Campaign builds for LRT Community Benefits Agreement; Network prepares submission for Metrolinx
April 25, 2013 by Staff Report
Community leaders in Toronto are mobilizing to advocate for a legally binding Community Benefits Agreement as part of the $4.6-billion contract to be awarded by Metrolinx for the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown and Scarborough Light Rapid Transit lines. The tender call is expected to be issued within 90 days.
A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) would require contractors to direct job recruitment, skills training and procurement to historically disadvantaged communities and populations and would ensure investments are made to support clean and healthy local environments. The CBA model for large public infrastructure projects has been implemented successfully in cities around the world and is now coming to Toronto.
The Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN) is convening a workshop this weekend (April 27-28) to build the campaign for a CBA and to finalize a submission to Metrolinx with specific provisions for the LRT contract. The workshop will feature presentations by community benefits experts from Glasgow, Los Angeles and Vancouver.
Steve Shallhorn, executive director of the Labour Education Centre and convenor of the workshop, said the time is right for Metrolinx to get on board with the CBA: “With all the concern about outsourcing jobs to foreign workers and the need to build local support for transit expansion, the CBA will provide added value in ensuring good local jobs for people who need them. The workforce on these projects should look like the population of our city.”
Nasteeha Dirie, a member of the TCBN and resident of the Mount Dennis neighborhood where the Eglinton Crosstown begins, said her community is looking forward to the benefits of LRT expansion: “Hopes are high in my neighborhood that this mega-project will bring good jobs and opportunities for local people. We don’t want this train to pass us by. We want to be a part of building for the future.”