Blog/Articles

Is B.C. Giving Community Benefits Agreements a Bad Name?

July 26, 2020 —   Tim Runge, Partner Gray Hammond, Associate   The construction industry is taking the British Columbia government to court. A coalition of construction associations is asking the court to reverse a lower court decision that referred part of their case on the government’s labour rules to the Labour Relations Board (LRB) and to return the entire case to B.C. Supreme...

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How Governments Can Supercharge Economic Development Through Infrastructure Spending

July 2, 2020 — Tim Runge, Partner On April 30th Kevin Carmichael, Business Columnist for Canada’s National Post, wrote that “…restarting the clock (on the economy) will likely require a second wave of spending that absolutely will be intended as fiscal stimulus.” Previously, in the Globe & Mail, former chief economist at CIBC World Markets, Jeff Rubin, wrote that post-Covid-19, “Nothing of our world...

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Offsets Quo Vadis

May 9, 2020 — Developing the future economy Post Covid   Today, with countries grappling with COVID-19 and its effect on the world as a whole, socially and economically, governments will need to utilise every economic stimulus tool available to them to support their economies as a whole. Global supply chains have been disrupted, factories shut and the down-turn as a consequence impacts us...

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Now is the time to switch you organization from shareholder-focused to stakeholder-focused

April 18, 2020 — (This post is based on a Wharton Business School article, Ten Guidelines for Creating Opportunities in a Time of Crisis.) Two events are forcing corporations to change how they operate. One is an existing long-term trend, the other is an immediate emergency. The existing long-term trend: the rise of Millennials and Gen Z in the workplace and the marketplace. As employees,...

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Predicting Municipal Contracts – The What, When & Why of Municipal Procurement

December 24, 2019 — This guest post first appeared on muniSERV.ca  No one can predict who’s buying what, when and why, but there are some key markers that can help you be strategic about reaching municipalities at the times they typically buy goods and services. What they’re buying: First, do your homework and research! Watch the news stories – are they mandated to get...

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Community Benefits Agreements in the United Kingdom

December 16, 2019 — This is one of a series of articles, based on a report commissioned by the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP). Scotland Pilot projects by Scottish public bodies in 2006 emphasized targeted recruitment and training, and social procurement. A 2008 report, published by the Scottish government, outlined a method for including Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) clauses in public contracts. Community...

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Community Benefits Agreements in the USA (Part 2)

December 9, 2019 — This is one of a series of articles, based on a report commissioned by the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP). Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) in the USA have included a wide range of benefits: HOUSING Affordable housing (units in market-rate projects or geared to low-income households), funding, or financing (including interest-free loans). JOBS & SUPPLIERS Recruitment and referral system...

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Community Benefits Agreements in the USA (Part 1)

December 2, 2019 — This is one of a series of articles, based on a report commissioned by the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP). In the United States, private Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) have become increasingly common in major infrastructure and development projects. Most CBAs in the USA are private agreements, driven by communities and involving private partners (and occasionally local authorities) who...

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Socio-Economic Procurement in Electrical Utilities

November 25, 2019 — This is one of a series of articles, based on a report commissioned by the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP). In addition to the construction phase of utilities infrastructure, the ongoing operations require staff and suppliers, so local training, hiring, and procurement have been part of these contracts for some time. Local ownership of part of the revenue or...

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Socio-Economic Procurement in Resource Extraction

November 18, 2019 — This is one of a series of articles, based on a report commissioned by the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP). Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs) have been in place in Canada's North for decades. Like a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), an IBA is a legally binding agreement developed through consultation and negotiation with the relevant Indigenous bands. They outline...

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Socio-Economic Procurement in Aerospace & Defence

November 11, 2019 — This is one of a series of articles, based on a report commissioned by the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP). Canada was one of the first countries to use Offsets, when Air Canada was still a Crown Corporation. Foreign vendors of passenger aircraft were required to show how their bids benefited Canada’s economy. Offsets involve activities designed to benefit...

