'Hire women' quotas needed in construction: union

OTTAWA, April 19 /CNW Telbec/ - One of Canada's largest industrial unions says the federal government and construction industry employers must act together to help break the glass ceiling that blocks women's entry to careers in construction.

In a presentation today to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada proposed that construction employers be required to ensure increased participation of women as a condition of their project, especially if they are recipients of government funding.

"Owners of construction from condominium developers to receivers of Government of Canada stimulus monies should employ a gender-based hiring quota as a condition of contract for their builders," says the brief.

"Not only would this address the chronic worker shortage," says Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union President Dave Coles, "but also the long-standing discrimination against women in this non-traditional field."

"Our union has fought and won equity hiring in its construction collective agreements and we argue it is reasonable for construction project owners to demand it in their service contracts."

CEP also proposes a "...targeted entry-level trades training program for women students," referring to a study by the Construction Sector Council which backs a similar proposal, and to its own experience with the recruitment of Aboriginal women in Regina to the construction trades.

The brief concludes that "...barriers can be removed with aggressive educational opportunities for women combined with pro-active contractual obligations that compel their hiring."

CEP is the largest union in many key sectors of the economy, including forestry, energy, telecommunications and media. It represents more than 5,000 construction workers in Canada, though only 4% are women.

SOURCE Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

For further information: For further information: Dave Coles, (613) 299-5628

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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