On-Site Magazine

Ontario proposing new rules for construction workplaces

By Adam Freill   

Construction Health & Safety

Province’s Working for Workers Act aims to support women in the skilled trades while updating definition of harassment and improve safety.

(Photo: Rapeepat Pornsipak / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

Building on its previous four Working for Workers acts, the Ontario government is introducing the Working for Workers Five Act, 2024, which contains a suite of measures to support workers, including mandating that jobsite washrooms are clean and sanitary, and requiring that menstrual products be provided on larger construction sites.

The legislation will be the first of its kind in Canada and would make the skilled trades more accessible to women and support women at work, says the province.

“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.”

When passed by the provincial legislature, Ontario’s proposed amendments would also add virtual harassment to the definitions of workplace harassment and workplace sexual harassment in the provincial Occupational Health and Safety Act.


“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.”

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

“Ontario continues to make great strides towards equity and safety in the workplace. Today’s announcement will accommodate the diverse needs of our workforce and is another welcome example of the government’s dedication to work environments of respect and dignity,” stated Melissa Young, registrar and chief executive officer at Skilled Trades Ontario.

“The Ontario General Contractors Association and our members applaud Minister Piccini for elevating the health and safety of all workers through the fifth Working for Workers bill and taking action on a serious topic in the most effective and efficient means possible,” added Giovanni Cautillo, president of the Ontario General Contractors Association. “All workers must feel safe at work and that includes clean and sanitary workplace washrooms, including menstrual products, protection from harassment, regardless of the medium, and having the correct equipment on construction sites to safely perform the work.”




Stories continue below