Posted on March 4, 2011

15,000 Pan Am Jobs for Diverse Workers

Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun, March 2, 2011

A short-list of companies competing to build sporting venues for the 2015 Pan Am Games have been whittled down to three. More than 15,000 construction and other jobs will be created during the next four years of building in Toronto, Hamilton, St. Catharines, Caledon, Minden and Welland, said Peter Wilson, vice-president of Infrastructure Ontario.

About 200 Toronto-area business people on Wednesday packed Victoria College at the University of Toronto, seeking opportunities available under a 2003 City of Toronto diversity policy, that gives preferential treatment to Aboriginals, women, visible minorities and the handicapped.

Wilson said the policy ensures that a number of workers getting construction jobs are from disadvantaged Toronto communities.

“This is a city of unmatched diversity,” Wilson told the business people. “It is very important that we reach out to certain groups who are unrepresented in this city.”

He said the Athlete’s Village, in the West Donlands, will be a centrepiece of the Games and the largest venue being built. It will accommodate 10,000 athletes from 42 countries during the Pan Am and Parapan Games.

Wilson said a winning builder for the project, that is estimated to cost $2.4 billion, will be chosen by March 17.

Allen Vansen, of TO 2015, said 15,000 jobs will be created from 27 construction projects to update or build new sporting venues.

“The Village is the largest construction project being built for the event,” Vansen said. “Each bidder will have to fall within the guidelines of the city’s diversity policy.”

Courtney Betty, of the Diversity Business Network, said the meeting narrowed it down to three construction firms that are being considered for the project.