TORONTO — A coalition of Ontario construction stakeholders has released a statement committing themselves to fighting racism in the construction sector.
The coalition has announced its support for the Toronto Declaration of Inclusive Workplaces and Communities, which “affirms the health and safety of every person and supports the construction industry’s zero tolerance policy for discrimination or acts of hate of any kind,” explained a Feb. 24 release.
The City of Toronto, the Carpenters’ District Council (CDCO), Labourers’ International Union of North America Local 183, the Residential Construction Council of Ontario, the General Contractors’ Association of Toronto, EllisDon and The Daniels Corporation are among the supporters of the declaration.
“As mayor, I have made it clear that racism and discrimination have no place in Toronto,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory in the release. “We have met with workers, developers, contractors, unions and associations to create this declaration and take a stand together against any form of hatred in our city.
“This past year, when nooses were found on construction sites in Toronto, we recognized the tragic reality that anti-Black racism continues to exist in our society and that we need to keep doing all we can to bring an end to it. We worked together with the industry to find ways to bring an end to racism within the sector.”
The declaration was a result of those meetings, stated Tory.
On the employer side, EllisDon has hosted diversity and inclusion town halls and Daniels has organized site meetings with construction teams to stress the importance of creating inclusive workplaces, the release noted.
“EllisDon has zero tolerance for racism, and as an employer, we have a pivotal role to play in this movement. We will continue to work closely with our union partners to promote education and action across all areas of our industry,” said Geoff Smith, president and CEO of EllisDon.
“Daniels has initiated important dialogues with construction unions, associations and industry partners to take a unified stance and engage in conversations at every level to set out clear expectations that racism, prejudice and hate will simply not be tolerated and have no place in our industry,” stated Mitchell Cohen, president and CEO of The Daniels Corporation.
In the past year, Carpenters’ Local 27 developed a Charter of Inclusive Workplaces and Communities in conjunction with other unions and the CDCO appointed Chris Campbell as equity and diversity representative.
“We’re working with a third-party company to deliver anti-racism training for staff, shop stewards, and eventually all of our members,” said Campbell. “Our partners across the labour movement have also begun rolling out this training to their members and we encourage everyone to join us and do the same.”