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Ontario Construction News staff writer
In a unique collaboration to help reduce barriers for urban Indigenous Peoples to access public transit, Aecon has partnered with Metrolinx to distribute 500 preloaded PRESTO cards to clients of two urban Indigenous services and employment organizations in Toronto.
Illuminated with a new design created by local Indigenous artist, Karly Cywink, the one-of-a-kind design of the unique PRESTO cards was inspired by traditional Indigenous beadwork patterns.
Cards were distributed to clients of the Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training’s 12-week work placement program, and the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto’s COVID-19 support and youth housing, employment and training programs. The organizations support urban Indigenous Peoples and provide insights on issues including the positive impacts that come with access to transit.
“Aecon is proud to sponsor this initiative and to partner with Metrolinx to connect clients of these two urban Indigenous organizations with public transit access. Giving back to the communities we build is part of our unwavering commitment to foster inclusive and collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities,” said Jean-Louis Servranckx, Aecon’s president and CEO.
The partnership was a natural fit. Aecon is currenly working with Metrolinx on some of the largest transit projects underway in Toronto, including the Finch West LRT, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and the Eglinton West Extension Advance Tunnel project. Together, Aecon and Metrolinx recognize there are still many barriers to transit that exist for Indigenous Peoples and this partnership is one way to help support First Nation, Inuit and Métis Peoples.
Metronix CEO Phil Verster says the partnership with Aecon will make transit more accessible for Indigenous Peoples in Toronto.
“This is the type of opportunity and partnership that helps Indigenous Peoples, ensuring no one is left behind. We continuously look for such opportunities to listen to our community, to hear what is required and to take action,” he said.
Aecon’s head office in Toronto is located on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples – an area that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.