Number of tradeswomen continues to increase across the province
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Victoria, B.C. (December 14, 2020) – The Builders Code is honouring six employers with Builders Code Champion Awards for leading the way in advancing the culture of BC’s industrial, commercial, and institutional construction sector. Their efforts have contributed to an increase in the participation of women in BC’s construction trades from 4.6 to 6 per cent since 2018.
The Builders Code Champion Awards were launched last year to recognize companies that are taking proactive measures to eliminate discrimination, hazing, bullying and harassment on worksites in BC, and to create a safety standard that prioritizes the importance of psychological as well as physical safety for all workers.
The nomination process was open from June 4 to October 28th, 2020, with the judging conducted by Minerva BC, the BC Construction Association (BCCA), and the Builders Code Governance Committee. While a celebration event scheduled for December 2020 will not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic, videos of the award winners discussing how they prioritize culture and how the Builders Code has positively affected their business.
The 2020 Builders Code Champion Award categories and winners are:
- Recruiting & Hiring Champion: Chinook Scaffold Systems
- Loyalty Champion: Westcana Electric
- Workplace Culture Champion: RAM Consulting Ltd. (medium sized employer) and Lafarge Canada (large employer)
- Community Champion: Houle Electric
- Contractor of the Year: Mazzei Electric
The Builders Code sets a baseline code of conduct standard for all construction work sites in BC. Launched in March 2018, it is managed by the BCCA, with primary funding for the pilot provided by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training. Builders Code virtual training is now available for registration from www.builderscode.ca
The BCCA’s Fall 2020 Stat Pack (https://www.bccassn.com/resources/stat-packs-&-data/default) also released today, shows that more tradeswomen are working in the sector and indicates that in a very short period of time the Builders Code and other initiatives are contributing to improved acquisition and retention of tradeswomen in BC’s construction industry. The province appears to be significantly advancing toward the goal of 10% women in BC’s construction workforce by 2028, helping to address the skilled worker shortage. The BCCA Stat Pack also shows that while continuing to adapt to the supply chain, worksite and other challenges caused by COVID-19, the construction industry’s contribution to B.C.’s GDP has risen from $21.2 billion to $22.7B (8.6% to 8.9%) over the past year and the sector continues to be the No. 1 employer in B.C.’s goods sector.
“On behalf of everyone at BCCA, Minerva BC and all our Builders Code partners, I want to thank our winners for their support of the Builders Code and their leadership across the province during this challenging year,” said Chris Atchison, President, BCCA. “These award recipients, the other nominees and the companies throughout B.C. who have adopted Builders Code are helping to shape a new workplace culture for construction and encouraging others to get involved. They recognize that the Builders Code has helped them set clear behaviour expectations among employees and supported them in the development of company policies all of which are contributing to attracting and retaining employees in a tight labour market. Thank you and congratulations.”
2020 Builders Code Exemplary Employer Award Recipients
Recruiting & Hiring Champion: Chinook Scaffold Systems (Nanaimo)
This award category recognizes companies that hire the best talent based on skills, experience, and attitude; work to attract diverse candidates; look for ways to remove barriers that hold them back; and compensate all employees at fair market value regardless of gender, race, religion, or ethnicity.
Chinook Scaffolding has shown its focus on culture and values by signing the Builders Code pledge, and they were awarded a Champion Award in 2019 for their efforts. They have shown their continued efforts toward equity by working with other community tradeswomen initiatives, such as Women Building Futures (WBF). While they are aware their trade is one that requires a degree of physical strength, they’ve implemented processes that are designed to ensure all workers can have a fulfilling career with their company. They have a strong female component in management positions, with a continued commitment to promoting female tradespeople – it is driven from the top down. They clearly have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to inclusivity.
“The most powerful aspect of the Builders Code is simply introducing the idea of all trades people are created equal and should be given equal opportunity.” Wendy Gaskill, Corporate Safety Management Team, Chinook Scaffolding
Loyalty Champion: Westcana Electric (Prince George)
This award category recognizes companies that value their employees and hire with retention top of mind. Their managers and supervisors work hard to create a safe, positive, and productive worksite and are invested in the development and success of all employees. The employer offers progressive benefits such as flexible schedule, family leave, access to childcare, and other competitive advantages that keep your workers loyal.
Westcana keeps family values top of mind and treats all employees like family. This is a key reason they have won their third Builders Code Champion Award (two last year and one this year). To aid in retention Westcana has lots to offer, from employee benefits (including mental health and bereavement leave) to flexible schedules for employees with children and families. Westcana has proven their commitment to equity with a workforce comprise of 30% women. Westcana has also shown their commitment to local, inclusive hiring through their work on the committee for PGNAETA (Prince George Nechako Aboriginal and Education Training Associations) Women in Trades Program. Their local leadership proves their proud commitment to building a construction industry that works for everyone.
“Builders code sets the foundations, the building blocks for a positive culture. It’s something we strive to follow and I recommend other companies strive to follow it. Open up your doors, be inclusive be respectful, hire more women, be diverse, it’ll have a positive effect in your company.” Doug Enstrom, VP, Wescana
Workplace Culture Champion – Small/Medium-sized company: RAM Consulting Ltd. (Vancouver)
This award category recognizes companies that commit to a respectful, safe and inclusive workplace culture; encourage employees to recognize their role in that culture; and hold employees and sub-contractors accountable, ensuring a work environment free from harassment, hazing, and bullying.
