Metrolinx moves to include meaningful community benefits agreements on four new transit projects
TORONTO – The Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN) is pleased about Metrolinx’s renewed commitment to extending ground-breaking Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) to major infrastructure projects located in Scarborough, Thorncliffe Park, York South Weston, Mount Dennis and Etobicoke.
Metrolinx’s commitment was shared with TCBN in a letter last week and follows an outreach push led by TCBN and its member organizations after concerns were raised in March that the agency and the Province of Ontario were attempting to no longer include the kind of community benefits developed years ago through the Eglinton Crosstown line.
“This is a huge step forward. We will be building critical transit infrastructure and a more equitable and inclusive city alongside it,” says Rosemarie Powell (in the pic above), Executive Director of TCBN. “Metrolinx’s commitment means that billions of taxpayer dollars spent on major transit infrastructure will benefit local communities most impacted by these projects, including hiring a minimum of 10% Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour and a minimum of 10% women.”
Government of Canada funding for the four new transit projects included specific conditions to ensure CBAs and anti-racism strategies would become part and parcel of the new projects.
More recently, Toronto City Council passed a motion urging Metrolinx to include CBAs with hiring targets and anti-racism components on its four major transit projects in Toronto.
“Community Benefits Agreements are a proven approach to maximize the public return on new investments in infrastructure like new transit across the City while transforming local communities through stronger, more inclusive economies,” says City Councillor Paula Fletcher who introduced the motion at the last month’s Council meeting and whose ward will be directly impacted by the new Ontario Line project. “This will ensure underrepresented groups in the City of Toronto get access to the good jobs, apprenticeships, and career opportunities as part of these new projects.
TCBN Board Chair, Chris Cambell (in the pic above) says that “ TCBN looks forward to working with Metrolinx to ensure that these commitments are included in all project-related Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and agreements, that subcontractors fulfill these requirements and that there is regular public reporting of disaggregated data as part of the CBAs”