The CAWIC LEVEL BEST™ Women’s Advancement Project was a federal government funded research and action plan that was designed for construction industry employers, unions, alternative unions and open shop contractors across Canada to improve women’s advancement into leadership roles within the Canadian construction industry.
It was CAWIC’s mandate to promote change, raise awareness, break down barriers, and create a targeted, specific and measurable industry action plan that makes economic sense both for the employer and the employee in construction.
During this project, which ran from January 2014 to December 2016, CAWIC worked closely with a Project Advisory Committee, employers and women employed in the construction industry or seeking to enter the construction industry to ensure the Project’s success. Over the duration of the project, CAWIC followed through on these four phases:
Phase 1: CAWIC developed partnerships with Leading Construction Industry Stakeholders and called for female participants
Phase 2: Gender based research
Phase 3: Developed an action plan to hire retain and promote women from within
Phase 4: Implementation of the CAWIC Action Plan
The Level Best Needs Assessment revealed the need to create a better working environment for women in the construction industry, starting with basic elements such as adequate bathrooms and suitable Personal Protective Equipment. More importantly, increased collegiality between male and female employees, union representatives and employers, additional opportunities for women to gain experience and to have this experience recognized by supervisors, as well as effective solutions regarding pregnancy leave, childcare and harassment and discrimination are all required.