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Construction groups join forces to combat racism

March 1, 2021

After witnessing a spate of bigotry and discrimination, a coalition of construction-related groups has announced its commitment to address racism in the industry.

The group expressed its support for the Toronto Declaration of Inclusive Workplaces & 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.”

The City of Toronto, the Carpenters’ District Council (CDCO), Carpenters Local 27, EllisDon, the Daniels Corporation, the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 183 and the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) are part of the coalition.

“I have made it clear that racism and discrimination have no place in Toronto,” says Toronto Mayor John Tory. “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.”

The announcement comes after the construction sector saw a rise in racist incidents, including one last June where nooses were found in several construction sites in the city.

“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,” says Tory. “We worked together with the industry to find ways to bring an end to racism within the sector.”

The declaration is an important step in the construction industry’s plan to support employees and build a more inclusive workplace, he says.

In November, several construction groups teamed up to launch a “Built for Respect” campaign to provide appropriate training and education in support of anti-racism initiatives.

“It is the collective responsibility of the industry to demonstrate that construction is a welcoming path for the next generation of tradespeople – regardless of their background.”

Last September, RESCON launched a Construction Against Racism Everywhere (CARE) campaign to bring employers, unions and government together to combat and address racism in the industry.