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Valuing Communities: Reflecting on the Community Benefit Agreements Summit

On October 28th, Social Value Canada had the privilege to attend and participate at the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) Community Benefits Summit at Toronto City Hall, where the power of community benefit agreements (CBAs) as a tool to build inclusive cities was discussed.

Hosted by the Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN), the event brought together a large audience and speakers representing community groups and benefit networks, as well as government officials from all over Ontario. The diverse perspectives not only made it a day of learning but also underscored the developing momentum of CBAs.

Various workshops covered important themes, including a just and inclusive transition to a net-zero economy, municipal policy, and supporting local pathways to decent work and inclusive economic development. Speakers shared insights about their experiences with CBAs such as:

  • Lessons learned from the implementation of CBAs from Varni Tayalan, Manager of Community Relations at Aecon Group Inc and Beth Eshete, Senior Specialist, Community Engagement at Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto;
  • The fine-tuning of policy needed in government to incentivize, support, and effectively realize CBAs from the likes of April Lim, Manager, Community Benefits Unit at City of Toronto and Martha Wolf, Manager, Employment and Income Support at Region of Waterloo.
  • The (social) value of meaningful employment, was demonstrated by Stephanie Robertson, SVC Board Member and Level 3 Practitioner, who represented Social Value Canada and who showcased SROI analysis that was conducted in collaboration with the TCBN for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT construction project.

Ultimately, the joint efforts between the Hamilton, Peel Region, and Toronto Community Benefit Networks to create this event, as well as Olivia Chow’s strong support signals the growing recognition of CBAs as a vital tool for fostering an economy that prioritizes wellbeing.

Learn more about Community Benefit Agreements here