The measures under the Programme d’accès à l’égalité des femmes dans l’industrie de la construction (PAEF) 2015-2024 have fostered an increase in the presence of women in the construction industry, despite the existence of persistent obstacles. This is revealed in the report on the first two phases of the program, published by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ).
Following deployment of phases 1 and 2 of the PAEF, both the number of women workers practising a trade or occupation in the construction industry and the number of companies hiring at least one woman rose.
In 2021, the target of at least 3% women working on construction sites was reached. Women workers numbered 6,234, or 3.27% of the total workforce, an advance over their representation of 1.49% in 2015. Today, 15% of companies in the industry employ at least one woman; this figure stood at 8% when the program was adopted.
Despite this acceleration in the presence of women in recent years, their proportion in the total workforce and their numbers remain low. Persistent obstacles, notably with regard to work climate, impede their progress. In fact, a higher proportion of women (21%) than men (15%) leave the industry after one year. Women workers are concentrated in certain trades and occupations, such as painter, resilient flooring layer, and carpenter-joiner, whereas few of the targets per trade or occupation have been reached.
“The report on the first two phases eloquently illustrates the importance of the commitment of all partners to reaching the PAEF objectives,” explains Diane Lemieux, CEO of the Commission de la construction du Québec. “Although there has been a perceptible change of culture, we must continue the work we’ve begun to counter the obstacles that are still present, especially with regard to a healthy and inclusive climate, training, and job retention. These changes will be beneficial not just to women but to the industry as a whole.”
In light of the report’s observations, the CCQ is continuing the work undertaken to identify, with key organizations, structural actions will make it possible to support deployment of phase 3 of the PAEF.