The Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN) was formed by labour and community organizations in January 2013 to bring the Community Benefit Agreement model to Toronto. Used extensively in the US and the UK, the CBA model ensures that publically funded infrastructure projects are used to create employment opportunities as apprentices in the construction industry in communities that need them most. These starter jobs lead to careers with good pay and benefits and safe working conditions.
The TCBN began by successfully negotiating a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with Metrolinx, the regional transit authority for the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area in April 2014. In June 2015 Ontario passed the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, which will encourage the use of Community Benefits in all of the province’s expected 4130 B infrastructure spend over the next 10 years.
In July 2015 the TCBN completed a first round of engagement meetings with residents from historically disadvantaged communities and equity seeking groups along the Eglinton Ave.
Work being done in Toronto has brought the labour movement, especially the Building Trades, closer to Toronto’s diverse communities. The construction sector is the third largest sector in the Toronto economy after government and finance. Diverse communities see that the union movement is actively seeking to include them in the construction, so that the construction workforce reflects the diversity of the City of Toronto..
Steve Shallhorn has been the Executive Director of the Labour Education Centre (LEC) since 2011, a project of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. He is also the Chair of the Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN), which is working to place at risk youth from Priority Neighbourhoods into training to work on the building of Light Rail Transit lines in Toronto.
Steve was with Greenpeace from 1987-2010. As CEO of Greenpeace Australia –Pacific Steve led a $14 million dollar a year organization with offices in Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Fiji. Steve was also Executive Director of Greenpeace Japan, and Campaign Director for first Greenpeace Canada, and then Greenpeace USA. Steve played a key role in successful Greenpeace Campaigns to save the Great Bear Rainforest in BC, and a ban on the dumping of nuclear waste at sea through the UN’s London Dumping Convention.
Steve has two BAs from McMaster University (History, Economics) and partially completed a Masters in Community Management at the University of Technology, Sydney.