Local Jobs for Local Residents – A Community Benefits Agreement

The new LRT rapid transit network can provide more than better transit

The new Light Rapid Transit (LRT) network is a $8.4 billion project. It will provide better transit for hundreds of thousands of people. This project can improve the lives of many people in other ways as well.

Respect Scarborough along with other community groups are launching a campaign to make sure that people living near the LRT receive the greatest possible benefit from the project.

The goal of the campaign is a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with Metrolinx, the public agency that is building the LRT.

What is a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)?

A CBA is a commitment to provide jobs and other benefits for local residents. In many countries, communities demand CBAs when new industries or public sector projects are built.

  • The construction of the Metrolinx LRT transit network will create many employment opportunities. Let’s make sure that local people get a fair share of those jobs.
  • Community groups have already started to pressure Metrolinx for a CBA that will provide jobs in local communities, especially for our youth.
  • Although most of the focus is on jobs, other issues may also be addressed in the CBA with Metrolinx.

The campaign for a CBA with Metrolinx is an opportunity to raise urgent issues facing our communities and get real results!  It will take a lot of work to achieve a Community Benefits Agreement with Metrolinx.  Together we can win a CBA that produces real results for our communities!

Here is what YOU can do to support the campaign for a Metrolinx Community Benefits Agreement:

  1. Visit the campaign website to learn more about successful CBAs. www.communitybenefits.ca  (to be launched shortly)
  2. Get on the campaign email list so that you can receive notices of campaign actions. Contact respectscarborough@gmail.com  
  3. Invite a campaign organizer to make a presentation to your neighbourhood organization, faith community, union or other group.
  4. Get support from individuals and organizations for the CBA.
  5. Contact the campaign to get leaflets and other materials for publicizing the campaign with family, co-workers, neighbours and others.  For a full flyer, please click CBA handout.
  6. Contact your Member of Provincial Parliament and your City Councillor to express your support for a Metrolinx CBA.

Respect Scarborough Youth Forum a Huge Success!

An amazing group of diverse and inspiring youth came together at Respect Scarborough’s forum this Saturday to demand respect. Youth heard from panelists talk about issues such as affordable housing, transit, youth programming, education, and good jobs. Creative breakout sessions followed where youth created videos, banners, spoken word, and learned more about how to make deputations.  For pictures of the event, click here.

The following Scarborough youth who have made change in their community received awards for their leadership and initiative:

Rehana Robin
Award:  Making change in the community

Rehana is involved in a youth-led group called BITSY. She challenged the city to develop a former rifle range into a vibrant youth space

Ebone Davis
Award:  Making change in the community

Ebone Davis has played an important leadership role in Girl Talk group – inspiring other girls and providing support as a youth leader.

Tamu Stevens
Award:  Making change in the community

Tamu has been really involved in organizing outreach events in Malvern and working on after school programs to support her peers

Khushbu Nurogho
Award:  Making change in the community

Khushbu is a role model for young people in her community. Through her work in the Community Design Initiative project, she has changed the way people think about a priority neighbourhood.

Troy Russell
Award: Overcoming Challenges

Troy has overcome many challenges and is now a mentor to students in the Boys to Men program at L’Amoreaux Collegiate. Troy’s determination to succeed despite the challenges he faced has made him a strong youth leader.

Gobi Sooriyakumar
Award:  Workplace Activist

Gobi is a young student page at Malvern public library. He has been involved in his workplace and is actively involved in his union as a steward. Gobi has also been involved in the Toronto & York Region Labour Council’s Scarborough outreach efforts.

Eric Sin
Award:  Workplace Activist

Eric has been vocal at his workplace and was the youngest union representative representing the recreational workers. Eric is the co-chair of the young workers committee at CUPE Local 79.


Other world-class cities building LRTs

There are 151 cities worldwide that have implemented or building Light Rail.

Paris, France

Here are some cities with LRT that might surprise you:

  • Paris, Grenoble, Nice (France)
  • Berlin, Dresden, Cologne (Germany)
  • Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • St. Petersburg (Russia)
  • Macau (China)
  • Ho Chin Minh City (Vietnam)

In fact, LRT is the fastest growing mode of transportation in North America.  Cities like Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, Waterloo and Denver – all places with more snowfall than Toronto – use LRT.

LRT in Minneapolis, USA

Why are so many world-class cities building LRTs?

  • Light Rail Vehicles are less costly to build and to maintain
  • LRT construction is less disruptive because it is on the surface
  • They are environmentally friendly: zero local emissions
  • LRT technology is cutting-edge
  • They have higher capacity than buses – are expandable
  • LRT operates in all weather conditions – including snow
  • They are high in quality – quiet & very comfortable
  • They increase land values and attract development
  • And everywhere they’ve been built, they attract high levels of ridership

All images in this post are sourced from the Toronto Transit Commission.

LRT benefits Scarborough communities!

Aside the neighbourhoods of Rexdale, Jane & Finch, Humber College, Black Creek, and Leaside getting better transit through LRT development in the west end, these Scarborough communities would also benefit:

  • Golden Mile
  • Agincourt
  • Scarborough City Centre
  • Malvern
  • Morningside
  • Centennial College

This map reflects Toronto City Council's decisions from Feb. 8 and March 22, 2012

Better commuting time for workers

The average commuting time in the Greater Toronto Area is 79 minutes – that is whether by bus, car, subway, cycling or walking.  Can you imagine spending that 80 minutes with your family and friends instead?  Or spend that valuable time working more hours and making more money?

The LRT network will reduce travelling time for workers and their families which results in a better quality of life for all.  People can spend the time saved from a shorter commute in other areas – helping kids with their homework, volunteering at a meaningful place, relaxing and enjoying the outdoors, etc.

And the reduced travelling time is not just for those who will take public transit, but also a better commute for drivers.  Imagine with the LRT, there will be fewer cars and fewer buses – meaning less traffic congestion.  Wouldn’t it be nice for once to be ON time instead of stuck in traffic?

Scarborough versus other world-class cities???

Scarborough communities aren’t the only ones benefiting from Light Rail technologies.  Other world-class cities like Paris (France), Berlin (Germany), Budapest (Hungary), Dresden (Germany), St. Petersburg (Russia), and Barcelona (Spain) have also implemented LRT.  Why?  Because it works!

Click here to read more on other world-class cities.

Line T3 – 8 km, 110,000 passengers/day

Within North America, these are some cities implementing Light Rail:

Some other world-class cities building Light Rail:

All images in this post are sourced from the Toronto Transit Commission.

LRT Benefits for Students

For students who are studying at UT Scarborough campus, Centennial College and other secondary and post-secondary institutions, the recently-approved Light Rail Transit system will mean a faster commute to and from school – which means more time for studying, working that side job to pay for school, or for extra-curricular activities.

For students with active social lives, the future LRT system will better connect Scarborough with other parts of the city.

LRT also improves rider safety

Students often spend late nights studying at the library or hanging out at the movies with friends.  With frequent service and a next vehicle time display, students can get to and from places faster.  Since the LRT lane is in the middle of the road and its shelters are transparent, it also improves passenger visibility and safety.

Shelters and design allow for better passenger visibility & safety

Other improved safety features include cameras at each entrance to monitor passenger boarding and safety.

In addition, LRT platforms will also allow passengers to get on and off vehicles separate from traffic.

Safer for LRT passengers - can get on & off separate from car traffic

 All images from this post are sourced from the Toronto Transit Commission.