As a proud Builders Code signatory RAM’s commitment to culture comes through loud and clear when they refer to their team as the “RAMfam”. RAM has established a thorough onboarding procedure that promotes a culture right from the start. During the interview process potential employees are introduced to the Builders Code and made aware of the qualities of an Acceptable Worksite. Every year an Engagement Survey helps management to assess RAMfam attitudes towards different aspects of the job including physical workspace, team building activities, and communication across all levels. RAM has established individual training plans, platforms for networking, and commitments of inclusivity when it comes to training too. Women make up 33% of RAM’s Leadership Team and their voices are included during project and corporate discussions. In 2019, RAM’s Director of Project Services was shorted listed for the Women’s Infrastructure Network’s Emerging Leader’s award. As of October 1, 2020, 69% of RAM’s staff is made up of visible minorities (a 4% increase from last year) and 33% of the staff are women (a 5% increase from last year. This is RAM’s second year as a Builders Code Champion Award winner.
“We’ve certainly had benefits from implementing the Builders Code from a business perspective. What that has really led to is maintaining or building a really high retention rate for female employees – as well as creating a culture to create new opportunities for female employees to go out of administrative staff into technical roles.” Freddy Rawji, Talent and Business Development Manager
Workplace Culture Champion – Large-sized company: Lafarge Canada (Vancouver)
As an early signatory of the Builders Code, Lafarge puts a strong emphasis on culture and values. They have implemented annual training for both new hires and existing employees on Bullying and Harassment, Bystander training, and Code of Business Conduct (particularly Respect in the Workplace). All training is included in their Contractor orientations. Respectfully, for their employees, if an employee is uncomfortable raising a concern to their direct supervisor, they are encouraged to call an Integrity Line which is operated 24/7. Lafarge have seen an increase in the number of women in our workforce every year. As a large company with an internal motto of “I care for our Health and Safety. We see something and do something” – they are an organization that can help lead others to better and more acceptable worksites.
“We’re asking a very traditional, heavily male-dominated industry to change and to adapt to a new way of doing business and to new faces in the team. The Builders Code is an important piece of that puzzle that allows us to continue that journey and gives us another tool to engage in conversations with our workforce.” Lincoln Kyne, Vice President General Manager British Columbia and Western Canada Aggregates, Lafarge
Community Champion: Houle Electric (Vancouver)
This award category recognizes companies that promote career opportunities for women in the skilled trades; support their tradespeople to mentor others; and promote education, awareness and training that positively impacts their community, company and employees.
Houle Electric signed the Builders Code pledge in March 2019 and has clearly demonstrated their commitment to improving equity. Houle has increased total tradeswomen by 50% in one year. They have implemented several internal diversity, equity and inclusive policies and offered similar training for all staff, including providing unconscious bias and diversity training to managers to enable them to actively foster a culture of equality. They can be considered an innovative employer because of the emphasis on teaching soft skills, such as how to communicate and build rapport in a professional way with the crew on site – skills that were not considered to be relevant several years ago. By educating their supervisors on these types of skills, Houle is working to change the old ways of thinking and create a more encouraging, supportive, and productive work environment for all.
“The Builders Code is well aligned with all the Houle values and this is why it forms the basis of our work practices. We think that all construction companies would benefit from having a similar commitment to the Builders Code. If we are all working with the same principles, we will be much more successful in attracting and retaining a diverse and talented workforce that will continue to advance our industry well into the future.” Chuck Phillips, President and CEO
Contractor of the Year: Mazzei Electric (Nanaimo)
This award category recognizes companies that are fully committed to achieving an Acceptable Worksite and building a diverse workforce where all employees are able to perform at their best and reach their full potential.
Mazzei Electric is a proud signatory of the Builders Code pledge. They ensure that we provide inclusive workplaces (this includes no tolerance for any sort of hazing, harassment, bullying, etc), and ensure that all employees have equal opportunities to advance with us. They can boast that 11% of their workforce is women, which is well above the average in BC Construction. As an example, they had their first female
sub-foreperson this year as well as were able to promote a female Service Electrician into the Service Manager position, along with various other success stories. They are clearly a leader in hiring tradeswomen and creating safe worksites for all.
“I would absolutely recommend the Builders Code. I think it’s important that we have, I guess you can call it a platform across the industry that we are all held to the same standards. I think if you look a lot of what the Builders Code stands for, that is what should be acceptable across society and there is no reason the construction industry shouldn’t be held to the same standard.” Ben Mazzei, President, Mazzei Electric
ABOUT THE BUILDERS CODE
The Builders Code is co-funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, with financial contributions from the BC Construction Association, WorkSafe BC, the Industry Training Authority, LNG Canada, the BCCA Employee Benefits Trust, and the BC Construction Safety Alliance, the Builders Code is also supported by the BC’s four Regional Construction Associations and the Minerva Foundation of BC. For more information about the Builders Code, including virtual training and access to free HR policies and advisory services, please visit: www.builderscode.ca
ABOUT BRITISH COLUMBIA CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATION
The British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) works with four Regional Construction Associations (NRCA, SICA, VICA, and VRCA) to serve more than 10,000 employers in the provinces industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) construction industry. For more information, visit us at www.bccassn.com (website), @ThisisBCCA (Facebook) and @thisisBCCA (Twitter).
BC Construction Association