The Government of Ontario says it is working for workers by making washrooms on construction sites private, clean and safe, while also requiring women’s-only washrooms.

According to Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, here 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 McNaughton. “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 said it 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.

“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,” said Victoria Mancinelli, LiUNA Director Public Relations, Marketing, Strategic Partnerships.

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.

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“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,” said Carmine Tiano, director of Occupational Services – Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.

“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,” said Melissa Young, CEO and Registrar of Skilled Trades Ontario.

Featured image: Monte McNaughton (right), Ontario Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. (Government of Ontario)

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