We create places that embrace diverse populations, facilitate housing accessibility and offer the many positive benefits of thriving community life. We have been actively implementing DEI principles and programs across our businesses, communities and supply chains.
We carefully select sites and design mixed-use spaces, streetscapes, public spaces, amenities and programming to support healthy lifestyle and transportation choices as well as encourage social interactions.
Through our support for skilled trades training, donating our time and resources to community-focused initiatives, and through the creation of people-centric communities across Canada, we make a long-term impact. We also aspire to be a great place to work and a good partner to work with.
Donated $7.5 million to the British Columbia Institute of Technology for the Concert Properties Centre for Trades & Technology
Completed state-of-the-art 55,000-square-foot YMCA through a unique partnership with the City of Coquitlam and the YMCA
Neared completion on 170 affordable homes in BC and Ontario
Introduced DEI programs and initiatives, including gender diversity training and year-round access to Indigenous learning activities
When I first started, the senior executive team felt it was important to maintain a small company feeling as we grow. Social gatherings and events that bring people together are so important to our employees. Creating the opportunity for connections on all levels on a regular basis helps foster an environment where people are comfortable raising issues and speaking openly.Aran Clarke, Senior Vice President, People Experience
Moving the Needle on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We take a strategic, thoughtful approach to DEI at Concert Properties. We ensure we fully and properly educate ourselves before taking any action or introducing any new initiative.
Led by our People Experience team and championed by the senior executive team, the DEI strategy has been promoted throughout the company to ensure that our workforce reflects and represents the communities in which we live and work. Through this lens, we’ve made some impactful changes to support this strategy.
With a commitment to providing a workplace culture where all employees experience respect and dignity, we continue to implement strategies to remove barriers and create a professional, healthy and safe environment. In 2022, we initiated a review of all policies, procedures and recruitment practices using a DEI lens and revised as necessary.
The vast majority of our DEI initiatives are employee driven. For example, some employees requested to include pronouns in our email signatures. Before implementing, we invited an experienced partner to educate us on the proper use of pronouns and why they are important for helping all people feel included and welcomed.
When news came out regarding the tragic discovery of children’s graves on former residential school land, our employees were motivated to reflect on reconciliation in Canada and what it means to us all. Our first action was to commit to recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in our offices. Staff were provided opportunities to join educational Indigenous-led walking tours. We also provided awareness and access to the online Indigenous Canada course offered by the University of Alberta, a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course created by the Faculty of Native Studies.
Building Neighbourhoods in Canada – Creating a Sense of Community
Creating mixed-use developments with a diversity of housing is important to building a sense of community. We use people-first design principles when creating residences and shared spaces. Parks and pathways, landscaping, places to gather and socialize – these underpin our thoughtful design process, ultimately creating a community that fosters connections and a deep sense of belonging.
To connect our developments to their larger neighbourhoods, Concert Properties develops near mass transit lines and bike corridors to provide commuting access and sustainable transportation options. To support inclusive communities, Concert Properties has a long history of partnering with all levels of government and not-for-profit organizations to deliver assured and affordable housing. In 2022, we neared completion on two rental buildings in BC and Ontario that included a total of 170 affordable homes.
In our commercial buildings, we support building community bonds through events such as our Tenant Appreciation events that unite neighbours and strengthen communities.
Bettie Allard YMCA – Creating Community Spaces in BC
Located in our master-planned development, Heart of Burquitlam, the state-of-the-art 55,000-square-foot YMCA is the result of an innovative partnership between the City of Coquitlam, YMCA and Concert Properties.
The new facility is a welcoming, safe and inclusive space for Coquitlam residents of all ages, stages, backgrounds and abilities. It provides spaces for social connection; health, fitness and aquatic programs; family-centred opportunities for learning and play; youth leadership; and employment and wellness services.
