
Shout if I can help.

The National Post, Post

The other word you may wish to help them with is "Transparency" Politicians and bureaucrats toss it around but it is obvious that they don't know the meaning of the word. Otherwise I believe we would see more of it actually happening.

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