Women in Construction

Ontario upgrading Workers Act to support women in the skilled trades

May 8, 2024
By HPAC Magazine
Presented by:
HPAC Magazine

The Ontario government is introducing the Working for Workers Five Act, 2024, a multi-pronged enhancement that builds on its previous four Working for Workers acts.

The proposed regulatory changes to the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act would make the skilled trades more accessible to women and support women at work. The act contains a suite of measures that include requiring that menstrual products be provided on larger construction sites and mandating that washrooms are clean and sanitary.

“Under Premier Ford, our government is tackling the generational labour shortage previous governments left in their wake. That means we need all hands on deck – but when women represent only one in ten workers in the skilled trades, we have one hand tied behind our back,” said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “That’s why our government is introducing first-in-Canada changes to encourage women to start a career in the skilled trades and reach their full potential. Because an economy that doesn’t work for women, doesn’t work at all.”

Ontario’s proposed amendments would also add virtual harassment to the definitions of workplace harassment and workplace sexual harassment in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, ensuring that workplace policies that address harassment in the workplace also cover online harassment.

The government will also engage with survivors of harassment, legal experts and other stakeholders to identify the most effective legislative or regulatory means to create a ‘duty to act’ for employers where investigations have identified workplace harassment has occurred.

“Today’s announcement is another example of action our government is taking to make careers in construction and the skilled trades more inclusive and welcoming for women,” said Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity. “By further protecting their health and safety at work, the Working for Workers bill will increase women’s access to rewarding careers that both pay well and help create the stronger, more diverse workforce we need to build a better Ontario.”

Approximately one in 10 construction workers in Ontario are women, and approximately four percent of workers in Ontario’s construction skilled trades-related occupations are women.


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