City Fitness Facilites

Photo Credit: S. Nason

I’ve been receiving many phone calls / emails regarding the City’s Workplace Fitness Facilities being allowed to remain open when all other gyms have been closed.

There is a fitness facility located in the basement of City Hall, and while I’ve never used it, the facility is available and accessed by swipe card, to anyone who works at City Hall and in the Administration building (hundreds of people).
The City of Winnipeg’s Emergency Control Committee ( is made up of the Mayor, and members of the Executive Policy Committee (6 Councillors), the Chief Administrative Officer, Assistant Chief of Emergency Management and many high level City staff. The Committee advises Council on all matters pertaining to emergencies or disasters.

Please know members of Council who are not on the Mayor’s Executive Policy Committee have not received a Covid 19 briefing since December 18th , or for the past 34 days.

In that same timeframe the Mayor has held three (3) Covid 19 Media Updates related to important emerging Covid 19 issues.

In the Mayor’s recent Covid 19 Media Update (January 20) the Mayor stated the Province didn’t provide clear information related to gymnasiums. I find it incredible that anyone on the City of Winnipeg’s Emergency Control Committee would not have identified / flagged/questioned ~ that keeping City of Winnipeg’s fitness facilities open to staff was either a direct violation, or not in the spirit of the health order.

The Acting Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) oversees City staff. City staff oversee the operations of the City’s Workplace Fitness Facilities. The Chief Administrative Officer reports to the Mayor and the Executive Policy Committee.
I’ve discussed this before on many forums, and will continue to discuss it.

Contrary to what many residents think, Council does not operate in an open and transparent environment. Information is not provided to all Council members.

The public assumes all Councillors receive comprehensive briefings on many important issues (ie: Covid-19, risk items, reports, etc.) but this is simply not the case. The governance model allows extensive briefings & information to be shared only to the Mayor’s Executive Policy Committee members. This outdated model does not serve the City well in many ways.

The restriction of information makes it incredibly difficult for all Councillors to do their jobs and provide proper oversight and scrutiny. Often more eyes on an issues can result in better performance.

I recognize Council cannot be briefed on everything that occurs within the City, but the selective sharing of information to some Council members and not others, in my opinion, is not beneficial for the City.

I was made aware of this fitness facility issue when the Acting CAO sent an email on Tuesday, January 19th at 8:44 pm
“Effective immediately, we are closing all employee fitness facilities with the exception of those located in Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service stations or Winnipeg Police Service stations because mandatory fitness standards are a requirement of first responders’ jobs. We will also keep the facility open at 457 Main Street but only make it accessible for members of the Winnipeg Police Service.”
I welcome any questions or comments.