Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) is taking a step in the fight against racism and discrimination and raising awareness of the productive impact that embracing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) can have on construction companies.
“Having a more diverse and inclusive workforce is the right thing to do, but it can also have a significant impact on the bottom line of companies,” says RESCON president Richard Lyall.
“Research has shown that companies with higher levels of ethnic and cultural diversity are more likely to see above-average profits. It makes perfect business sense to have more inclusive hiring practices.
“People from diverse walks of life with different experiences bring new insights which leads to more innovation and creativity. The more diverse a team is, the stronger and more competitive it will be.”
Employees at RESCON are leading the way. They’ve completed two online BuildForce Canada courses aimed at helping individuals, and industry leaders and managers understand systemic racism and embrace practices that create a more inclusive workplace.
RESCON, through the AntiRacism Roundtable, which was formed in 2020 to address the issue, is now a distributor of the courses and is encouraging construction site supervisors, project managers and on-site personnel to take the training.
The courses are Introduction to Understanding Systemic Racism and Working in a Respectful and Inclusive Workplace. Each course is $100 and consists of approximately nine lessons, for a total of three hours of self-paced instruction per module. Participants receive a certificate upon completion of each module.
The courses are specifically tailored to the construction industry. They are accessible 24/7 on desktop, tablet and mobile devices, and are available in English and French. Interactive elements, scenarios, videos and quizzes are used in the lessons to reinforce learning.
RESCON and the Anti-Racism Roundtable have been working to educate workers in the construction industry about racism. RESCON has an ongoing Construction Against Racism Everywhere campaign with the hashtag #RESCONCare which is aimed at raising awareness that racism is not acceptable.
Amina Dibe, manager of government and stakeholder relations at RESCON and chair of the AntiRacism Roundtable, says companies that have more inclusive hiring practices and improved communication will be more successful.
“Another 100,000 workers will need to be recruited for Ontario’s construction industry in the next decade. There is a huge pool of labour out there and construction employers who have more inclusive hiring practices will be more successful in attracting workers, and therefore be more successful.”
RESCON vice president Andrew Pariser, chair of the health and safety committee, notes that employers have a duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to provide a workplace that is free of hazards.
“These courses will help employers prioritize awareness, education, and the creation of a culture of safety, not just from physical hazards and violence, but also psychological hazards including racism and harassment.”
To find out more about the courses, contact RESCON at (905) 760-7777.