Report Reveals New Approach To Community Benefits Agreements


Following best practices can maximize value for taxpayers while meeting public projects’ social goals


July 15, 2022

OTTAWA, ON – Governments can now implement truly advantageous Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) thanks to a new best practices framework and guide by Cardus, a non-partisan think tank. A Framework for Implementing Community Benefits Agreements will help governments and other public entities develop CBAs that actually improve local communities, support diversity and inclusion, and ensure good value for public dollars spent.

“If you’re going to do it, do it right,” says Renze Nauta, Work & Economics Program Director at Cardus. “CBAs increase construction project costs, so we’ve developed a manual for implementing CBAs in a way that lets governments meet their social goals while maximizing taxpayer dollars.”

A Framework for Implementing Community Benefits Agreements outlines five key elements for CBAs:

  • Establishing clear policy goals in support of desired social and community benefits.
  • Ensuring a diversity of labour suppliers through fair, open, competitive contract bidding.
  • Embedding workforce diversity through social enterprises, a variety of unions, colleges, construction associations, and others.
  • Empowering managers to design projects with achievable community benefits.
  • Elevating success measurement to accurately account for project results.

The Cardus framework is based on interviews with approximately 25 stakeholders responding to the July 2021 research paper Community Benefits Agreements: Toward a Fair, Open and Inclusive Framework for CanadaStakeholders included representatives of labour, construction companies, construction associations, First Nations, social enterprises, governments, and the engineering consulting sector.

A Framework for Implementing Community Benefits Agreements is freely available at


Lucy Lantz


Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society's institutions can work together for the common good.