DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: The Township of Scugog is among many municipalities struggling to attract and retain crossing guards.
At a meeting on Monday, June 19th, Scugog councillors saw a report from Carol Coleman, Scugog's Director of Public Works and Infrastructure, regarding school crossing guard location prioritization.
The report noted, "In the last two years, it has been challenging to hire enough regular and spare Crossing Guards to provide consistent coverage of each crossing."
Among the recommendations in the report was the discontinuing of a crossing guard at the Simcoe Street and Reach Street intersection.
"Due to challenges in hiring and retaining Crossing Guards, the location at Simcoe Street and Reach Street has not been covered for most of the 2022/2023 school year," Ms. Coleman's report stated.
Ward 4 Councillor Harold Wright questioned if the Township is in "a deficit position" for crossing guards.
"We've always had a fairly high turnover rate," Director Coleman responded. "Our typical crossing guard is someone who is retired and will do it for a number of years and then go on to another job, or they might stop working altogether."
However, she added in the last couple of years, the Township has been "quite short" on crossing guards.
Councillor Wright asked if this issue was typical province-wide.
"Many municipalities are experiencing this same issue," Director Coleman explained. "I think it's an issue in a lot of industries. I've never seen so many 'help wanted' signs out as I do right now."
Regional Councillor Ian McDougall asked if the Township has considered using their staff members to fill in for crossing guards if there is an absence.
Director Coleman pointed out that the Township has three trained staff members who can fill in if need be.
"That's taking them away from their other work, and it's not an ideal situation," Ms. Coleman said. "Hopefully, we will get more crossing guards next year, and we will have enough spares that staff will not have to go out nearly as often."