Women in Construction

Ontario targets harassment, sanitary washrooms in “Working for Workers” expansion


May 10, 2024
By Anthony Capkun Avatar photo
Presented by:
Electrical Business Magazine
Women in Construction

May 10, 2024 – Building on its “Working for Workers” acts, the Ontario government is introducing a 5th instalment that will see regulatory changes being made to the Occupational Health & Safety Act requiring menstrual products be provided on larger construction sites.

The government will also propose legislative and regulatory changes to require employers at both construction sites and other workplaces to require that washrooms are kept clean and sanitary, and maintain records of washroom cleaning.

“Clean, functioning washrooms should be the right of every worker, male or female,” noted Karen Pullen, chair, Ontario Building and Construction Tradeswomen.

Ontario’s proposed amendments would add “virtual harassment” to the definitions of “workplace harassment” and “workplace sexual harassment” in the Occupational Health & Safety Act to ensure policies that address harassment in the workplace also include online harassment.

The government says it will also engage with victims of harassment, legal experts, and others to identify effective legislative or regulatory means for creating a “duty to act” for employers where investigations have identified workplace harassment has occurred.

Additional measures to address safety in construction will include a review of critical injuries and fatalities in the sector, and a consultation on expanding the types of life-saving equipment (e.g. defibrillators) to be provided on construction projects.

“Ontario continues to make great strides towards equity and safety in the workplace,” said Melissa Young, CEO and registrar, Skilled Trades Ontario, adding that the government’s measures “bring us another step closer to a more diverse, equitable and inclusive skilled trades sector.”