The Power of Community Benefits Agreements in Building Cities We All Deserve

Over 250 attendees joined us at Toronto City Hall for a day of learning and discussion on the importance of Community Benefit Agreements and community benefits policies in enabling economic inclusion, social procurement, neighbourhood and environmental improvements and access to good local jobs and opportunities as part of billions of dollars of investments in public transit, infrastructure and housing across the GTHA.

The event featured panel discussions and workshops featuring experts, practitioners and advocates from community, labour, academia, government and industry. Following the summit, in collaboration with our community partners, TCBN led a Community Benefits tour of Canada's largest infrastructure project, the projected $18B Ontario Line transit project.

Workshop #1 - Community Benefits Agreements in action: Sharing our stories and lessons learned 

  • Joe Mihevc, Former Toronto City Councillor and Adjunct Professor, Human Geography and Urban Studies at York University (Moderator) 
  • Varni Tayalan, Manager of Community Relations at Aecon Group Inc.
  • Stephanie Robertson, CEO, SiMPACT / Level 4 Practitioner, Social Value Canada
  • Beth Eshete, Senior Specialist, Community Engagement at Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto

Workshop #2 - A Just Transition to Net-Zero and an Inclusive Green Economy

  • Marc Soberano, Founder and Executive Director, BuildingUp (Moderator)
  • Fatima Saya, Senior Manager, Social Impact at Daniels Corporation
  • Mike Yorke - Former President of the Carpenter's District Council of Ontario
  • Julie Dabrusin - Member of Parliament (Toronto-Danforth), Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
  • Julia Langer, Chief Executive Officer at The Atmospheric Fun

Workshop #3 - Community Benefits Agreements in Municipal Policy and Practice

  • April Lim, Manager, Community Benefits Unit at City of Toronto 
  • Martha Wolf, Manager, Employment and Income Support at Region of Waterloo

Workshop #4 - Supporting Local Pathways to Decent Work and Inclusive Local Economies in City Building 

  • Cheryll Case, Founder and Executive Director at CP Planning
  • Maggie Hall, Senior Manager, Corporate Impact Team at Tridel 
  • Kelly Graham, Associate Planning at SvN Architects and Planners 
  • William Mendes, Manager of Revitalization Toronto Community Housing Corporation
  • Anna-Kay Brown, Community Benefits Framework Coordinator, Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre

Afternoon Panel: The Urgency of Now: Why Community Benefits are More Critical Now Than Ever

  • Adriana Beemans - Director, Inclusive Local Economies Program at Metcalf Foundation (Moderator)
  • Tasleem Thawar, Director, Strategic Initiatives at United Way Greater Toronto 
  • Chris Eby, Executive Vice-President at Northcrest Developments 
  • Stephen Mensah - Executive Director, Toronto Youth Cabinet
  • Alejandra Bravo, Toronto City Councillor and Chair, City of Toronto Economic and Community Development Committee 

Closing Remarks

  • Rosemarie Powell, Executive Director at Toronto Community Benefits Network
  • Judy Labelle, Director, Newcomer Services at Indus Community Services representing the Peel Community Benefits Network
  • Karl Andrus, Community Benefits Manager at Hamilton Community Benefits Network