“Chris Campbell is a true leader, disrupting racism, while promoting the advancement of BIPOC in the trade industry. Chris is an agent of change. He builds confidence, champions equality and breaks down barriers for the next generation of leaders to come. He leads by example and inspires others to learn and grow. He earned the trust of his peers and drives engagement. He forges genuine relationships between communities to enable change in a very positive manner and he strives to ensure its success.” Rockaya Gueye, Local 27 Carpenters, 1st Year Apprentice.
Chris Campbell is a long-time member of Carpenters Local 27 and has worked on many construction projects over the years such as condominiums, airports, hospitals, power plants, and bridges. He was a Business Representative of Local 27 from 2003 to 2020. During this time, he played a major role in recruiting youth for careers in the construction trades. Chris is in support of the Black Action Defense Committee which is an activist group that pushes for positive change for minorities. Mike Yorke, President of the Carpenters' District Council of Ontario (CDCO) has said “The (CDCO) has a duty to do their part to ensure the future of the construction industry is an inclusive one, and many believe this is what Campbell's work reflects."
Since 2014, when Toronto Community Benefits Network was incorporated and signatory to the Community Benefits Framework for the building of the Eglinton Crosstown project, Chris Campbell has initiated, led and participated in countless initiatives that reflect the best practices of the Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion Benchmarks. Year over year, his work has engaged his colleagues, and inspired the leadership within his union to do more, and to do things differently, to ensure that Black, Indigenous and other racialized youth and adults, including women and newcomers, know about, are prepared for and access employment and apprenticeships.
• In 2016/17 he recruited his colleagues to participate in TCBN’s community-labour led Ready to Build program, supporting Group Mentoring and Community Host outreach presentations about the skilled trades and apprenticeships.
• In 2018, he recruited his network of Black colleagues -all journeypersons, trades trainers and leaders in their own right- to join the NexGen Mentoring Program for Black Youth.
• In 2019, he responded immediately to TCBN’s invitation to learn more about the Global Benchmarks at the GDEIB Annual Conference in Minneapolis.
• In early 2020, through his leadership, Carpenters Local 27 hosted the first Open House for Service Providers bringing together industry leaders from Central Ontario Building Trades, Iron Workers, IBEW, IUPAT/IFSTC and Ontario Construction Consortium to promote opportunities in the trades.
• In mid-2020 despite the pandemic, when restrictions were first lifted in late summer, Chris spearheaded the Guerilla Marketing of trades opportunities, handing out flyers and speaking directly to passersby on street corners of vulnerable neighborhoods in east and west Toronto, in support of the fulfillment of Community Benefits Agreements.
• Chris has consistently raised issues arising from negative workplace experiences of Black and racialized apprentices working on projects with community benefits agreements with his union and worked directly with union leadership on solutions.
• In the summer of 2020 when the nooses started to appear on the City of Toronto major infrastructure construction project sites, Chris was one of the first Black construction union labour representatives to openly admit and condemn the acts of Anti-Black racism in the media.
• In fall of 2020, responding to recruitment demand for new apprentices within his union, Chris invoked different approaches to ensure rapid recruitment and placement of underrepresented groups into jobs and apprenticeships.
• In February 2021, Chris also played an integral role in the drafting of the Declaration of Inclusive Workplaces and Communities that was led by Mayor John Tory.