British Columbia

'Don't be a tool,' B.C.'s construction association urges in anti-bullying campaign

The B.C. Construction Association recently did a year-long research project with Equity Project and found that bullying, hazing and sexual harassment are problems in the industry.

Hazing, harassment, bullying are problems in an industry in which fewer than 5% of workers are women

The B.C. Construction Association hopes the anti-bullying campaign with spark conversation and change. (Don't Be A Tool/Youtube)

Don't be a tool — that's the message a new anti-bullying campaign in B.C.'s construction industry is trying to get across with short animated stories.

"It can help raise some conversation and awareness to this subject of hazing, harassment and bullying on construction work sites or, for that matter, other sectors," said Chris Atchison, president of the B.C. Construction Association.

The association recently did a year-long research project with Equity Project and found those three behaviours — bullying, hazing and sexual harassment — are a problem in the industry.

"Some of it is rooted in the history the macho-ism," Atchison told Stephen Quinn, host of CBC's The Early Edition.

"We're hoping that we can lead by example and correct some the stigma, some of the reality and some of the perceptions that still exist today."

About 95 per cent of workers in B.C.'s construction industry are male but the association is trying to make it more inclusive. (Getty Images)

'Still suffers stigma'

The anti-bullying campaign is part of a larger Builders Code initiative to change codes of conduct in construction and improve workplace behaviour.

Roughly 180,000 people work in B.C.'s construction industry.

Less than five per cent are women, though — something the construction association is focused on changing.  

"Construction is one of a few sectors that still suffers from a stigma at this time," Atchison said.

"We're trying to attract young and under-represented groups that are not found as often as they should be in our industry."

The association recently announced that it hopes the industry's workforce in B.C. will be 10 per cent female within the next decade.

"That might not seem like a lot to some people but, historically, our average has been less than five per cent," he said.

"[We're hoping to] make construction a workplace that's suitable for all."

With files from The Early Edition


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