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Community benefits declaration rolls out for Eglinton Crosstown

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by DCN News Services

TORONTO — A community benefits declaration will provide apprenticeships on the Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit (LRT) project.
Community benefits declaration rolls out for Eglinton Crosstown

Ontario has finalized an agreement with government agencies, business, labour and the local community to help people from disadvantaged communities along the Eglinton Crosstown LRT Transit corridor get construction jobs on the largest transit project in Canada, states a release from the province.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced details of the community benefits declaration Dec. 7 at the Workers Health and Safety Centre in Toronto.

The premier was joined by several of the partners involved in reaching the agreement and delivering its economic benefits to the community.

The signatories to the declaration are Metrolinx, Infrastructure Ontario, the Crosstown LRT's builder Crosslinx Transit Solutions, the Toronto Community Benefits Network and the United Way Toronto and York Region.

The partners have set a goal that 10 per cent of all trade and crafting hours needed for the project will be performed by apprentices and journeypersons who live along the transit corridor and who have had trouble finding jobs.

The experience will offer them the opportunity to develop careers in the construction sector, adds the release.

The Eglinton Crosstown LRT is the first of several major transit projects that will include an agreement providing a range of social and economic benefits for communities.

These include employment opportunities for youth and training programs, the release indicates.

Ontario is working with the City of Toronto on the Construction Pathway, one of three SkillsAdvance pilot projects in Ontario that offers jobseekers industry-specific skills training.

According to the release, the Construction Pathway will provide a reliable pipeline of suitable and well-prepared candidates for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.

Community benefits programs are also being developed for future Metrolinx rapid transit projects in other parts of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

"Government is looking at new ways to assist disadvantaged and equity-seeking communities with employment opportunities," said Ehren Cory, divisional president, Infrastructure Ontario, in a statement.

"We support this initiative by working with industry to ensure all contractors working on AFP (Alternative Financing and Procurement) projects submit and implement apprenticeship plans."

Bruce McCuaig, president and CEO Metrolinx, said, "The Crosstown project is pioneering the community benefits approach. It is precedent-setting for future Metrolinx projects, establishing a model for collaboration between government, business and community partners that can be applied to infrastructure improvement in Toronto for years to come."

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