A new direction in municipal project spending.

Community Benefits Agreements advancing social good.

We are a catalyst for change in a new direction in project & procurement spending in Halton Region.

Since 2016, our Halton Region community consultation & advocacy work has worked in participation with community organizations, business and local governments to develop goals for targeting municipal projects that lead to better employment opportunities and skills development, while promoting diversity and inclusion for people who are unemployed or on low income. 

As a concept, Community Benefits Agreements are negotiated contracts between public and private sectors in endeavors, such as the development of infrastructure projects – a way to leverage money that governments have already committed to spend in order to gain economic and social benefits for the community.

In this process, these agreements engage input from a cross-sector coalition of Connector Organizations, as we call them – community organizations, businesses and citizen groups, which typically include non-profit employment & social service agencies, colleges, faith-based groups, trade unions, chambers of commerce and professional associations.

Moving forward into 2021, our current Halton Region approach is to identify ways to apply Community Benefits Agreements to a wider range of initiatives in a strategic effort to create a pool of smaller, scalable projects. Continuing to act as the ‘catalyst for change” our goal is to promote opportunity by aggregating and creating a data base of the anticipated Halton projects and match that to a data base of relevant community populations who can benefit from meaningful employment.

Halton Community Benefits Network will facilitate this by promoting ways to match job needs on a project-by-project basis with other community resources, and partner with project originators and contractors to eliminate barriers to employment.

Building on successful outcomes of smaller Community Benefits Agreements, as new regional infrastructure projects emerge, we will advocate for future benefits of broader economic and social good as has been demonstrated in other communities – such as post-construction employment opportunities, cultivation of social enterprises that supplement local economic inclusion and improvement to other resultant community needs like public transit.

The aim of any Halton Region Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) is to help create more equitable opportunities, leading to new or better jobs, apprenticeships, retraining for skills in demand and growth for local businesses – and ultimately, to advance social good and help reduce poverty.

A consolidated approach to creating a database, matching community projects and social enterprise opportunities with employment agencies and individual job seekers will help create a transparent market, address any talent gaps and provide better access to training.