‘Racist behaviour of any kind will not be tolerated by any of our employers’
The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) has launched a campaign to bring employers, unions and government together to combat and address racism in the industry.
“We are very proud of the fact that we have a multi-racial, multicultural and incredibly diverse workforce in Ontario’s construction industry and racist behaviour of any kind or in any form will not be tolerated by any of our employers,” says Richard Lyall, RESCON president.
The group has kicked off a Construction Against Racism Everywhere (CARE) campaign, with the hashtag #RESCONCare. Stickers showing the campaign’s name are being distributed to construction employers and the industry for workers to post on their hard hats and around construction sites.
The campaign is in response to the finding of several nooses at construction sites over the summer, when the group called on local police to conduct a full investigation of the “racist hate crimes”.
In July, Patrick Dillon, business manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario (PBCTCO), noted that “there is no place for racist activity on any construction site in Ontario” in response to the noose incidents.
“Our members build an Ontario for everyone’s benefit regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation or ability. An attack on one community is an attack on all of us,” said Dillon. “Recent events both in Canada and the United States have highlighted the need for more work to deal with systemic racism, especially anti-black racism. We need to do more and the Ontario Building Trades are ready to work with employers and community organizations to find solutions that make our communities better, healthier and more inclusive.”
RESCON and its board of directors are also spearheading the formation of a coalition of employers, unions and sub-trades from all sectors of the industry.
The group will come up with ideas on how to deal with racism and change the culture of the industry. Members will also figure out a strategy to educate workers and engage construction stakeholders through conversations and meetings with the Ontario Residential Council of Construction Associations, Infrastructure Health and Safety Association, Construction Employers Coalition and Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario.