Government of Ontario aims to increase participation of women in construction projects

April 27, 2023 | Arjun Gandhi

There are approximately 600,000 construction workers in Ontario, but only 10 percent of them are women.  In an effort to increase the participation of women in the province’s construction workforce, the Government of Ontario has introduced a number of measures that will make construction sites more accessible to women.

On March 29, 2023, the Government of Ontario published O. Reg. 61/23, which will amend O. Reg. 213/91: Construction Projects under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “OHSA”).  The following amendments will come into force on July 1, 2023:

  • All toilet, urinal and clean-up facilities must be kept in good repair at all times.
  • If reasonably possible, toilet, urinal and clean-up facilities must be located no more than 90 metres from the construction site. In all other cases, they must be located no more than 180 metres from the construction site.
  • All construction sites must have safe, private, adequately lit and adequately heated washroom facilities that include an open-front toilet seat, a toilet paper holder, an adequate supply of toilet paper, and a self-closing door that can be locked form the inside.
  • At construction sites where the minimum number of required toilets is five or more, at least one of those toilets should be for the exclusive use of female workers.
  • If a toilet facility is intended for exclusive by either males or females, it must have a sign indicating that.
  • If a toilet facility is intended for use by female workers, it must have a disposal receptacle for sanitary napkins.
  • Each single-toilet facility must come with its own clean-up facility. Where multiple single-toilet facilities are located together in the same area, one clean-up facility may be provided for every two single-toilet facilities.
  • Where it is not reasonably possible to have a wash basin with running water at a clean-up facility, workers must have access to a means of cleaning hands and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • All personal protective clothing and equipment that is provided, worn or used on a construction site must properly fit the wearer, with regard to all relevant factors including body types.

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development employs Inspectors to ensure that workplaces are being compliant with the OHSA and its Regulations.  Employers that do not implement the above requirements risk being subject to certain penalties.  A corporation convicted of an offence under the OHSA may be subject to a fine of up to $1,500,000.  Directors and officers of such a corporation may face a fine of up to $1,500,000 and/or up to 12 months imprisonment.  All other persons convicted of an offence under the OHSA may be subject to a fine of $500,000 and/or up to 12 months imprisonment.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to a member of Miller Thomson’s Construction and Infrastructure team.


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