The campaign aims to educate the construction industry about racial bias
After witnessing incidents of bigotry and discrimination, the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) has decided to launch a campaign aimed at bringing employers, unions and governments together to address racism in the construction industry.
RESCON’s Construction Against Racism Everywhere (CARE) campaign is geared towards educating construction employers and workers about racial bias.
“We have always taken a leadership role in fighting racism and discrimination in the construction industry,” said Richard Lyall, RESCON president. “We are very proud of the fact that we have a multi-racial, multi-cultural 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.”
As part of its campaign, the group staged a webinar last September 10 that discussed employers’ legal obligations when dealing with incidents involving racial discrimination. A separate panel discussion focused on anti-racism and diversity efforts were also undertaken by builders and labour groups.
RESCON said the recent discovery of nooses in several construction sites in Ontario was among the major drivers of its campaign.
“Our industry responded quickly and was the first to condemn racist acts that occurred recently on Toronto construction sites,” said Lyall. “The webinar brought together employer, union and government voices needed to make meaningful change.”
RESCON also plans to organize a coalition of employers, unions and sub-trades that will focus on finding effective measures to combat industry racism.
“We intend to work closely with construction employers and unions, the provincial and municipal governments to address racism in all forms,” said Bruno Giancola, chair of RESCON’s board of directors. “While the recent incidents in no way exemplify the majority of the 400,000 workers, contractors and builders who work in Ontario’s construction industry, RESCON is aware that there is a problem and will continue to do all that we can to learn and educate the workforce.”
In a recent interview with COS, a community development expert explained that in order for anti-racist approaches to be effective, it must go beyond addressing negative attitudes and instead promote a deeper understanding of how such prejudices are formed.