The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) has published a first-of-its-kind national strategy for Supporting Women in Trades (SWiT).
Built on action items identified by a 2019 task force, it establishes a national target to increase participation and retention of women in skilled trades careers to 15% by 2030. A 2018 study pegged women’s representation at just 4.5%.
The strategy aims to generate awareness about the opportunities for women, trigger policy changes at the governmental level, recognize best practices in the field, and create skilled trade workplace environments where women’s representation increases.
“CAF-FCA is committed to being a catalyst for diverse and inclusive workplaces.” says France Daviault, executive director of CAF-FCA. “Under-represented groups including women, transgender, two-spirited, intersexed, or gender non-binary have a fundamental right to a safe, healthy and equitable workplace, free of harassment, bullying, and discrimination.”
A web page dedicated to advancing the goals of the strategy provides links to tools that will assist employers, unions, educators, and tradeswomen in creating healthy, safe, and inclusive workplaces.
“The goal is to have best practices from across sectors available in one place. There is no need to recreate the wheel – there are some tried and tested tools out there that organizations are willing to share,” Daviault said.
The strategy is a national movement and call for champions who commit to making a difference through a public pledge.
The pledge requires that they share their internal numbers on the percentage of women apprentices and journeypersons they employ in skilled trades work annually. “Those who join the movement as champions by taking the #CHAMPIONS4CHANGE pledge are truly changemakers and leaders,” Daviault said. “They understand that numbers matter and aren’t afraid to be part of the discussion. We are beyond rhetoric as the number hasn’t increased in years. It’s time to be bold by holding industry accountable for the numbers.”