Ontario Requiring Cleaner Washrooms on Construction Sites
Changes will require women’s-only washrooms and make the skilled trades more accessible for everyone
March 15, 2023
Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development
Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity
Table of Contents
- Quick Facts
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LONDON — The Ontario government is working for workers by making washrooms on construction sites private, clean and safe. There are nearly 600,000 construction workers in Ontario, but only one in 10 are women. These changes, if approved, would make the skilled trades more accessible to women by ensuring they have access to at least one women’s-only washroom on jobsites and properly fitting equipment such as uniforms, boots and safety harnesses.
“Access to a washroom is a basic human dignity and something every worker should have the right to,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Careers in construction offer six-figure salaries with pensions and benefits, and it is an injustice only 10 per cent of them are filled by women. Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government will continue to stand with these heroes. Everyone has the right to a safe and welcoming workplace.”
The government is further improving portable washrooms by requiring them to be private and completely enclosed, have adequate lighting and hand sanitizer (where running water is not reasonably possible). Additionally, the government is doubling the number of toilets on most jobsites.
“Workplaces that are safer and more equitable help increase women’s participation in the workforce,” said Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity. “Our government is taking action to remove barriers and empower women to excel in sectors where they are underrepresented – because when women succeed, Ontario succeeds.”
These changes are part of a larger package that expands on the ground-breaking actions introduced in the Working for Workers Acts, 2021 and 2022, which are already helping millions of people. These regulatory amendments are part of a comprehensive strategy to meet labour demand, bring better jobs and bigger paycheques within reach for more people, and attract and equip people to thrive in today’s world of work.
- Proposed amendments to the Construction Projects Regulation, if approved, would explicitly require that personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing be properly fitted to women and workers with diverse body types.
- The proposed regulatory amendments, if approved and filed, would come into force on the July 1, 2023.
- Ontario’s construction sector will need to hire an additional 72,000 workers over the next six years due to retirements and expected job growth. Making these types of workplaces more inclusive to a diversity of people will be a key factor in attracting more skilled workers.
- Ontario’s More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 is part of a strong foundation on which 1.5 million homes can be built over the next 10 years – in partnership with municipalities, the private sector, not-for-profits and the federal government.
“Ensuring women have access to tools to reach their full potential in the construction industry will strengthen retention, eliminate barriers, attract talent and empower a stronger sense of belonging on-site. On behalf of LiUNA, we commend Minister McNaughton’s unwavering commitment to advancing the skilled trades, ensuring equity, safety and respect for our workforce remain at the forefront of policy building. We look forward to continue working collaboratively to empower a path forward where LiUNA sisters and women in the industry can thrive and advance with dignity, as we come together to build a strong future for the industry and for our province.”
– Victoria Mancinelli
LiUNA Director Public Relations, Marketing, Strategic Partnerships
“We applaud measures that make all job sites more accessible and safer for all, including women. Given the trades shortage, all barriers to entry and retention must be eliminated and this is an important step in the right direction.”
– Andrew Regnerus
Ontario Construction Coordinator, CLAC
“Over the course of years (and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic), the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario has been advocating for better sanitary conditions on construction jobsites, including access to water, clean-up facilities and adequate washrooms for all construction workers to use. Today’s announcement sheds light on an issue that is often overlooked but critically important to the successful building of Ontario’s infrastructure. Requiring all construction jobsites to have adequate and well-kept washrooms and clean-up facilities, including dedicated washrooms for women as well as proper-fitting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), brings us a step closer towards ensuring equity on construction worksites.”
– Carmine Tiano
Director of Occupational Services – Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario
“With over 100,000 workers needed by 2030, we must ensure that women are welcomed to the construction industry. Today’s announcement is positive as it removes barriers for women to entering and staying in the industry. Properly fitted PPE and access to a private and clean washroom are best practices that are key to making women feel included on job sites.”
– Amina Dibe
Manager, Government and Stakeholder Relations, RESCON
“Given the target that’s been set to increase the number of women in the trades from 4.5% to 15% by 2030, we need to make every effort now to start attracting women to a work environment that caters to women and their specific needs. These amendments are a welcome change and will assist in paving the way to a future where construction sites will be more inclusive and inviting for women.”
– Natasha Ferguson
Founder and CEO, A Women’s Work and Ethelfox Construct
“The Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 95 have always been a strong advocate of workforce equity and inclusion. We are glad to hear today’s announcement from the Minister, ensuring female workers have access to at least one women’s-only washroom on construction sites. This is a much-needed, real change to boost accessibility for women in the workplace. Ensuring washrooms that are clean, private and safe are a basic human need and enforcing this is critical as the construction industry strives to embrace a more diverse workforce rooted in equity.”
– Adam Melnick
Director of Canadian Affairs, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers
“IUOE Local 793 applauds the government’s increased commitment to attracting needed workers to the construction industry given the well-established reality of future shortages. Ensuring that women workers have their own safe, clean washrooms on every jobsite and properly fitted personal protective equipment sends a clear message that the construction industry is serious about recruiting more women into the skilled trades.”
– Mike Gallagher
Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 793
“Every skilled trades professional has the right to a private and clean washroom so they can get on with the jobs they were hired to do. I fully support Ontario’s efforts to make construction sites more accessible to all workers. These changes not only promote safety and dignity for women in the skilled trades, but will help remove barriers to create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace for all.”
– Melissa Young
CEO and Registrar of Skilled Trades Ontario