In a unique collaboration that’s helping reduce barriers for urban Indigenous Peoples to access transit, Aecon proudly sponsored an initiative in partnership with Metrolinx, wherein 500 preloaded PRESTO cards were distributed to clients of two urban Indigenous services and employment organizations in Toronto.
Illuminated with a beautiful new design created by local Indigenous artist, Karly Cywink, the one-of-a-kind look of these unique PRESTO cards was inspired by traditional Indigenous beadwork patterns.
The cards were distributed to clients of the Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training’s 12-week work placement program, and the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto’s COVID-19 Support and Youth Housing, Employment & Training programs. These organizations act as a main resource and support system for urban Indigenous Peoples and provide important insights about the communities they serve – including the positive impacts that come with access to transit.
Jean-Louis Servranckx, Aecon’s President and CEO, said: “Aecon is proud to sponsor this initiative and to partner with Metrolinx to connect clients of these two urban Indigenous organizations with public transit access. Giving back to the communities we build is part of our unwavering commitment to foster inclusive and collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities.”
A unique PRESTO card was designed for this initiative by local Indigenous artist Karly Cywink.
The design is inspired by Indigenous beadwork, patterns and the vibrant colours of regalia.
The partnership was a natural fit. Aecon is currenly working with Metrolinx on some of the largest transit projects underway in Toronto, including the Finch West LRT, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and the Eglinton West Extension Advance Tunnel project. Together, Aecon and Metrolinx recognize there are still many barriers to transit that exist for Indigenous Peoples and this partnership is one way to help support First Nation, Inuit and Métis Peoples.
Phil Verster, Metrolinx CEO, said the partnership between the transit agency and Aecon is a great initiative to make transit more accessible for Indigenous Peoples in Toronto.
“This is the type of opportunity and partnership that helps Indigenous Peoples, ensuring no one is left behind. We continuously look for such opportunities to listen to our community, to hear what is required and to take action,” said Verster.
As an organization that operates in partnership with many Nations across Canada – Aecon’s head office in Toronto is located on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples – an area that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. Aecon is proud to build relationships with Indigenous communities on a foundation of trust, respect, and understanding through an inclusive approach.