The British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) launched a new Builders Code in March to focus on retaining tradespeople through creating a safer worksite.
Now, Kelowna-based Diane Jolicoeur has been appointed as the Southern Interior region’s new Builders Code advisor.
With a background in human resources and experience working with the Okanagan College’s Women in Trades Training program, Jolicoeur will address diversity and harassment issues by supplying employers with the resources, training and tools to create a safe worksite for tradeswomen and equity seeking groups.
“This is a wonderful program and it’s necessary because there is no standard set of behaviour in the construction industry to support this,” she said.
This new code of conduct sets a new standard province-wide. It has expanded the definition of safety to go beyond Personal Protective Equipment. Now it includes behavioural safety, which accounts for stress and distraction caused by discrimination, bullying, hazing and harassment.
“The goal is to work with the employers and support them in creating a worksite that is free from hazing, bullying and harassment and creates an inviting and safe environment,” the certified professional coach said.
The Builders Code also seeks to increase the number of women working in B.C.’s skilled-labour force by 10 per cent by 2028 — that’s another approximately 9,500 women that would have to join the workforce.
Labour jobs are predominately male dominated, but the Builders Code looks to change the culture of the worksite environment to ensure all employees feel safe, secure and welcome.
BCCA said the first-year retention rate for women is only 50 per cent, despite the fact more women, youth and other equity-seeking groups are entering the trades than in the past.
“Women only represent 4.7 per cent of the construction industry,” she said. “So, that’s pretty telling.”
But, it’s not a women’s issue, Jolicoeur explained, it’s a business issue.
There is no provincial standard for behaviour and worksite culture and often attitudes vary greatly from one crew, or one job, to the next, BCCA said. By establishing a baseline, the Builders Code raises the bar for employers, employees and the industry as a whole.
“When you are an attractive employer, you attract great employees,” Jolicoeur said.
“I am looking forward to building the relationships with contractors and share the vision and cultivate that vision of creating a safe worksite for all,” she said. “I am really looking forward to being apart of supporting and creating that.”
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
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