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Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning (APCOL)

Good Green Jobs / Community Benefits Agreement Campaign Case Study 

The Mount Dennis Good Green Green Jobs case study is co-led by James Nugent (University of Toronto) and Steve Shallhorn (Labour Education Centre). This case study focused on a coalition formed between organized labour and anti-poverty community activists in the Mount Dennis-Weston neighbourhoods to create good-paying, green jobs in the community. The study helped initiate a campaign to win a “Community Benefits Agreement” so that local low-income residents, including equity-seeking and historically disadvantaged groups, could benefit from training programs and jobs associated with the construction of a large transit projects in the neighbourhood (i.e. Metrolinx's Eglinton Crosstown LRT).

Central to this study was the use of popular education workshops and the facilitation of meetings that brought into coalition a wide range of social movement actors including residents, social service providers, community groups, trade unions, bureaucrats and politicians. Out of these workshops and meetings formed the Toronto Community Benefit Network (www.communitybenefits.ca). This study shows how anti-poverty community organizing can 'jump-scales' in response to changing political opportunities and the ways that learning underpins the formation of new social movement coalitions. 

For more information about this work, see www.communitybenefits.ca

Final Report of Good Green Jobs Case Study (21 page PDF file)


Family Day in Mount Dennis

Residents gather to discuss barriers to accessing transit-related jobs

By James Nugent, University of Toronto (Dept. of Geography)

Family Day in Mount Dennis, TorontoOn February 18, 2013 (Family Day), APCOL sponsored and co-hosted a community meeting in Mount Dennis—a priority neighbourhood in northwestern Toronto. The goal of the meeting was to collectively investigate the ways that forthcoming investments in infrastructure projects in the area could be leveraged to also address entrenched poverty in the community. The meeting was specifically promoted in the community as a Family Day celebration and discussion in order to provide a participatory political space for young parents (see attached flyer).

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Interactive Panel Discusses “Community Benefits” in Mount Dennis

By James Nugent, University of Toronto (Dept. of Geography)

On Friday April 26th, 2013, the Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning (APCOL) project organized a community meeting focused on how transit developments in Mount Dennis could help lift the area out of poverty. Working with the Toronto Community Benefits Network, three guest speakers were brought in from Los Angeles, Scotland and Vancouver to share their experiences in leveraging community benefits out of large infrastructure developments. After presentations by the guest speakers, community members had an opportunity to ask questions and make comments about how a community benefits agreement (CBA) could apply to Mount Dennis.

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Toronto Community Benefits Network Launches First City-Wide Meeting, January 24, 2014

by James Nugent

The Toronto Community Benefits Network launched is first city-wide organizing meeting Thursday night.  Over thirty community leaders from Weston Mount Dennis, Thorncliffe, Crescent Town and other neighbourhoods in Scarborough, came together to discuss how to ensure equitable access to good-paying jobs associated with transit developments underway in Toronto.  This builds on the separate discussions that these communities have been having over the past few months about how to negotiate a community benefits agreement (CBA) with Metrolinx as part of the province's $8.4 billion light rail transit (LRT) expansion in Toronto.  

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