Community Benefits Agreement: Rexdale – Casino Woodbine
In 2018, the City of Toronto signed a community benefits agreement (CBA) with One Toronto Gaming, which operates Casino Woodbine in the Rexdale area of Toronto and is part of a multi-year proposed development project that includes expansion at the casino, two hotels, several restaurants and retail stores, a 4,200-seat event venue, and a 5,000 square foot on-site training centre.
The Rexdale – Casino Woodbine CBA was driven by community and City of Toronto efforts to mitigate the negative effects of expanded gaming, and to leverage opportunities to benefit the Rexdale community, and all equity-seeking groups across Toronto.
The CBA includes specific requirements for One Toronto Gaming to achieve a range of social and economic outcomes, including local and social hiring for both casino operations and construction-related employment, local and social procurement opportunities, responsible gambling measures, a child care centre, and community access to use the event venue.
Community Benefit Agreements (CBA) are a mechanism to leverage social and economic outcomes for local communities and equity-seeking groups impacted by large development projects. They are typically legally binding, contractual agreements between the developers, government and/or community. CBAs are negotiated on a project-by-project basis and are often driven by community efforts to both protect community interests and leverage the opportunity for the benefit of the community.
Key components of many CBAs are employment and training opportunities, as well as social procurement targets. Social procurement is an opportunity to leverage a small proportion of an organization’s procurement spend to create economic opportunities for people experiencing economic disadvantage, systemic discrimination and barriers to equal access.
CBAs are important tools in the City of Toronto’s efforts to reduce poverty. In 2015, Toronto City Council unanimously approved the Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy, a 20-year strategy to tackle poverty in Toronto. Recommendation number 13 of the Strategy challenges the City to “leverage the economic power of the City to stimulate job growth, support local businesses, and drive inclusive economic growth.”
A summary of the Rexdale – Casino Woodbine CBA targets and requirements to be achieved is provided below. Starting in spring 2019, this webpage will report on the status of meeting the targets and requirements in the CBA.
Local and Social Hiring
- Local hiring means employment opportunities for people who live in the Woodbine Local Area.
- Social hiring means employing people who self-identify with an equity-seeking group or people who face unique barriers to employment, including Ontario Works clients. Equity-seeking group means Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, racialized groups and visible minorities, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, two-spirit communities (LBGTQ2S), undocumented individuals, newcomers, immigrants and refugees, and persons with low income and youth. With respect to hiring obligations in this Agreement, equity-seeking groups do not include any person not legally entitled to work in Canada.
- At least 40 per cent of new hiring will be through local or social hiring; at least half will be through local hiring.
- In the first two years of expanded gaming, at least 40 per cent of total employees will have full-time employment; after two years, 50 per cent of total employees will have full-time employment.
- At least 10 per cent of overall hours worked by trades or craftspeople will be apprentices or journeypersons hired through local or social hiring.
- Other hiring during the construction phase will include project technicians, project coordinators and administrative staff.
- Develop a 20-year Employment and Labour Market Plan that includes career laddering, recruitment activities and scholarship opportunities.
- Identify job opportunities for people with criminal records
International Marketing Plan
- Develop an international marketing plan.
Responsible Gambling Measures
- One Toronto Gaming will maintain all existing responsible gambling measures as required by the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
Local and Social Procurement
- Develop a Supply Chain Diversity Policy and Procedures.
- At least 10 per cent of non-construction annual procurement through local or diverse suppliers.
Community Use of Space
- Develop Community Access to Space Policy and Procedures.
- At least one large-scale event per month (or 12 per year) in the entertainment venue for local community use at little to no cost.
Child Care Centre
- Contribute $5 million towards developing a child care centre.
Accountability and Monitoring Structure
- Community Steering Committee (convened by City of Toronto)
- Casino Woodbine Responsible Gambling Oversight Committee (convened by Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation)
- Employment & Labour Market Advisory Working Group (convened by One Toronto Gaming)
- One Toronto Gaming to provide quarterly and annual progress reports to the public on all CBA commitments
- Annual City staff reports to Toronto City Council
- Additional City staff reports to Toronto City Council (when necessary)
The Rexdale – Casino Woodbine CBA includes an accountability structure that ensures community voices are represented from local residents and through local community agencies. One of the committees is the Community Steering Committee and includes two local residents. One resident is affiliated with the Kingsview Village-The Westway Neighbourhood Action Planning Table, and another resident is affiliated with the North Etobicoke Residents’ Council.
Several agencies, including community funding organizations, employment agencies, and community health organizations are included in all three of the accountability committees:
- Community Steering Committee (led by the City of Toronto)
- Employment and Labour Market Advisory Working Group (led by One Toronto Gaming)
- Casino Woodbine Responsible Gambling Oversight Committee (led by Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation)
Local residents and communities can submit input and feedback through individual and agency representatives on the various committees, as well as through local neighbourhood action planning tables such as the North Etobicoke Residents’ Council and the Kingsview Village-The Westway Neighbourhood Action Planning Table.
These are two of the 15 Neighbourhood Planning Tables implemented through the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020. A Neighborhood Action Planning Table is comprised of residents, community agencies, local businesses, City Councillors and City staff who meet regularly to plan and deliver local actions in their Neighbourhood Improvement Area.
The boundaries of the Woodbine local area are used to define local hiring and local suppliers.
Casino Woodbine is committed to hiring at least 40 per cent of new hires through local or social hiring. These positions include table gaming, casino operations, and in future, construction, hospitality and retail.
The City is working with Casino Woodbine to ensure that local job seekers in Rexdale and members of equity-seeking groups are prepared to compete for and be successful in jobs at Casino Woodbine.
If you are a job seeker interested in jobs at Casino Woodbine and require support to prepare for work, please visit the Rexdale Employment Centre or contact Mecada Mitchell-Djabatey at 416-392-4557.
If you are ready to work and would like to apply for jobs at Casino Woodbine, please visit casinowoodbine.com/careers.