VICTORIA — As part of a push to address harassment of women on jobsites, human resource consultants will be offered to construction companies to assist with onsite incidents.
The first adviser is Jessi Dhanju, who will provide confidential assistance to companies in the Vancouver Island region. Dhanju worked at the University of Victoria’s Equity and Human Rights office undertaking departmental investigations and liaising with the school’s general counsel for the planning, managing and monitoring of internal and external departmental needs, explained a release.
The advisers are part of a new Builders Code rolled out earlier this month by the province and industry stakeholders to reduce harassment, hazing and bullying on construction worksites.
According to the BC Construction Association (BCCA), more than 23,000 construction companies have 20 employees or less and may not have the full-time staff or resources to deal with complex HR issues. The BCCA explained the objective is to resolve workplace disputes fairly, quickly and productively for all parties, and to help employers gain skills.
“As the Builders Code was being developed, it became very clear that most construction employers want to improve the culture on their worksites but as small businesses are operating without the knowledge, skills or resources they need,” said Chris Atchison, president of the BCCA, in the press release. “The Builders Code helps bridge that gap and improve safety and productivity on B.C. worksites.”
Builders Code advisers like Dhanju are one of the various tools for employers that Builders Code changes will employ to attempt to retain more tradespeople.
Throughout 2019, additional Builders Code resources and services will be rolled out including training and additional Builders Code advisers will be deployed in every region of the province.
The BCCA noted every person working on a jobsite is affected by stress and distraction caused by bullying, hazing and harassment. In the release, the association explained it expects that by demonstrating the benefits of an improving worksite culture and providing employers with the tools they need to affect change, retention rates will increase and help to offset B.C.’s projected skilled labour shortage.
Project partners for the effort include the BC Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA) and the BCCA Employee Benefits Trust (EBT), who will work closely with the Builders Code advisers to integrate their services into the operational supports these organizations already provide.
“When you consider the significant role stress and distraction play in worksite accidents, it’s clear that hazing, harassment and bullying are important safety issues,” said Michael McKenna, executive director of the BCCSA. “As an organization that provides straightforward and practical assistance to help contractors meet their health and safety needs and requirements, the Builders Code Advisors will be an essential component of the services and training we offer construction employers.”
The Builders Code is an initiative of the Construction Workforce Equity Project, funded by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training through the Sector Labour Market Partnership Program. Builders Code partners include the BCCA, BCCSA, BCCAEBT, Industry Training Association, WorkSafeBC, Minerva Foundation of B.C., LNG Canada, and four regional construction associations (NRCA, SICA, VICA, VRCA).