Construction industry joins coalition to take action on racism

Construction industry players have created the Toronto Declaration of Inclusive Workplaces & Communities coalition to take action on racism and build safer and more inclusive workplaces for all tradespeople. Photo courtesy CNW Group/Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario
Construction industry players have created the Toronto Declaration of Inclusive Workplaces & Communities coalition to take action on racism and build safer and more inclusive workplaces for all tradespeople.
Photo courtesy CNW Group/Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario

Developers, contractors, unions, associations, and workers are uniting in a growing coalition supporting the Toronto Declaration of Inclusive Workplaces & Communities.

“Systemic racism and discrimination harm our construction industry. Bigotry has no place in our communities, and we commit to standing up for the rights and dignity of all to promote inclusive, equitable, safe, and respectful workplaces,” said the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario (CDCO) in a press release.

The Toronto Declaration of Inclusive Workplaces & Communities seeks to affirm 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.

City support

To demonstrate its support for this declaration and uphold diversity, the City of Toronto affirms this declaration, and is encouraging those in the construction industry across the province to continue denouncing discrimination and hate in all its forms.

“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,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “We worked together with the industry to find ways to bring an end to racism within the sector. This declaration was a result of those meetings and an important step in the industry’s plan to move forward, support their employees, and to build a more inclusive workplace for everyone.”

Employer commitments

Many employers in the construction industry have not just signed on to this declaration but are taking further action to educate their members about the importance of eliminating racism and discrimination in the industry. EllisDon has hosted diversity and inclusion town halls to discuss these crucial issues with employees, and Daniels has organized site meetings with construction teams to stress the importance of creating inclusive workplaces and to reiterate there is zero tolerance for discrimination on job sites.

“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, EllisDon president.

“Actioning change requires commitment and collaboration in our industry. 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,” said Mitchell Cohen, president of the Daniels Corporation.

Union and worker support

“We are working with a third-party company to deliver anti-racism training for staff, shop stewards, and eventually all of our members,” said Chris Campbell, equity and diversity representative for CDCO. “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.”

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