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Introduction to Infrastructure Community Benefits in Canada

November 4, 2019 — This is one of a series of articles, based on a report commissioned by the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP). “Community benefits” are physical or socio-economic benefits for a local community, leveraged by dollars already committed to major infrastructure and land development projects. A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) is a legally binding and enforceable contract that sets forth specific...

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What constitutes a good community benefits policy framework?

October 28, 2019 — My recommendation for a framework around CBAs (I believe I may have mentioned my disdain for that term as it implies a requirement to apply benefits very narrowly in terms of geography) in broad terms would include the following: Eliminate the use of penalties to a developer or contractor. The idea of a bonus is attractive – the carrot and...

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Responsibility and Reputation: How ethical partnerships with big businesses and governments can pave roads and create jobs

September 24, 2019 — By Tim Runge, Partner It is interesting that the notion of a corporation having an interest in Socio-Economic Development issues is seen as new, and by some observers, evil.  At Babcock & Wilcox in 1987 my first assignment upon joining the company was to structure a large barter with Romania on behalf of a consortium of CANDU suppliers. At first...

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We should consider more than price when handing out government contracts

September 12, 2019 — By Tim Runge, Partner (This article first appeared in the Globe & Mail Report on Business in February 9, 2016) On April 9 last year, the Fraser Institute published a report that described Ontario's economic woes. With the second-highest debt in the country, highest annual budget deficit, and an average debt-to-GDP ratio of 38.6 per cent, Ontario, in the report's...

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Protectionist Policies and How Canadian Companies Can Fight Back

August 27, 2019 — By Tim Runge, Partner Much is being made (as it should) of the recent announcement by Bombardier that it will eliminate 550 jobs in Thunder Bay. It did not take long for senior-level politicians to assign blame at one another for the job losses, small consolation to the families who depend on these jobs. Is the slowdown in new orders...

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Innovations in Philanthropy: Social Impact and P3’s

July 22, 2019 — By Gray Hammond, Associate The growing numbers of foundations and non-profits in the world have generated a lot of innovation in philanthropy. Two of the most creative ideas are in Social Impact Investing and Public-Private Partnerships (“P3s”). Social Impact Social Impact Investing is not about making donations or grants, but investing assets. Normally a foundation gives 5% of its accumulated...

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Observations from the last Canadian Council of Public Private Partnerships conference in Toronto: A growing awareness of Community Benefits Agreements?

June 17, 2019 — By Tim Runge, Partner Though it seems a long time ago the CCPPP meeting held at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre in November was as usual extremely well organized, offering terrific networking and learning sessions. It was, as a result well attended by people around the globe. Mark Romoff and his staff are to be complimented. It is an excellent gathering of...

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Are Community Benefits Agreements here to stay? Looks like it.

May 13, 2019 — By Jack Runge, Contributor Notwithstanding certain jurisdictions’ reluctance to add what some might consider an additional layer of “complexity” to infrastructure procurement, Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) are here in Canada and not going anywhere.  Look at Vancouver, BC where CBAs are now built into development ranging from projects like the 2010 Olympic Village to the $1.4bn Pattullo Bridge project. CBAs...

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What is a Community Benefits Agreement?

April 8, 2019 — By Tim Runge, Partner The term Community Benefits Agreement has until recent years been a relatively unknown one, at least in Canada. The Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) defines Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) as “deals between developers and coalitions of community organizations, addressing a broad range of community needs. They are safeguards to ensure that affected residents share in...

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Community Benefits and Social Procurement Policies

June 30, 2017 — A Jurisdictional Review This report reviews community benefits and social procurement policies from around the world and analyzes the successes and challenges of the varied approaches. Through community benefits and social procurement policies, which align spending and purchasing activities with broader public policy objectives, governments are changing the way they do business to reap greater social and economic benefits. This...

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Federal Infrastructure Spending Benefits Only A Fraction

March 8, 2017 — In a special to the Financial Post, Charles Lamman and Hugh MacIntyre argue that Canadian Federal Infrastructure spending estimated at around $100 billion is only about 10% effective at actually stimulating the economy: In principle, sound infrastructure projects can improve the economy’s productive capacity. A needed road, bridge, railway or port that helps move people, goods and resources more efficiently...

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