Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) are increasingly being utilized in government procurement to maximize the social and economic impacts when they buy, build, or provide financial incentives for construction or remediation. In Ontario, the community benefits movement is built on the premise of community and labour working together to ensure the people building public infrastructure projects represent the demographics of the local communities.
In 2015, the Province of Ontario’s Bill 6, Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act was introduced by the provincial government to ensure infrastructure planning and investment include community benefits, being the supplementary social and economic benefits arising from infrastructure projects that are intended to improve the well-being of a community affected by the project. From this legislation, the province identified five pilot infrastructure projects in its Long-Term Infrastructure Plan that would include community benefits requirements.
These community benefits include but not limited to:
- local and equity hiring in apprenticeships
- local and equity hiring in professional, administrative and technical positions
- social procurement supporting local businesses, minority owned businesses and social enterprises
- neighbourhood and environmental improvements as identified by the community
Following this policy, several others were enacted by the different levels of government, including:
- 2017: The Building Better Lives: Ontario’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan
- 2018 Federal Community Employment Benefits, 2020 Investing in Canada Plan and 2021 Budget
- 2019 and 2021: The City of Toronto’s Community Benefits Framework
The TCBN supports four CBAs currently underway in Toronto:
- Eglinton Crosstown LRT, learn more
- Finch West LRT, learn more
- Casino Woodbine, learn more
- Westpark Healthcare Centre, learn more
All have at minimum, the requirement for 10% of all trade or craft working hours to be performed by apprentices or journey persons from historically disadvantaged communities and equity seeking groups.