The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) announced that Amina Dibe, manager of government and stakeholder relations, was named winner of the 2022 Community Benefits Champion Award at the Toronto Community Benefits Network Building Diversity Awards on May 10.

The awards recognize leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion in the construction industry. Dibe is chair of the Anti-Racism Roundtable, a coalition of more than 50 people representing 20 different groups, including management, labour, sub-trades, post-secondary training partners, government and health and safety professionals that are working together to address racism in the construction industry.

“Part of combating racism, discrimination and hate involves challenging the status quo of how we’ve traditionally done things,” says Dibe. “This includes addressing the culture of construction through continuous training and strongly enforcing existing and new policies to make sure that our diverse, racialized and underrepresented workers feel comfortable. It also involves directly engaging with our diverse and racialized workers to learn about their experiences in the industry. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made thus far but we still have a long way to go.”

The Community Benefits Champion Award recognizes an individual working for a private developer, local union, municipality, government agency, school board, academic or health institution who is making extraordinary efforts to ensure underrepresented groups gain training, employment and procurement opportunities through community benefits.

RESCON established the Anti-Racism Roundtable in October 2020 after racist acts occurred at Toronto construction sites. The roundtable provides a forum for industry associations to work together to address the immediate challenges of systemic and overt anti-Black racism in the construction industry while consistently fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion of all underrepresented minorities within our workforce for the long term.

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RESCON also sponsored a Construction Against Racism Everywhere (CARE) campaign. A goal of the campaign is to raise awareness that racism is not acceptable in the industry, with the hashtag #RESCONCare. In November 2021, RESCON and the Anti-Racism Roundtable launched a BIPOC in Construction testimonial campaign to highlight the diverse and racialized voices that make up our industry. Dibe was nominated for the award by MJ, a formworker with Local 27, who provided a testimonial for the campaign

RESCON president Richard Lyall says RESCON has always taken a leadership role in the fight against racism, and discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated in the industry.

“We were proud to once again be a sponsor of the Building Diversity Awards as the annual event allows us to celebrate the diverse and racialized workers who make up our industry and to recommit to improving recruitment and retention methods so that people from underrepresented groups continue to be interested in construction and stay in the industry,” he says.

“Amina has done a tremendous job in quarterbacking the Anti-Racism Roundtable and ensuring that we have policies in place to make sure that our diverse, racialized and underrepresented workers feel comfortable, welcome and part of the team.”

Featured image: Amina Dibe (left) with Ahd AlAshry, both of RESCON, at award ceremony. (RESCON)

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