Construction sector targeting safe workplace environments
By Adam FreillConstruction Health & Safety News Women in Construction
EllisDon and Chandos partner with WomanACT and SCWIST to enhance workplace sexual harassment prevention and response programs.
Construction firms EllisDon and Chandos Construction have both forged partnerships with WomanACT and the Society for Canadian Women in Science & Technology (SCWIST) to help create workplaces that are free from sexual harassment.
The Department of Justice has funded WomanACT and SCWIST to provide custom support to STEM and trade employers, with a focus on efforts to improve company-wide prevention and response measures that address gender-based and sexual harassment. Combined, WomanACT and SCWIST bring shared expertise in training, organizational strategy, policy development and women’s experiences and representation across many sectors.
“Empowering our employees to prevent and respond to gender-based violence is not only an important step for EllisDon’s safety practices and culture, but is crucial to advance our industry as a whole,” stated Geoff Smith, president and CEO of EllisDon. “It’s no question that we are a male-dominated industry — we need to be doing everything possible to attract and retain women in our workforce, while providing safe and respectful workplaces to build meaningful careers.”
“Harassment of any kind shouldn’t exist in any workplace. Period,” said Tim Coldwell, president of Chandos Construction. “We will do whatever is needed to ensure that every employee is part of a pleasant and comfortable working environment.”
A 2021 WomanACT survey of Canadian workplaces found that half of women and a third of men had experienced some form of harassment in the workplace.
“That is why these cross-sectoral partnerships are critical to ending sexual and gender-based harassment,” explained Harmy Mendoza, executive director of WomanACT.
“As the voice for women in STEM for 40 years, we understand first-hand the impacts of discrimination, gender-based and sexual harassment in the workplace,” added Khristine Carino, president of SCWIST. “Addressing these behaviours can decrease stress, improve productivity and motivation, and improve retention rates for women.”
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