On-Site Magazine

Building Diversity Awards recognize industry leaders

By Adam Freill   

Construction Leadership

This past Friday, the Toronto Community Benefits Network celebrated leaders and organizations championing DEI in Canada’s construction industry.

NexGen Builders Award: Mentor winner, and Red-Seal plumber, Bubba Qwulshemut. (Photo courtesy of Toronto Community Benefits Network)

Recognizing people and organizations who are helping to build a more inclusive construction industry, Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN) presented its annual Building Diversity Awards (BDA) this past Friday at the Meridian Arts Centre in North York, Ont.

The annual awards and fundraising gala celebrate visionary leaders and organizations championing diversity, equity and inclusion in Canada’s construction industry. This year’s competition saw submissions from across the country and culminated in an inspiring evening gala hosted by media personalities Sebastian Clovis and Patricia Jaggernauth.

“Toronto is strong; Canada is strong, because we are diverse… We are diverse. And we cooperate. We work together. This is what community benefits is about,” stated Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, who talked about the need to build the infrastructure and supporting programs that can allow for communities to thrive. “When we build, the only way we can build properly is together, with neighbours, with communities, so everyone can benefit.”

Established by TCBN in partnership with its community, labour and industry partners, and presented by Desjardins Group, the BDAs acknowledge the importance of championing diversity and leveraging local talent to build the construction industry.


“The Building Diversity Awards Gala is our way of acknowledging leaders that are paving the way for a more inclusive construction industry and contributing to sustainable communities across Canada,” stated TCBN executive director Rosemarie Powell. “We’re encouraged by a growing recognition that there is value in community partnerships and that endeavouring to reflect the communities that we serve just makes sense.”

“We needed to find the right connection that helped us to extend our values out into community, find the right partners, that would also help us to make a difference. Because for 124 years, that’s what Desjardins has been doing across the country,” added Marilyn Horrick, senior vice-president for the Ontario market with Desjardins Group, presenting sponsor of the awards. “The best way is in recognizing the best of the best. And that’s what we’re doing tonight. It’s about creating momentum for recognition.”

One of the most heartfelt commentaries about the industry came from NexGen Builders Award winner in the Mentor category, Bubba Qwulshemut, a Red-Seal plumber from the Somena Tribe who is active in outreach to underrepresented jobseekers. He spoke about some of the challenges he faced in becoming a tradesperson, and how his experiences motivate him to help others.

“I walk the jobsite every day in Cowichan on Vancouver Island, and I see the amount of young people that are contributing to the project. It’s much needed in our territory as a replacement of our hospital,” he said. “I see in many of those young people, I see myself, so many years ago.”


This year’s award recipients were:


Leading on Diversity Award: Owner / Client / Developer

The Daniels Corporation


Leading on Diversity Award: Contractor

NCC Investment Group Inc.


Leading on Diversity Award: Union

The Canadian District of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCIA)


NexGen Builders Award: Mentor

Bubba Qwulshemut


NexGen Builders Award: Mentee

Nikki Muswaggon


NexGen Builders Award: Employer

Purpose Construction


Community Benefits Award: Champion

Brenda Ireland


Community Benefits Award: Coalition

Trades NL: Building Trades of Newfoundland and Labrador


Community Benefits Award: Project

Rexdale-Casino Woodbine Community Benefits Agreement


Contractor to Watch Award

Keyz To Your Home Renovations


Contractor to Watch Award: Ontario

Fastwel Contractors Inc.


Contractor to Watch Award: Quebec

Retrofit Construction


Contractor to Watch: Nova Scotia

Carvery’s Construction Ltd


Community Benefits Award: Lifetime Achievement

Clifton Donegal

David Lepage

Jane Wilson




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