18 May, 2023 1:21 PM

RELEASE: Toronto’s Unions Condemn Mayoral Candidate’s Anti-Union Stance on City Tendering

TORONTO – Toronto & York Region Labour Council and the Central Ontario Building Trades condemn renewed attempts to undermine collective bargaining in City of Toronto business.


In a release earlier this week, Toronto mayoral candidate Brad Bradford promised to “open tendering” on City of Toronto construction projects, against the current regulations that keep bids within the unionized pool of contractors.

“A mayoral candidate wants to save the City money on the backs of workers, and that’s a non-starter,” said Andria Babbington, President of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council. “We know that when tradespeople are unionized they work safer, are better trained, and are happier and more secure members of society. City Council understands this, and that’s why Toronto remains a union-friendly employer.”

At a time when many people are looking outside of the city limits to find housing that matches average working-class salaries, a move to destabilize Toronto’s construction workforce would pose an additional barrier to maintaining a livable city.

“It’s disappointing that Brad Bradford has reversed his stance on open tendering and is now clearly taking a direct position against unionized construction workers who have been the backbone of building this City and actively shaping good and safe work in this region for over a century,” said James St. John, Business Manager / Financial Secretary of the Central Ontario Building Trades.

In 2019, Toronto City Council voted overwhelmingly in support of remaining a union-friendly construction employer. At that time, Brad Bradford voted yes—but now he’s saying no.

“We hope other candidates—and all governments—will be smart enough not to pick this fight with organized labour in Toronto,” said Babbington. “We’ve already slammed the door on Bill 66. It’s ‘case closed’ on open tender.”

Toronto & York Region Labour Council is a central labour body that combines the strength of local unions representing 220,000 women and men who work in every sector of the economy. Labour Council advocates for policies that support the wellbeing of the “whole worker” at all orders of government, and especially at the municipal level.

The Central Ontario Building Trades represents 25 trade union affiliates and tens of thousands of skilled men and women, united as one voice for the construction industry. The COBT acts as the voice for construction workers with government, owners, employers and the public.

Media Contacts:

Skylar Maharaj

[email protected]


James St. John

[email protected]

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