Tory meets with construction industry leaders to discuss 'horrific' incidents of anti-Black racism at work sites this summer
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, September 4, 2020 4:08PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 4, 2020 5:39PM EDT
Mayor John Tory is vowing to work with construction companies to help tackle anti-Black racism following a number of “horrific, unsettling and unacceptable” incidents at work sites across the city this summer.
There have been at least four separate incidents so far this summer in which nooses have been left hanging at construction sites in the city.
The incidents at Michael Garron Hospital, an Eglinton Crosstown construction site in the west end and at two condominiums downtown have all been investigated as crimes by police but there have not yet been any arrests made.
On Friday, Tory convened a meeting with senior executives from a number of construction companies to discuss the incidents as well as “policies and approaches” that could be implemented to tackle anti-Black racism in the industry.
In a statement released following the meeting, he said that those present specifically discussed “the searing hatred and the very real threat symbolized by a noose” as well as anti-Black racism in the industry more generally.
“I am committed to working with all of the partners in the construction industry -companies, unions and associations - to make sure this issue is visibly and effectively addressed so that racism of all kinds, and in particular anti-Black racism is eradicated,” Tory said in the statement. “In today's meeting we not only addressed these recent disturbing, racist incidents but also discussed options for addressing the root causes of racism along with policies and approaches to be implemented in this industry to confront anti-Black racism.”
Tory said in his statement that a number of major construction companies have already begun to “take potentially significant steps” to address the issue of anti-Black racism and have indicated their intention to make those initiatives public in “the coming weeks.”
Tory also said that he will also be holding additional discussions with other industry stakeholders, including construction union leadership.
In an interview with CP24 on Friday afternoon, he said that the issues in the construction industry are “systematic of a broader problem across society” when it comes to anti-Black racism.
“This is not to single out construction as being a particular hotbed of this systematic racism; it is just to say that we have to go industry by industry, group by group through business and through government and address this and say that we are just not going to put up with it in a city like Toronto,” he said.