2018 Greener City for All Award: Building Up

On December 4th, the Toronto Environmental Alliance announced the recipient of the second annual Greener City for All Award - an award to recognize and celebrate our allies in the movement for a greener, more sustainable and more equitable Toronto.

In honour of their work to tackle climate change while creating pathways to good, green jobs, TEA presented the  2018 Greener City for All Award to Building Up.

Above (from left to right)Marc Soberano, Rahim Charania, Dean Vye and Allison Roth from Building Up

About Building Up

Building Up is a local non-profit social enterprise focused on connecting individuals with employment barriers to careers through contracts in greening buildings and other employment opportunities. Following the model used by BUILD Inc in Winnipeg, Building Up began their work in Toronto in 2014. Building Up works to address energy efficiency, water conservation, affordable housing, and most of all – to create a real pathway for individuals experiencing barriers to enter apprenticeships and careers in the trades.

The program exposes participants to learning opportunities that provide skills in water and energy retrofits, general labour and general contracting. More than 85% of participants have secured full-time employment following their training, and more than 90 participants have been trained so far.  

Buildings and retrofits: A key part of climate action in cities

Buildings account for half of greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto and one of the key action areas to reduce emissions in Toronto. Toronto's TransformTO climate plan includes a commitment to retrofit 100% of existing buildings by 2050.

Through their training programs and contracts to do water and energy retrofits, Building Up has created pathways to trade careers for people facing employment barriers. And by focusing on energy and water retrofits, their work is improving sustainability and reducing Toronto’s carbon footprint. Their work is a perfect example of how action on climate change can create community benefits.

"They are able to reach a triple bottom line: bring in money, create good green jobs and lower our carbon footprint as a city. With Building Up, they're helping the environment, they're helping social justice. What more could you ask for?"

- Kofi Hope, TEA board member, presenting the award to Building Up

Watch the video and hear from one of Building Up’s graduates:

TEA profiled Building Up's work earlier this year in our report Climate Solutions that Work: Community Benefits and Climate Action.


Help put jobs, justice and climate action on City Council's agenda in 2019 - sign up here