Ontario wants to flush away bad bathroom conditions

The proposed changes come after an enforcement blitz that found hundreds of violations.

Monte McNaughton, Ontario minister of labour, announces proposed changes to jobsite bathroom rules.

Key Takeaways:

  • Officials are proposing that there be access to at least one women’s-only washroom on jobsites.
  • They are wanting to ensure properly fitting equipment such as uniforms, boots and safety harnesses are provided.
  • The province also intends to require jobsite bathrooms be private and completely enclosed, have adequate lighting and hand sanitizer.

The Whole Story

Ontario is on a mission to clean up bathroom conditions for construction workers and accommodate women on jobsites. 

Officials are proposing a series of changes that, if approved, would ensure there is access to at least one women’s-only washroom on jobsites and properly fitting equipment such as uniforms, boots and safety harnesses.

“Access to a washroom is a basic human dignity and something every worker should have the right to,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Careers in construction offer six-figure salaries with pensions and benefits, and it is an injustice only 10 per cent of them are filled by women. Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government will continue to stand with these heroes. Everyone has the right to a safe and welcoming workplace.”

The government is further improving portable washrooms by requiring them to be private and completely enclosed, have adequate lighting and hand sanitizer (where running water is not reasonably possible). Additionally, the government is doubling the number of toilets on most jobsites.

“Workplaces that are safer and more equitable help increase women’s participation in the workforce,” said Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity. “Our government is taking action to remove barriers and empower women to excel in sectors where they are underrepresented – because when women succeed, Ontario succeeds.”

Officials noted that there are nearly 600,000 construction workers in Ontario, but only one in 10 are women. 

These changes are part of a larger package that expands on actions introduced in the Working for Workers Acts, 2021 and 2022.

The announcement also comes after the Ministry of Labour conducted a major bathroom inspection push last month at over 1,800 construction sites. Inspectors reported 244 violations, the most common being no toilets provided, a lack of privacy, or a lack of cleaning. Minister McNaughton also embarked on a social media campaign that asked workers to share their experiences with jobsite bathrooms.

Workers responded, saying employers had made no effort to provide sanitary options for women changing their menstrual products while at work and that typically bathrooms are cleaned only once a week.


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