By ALI RAZA, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Residential Construction Council of Ontario has launched an anti-racism campaign in the construction industry following racist incidents at a number of Toronto construction sites over the summer including Michael Garron Hospital in East York.
In a statement, the residential builders’ group said it was “appalled when nooses were discovered at the construction sites over the summer.”
On June 10, two nooses were found at an EllisDon construction site at the hospital. The hospital, EllisDon, and elected officials quickly condemned the incident, and the community responded by covering the construction site wall facing Sammon Avenue in anti-racism messages for support.
Similar incidents were reported at construction sites downtown in Regent Park and at 81 Bay St. in June. In July, a noose was found at near Dufferin Street and Eglinton Avenue West at a Crosstown LRT construction site.
“Such disturbing incidents are acts of cowardice and racism that have no place in the industry nor society,” RESCON’s statement reads.
In response, the association has launched a campaign – Construction Against Racism Everywhere (CARE) – to deal with racism in the industry.
The campaign’s strategy is to form a coalition of employers, unions and sub-trades from the industry to educate workers, engage stakeholders through conversations and meetings with various construction associations.
“While the recent incidents in no way exemplify the majority of the 400,000 workers, contractors, and builders who work in Ontario’s construction industry, RESCON is aware that there is a problem and will continue to do all that we can learn to educate the workforce,” RESCON board of directors chair Bruno Giancola said.
Its other initiatives include a webinar with a panel discussion and virtual meetings with Toronto Mayor John Tory on the matter.
- Ali Raza is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.