Improving the gender mix on job sites: a shared challenge
Integrating women in the construction industry is a challenge that the Association de la construction du Québec is proudly working to significantly improve. Our initiatives include the establishment in June 2013 of a committee dedicated exclusively to the issue of integration and retention of women on construction sites. This committee has enabled the implementation of several concrete actions in support of contractors’ efforts in this area.
The Programme d’accès à l’égalité des femmes dans l’industrie de la construction (PAEF)
Under the Programme d’accès à l’égalité des femmes dans l’industrie de la construction (program to ensure equal access for women in the construction industry, or PAEF) introduced by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ), the construction industry has adopted the objective of increasing the proportion of women on job sites to 3% by 2018.
The ACQ has pledged to institute an action plan in support of the equal-access program objectives. We have made five specific commitments:
- Raise awareness of contractors in the IC/I sectors of the challenge of women employees’ entry to and retention on job sites.
- Inform contractors in the IC/I sectors of the existence and contents of the equal-access program.
- Provide contractors in the IC/I sectors with tools to encourage integration of women in their companies.
- Establish partnerships with organizations promoting women’s entry to and retention on job sites.
- Set up a meaningful structure within the ACQ dedicated to the issue of women’s entry to and retention on job sites.
It’s time for more women on our job sites
Our society is evolving, and along with it, the working world is continually changing and adapting. Women are increasingly present on the job market, but still severely under-represented in the construction industry.
Promoting a better gender mix on your job sites pays off!
- Access a larger pool of skilled labour.
- Benefit from competitive advantages.
- Have a better-performing, more innovative work crew.
- Develop and promote an organizational policy on respect in the workplace.
- Implement an onboarding and integration process within your company.
- Do more professional monitoring and guidance (evaluation and feedback)
- Have a mentor or resource person available.
- Provide training to your senior managers and employees on respect in the workplace and the presence of women on job sites.
- Take rapid, effective action when disrespectful behaviours are observed/reported.
- Adopt a psychological harassment prevention policy.
The main reasons women leave the construction industry are discrimination, harassment and isolation—it has nothing to do with a lack of confidence in their ability to do the work. As an employer, you have a responsibility to implement policies to favour the integration and retention of women employees.
The Programme pour la formation des femmes en entreprise (PFFE)
The Programme pour la formation des femmes en entreprise (in-company training program for women, or PFFE) has been created to support, train and integrate women on job sites. It is administered by the organization Fiers et compétents and is 100% funded by the Fonds de formation des salariés de l’industrie de la construction (construction industry workers training fund, or FFSIC).
- Requesting companies can receive financial incentives equal to 30% of the salary of a woman employee benefiting from the program, up to $10,000 and for a maximum of 52 weeks.
- The program provides tools to members of the work crew into which the female employee is integrated.
- The program also provides for a process that promotes job retention for women and more diversified in-company training.
- To benefit from a structured training plan 100% adapted to your company’s context.
- To promote gender diversity on job sites and ensure a supply of qualified labour.
- To share your openness and commitment to making room for women in the construction industry.
- To access financial support available from the FFSIC.
To be eligible for the program, employers must:
- have two or more salaried employees, including one journeyman or a worker with an occupation competency certificate;
- support the apprenticeship of the female employee hired pursuant to the Plan de formation de l’apprentissage (apprenticeship training plan) and ensure that the designated journeyman or mentor supervises the apprenticeship;
- take the awareness training on integration of women into a construction crew;
- if the company has been in existence for 24 months or less, have declared at least 1,500 hours worked to the CCQ during 24 of the past 26 months;
- if the company has been in existence for more than 24 months, have declared at least 4,000 hours worked to the CCQ during 24 of the past 26 months.
To be eligible for the program, a woman worker must:
- hold an apprentice competency certificate (ACC) in an industry trade, or hold an occupation competency certificate (OCC);
- hold a valid certificate issued by the CCQ for at least months (as of the date of enrolment in the program);
- take the mandatory 14-hour awareness training on integration of women into a construction crew.
The ACQ is there for you as you embark on the process! Our training advisors offer support and guidance to employers with their workforce training plans. They provide service all over Quebec, and allow you to access the Training Fund.
Contact a training advisor for more details.
Office: 514-354-8249, Ext. 2708
Office: 514-354-8249, Ext. 2712
Temporary regulatory measures for redress
The following measures are now in effect to help boost women’s presence on construction job sites. They aim to ensure preferential treatment of under-represented groups, in this case women, as part of the PAEF. Where skills are equal, people from the targeted groups will be given preference.
Enables the issuance of competency certificates to women graduates of a program of study when an employer confirms to the CCQ in writing a commitment to hiring women workers, without the obligation to work 150 hours in the first three months after hiring. The worker is required to work only 150 hours in the two years following issuance of the competency certificate.
Enables the issuing of competency certificates to women without degrees, when labour pools reach an availability level of less than 30%. The woman employee must secure a guarantee of 150 hours’ employment from an employer.
For each woman hired, an employer is authorized to hire an extra female apprentice on their site, provided that the tasks performed by that apprentice are included in the journeyman’s tasks. The journeyman can be in the same trade or a different trade (if there is shared jurisdiction). In other words, the ratio can be two female apprentices per one journeyman. This measure is limited to 20 female apprentices per employer.
Grants preferential status to women who have worked 500 hours for the same employer during the first 24 and last 26 months. This enables the employer to assign a woman employee to a job site outside their region faster than in the case of male workers, who must accumulate 1,500 hours. This will ensure it is more beneficial for an employer working in more than one region to hire a woman instead of a man.
Allows a woman graduate to be automatically admitted to one of the six specialized trades (surveyor, diver, blaster-driller, welder, pipe welder, linewoman) in the Cours de connaissance générale de l’industrie de la construction (construction industry general knowledge course, or CCGIC), required to obtain the occupation competency certificate.
Enables women to be systematically referred to an employer when the latter submits a referral request via the Carnet référence construction Web platform. All female employees available will be at the top of the referral list in addition to male employees already referred.