Not everyone will enjoy Family Day long weekend
Published Friday, February 15, 2008 3:37PM EST
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 7:42PM EDT
An estimated 60 per cent of Ontario workers will be enjoying the province's first Family Day long weekend, while the other 40 per cent will have to drag themselves in to work on Monday.
And if having to punch the clock isn't bad enough, workers are expected to contend with slush and as much as 20 centimetres of snow that is expected to fall on Toronto on Sunday.
The anticipated snow storm is expected to cost the city $5 million because plows and cleanup crews will have to be paid overtime, as city workers have been given Monday off.
The holiday is costing the province millions of dollars in lost productivity, and the city of Toronto says its price tag will be close to $5 million.
Small and medium-sized business owners have complained about how quickly Family Day was instituted. They say the government didn't consult businesses before Premier Dalton McGuinty announced the holiday after his re-election last fall.
There was also confusion about who would be getting Family Day off. Provincial politicians will not have to report to work, and neither will LCBO employees.
Federal employees have to work because they're not subject to provincial law, and many retail employees will also have to work. Toronto police have also complained because they aren't getting the day off.
When McGuinty announced the holiday, he said residents need a long weekend in the cold winter, as there is no day off between Jan. 1 and Easter in April.
Most residents polled on the streets of Toronto on Friday said they have Monday off, and are thrilled.
"I'm going to go skiing, I think," one man said.
Others said they didn't have concrete plans, but were looking forward to relaxing.
One man said Family Day "means nothing to me."
"I would rather have the holiday in the summer," he said.
Long weekend enforcement
As with other long weekends in Ontario, provincial police will be increasing their enforcement on highways to crack down on speeders and aggressive drivers.
"Well with this weekend and everyone out travelling, we want to keep people safe," said OPP Sgt. Cam Woolley. "Our message isn't just for driving, but also trail safety and weather safety."
Police say they want residents to be responsible while operating ATVs and snowmobiles.
"We've had 26 fatalities this season on ATVs, we've had 11 on snowmobiles, and alcohol, speed, helmets and loss of control are all factors," one officer said.
Meanwhile, motorists who filled up their gas tanks ahead of the long weekend were grumbling over the fact pump prices jumped three cents a litre overnight to $1.04.
"I don't like it at all. Obviously, the prices are fixed just to coincide with the long weekend," one driver said.
"The increasing cost of gas makes it really hard to get to work," said one woman. "I'm somebody who has to commute a little bit out of town and it makes you really think about trying to find something closer to home."
Liberal MP Dan McTeague, opposition critic for consumer and consular affairs, says the cold weather is only one factor for the spike.
"There's a feeling the U.S. dollar is not worth investing in, therefore speculators are placing their money behind oil, which has risen three or four per cent," McTeague said.
"Also, while demand is slumping in the United States, that demand is not being felt in Asia, which continues to basically demand great supplies."
Some U.S. industry experts predict crude oil prices will continue to climb and may even break records by the spring.
With reports from CTV Toronto's Alicia Kay-Markson, Matet Nebres and Janice Golding