Tory meets with construction industry leaders to discuss ‘horrific’ incidents of anti-Black racism at work sites this summer

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, all of which are being investigated as hate crimes, occurred at Michael Garron Hospital in the east end, an Eglinton Crosstown construction site near Eglinton Avenue West and Dufferin Street and at the work sites for two downtown condominiums.

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 said that he will also be holding additional discussions with other industry stakeholders, including construction union leadership.

“This meeting was only the first of a number to follow,” he said.

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