The community also features easy access to the SkyTrain, a Park and Ride, a community police station, a future 2.55-acre park and two residential towers including 468 condominiums at Myriad and 308 homes in the 55One rental tower.
Through a partnership with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), BC Housing and 43 Housing Society, we were able to make 100 of the 308 rental homes available at non-market rates. Ranging up to three bedrooms, these homes are designed to assist families, couples and individuals in the community in accessing more affordable housing.
55One will be the most energy-efficient rental tower built to date in Coquitlam, designed to meet Step 3 of the BC Energy Step Code, exceeding the energy performance requirements set out by the City of Coquitlam. This vital community project is currently under construction and due to open next year.
Providing Safe Spaces for Young Canadians
Concert Properties has a long history of supporting Youth Without Shelter (YWS), a Toronto-based organization that provides a safe refuge for youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who have found themselves without a place to call home. Several Concert Properties employees were instrumental in guiding and supporting YWS with the acquisition of a 24 bed rooming house. This purchase enabled YWS to expand its unique Stay in School program that provides shelter and wraparound support to youth facing homelessness while they complete their post-secondary education.
Concert Properties provides ongoing property management and Residential Tenancies Act advice to YWS staff as they manage existing residents. We also participated in several YWS fundraisers and personal essentials drives, and in August, approximately 20 staff participated in our annual Youth Engagement Day at YWS. This event brings homeless youth and staff from YWS and Concert Properties together for a day of fun games.
For the past several years, Concert Properties has supported Covenant House in both Toronto and Vancouver. In 2021, we implemented a youth housing program providing six homes at substantially subsidized rates to homeless youth at our residential rental property at One32 in Toronto. The program provides stable and affordable housing while students are enrolled in secondary or postsecondary school. Preserving anonymity within the building is key to helping build their lives as thriving members of society. The program’s successes include one youth who recently graduated, secured full-time employment and is now moving into a market-rent home in the building, freeing up a suite for another youth in need. In 2023, we plan on expanding this offering with five affordable homes at our new rental building, 20 Samuel Wood.
Sustainability Goals & Targets
Our goal is to make quality housing affordable for everyone through maximizing access to government grants and programs.
As a builder of communities, we are an active partner in truth and reconciliation with Canada’s First Nations.
We include accessible suites in all our projects and build communities that suit every lifestyle.
The 'Hey Neighbour!' Collective
We believe that strong, sustainable communities are fundamental to the social well-being of all Canadians. That’s why in 2018, we partnered with the City of Vancouver in the 'Hey Neighbour!' pilot project aimed at creating more socially connected rental housing. The pilot ran at The Remington building in Collingwood Village where residents were encouraged to organize fun social activities to bring their neighbours together. It was such a success, we've scaled the program across our residential rental portfolio in British Columbia.
As part of our commitment to improving the health and well-being of our communities, we’ve partnered with the Hey Neighbour Collective, a multi-stakeholder community of practice that supports the sociable design and programming of multi-unit housing. Sprung from the need to address the growing crisis of loneliness and social isolation in cities, we’re developing and testing creative approaches to fostering social connectedness in our vertical communities.
Celebrating our Community Connectors
In 2020, Concert Properties launched our Community Connectors program. We now have resident volunteers throughout all of our BC rental communities who are working together to co-create community activities big and small, to bring neighbours together and build social connectedness – especially during this time when it’s difficult to get together.
Our work with partners such as Happy City, provides residents the tools to create inclusive activities during times of physical-distancing. We’re adapting our approach to include small-scale and remote social activities focused on building social capital and resiliency.
Everyone deserves to live in a safe, healthy, and connected community. We believe strong meaningful relationships, a sense of belonging and inclusivity are the keys to making our communities vibrant, exciting places to live -- for generations to come.
In an effort to better understand how we can build community, and contribute to the health and social wellbeing of our residents, Concert Properties regularly surveys our rental communities. The data we gather directly feeds back in the design of our social sustainability programs, property management operations and the design of future projects.