SCARBOROUGH HEALTH COALITION CALLS FOR COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENT IN GOVERNMENT-FUNDED HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS IN SCARBOROUGH
SCARBOROUGH, APRIL 25 2022 -- Scarborough Health Coalition welcomes the pledge by the Ontario government to support expansion and redevelopment health infrastructure projects in Scarborough and calls for the Province and Scarborough Health Network to engage the community and approve a Community Benefits Agreement to require that at minimum ten percent of apprentices and tradespeople working on construction, design, planning and technical, come from the local community and equity-seeking groups. The call by Scarborough Health Coalition for a Community Benefits Agreement on Scarborough health infrastructure projects is consistent with the Community Benefits and Apprenticeship Plan that is part of the development (led by EllisDon) of the new West Park Healthcare Centre in Toronto's York South-Weston area.
“The West Park Healthcare Centre CBA was historic as the first healthcare project in Ontario to use this approach to maximizing benefits for local communities through commitments to local, diverse hiring targets in apprenticeships, professional, administrative, technical careers and business procurement opportunities for local businesses” said TCBN Executive Director, Rosemarie Powell whose organization is working with West Park, EllisDon, Infrastructure Ontario and community organizations to support the development, implementation and monitoring of the Community Benefits and Apprenticeship Plan.”
The Ontario government has pledged over $1 billion in new health infrastructure in Scarborough. Scarborough Health Coalition is calling for community benefits to be achieved through a Community Benefits Agreement taking the form of a contract between the government, the health network, the community and the team chosen to design, build and finance the new projects. If done right, a Community Benefits Agreement has the potential to transform the way Scarborough Health Network and the government purchase, build, employ and think about maximizing local economic development while creating good jobs for the residents of Scarborough.
"This investment on health infrastructure in Scarborough is significant and with a Community Benefits Agreement, it will ensure local equity deserving groups will benefit from apprenticeships, good jobs and business opportunities," said Kingsley Kwok, Chairperson, Scarborough Health Coalition. "It is time to leverage public infrastructure funding to build back Scarborough better from COVID-19, where it was identified as a hotspot during the pandemic” said Kingsley.
Kingsley Kwok, Chairperson at Scarborough Health Coalition
Phone # 416-835-3377
Rosemarie Powell, Executive Director, Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN)
Phone # 416-573-8819
- Community benefits are the additional social, economic or environmental benefits provided to local communities by leveraging public infrastructure investments. It has been included on many large-scale provincially funded public infrastructure projects like the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, Finch West LRT and West Park Healthcare Centre.
- Just last month, the Ford government faced significant public pressure for removing diversity hiring targets from Community Benefits Agreements as part of four new transit projects including the approx. $4B Scarborough Subway Extension project. A representative from the Ministry of Transportation later confirmed that the minimum ten percent diversity hiring targets would be included in those projects.
- Akeem Busari is a 1st year apprentice working at the West Park Healthcare Centre. As a local resident, he shares his journey working with TCBN to open a pathway for him into a good unionized career working on a local project in his neighbourhood. Watch here
About the Scarborough Health Coalition
Scarborough Health Coalition is a local health coalition of community members and health care workers with a focus on the public delivery of Medicare and long-term care and on health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.