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Nooses found at two more Toronto construction sites, apparent hate crimes

Lindsey Cole
Nooses found at two more Toronto construction sites, apparent hate crimes

Police are currently investigating several incidents of hate crimes after nooses were found at two more construction sites in Toronto.

One noose was found at a project being built by The Daniels Corporation at Dundas Street East and Sumach Street in Toronto’s Regent Park community, the company confirmed June 26. The other was found on June 25 at a tower project being built by EllisDon and Govan Brown in a joint venture at 81 Bay St.

Toronto Police Services were contacted immediately in both instances and separate private investigations by The Daniels Corporation, EllisDon and Govan Brown have also been undertaken.

A statement from Mitchell Cohen, president of The Daniels Corporation, says, “We are disgusted and horrified at this heinous act, which we are treating as a hate crime.

“This deplorable act against the Black community is unacceptable and we reaffirm that there is zero tolerance for racism, prejudice and hate on our construction sites and within our organization.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident within the construction industry and reinforces that more action is required.”

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We have been telling the people who we advocate for support and to build bridges that what we see in the USA, is just a matter of time to start happening it here. I just didn't think it would be so soon. Is this is what Canada brags about when they say they embrace diversity? Read the story below: A friend of a friend of mine in our city (Toronto) had to go to work and see this. I have no words, just anger!!!! Dont worry we're drowning you fools out. Slowly but surely. ✊✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿…share this!!! "Dear Doug Ford, Racism is a systemic issue in Canada. Where: CiBC square When: Today, June 25th, 2020 Time: in the morning A concerned colleague of mine from another union reached out to me. A noose was found hanging from the rafters. The cowardice of such racism has no place on any jobsite. My friend you have the right to work in a safe environment free of harassment, & ought not be subjected to threatening displays of "domestic terrorism". A police investigation is on going but the media has yet to make this public. What needs to happen next? Exactly what hasn't happened, tool box talks regarding racism in the workplace needs to happen. Allocate the first 10 minutes of the day. Or after 1st break. Discuss strategies on how to handle racism in the work place. Leadership (foreman/supervisor) on behalf of company should express the companies stance on the issue. The concept of allyship & how to support one another should be a topic. If we're going to say we're a union, & acknowledge that we're brother's than i need you to take this issue seriously. And to be honest based on current events… these conversations should have happened weeks ago." ✊🏽 #blacklivesmatter #WeAllWeGot

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According to a statement from EllisDon, once the paraphernalia was discovered site leadership teams “immediately started undertaking emergency stand downs and tool box talks to address all subtrade workers on site to condemn the actions, offer support, and ask the individual or individuals to own up to their actions.” 

This comes just weeks after nooses were found by two subtrade workers on June 10 at the Michael Garron Hospital project, also being built by EllisDon. The nooses were strategically placed and EllisDon said it has concluded the actions were racially motivated.

Geoff Smith, president and CEO of EllisDon, and Joseph Kirk, president of Govan Brown and Associates Limited, condemned the acts in a joint statement.

This is a disgraceful act by someone weak and cowardly,” said Smith. “We will do everything possible to identify, prosecute and evict anyone involved from our industry. The perpetrator has acted in a way to try and achieve notoriety and even influence by sowing division and hatred. We will never allow that to happen.”

Kirk echoed his comments.

“We boldly stand behind inclusion and diversity, values that are woven into the fabric of our organization,” he said. “We will not tolerate this behaviour on our project sites or anything that we are involved with as a company. We are conducting a detailed investigation of the incident and have alerted the authorities. I cannot stress enough that we will do everything possible to ensure the person(s) responsible are held accountable.”

Both The Daniels Corporation and EllisDon/Govan Brown have started discussions with construction unions, associations and industry partners about the incidents, highlighting this behavior is unacceptable.

“Daniels stands staunchly against racism and prejudice, individual and systemic, in all its forms,” writes Cohen. “As an organization, our goal is to embody diversity, respect and inclusion. We are committed to supporting diversity in all our practices. We have worked hard over the years to support and foster vibrant, inclusive communities. We will continue to support communities and organizations that work toward creating equality in a world where it is most definitely needed.”

Smith, from EllisDon, has also penned an open letter to local MPPs regarding the last incident. Read more here: https://www.ellisdon.com/news/our-response-to-mpps-rima-berns-mcgown-and-peter-tabuns/  

Police have not laid charges in any of the incidents and are appealing to anyone with information to contact 55 Division at 416-808-5500 or Crime Stoppers to remain anonymous.

The Daily Commercial News will have more on this story.

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