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Red-ink Toronto offers staff buy-outs

July 13, 2011 at 7:46 AM

TORONTO, July 13 (UPI) -- Canada's largest city is offering voluntary buy-outs to staff to cut its $774 million budget deficit, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford announced.

At a news conference Tuesday, Ford said 17,000 employees were given incentive offers to retire from civil service, the Toronto Sun reported.

"We have too many employees down at City Hall and we have to find ways of giving them packages to move on or entice them to move on," Ford said. "We can't carry 53,000 employees anymore -- our labor force is too big."

Ford wouldn't say how many people would have to leave to help cut the deficit significantly, but hinted if enough workers didn't take the buyout, there could be layoffs come January, the Toronto Star said. However, an official who asked not to be identified told the newspaper Ford was hoping at least 3,000 employees would take the retirement package.

Should that number be reached, the city would save about $180 million per year, the Star said.

Under the deal, workers would be given three weeks salary for every year of employment. Managers would get four weeks for each year of service and all would have a cap of six months of salary.

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