EllisDon and Chandos partner with WomanACT and SCWIST to target workplace sexual harassment

Ontario Construction News staff writer

EllisDon and Chandos Construction have partnered with WomanACT and the Society for Canadian Women in Science & Technology (SCWIST) to help create workplaces that are free from sexual harassment.

“Empowering our employees to prevent and respond to gender-based violence is not only an important step for EllisDon’s safety practices and culture, but is crucial to advance our industry as a whole,” Geoff Smith, president and CEO of EllisDon said in a news release.

“It’s no question that we are a male-dominated industry — we need to be doing everything possible to attract and retain women in our workforce, while providing safe and respectful workplaces to build meaningful careers.”

Through this partnership, WomanACT and SCWIST aim to provide support to enhance EllisDon’s policies and procedures regarding both the prevention and response to workplace sexual harassment.

Our 2021 survey found that 4 in 10 Canadians experienced some form of harassment in the workplace—a rate significantly higher for women (50%) than men (33%),” said WomanACT Executive Director Harmy Mendoza. “That is why these cross-sectoral partnerships are critical to ending sexual and gender-based harassment. We are heartened by EllisDon’s investment to create a culture of safety, and we are committed to supporting EllisDon to improve workplace policies, procedures, and practices.”

Working alongside EllisDon, WomanACT and SCWIST will assess organizational needs using employee surveys and interviews, analyze policies, procedures and training materials, provide recommended updates to policies, procedures and training, and deliver customized training as needed.

The initiative that is being led by 2gether, EllisDon’s employee-led diversity, equity and inclusion group focusing on gender equality.

“WomanACT, SCWIST, and EllisDon have come together in an important and exciting collaboration to assist EllisDon in furthering our ongoing initiatives to support and create positive change with respect to Women in STEM careers,” says Andrew Anderson, senior vice president, Toronto area manager at EllisDon.

“I am proud to sponsor this group and support their effort to ensure that EllisDon provides and maintains a work environment where all women are safe and have equitable access to opportunities.”

Using evidence-based methods, WomanACT and SCWIST will guide EllisDon to enhance its environment of safety, trust, and accountability, and improve employee recognition and reporting on workplace sexual harassment.

“EllisDon has come a long way and has done an incredible job to grow into the outstanding employer they are today,” says Daniela Xavier, health, safety and environmental co-ordinator at EllisDon, and project lead. “To continue maintaining that culture, we have to evaluate ourselves and partner with organizations like WomanACT and SCWIST to constantly improve our overall safety culture.”

WomanACT, a charitable organization working collaboratively to end violence against women and advance gender equity through education, policy and community mobilization.

SCWIST has advanced women and girls and participation and leadership in STEM since 1981.


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