Toronto Community Benefits Network launches first annual Building Diversity Awards and recognition program

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Toronto Community Benefits Network in partnership with community, labour and construction industry partners says it has launched the first annual province-wide Building Diversity Awards (BDA) and Recognition Program.

According to the Ontario Construction Secretariat only two per cent of unionized skilled trades workforce are females, and 11 per cent are visible minorities.

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Industry associations like the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) have embraced Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) as a way to bridge the economic divide. Construction industry leaders, like EllisDon, AECON and Tridel are working with their supply chain and building trade unions to advance their goals for community benefits.

“We are thrilled that EllisDon has joined us as our first lead sponsor and event partner,” said, Rosemarie Powell, executive director of the Toronto Community Benefits Network.

“Attracting and retaining a diverse workforce is critical for companies to keep their competitive advantage,” she said in a statement on Nov. 2. “As a community-labour coalition, we are committed to working in partnership with construction industry leaders like EllisDon to achieve standardized and coordinated industry recognized systems for preparing, recruiting, tracking, and retaining individuals from local communities in jobs made possible by CBAs.”

BDA will recognize and award exemplary contractors, unions and client/owners as well as industry champions who are leading in diversity, equity and inclusion. Awards recipients will be selected by a committee of diversity, equity and inclusion experts from other industries and jurisdictions. Nominations will be evaluated using the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks as adapted by BuildForce Canada for the construction industry. Organizations that submit a nomination will be able to measure their progress in building diversity against an industry standard.

“Supporting real efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in the construction industry is where we must stand,” said Richard Whyte, chief dstimator, Toronto Civil Division, EllisDon. “Supporting initiatives like the NexGen Builder’s Mentoring program for Black youth is one of the reasons we’re proud to be a sponsor of the first Annual Building Diversity Awards and TCBN.”

There will be free online information sessions every Wednesday in November at noon to learn more about the nominations process, and get insights about the benchmarks used to decide the winners

The nominations period for The Building Diversity Awards will start on Nov. 16 and award winners will be announced at a celebration event taking place on May 13, 2021.

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