noose toronto

Toronto admits to having an anti-Black racism problem at construction sites

The mayor of Toronto is acknowledging the severity of the issue of anti-Black racism within the construction industry following several incidents where nooses and other hate-motivated messages were found on construction sites in the city earlier this summer.

Mayor John Tory met with senior executives from the building and construction industry to discuss ways to tackle this anti-Black racism today, and he says he's fully committed to working toward eradicating this kind of hatred and discrimination.

In June, at the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement, three nooses were discovered on construction sites throughout the city within the span of just two weeks.

At least two others were found in the following weeks, and the message "Black Lives Don't Matter" was also written on washroom stalls at an EllisDon construction site at 81 Bay St. around that time.

"We discussed this morning the searing hatred and the very real threat symbolized by a noose, and this underlined the horrific, unsettling and unacceptable nature of these events," said Tory in a statement about today's conversation with industry leaders.

The mayor said he and the senior executives discussed possible ways to address the root causes of racism while also brainstorming policies and approaches to be implemented in the industry to confront anti-Black racism.

He added that he was impressed to learn several leading companies and their industry associations have begun to take steps to directly address the problem, and they told him they intend to announce these initiatives to the public in the coming weeks.

During the discussion, the mayor said he also made a point to express his belief that focusing on improving diversity within construction workforces would help to foster greater understanding in the industry, while also creating further momentum for action on these issues.

This would also provide greater opportunity for Black Torontonians who are underrepresented in the construction and building industry, he said.

Representatives from the city's Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit participated in the discussion, according to Tory, and their services have been offered to help develop an action plan for the industry.

"This meeting was only the first of a number to follow," Tory said. 

"I will hold a similar meeting with construction union leadership in the coming days, and take note of the fact that unions and companies intend to work together on confronting racism in construction, a challenge that is an important one within the context of the larger issue we face as a City."

Lead photo by

Mitchell Gerskup


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