More and more women are turning to the construction industry to fulfil their passion and build their career. For decades, some women have been pioneers, taking their place in a traditionally male environment. However, women are still underrepresented in the construction industry.
The industry and its partners have mobilized in 2015 to encourage gender diversity on construction sites. With the adoption of the Programme d’accès à l’égalité des femmes (PAEF, program for equal access for women) and the Plan d’action 2015-2024, 40 new measures support women in their careers and create training and working environments that are favourable and welcoming.
Acting to create gender diversity on construction sites will help to transform the image of the industry and make it more welcoming for all – both women and men.
The CCQ also offers the Service d’accompagnement pour l’intégration des femmes dans l’industrie de la construction (Guidance service for integration of women into the construction industry).
The Programme d'accès à l'égalité des femmes dans l'industrie de la construction (PAEF) 2015-2024 is the result of a broad-based consultation that made it possible to target obstacles to the presence of women in the industry and determine concrete actions to support women’s careers and create environments that are favourable, inclusive, and respectful of human rights. Studies, statistical portraits, the PAEF annual assessment, and various resources concerning the integration of women into the industry provide a reliable overview of their situation.
A number of measures are in force today to encourage women to join the industry. We also recommend resources for networking and mentoring and for cases of intimidation and harassment.
Measures in force
Access by women with a diploma – obtaining of competency certificate
A woman with a diploma in a recognized trade may obtain, upon request, a competency certificate that is valid for two years without needing a job guarantee or a letter of commitment from an employer. She must, however, fulfil the other general conditions for issuance of the competency certificate. To renew this certificate, she must have worked at least 150 hours in two years for one or more employers, rather than 150 hours in three months for a single employer. She may take advantage of this issuance criterion only once per trade for which she holds a diploma.
If she does not perform 150 hours of work for one or more employers during the two-year period, she may provide a letter of commitment from an employer to obtain another competency certificate for the same trade. She will then have two years to perform 150 hours of work with one or more employers. She may take advantage of this issuance criterion more than once in her career.
Access by women without a diploma – state of labour pool at 30%
A woman without a diploma may obtain an apprentice or occupation competency certificate when an employer guarantees her 150 hours of work in three months if the state of the labour pool is 30% or less (for the region and the trade or occupation requested). She must, however, fulfil the other general conditions for issuance of the competency certificate.
When her job guarantee is completed, she must then, among other things, comply with the training obligation.
Number of apprentices per journeyman on site – one apprentice more
For each female apprentice assigned to work on a construction site by an employer, that employer may have one apprentice more than the normal apprentice–journeyman proportion work on the site, up to a maximum of 20 extra apprentices, as long as the journeymen and apprentices are:
- Its employees
- In the same trade, or the task performed by the apprentice is part of the practice of one of the journeyman’s trades.
Mobility of female workers and preferential employer – starting at 500 hoursAn employer may assign a woman who holds a competency certificate to work anywhere in Québec (provincial mobility), as long as she has worked 500 hours or more for that employer during the 24 first months of the 26 months preceding the issuance or renewal of her certificate.
Automatic selection for CCGIC registrationA woman with a diploma in an occupation who registers for the Cours de connaissance générale de l’industrie de la construction (CCGIC) during the first registration period is automatically selected, if she is not chosen by random draw.
Renewal of an OCC – 5,000 hours for womenWomen may renew their occupation competency certificate if they demonstrate that they have worked at least 5,000 hours in a construction industry occupation since January 1, 1971 and has worked at least one hour during a period of five consecutive years since August 1, 1989.
Upgrading activities – 10% of places reserved for womenTo encourage women to upgrade their skills, the Comité sur la formation professionnelle de l’industrie de la construction ensures that 10% of registration places for upgrading activities are reserved for women. For more details visit the Training section or the Fiers et compétents website.
On-the-job training for women program
This program expresses the desire of the partners in the construction industry to support women who have just joined the industry with learning their trade or occupation. In addition to training women, the program provides their work teams with tools. Finally, the goal of the program is to encourage women’s access to, integration into, and job maintenance in the industry, and to diversify what they learn on construction sites.
The program offers major benefits, including:
- Participation in the training course Sensibilisation à l’intégration des femmes au sein d’une équipe de travail
- The support of a training consultant in the implementation of a training plan for adapted and diversified learning
- Financial incentive to the participating company on the order of 30% of the salary of the woman benefiting from the program, up to $10,000 for a 52-week period
To find out more about the on-the-job training program for women, visit the Fiers et compétents website. The promotion agent at your union association may also be a good source of information.
Worker referrals – priority to female workers
When the CCQ refers workers to employers, it systematically prioritizes all women corresponding to the employer’s criteria.
To be referred even though she has a job, a worker must check this option in the “Statuts d’emploi et de référence” online service. The number of times she has been referred will also be indicated.
To maximize her employability potential, it is important for a woman to update her professional profile regularly. She must make sure to enter her new work experiences, new upgrading courses completed, new skills developed, and all other information that will highlight her employability.