Ottawa Community Benefits Network (OCBN)

Originally established as the LeBreton Flats Community Benefits Coalition, the initial work focused solely on the LeBreton Flats redevelopment. But as our network and influence grew, the group began expanding the focus more broadly. In early 2021, the LeBreton Flats Community Benefits Coalition was officially rebranded as the Ottawa Community Benefits Network following the model used in other Canadian cities. In April 2021, the Network received a Social Procurement Champion Award from Buy Social Canada for our work on the LeBreton Flats redevelopment.

Since June 2019, Ottawa based organizations representing tens of thousands of our citizens have come together to advance the use of Community Benefits Agreements to help ensure we build a community where all walks of life can live and work together: a community that is vibrant, equitable, healthy, and environmentally sustainable.

Founding Principles

Members of the Ottawa Community Benefits Network

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The Ottawa Community Benefits Network acknowledges the administrative support from the Ottawa Community Loan Fund (OCLF) and the Somerset West Community Health Centre (SWCHC). 

The Ottawa Community Benefits Network has a shared vision to maximize social and economic benefits of major infrastructure projects for all citizens of Ottawa across 9 major thematic areas. This vision acknowledges that Community Benefits Agreements are the best and most accountable means to advance real progress in these critical areas. Our members have officially signed on to this vision through a shared Statement of Principles.

  1. Affordable housing
  2. Indigenous recognition and presence
  3. Innovative and co-operative commercial and social enterprise
  4. Local and Social Procurement
  5. Decent work
  6. Community services and resources
  7. Sustainable infrastructure
  8. Active and sustainable transportation
  9. Accessibility

So What are Community Benefits Agreements?

So What are Community Benefits Agreements?

Community benefits are additional socio-economic and physical benefits for the local community that are leveraged by dollars already being spent on infrastructure and land development projects. Community benefits streams can apply to the project construction phase and during the operation and maintenance of the facility.

A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) is an agreement, typically involving community members and coalitions, developers/general contractors, and government, intended to achieve a broad range of socio-economic outcomes from infrastructure and building projects. CBAs help achieve social value and stretch the economic impact of every dollar spent during construction and, subsequently, during operations. Experience shows that the most effective CBAs are written as legally binding agreements.

Think of a CBA as the overall architecture. The details that fill out the architecture are community-driven and the result of providing time and space for meaningful community voices and aspirations.

Benefits Generated By CBAs

CBAs in Canada are helping to build community wealth, create social value, and build more inclusive, sustainable communities. The benefits from CBAs fall into several categories:

  • Delivering job readiness and workforce development programs that enable economic inclusion

  • Supporting small, medium, and social enterprises through commitments to social procurement;

  • Providing economic inclusion opportunities for local residents from equity seeking groups

  • Providing affordable housing

  • Providing community amenities such as daycares

  • Contributing to sustainable communities with neighbourhood and environmental improvements.