Cities Building Social Value: Social Procurement Strategies and CBA's in Halton and Peel Regions

Submitted by Natasha Pei on July 31, 2017 - 10:25am

Positive social value initiatives, including social procurement strategies and Community Benefit Agreements, hold the promise of building more wealth within our communities. They have the ability to engage business, government, and community sectors in different ways, to work together towards reducing poverty and building more inclusive economies. Two regions in southwestern Ontario – Peel Region and Halton Region – are building the case for and are pursuing social procurement practices and large-scale Community Benefit Agreements, with the support of laws and policies at the local and provincial level.

André Lyn of the Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy and Leena Sharma Seth of the Halton Poverty Reduction Roundtable, joins us with Rosemarie Powell of the Toronto Community Benefits Network, to talk about their experiences with initiatives that are increasing social value in the community, including the recent successful Metrolinx Community Benefits Framework, which was signed as part of the Eglinton Crosstown Light Transit Railway (LRT) development. In this webinar, they look at some of the most frequently asked questions, such as, assessing community benefit opportunities, identifying and engaging the right people at the table, how to define success, and more.

Watch the Recording


We had many great questions from the audience, and unfortunately could not get to all of them within the hour. Below, our presenters have offered a couple of responses in the follow-up:

Q. How do organized labour groups respond to procurement initiatives? I.e. does any conflict come up between prioritizing certain population groups and collective agreements, and if so, how is that resolved?

  • Rosemarie:In our experience with negotiating community benefits into the Eglinton Crosstown LRT,  it has been a great support having unions as an integral part of the coalition. Unions have been supportive of the CBA negotiations process. They contributed to the negotiations of a reasonable target they could absorb and have done a lot of work internally to prepare for the new intakes. TCBN now has 9 union members, all of whom can supply workers for all the trades required to build transit. In fact, before the Declaration on hiring targets was even signed, a number of our member unions had already started to train candidates recruited from the targeted communities. As such, when the Project consortium started to recruit candidates, they already had a pool of trained and ready candidates they could draw from.

Q. Is there a starting template that has been proven successful in each location, or do you know of any in other regions?

  • André: For us in the Region of Peel the starting template was from the Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN) as well as working closely with Metrolinx. This worked for us because we shared a similar starting point and impetus for pursuing a CBA framework.


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