The Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy (IFSD) is a Canadian think-tank sitting at the nexus of public finance and state institutions. Fiscal ecosystems include governments, legislatures, the public administration and other key actors and institutions in our political and economic life. This ecosystem, rooted in hundreds of years of political history and economic development, is composed of an intertwined set of incentives, public and private information and a complex and sometimes opaque set of rules and processes based on constitutional law, legislative law, conventions and struggles for power. The actors within this system depend on one another as well as the robustness and transparency of information and processes, all underpinned by a society’s standards of accountability. It is at this dynamic intersection of money and politics that the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy @uOttawa aims to research, advise, engage and teach. The IFSD has been funded by the Province of Ontario to undertake applied research and student engagement in public finance and its intersection with public administration, politics and public policy. The IFSD undertakes its work in Canada at all levels of government as well as abroad, leveraging partnerships and key relationships with organizations such as the World Bank, OECD, IMF and US National Governors Association.
Download Community Benefits Agreements: Empowering Communities To Maximize Returns on Public Infrastructure Investments
This report was prepared by Armine Yalnizyan, Consulting Economist for the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy, under the direction of Kevin Page. The author wishes to thank the United Way of Canada for facilitating the interviews. The report was edited and designed by Jessica Rached. The final report and any errors or omissions rest solely with the IFSD.
Table of Contents
I – Introduction
II – Key Findings
III – What do we mean by “Community Benefits”?
IV – What does success look like?
What’s needed for success?
V – Criteria for purchasing community benefits agreements
VI – At what phase of the investment process should community benefits agreements be introduced?
VII – Identifying and negotiating community benefits agreements
Who represents community?
The elephant in the room: Uneven bargaining power
The art of the deal… Takes time, expertise, networks, and resources
The importance of negotiating clear targets and timelines
How to get to “yes”, and what “yes” means
Should community agencies be signatories of a community benefits agreement?
VIII – Implementing and monitoring community benefits agreements
IX – A way forward – proposal for a third-party entity
Integrating third-party functions into one agency
X – Summary and conclusions