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

Industry slams Trudeau on ‘gender impacts’ comment about male construction workers

Angela Gismondi
Industry slams Trudeau on ‘gender impacts’ comment about male construction workers
G20 ARGENTINA/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came under fire recently for comments he made during a G20 Summit in Argentina during a women’s task force meeting pertaining to gender impacts when male construction workers are brought to a rural area. The Prime Minister’s Office says the comments were taken out of context.

A comment made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the recent G20 Summit in Argentina has caused a stir in the Canadian construction industry, with several stakeholders taking to social media to voice their views and opinions on the matter.

During a panel discussion with members of the G20 Business Women Leaders Task Force, which focused on how to increase women’s participation in the economy, Trudeau said, “Even big infrastructure projects, you know might now say, ‘well, what does a gender lens have to do with building this new highway or this new pipeline or something?’ Well, you know, there are gender impacts when you bring construction workers into a rural area. There are social impacts because they’re mostly male construction workers. How are you adjusting and adapting to those? That’s what the gender lens in GBA (gender-based analysis)-plus budgeting is all about.”

The comment drew criticism from the industry, with many expressing their disappointment on Twitter.

“The construction industry has been working very hard to be inclusive,” said Canadian Construction Association (CCA) president Mary Van Buren. “Our members from across the country employ women, Indigenous, new Canadians, youth and apprentices among others. They do a lot of good in their communities and on the jobsites.

“Prime Minister Trudeau’s regrettable remarks only serve to reinforce the negative stereotypes and it also undermines our efforts to attract more people to the industry at a time when there is also a workforce shortage. The government is planning to invest $180 billion in infrastructure and we’re working hard to attract workers to the industry including underrepresented segments.”

Following the comment, the CCA tweeted “Our president @MaryVanBuren would be happy to discuss how #CDNConstructionGives with Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau.”

The #CDNConstructionGives has had over 1.5 million mentions, added Van Buren.

The short clip circulating on Twitter does not reflect the entirety of the panel discussion, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office told the Daily Commercial News.

“The panel discussion was really about how our government is taking steps to ensure that gender is considered in a variety of ways when designing policies,” the spokesperson said. ”One example was in terms of child care policies, another example was in terms of construction, but what he was talking about more broadly was the fact that if you want more women to work in trades and in construction settings then the policies, and however we develop those policies, have to be inclusive and understanding of the fact that more needs to be done to ensure that there are more women in these sectors but also that they stay in these sectors once they get there.”

On his Twitter, Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservative Party in Alberta, showed a post from his Facebook page from Tamara Mack Robbins, whose husband oversees a crew in the natural gas division in Alberta.

“He sacrifices for our family by being out of town for work, staying in hotels with his crew throughout Alberta,” reads the post.

“For Mr. Trudeau to even suggest these crews are not welcome or a danger in rural communities is absurd…There are many careers across this great nation that has spouses travelling away from home for work…these workers he refers to are our husbands, sons, brothers and yes, sisters.” 

Sean Reid, vice-president and regional director of Ontario, for the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada tweeted: “It is highly disappointing to hear our Prime Minister propagate such a negative and misleading image of Canada’s construction industry on foreign soil.”

Recent Comments (3 comments)

comments for this post are closed

Walter Yrjola Image Walter Yrjola

Have to say our Prime Minister is totally out of touch with reality on this subject. Not surprised, considering he was fed with a “silver spoon” and doesn’t know the meaning of true work.

Tim Wourms Image Tim Wourms

Slap in the face to every hard working Canadian from someone who has never worked a day in his life.

Christopher Blanchard Image Christopher Blanchard

It is alarming to see the Twitter comments and the comments on this site…I guess we can’t be civil with each other anymore. He never once said male construction workers don’t work hard, or are dangerous in some way…he is not attacking your husbands/fathers/etc. This is from The National Post: “…he was, in fact, arguing it’s necessary that more women share in lucrative jobs in the construction industry and that his quotes are being taken out of context.”


You might also like