Carpenters’ Union calls for halt on all construction projects in Ontario

The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario

The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario is calling on Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Labour Laurie Scott to” temporarily halt ” all construction projects  in the Province of Ontario.

A news release from the Carpenter’s Union notes that despite the COVID-19 global pandemic and the emergency  situation  which has been declared, so far the   Government  of  Ontario  has  not  shut  down  the  construction  industry   and  at  least  some employers  are trying to carry  on with work  on their  jobsites  and projects.  

” However, the situation which exists on most jobsites  means that work simply cannot  go on as normal.  Many jobsites  have no facilities for workers  to even wash their hands  using soap and hot water  and “social distancing” is just not possible,” said the release.

“The  construction workers of this  Province  should  not  be expected to work on jobsites where the basic safety requirements for COVID-19 are not being met”, said Tony Iannuzzi, the  Executive Secretary  Treasurer of the Carpenters’ Union.

 “Those minimum standards simply do not exist on most  of our jobsites  now and we cannot  get Ministry of Labour inspectors out to deal with problems  our members  are having”, added Mr. Iannuzzi.

The Carpenters agree  that  a ‘one size  solution  does  not  fit all’ but  the  onus  should  be put  on employers  to make sure that their particular jobsites are safe and in compliance with the COVID-19 protocols  before construction workers  have to work on those jobsites, said the release.

It is for this reason  that the Carpenters  are  calling  for  all  construction  projects   to  shut  down  for 14 days, it noted.

 “A temporary closure  of jobsites  will allow employers  who  believe  work  on their  projects  can  be carried on safely to get the jobsites inspected by the Ministry of Labour and once that has been done our members and their families will know that work can proceed safely”, said Mr. Iannuzzi.

The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario is composed of 16 affiliated Local Unions of the United  Brotherhood of Carpenters and  Joiners  across  the  province.  In total,  it  represents  over 30,000 women  and men working  in a wide range  of skilled  trades,  including  carpentry, drywall, resilient  flooring, concrete  formwork, underwater construction, welding, scaffolding, and a other construction-related work.