Resources on Community Benefits in Toronto

Community Benefits Agreement report to Metrolinx Board

Following discussions between TCBN and Metrolinx on our Foundation Document,  the Metrolinx Board of Directors approved this report from senior staff on community benefits September 10, 2013. It states the commitment that “Metrolinx supports the concept of building CBAs into our major infrastructure projects.” The Board also approved the motion that Metrolinx is to “work with the TCBN to develop a CBA for the Eglinton Crosstown line.”

From draft CBA to the Community Benefits Framework

After identifying key issues to be addressed in a Community Benefits Agreement, TCBN prepared a draft legal agreement and submitted it in December 2013 for discussion with Metrolinx. The main obstacle facing this approach was that Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario determined that the contractual relationship on delivery of the Crosstown was between Metrolinx and ProjectCo (the company that would be selected to deliver the Eglinton Crosstown project).

Further negotiation resulted in the Metrolinx Community Benefits Framework, which set out in an agreement the expectations, roles and relationships necessary to achieve community benefits through the Eglinton Crosstown Project. By the time it was signed in April 2014, the agreement was extended to the three Toronto Transit Improvement Projects: Eglinton Crosstown, Finch West and Sheppard East LRT lines.

Metrolinx Eglinton Crosstown LRT Project Information

Details on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT Project can be found at the Metrolinx website

Read more

United Way Recommends Community Benefits System Facilitator

The United Way of Toronto and York Region (UWTYR) and Ministry of Colleges Training and Universities (MTCU) partnered through the Ontario Labour Market Partnership (LMP) program to develop a prototype of jobs pathways involved in delivering community benefits through building the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. The LMP Project Team included the TCBN, Social Research Demonstration Corporation, Toronto Workforce Innovation Group, independent researcher James Nugent, and Toronto Enterprise Fund.

Through the project, TCBN and member community groups, trades training centres and employment agencies designed and tested a path connecting job-seeking residents from historically disadvantaged communities and equity seeking groups into an orientation and (pre)recruitment program for training and dispatch in anticipation of Crosstown jobs. The  pathway to Professional Administrative and Technical jobs was also assessed, and the Social Enterprise connection was reviewed.

The Final Report recognizes the value of a community-based intermediary organization that works collaboratively across the workforce development system to link target community residents into training and Crosstown jobs. United Way and a project advisory group has recommended to the Province that such a body be established to support implementing community benefits. 

Implementing the Community Benefits Framework

The Community Benefits Program in discussion with Metrolinx for implementation on the Crosstown LRT includes a set of specific employment-related asks from TCBN. For the Construction trades jobs and apprenticeship training, this is 15% of all job hours on the project be linked to the TCBN’s targets of employment equity groups and historically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. This is supported by TCBN’s database of residents outlined in TCBN’s Letter to Partners, which was identified in the initial round of outreach done through the provincially funded Labour Market Partnership Project.

Embedding Community Benefits Terms in Crosstown's RFP

Getting expectations set into the tendering process for delivering on community benefits presented a considerable challenge. Without this, it would be "business as usual" as the project moved toward implementation and there would be little leverage remaining to gain access to jobs, economic opportunities or locally defined improvements. TCBN was able to negotiate Community Benefits text with Metrolinx that was included in the RFP that was issued December 2013.

Laying the Foundations of the Toronto Community Benefits Network

The Foundation Document states TCBN's vision, commitment and objectives for community benefits agreements and guides our efforts.  It originated from a weekend workshop held by the TCBN in April 2013 attended by more than 40 community groups, unions and workforce development agencies. An update was recently done to reflect our three years of practice.  Member groups declare support of their home organization for the Foundation Document as part of joining the membership in TCBN.   

Read more