The Unintended Consequences of Outsourcing Cleaning Work

March 2, 2012
1.04 MB42 pages

The City of Toronto is currently debating whether or not to privatize as many as 1000 municipal cleaning staff. This paper provides a more rounded portrait of the job description, working conditions, and compensation of cleaners in Toronto, on the basis of census data, existing academic literature, and other sources. It finds that the pay of cleaners is low; in private-sector settings, pay is inadequate to lift cleaners with dependents above the poverty line, and fall well below the levels estimated by researchers to constitute a “living wage”.

This paper also reviews and catalogues several of the broader likely impacts of outsourcing on the quality and safety of cleaning services, on the well-being of communities, and ultimately on the fiscal performance of all levels of government.

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