Metrolinx recognizes that its major infrastructure investments should also provide benefits for the communities in which it works, including employment, training, apprenticeship, local supplier and social procurement opportunities where possible. Metrolinx has therefore committed to include a community benefits program for the rapid transit projects, beginning with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. The program represents a new standard for projects being integrated into communities.” Phil Verster, Metrolinx President & Chief Executive Officer.
Metrolinx is a Crown agency of the Government of Ontario that manages and integrates road and public transport in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), which comprises much of Ontario"s Golden Horseshoe region. Metrolinx is also responsible for the construction of transit expansion projects worth nearly $30 billion in Toronto – including Line 5 Eglinton, the Ontario Line, the Line 1 Yonge subway extension into Markham, York Region, and the Line 2 Bloor–Danforth extension into Scarborough – following a 2020 agreement with the City of Toronto.
Since 2014, Metrolinx’s has implemented the requirement for Community Benefits Agreements for three rapid transit projects for which it is responsible: Eglinton Crosstown LRT, Finch West LRT and Hurontario LRT. Metrolinx’s commitment to Community Benefits programs on these projects encompasses the following principles:
- Inclusive -The program offers a range of employment, training, and apprenticeship opportunities for historically disadvantaged communities and equity seeking groups, as well as encouraging the provision of goods and services from local suppliers and social enterprises.
- Accessible - The program ensures that information about employment, training, apprenticeship, and procurement opportunities are made readily available to residents, businesses and social enterprises.
- Transparent - We ensure that the community benefits plan is made public, in the final agreement with ProjectCo, and publishing quarterly reports on progress.
- Collaborative - By working together with community, labour, business, government, and other stakeholders to share information, resources and learnings, and maximize the impact of the program.
It is this commitment from Metrolinx to ensure that principles of diversity, equity and inclusion through Community Benefits Agreements are underpinning some of the largest building projects in Canada that has laid the groundwork for community benefits agreements in Ontario and led to a number of organizations across Canada looking at our model and wanting to build upon it further.
In addition to the jobs and social procurement opportunities this commitment has already given rise to, Metrolinx has further committed to releasing a land set-back along the Finch West LRT corridor for a community space to be developed under the trusteeship of local residents in the Jane Finch neighbourhood.
“As we deliver new rapid transit across our region, the Metrolinx Community Benefits Program brings people from the community to the table right from the start, providing opportunities to local residents such as employment, training, apprenticeship and local supplier and social procurement opportunities. Our mission is to connect our region, which we do even better by providing additional benefits for local communities.” Phil Verster