Ontario, Canada Publishes Regulations Aimed at Increasing Participation of Women in Construction Workforce

On March 29, 2023, the province published Regulation 61/23 amending Regulation 213/91: Construction Projects under the Occupational Health & Safety Act (Regulation). The amendments will come into force on July 1, 2023.

On March 15, 2023, Ontario first announced it would propose regulatory amendments to ensure that women have safe and equitable access on construction sites. The announcement noted that while there are currently nearly 600,000 construction workers in Ontario, only one in 10 are women. The government aims to increase the participation of women in the construction workforce by making construction sites more accessible to them.

The Regulation will be amended by requiring, among other things, that:

  • toilet facilities be kept in good repair at all times;
  • where the minimum number of toilets required at a project is five or more, at least one toilet facility be for the use of female workers only, where reasonable in the circumstances;
  • if a toilet facility is intended for use by males only or females only, 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 toilet facility be private and, if a single-toilet facility, completely enclosed; in addition, toilet facilities must have an adequate supply of toilet paper, a means of cleaning hands and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol where it is not reasonably possible to have a wash basin with running water, and a self-closing door that can be locked from the inside; and
  • access to properly-fitting personal protective clothing and equipment (e.g., uniforms, boots and safety harnesses), with regard to all relevant factors including body types.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.