Community Benefits Resources - Links of Interest

What are community benefits?

“Community benefits” is a way of leveraging dollars already being spent - by either the private or public sector - to bring wider social, economic, and other benefits to communities.  Benefits often include job training, apprenticeships and hiring targeted to traditionally disadvantaged communities, and opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses or social enterprises. But they can include many other things, depending on the needs and aspirations of the local community, from affordable housing to environmental initiatives, scholarships, and public realm improvements.

Community benefits can be advanced through contracts via Community Benefit Agreements; through public procurement; or by large, publically funded institutions, sometimes called "anchor institutions".

This page, while not comprehensive,  highlights reports, policies, and precedents of interest from Canada and around the world.  For a quick introduction, you can check out my FAQs.

Community Benefits in Canada

Graser, D., Macfarlane, R., Myers, K., Pasolli, K.  Community Benefits in York Region Study:  Research Report, Framework and Toolkit (Human Services Planning Board, York Region, 2019)

Graser, D. and Leanage, N.  Realizing Social and Economic Objectives through Infrastructure Planning and Investment (Evergreen, 2017)

Graser, D. Community Benefits in Practice and in Policy:  Lessons from the U.S. and the U.K. (Atkinson Foundation, 2016)

Graser, D.   Community Benefits and Tower Renewal (Evergreen, 2016)

Hanff, B.  Bringing Community Benefits to Tower Neighbourhoods (2016)

Dragicevic, N. Anchor Institutions (Mowat Centre, 2015)

Galley, A.  Community Benefits Agreements  (Mowat Centre, 2015)

Yalnizyan, A.  Community Benefits Agreements:  Empowering Communities to Maximize Returns on Public Infrastructure Investments (IFSID, 2017)

Metrolinx Community Benefits Framework and Program

Toronto Community Benefits Network

Buy Social Canada - social purchasing links and documents

City of Toronto CBA with One Toronto Gaming for Rexdale-Woodbine Casino


Canadian Legislation and Policies of Interest (selected)

Government of Canada, Community Employment Benefits program

Dragicevic, N. and Ditta, S.  Community Benefits and Social Procurement Policies:  A Jurisdictional Review (Mowat Centre, 2016)

Ontario Infrastructure and Jobs for Prosperity Act

Ontario's Long-Term Infrastructure Plan  (Chapter 3)

Quebec Social Economy Act

British Columbia Social Purchasing Guidelines

Nova Scotia Sustainable Procurement Policy

City of Toronto Social Procurement Program and Policy and Community Benefits Framework

City of Victoria Mayor's Task Force on Social Enterprise and Social Procurement Action Plan

BC  community benefits agreement framework

City of Vancouver Community Benefits Policy

York University Social Procurement Policy

Community Benefits in the United States

Excellent resources, tools and texts of CBAs are available on the website of the Partnership for Working Families.

Good information is available from community-based advocacy organizations who have succeeded in negotiating CBAS, including the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) and the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE)

Julian Gross is the attorney who has negotiated the majority of CBAs in the US and has written a number of major papers on legal issues with CBAs.  His website has a wealth of useful information.

Community Benefits in UK, Europe and Australia

Reports of interest (selected):

Richard MacFarlane, R. (2014) Tackling Poverty Through Public Procurement (Rowntree Foundation)

MacFarlane, R, & Cook, M. (2002)  Achieving Community Benefits Through Contracts: Law, Policy & Practice (Rowntree Foundation)

European Commission (2016), Social Enterprises and the Social Economy Going Forward

Government of Victoria (2010), Social Procurement: A Guide for Victorian Local Government 


National legislation and policies:

Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act, 2014

Public Services (Social Value) Act, 2013 (UK)

Community Benefits:  Delivering Maximum Value for the Welsh Pound

Buy Social: Integrating Social Benefits into Public Contracts (Northern Ireland)

For more information about the UK, check out the websites of Richard Macfarlane, who has worked with numerous governments to craft community benefits approaches, and CEIS, which specializes in supporting the social enterprise sector in Scotland.