Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency for GTHA, helped develop the so-called Community Benefit Convention in Ontario when it announced in 2016 an agreement guaranteeing the work of marginalized members of the community on the $5.3 billion Eglinton Crosstown LRT. Powell sees the CBAs as a way to create goodwill and cites the preservation of Kodak Building 9 as an example. “If this collective utility process or negotiation process had not been there, this building would have been destroyed,” she says. “And there would have been a lot of bad will.” Metrolinx`s approach to local social benefits programs is as follows: it stated that municipal benefit agreements not only support local residents, but help rebuild the talent pool for the construction sector, which may dry up when older workers retire. According to Yorke, access to the sector will be essential for young people, women and minorities if new infrastructure projects contribute to the economic recovery of the region according to coVID. Aikins said that “teaching and employment opportunities can be integrated directly into all project agreements,” but did not set specific targets for the amount of work that would be allocated to disadvantaged groups. Powell said she had “serious reservations” that performance agreements would not be included in the new projects. To date, more than 600 community members have participated in several career and networking shows. This initiative provided guidance and support to more than 100 people through a Career Specialist from the City of Toronto, from the Community Office gts. The initiative also sent more than five dozen jobs, with 14 local parishioners receiving job interviews and six community members.
“Our network members and the community in the vicinity of these projects have discussed this several times with Metrolinx, who have not yet confirmed a process to ensure that the benefits of the local community are exploited by the billions of dollars invested over the next 10 years.” According to a report by Crosslinx, the consortium that builds the Crosstown LRT, the Community Benefits Agreement for this project has yielded results. In the first quarter of this year, Crosslinx recruited 162 apprentices or companions as well as more than 200 specialized, administrative and technical employees from equity research groups. By the end of last year, it had also spent more than $7.5 million to help local businesses. “They didn`t want this building to be demolished because it was a historic place for them in their community,” Powell says. As part of the CBA, the TCBN and community members supported the preservation of the building. Metrolinx moved the entire building by four storeys and then put it back in place after a foundation was laid – the ground floor will be one of the entrances to Mount Dennis Station; the upper floors become spaces for collective use. In a statement Friday, Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins said the organization has a “community-based, absolute benefit approach” to the four projects that make up Premier Doug Ford`s expansion plan, which also includes the Ontario Line and the Scarborough Subway extension, which includes the Eglinton West LRT and the north Yonge extension.