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BuildForce officially launches inclusivity and respect in the workplace toolkit

Angela Gismondi
BuildForce officially launches inclusivity and respect in the workplace toolkit

BuildForce Canada has officially launched the Respectful and Inclusive Workplace Toolkit to assist the construction industry in creating a respectful and welcoming workplace.

“The purpose of the toolkit is to support industry employers to implement changes in workplace practices to make the construction worksite a more respectful and inclusive workplace…to ensure that the industry has the resources and tools it requires to achieve this important goal,” explained Bill Ferreira, executive director at BuildForce, in an email to the Daily Commercial News.

The toolkit was launched at the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum’s Supporting Women in the Trades Conference held recently in Halifax.

“We thought it was a perfect audience,” said Ferreira. “Part of what we are trying to do is assist the industry in recruiting from groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in the construction workforce. That just seemed like a natural forum.”

The tool was developed with input from a number of industry stakeholders.

“Responses back from stakeholders to date have been quite positive, as were responses from those that tested the toolkit prior to its launch,” Ferreira noted.

All three tools in the kit are now available online.

The first tool consists of an employer and organizational self-assessment tool to help identify their level of engagement in promoting respectful workplaces as well as identify any gaps that might exist in their policies and procedures for dealing appropriately with violations of respect.

There is also a policy and implementation framework designed for employers to either adopt as a whole or lift sections of to complement or supplement their existing policies and procedures, said Ferreira.

Lastly, an online course is included and is intended to raise awareness, educate and promote a respectful and inclusive workplace by focusing on behaviours that may be perceived by others as disrespectful or exclusionary.

“The self-assessment tool asks participants a number of questions related to their existing practices and then grades them against common best practices and responses received from their peers,” said Ferreira.

“Once areas of weakness have been identified, the participant can then review better practices and new procedures that could be adopted to strengthen their enforcement of a respectful and inclusive workplace. These practices can be drawn from the framework and customized to the needs of industry employers.”

The tool can be used by construction employers, leaders, managers, HR staff, onsite staff and anyone who wants to create and support appropriate workplace behaviour, he added.

“Supervisors and forepersons will learn about how to work with staff,” Ferreira said.

“Contractors can assess their procedures and also learn about the importance of executive leadership in the promotion and implementation of a respectful and inclusive worksite.

“For workers, they will take away from the toolkit greater awareness and education regarding patterns of speech or actions taken that might exist onsite that are perceived as disrespectful, exclusionary, inappropriate and/or inconsistent with both legal and modern societal workplace behavioural expectations.”

All three tools can be accessed on the website at www.buildforce.ca.

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