Skip to Content
View site list


Pre-Bid Projects

Pre-Bid Projects

Click here to see Canada’s most comprehensive listing of projects in conceptual and planning stages

Government, Labour

New labour legislation targets productivity: Piccini

Don Wall
New labour legislation targets productivity: Piccini
@DAVIDPICCINI ON X - Earlier this week, David Piccini, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development, announced Ontario’s new Working for Workers Five Act, 2024, which contains a suite of measures that, if passed, would support workers, including requiring that menstrual products be provided on larger construction sites and mandating washrooms are clean and sanitary.

After seven months on the job, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development David Piccini has announced the government’s fifth iteration of the Working for Workers Act, this time with a heavy focus on the construction sector.

Asked in an interview to find a common theme in legislation with multifaceted focuses, from new pathways into the skilled trades and new hygiene and anti-harassment measures designed to attract more women, to a plan to conduct a comprehensive review of fatalities and injuries, Piccini doesn’t hesitate.

“For me, I’m laser-focused on productivity and improving Ontario’s productivity so that we can build the generational infrastructure that Premier (Doug) Ford is committed to and that we rightly won an even larger majority government on,” said the MPP for Northumberland-Peterborough South, who entered politics with a background as an international trade analyst. “The hospitals, the legacy public transit like Ontario Line, schools.”


Supporting women in the trades

The May 6 announcement by Piccini focused on measures to attract more women into the trades and also support female workers elsewhere.

The government will require that menstrual products be provided on larger construction sites and mandate that washrooms are clean and sanitary; the government pledged to consult with experts to create a duty to act for employers where investigations have identified workplace harassment has occurred; and new measures will protect women who work from home from online harassment.

Half of respondents to an Ontario Building Trades survey of tradeswomen found better washroom facilities are needed on construction sites. Piccini said the legislation would be the first in Canada.

“I view this as ways to attract more women into the building trades. We can’t build that ambitious agenda I just mentioned leaving 50 per cent of our workforce behind,” said Piccini.

The minister offered a long list of construction stakeholders who had urged him to take steps to address the needs of women.

The Building Trades, LIUNA, TARBA, the insulators and painters unions, OPCMIA (plasterers and masons) and the Ontario General Contractors Association, led by the lobbying of president Giovanni Cautillo, all advocated on the issues of menstrual products and sanitation, he said.

The Building Trades and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, were among those who pushed for reforms on harassment.

“This is the most ‘stakeholdered’ and most comprehensive legislative bundle since we formed government in 2018,” said Piccini.

“This is the low-hanging fruit,” commented Cautillo while attending the Skills Ontario competition that day. “These simple measures can go a long way in making the industry more welcoming to women.”

The government had made several announcements in the days prior highlighting provisions to boost entry into the skilled trades.

Among them, the government is creating a new school stream, called Focused Apprenticeship Skills Training (FAST), that will allow students in Grades 11 and 12 to participate in more apprenticeship learning through additional co-operative education credits while completing high school; a new online job-matching portal will be developed for apprentices, journeypersons and employers to link on job opportunities; and the government announced workers with prior experience will be eligible to register as an apprentice even if they don’t have the required academic requirements.

“That’s a key piece that’s going to allow us to have exposure in Grade 11 and 12,” Piccini said of the FAST initiative, comparing it to when courses are recognized when students take an international baccalaureate program. “You get on-the-job experiential learning experience. It’s going to count towards your hours for level one.”


CPO to lead injuries, fatalities review

The act also includes a pledge to incorporate asbestos-related data into the ministry’s forthcoming occupational exposure registry.

Piccini announced there will be a review of the causes of critical injuries and fatalities in the construction sector, and the government will also launch a consultation on expanding the types of health and safety equipment to be provided on construction projects.

Chief Prevention Officer Dr. Joel Moody will lead the injuries and fatalities review, with Piccini mentioning fatigue-related injuries and struck-by mishaps among the many issues to be targeted.

“We’re looking at standardizing safety approaches,” said Piccini, pointing to the heavy workload in Ontario including construction of new EV and battery plants. “We want to really be a competitive jurisdiction. We’ve got more cranes in the air than any other jurisdiction in North America. But we’ve got to make sure we’re doing it in a safe manner.”

Follow the author on X/Twitter @DonWall_DCN.

Recent Comments

Your comment will appear after review by the site.

You might also like