There are signs of progress in Toronto's civic strike, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday, as he expressed optimism a resolution may be nearing in the weeks-long conflict.

“I like the way things seem to be evolving at this point in time; the signals that we are getting are positive,” he said.

The city, McGuinty added, has made it clear “it means business” and workers seem to want to go back to work as well.

“Both sides are very sincere in achieving an outcome,” McGuinty said during a visit to Port Hope.

“Here there appears to be determination on the part of both sides to get this thing done, so there appears to be some progress underway and I would encourage both sides to continue talking.”

McGuinty also weighed in on the case of a Toronto man whose death was being blamed on the strike.

The man’s loved ones say it took an ambulance about 30 minutes to come to his aid, despite three calls to 9-1-1, after he had an apparent heart attack.

“It is now incumbent upon EMS in Toronto to provide all necessary reassurances that all steps are being taken to ensure that in the case of an emergency, nobody's health is going to be compromis­ed because of this strike,” McGuinty said, also extending condolences to the victim’s friends and family.

The head of Toronto’s emergency medical service told a news conference yesterday any delays in treating the man had nothing to do with the strike.

EMS Chief Bruce Farr said the initial 9-1-1 call about the 50-year-old man did not indicate a “life-threatening” situation, and the crew responded within the usual time frame for such calls.