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The new brown bins, pictured above, can be seen in Toronto's Leaside area on Wednesday morning. (Natalie Johnson)

The City of Toronto has taken the next step in the bargaining process with outside workers, saying that either a strike of a lockout could occur in two weeks’ time.

According to a statement issued on Monday, city officials requested a “no board report” from the provincial Minister of Labour amid a stalemate in the bargaining process.

“The bargaining teams for the City of Toronto and (Toronto Civic Employees Union) Local 416 CUPE, the union representing city outside workers, have been in collective bargaining for more than four months. Over this time, the goal has been to reach a negotiated settlement that is fair for our valued employees and affordable for Toronto residents,” the statement said.

“While a number of issues have been resolved, some issues remain, including job security, wages, benefits and parental leave.”

A “no board report” is an official notice filled when conciliation efforts fail and may include a time when a legal strike or lockout can occur. In this case, the city says the report “starts the clock for a potential work stoppage beginning in the third week of February.”

Officials said the request was made “after much consideration over the weekend.”

“This step in the process will, the city hopes, assist both sides in achieving a fair and affordable collective agreement,” officials said.

In a statement, CUPE 416 said that outside city workers remain committed to negotiating a fair contract.

“The City wants a contract that creates two-tiered job security provisions, and paves the way for privatization and contracting out of services that the people of Toronto rely on,” union president Eddie Mariconda said. “They need to answer for their positions more than we do. We’re the ones trying to get a deal here.”

The no-board report will put both parties in a strike or lockout position by Feb. 27.

Among the 5,000 members represented by CUPE Local 416 are animal services, parks and recreation, parking, solid waste management and community housing.

The decision comes a few weeks after other city workers in CUPE Local 79 voted to support a strike mandate.