Canada: Toronto Hydro claims ‘safety issues’ stop it flying the Canadian flag - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada Toronto Hydro claims ‘safety issues’ stop it flying the Canadian flag

10:01  11 october  2019
10:01  11 october  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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a red stop sign sitting on the side of a road with Surf Ballroom in the background: The utility says the flag will remain in place at three buildings, including this one at 715 Milner Avenue.© Jack Lakey The utility says the flag will remain in place at three buildings, including this one at 715 Milner Avenue.

Toronto Hydro is taking down the Canadian flag at some of its buildings, saying that flying the national ensign violates health and safety rules.

I recently got a note from David Crawford, who handles streetscape issues for the St. Lawrence Community Association, including a string of emails he had with a Toronto Hydro official.

The upshot of the back-and-forth is that Crawford was told the utility will no longer fly Canada’s flag at its facilities because they are “very dangerous for our crews to maintain.”

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Crawford’s first email, sent in early September, noted that a flag at a facility at Adelaide and George Streets had been removed.

“Having Canadian flags on most Toronto Hydro buildings is a good tradition,” he said.

A reply from Cindy Brooks, a government and public affairs consultant for Hydro, said “flags, at our stations, are a source of pride,” but apparently the considerations changed.

Brooks followed up with another note to Crawford on Sept, 27, which said “I’ve been in contact with our facilities manager and he’s advised that, for safety reasons, we’ve removed the flags from our buildings.

“I wasn’t aware of this recent change, but he’s advised that the flag poles and structural supports were installed a number of years ago and do not meet current codes.

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The flag of Canada (French: le drapeau du Canada ), often referred to as the Canadian flag , or unofficially as the Maple Leaf and l'Unifolié (French for "the one-leafed"

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB, French: Bureau de la sécurité des transports du Canada , BST), officially the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board (French: Bureau canadien d'enquête sur les accidents de transport et de la sécurité des transports)

“During our replacement review, it was also determined that often the location of the flags on our buildings makes it very dangerous for our crews to maintain,” she said. “For these reasons, and to reduce risk, we’ve decided not to replace the structural supports and poles.”

While it has no obligation, it seems anti-Canadian for Hydro to abdicate from flying the flag. I spent nearly two of the last four weeks in Kentucky and Ohio for harness racing (yep, I’m a victim) and can tell you that Americans fly a lot more flags than we do.

And when I got home, it was nice to see the occasional red-and-white flag snapping in the breeze. It amounts to making a statement, which they seem to understand in the U.S. better than we do.

STATUS: We checked with Russell Baker, who deals with media for Hydro, and got this reply: “While Toronto Hydro understands the importance of the Canadian flag and what it signifies, a thorough analysis was conducted at our six station buildings, out of a total of 206, where flags were flown. The analysis indicated that at a majority of these sites, the flagpoles were a safety hazard and operating the flagpoles was a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The six station buildings in question are also no longer occupied, which made it increasingly challenging to follow proper flag etiquette at these sites. We’re making strategic investments in our business that directly benefit customers … (but) regrettably, maintaining these particular flagpoles did not meet this criterion. However, we remain committed to flying the Canadian flag at three of our office locations (14 Carlton St., 500 Commissioners St. and 715 Milner Ave., where we can safely exercise proper Canadian Flag etiquette.”

It has me wondering if Hydro is taking the easy way out, and we suspect that some readers might see it the same way.

Let me know if you do!

What's broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. Email [email protected] or follow @TOStarFixer on Twitter

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