Rosemarie Powell—Executive Director, Toronto Community Benefits Network—discusses how United Way and partners are working to develop a more inclusive employment strategy within our region.

Community benefits

Community Benefits Agreements are moving the needle for systemic change, which means thinking differently and working differently with our partners and communities across the region.

And Community Benefits Agreements are a great model. It means bringing together partners from labour, private and public sectors to incorporate jobs and opportunities into major infrastructure projects—projects which can truly create an inclusive economy.

This is critical for people from disadvantaged groups—like young people, who can now be connected to coveted, hard-to-find jobs in their local communities.

Based on the success of the Eglinton Crosstown project and the commitment by the provincial government to community benefits, we’re now seeing more Community Benefits Agreements in the works.

For example, the Peel Region Hurontario LRT. And now, in Rexdale, the Woodbine Casino—a commitment to 40 percent local hiring and 10 percent contracts to local, social and diverse businesses.

And, now, for the first time, we are seeing a community benefits framework being developed for infrastructure in York Region.

employment opportunities have been leveraged from the first year of the Eglinton Crosstown project. Just one way that you’re helping to create local jobs with your support.

Your support helped us lead partners from all sectors in exploring ways to build inclusive economic opportunities in low-income neighbourhoods—as part of the Strengthening Community Assets and Local Economies (SCALE) LAB.

Furthering Our Community by Uniting Services (FOCUS) is an equal partnership between the City of Toronto, Toronto Police and United Way, in collaboration with 90 community agencies. Through four situation tables across Toronto, non-criminal crises—from homelessness to gang-related violence—are assessed to help people and families connect with nearby wrap-around supports. Already in 2018 (as of June 1), thanks to you, 290 situations have been handled—with 85% of them successfully connected with agency help. Here’s one way that, through FOCUS, you’re helping people in our community.