Ontario Enshrines Community Benefits in Legislation
The TCBN has been successful in its efforts to get community benefits included in the Ontario Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, previously called Bill 6. The approved legislation provides a planning and implementation framework for public investment in infrastructure, and the Province has budgeted $130B for projects across Ontario over the next 10 years.
As second reading happened at Queen’s Park last May, TCBN worked as part of collective efforts in preparing to press for changes to the bill. A cluster of community and union stakeholders was organized by the Atkinson Foundation to organize clear messaging to the Province, including the Ontario Non Profit Network (ONN), United Way, Atkinson, Metcalf, Maytree, Evergreen, TWIG, Learning Enrichment Foundation, Social Purchasing Project, Women for Change, Springboard, Ironworkers and Hospitality Workers. The ONN acted as a secretariat for the final push.
Steve Shallhorn presented on behalf of TCBN to the Standing Committee on General Government on May 25th. The TCBN arranged for Nasteeha Dirie (Women for Change-Somali community) to present to the Committee, and successfully lobbied the Provincial Construction and Building Trades Council to include support for Community Benefit Agreements. The Committee reported back to the legislature for Third Reading, and Royal Assent was received on June 4th, 2015.
The next stage will entail negotiating for regulations which set the community benefits agreement model into the provincial framework for inter-ministry program delivery.