MHCA acknowledges it is located on Treaty One land and the homeland of the Metis Nation

Canadian Construction Association webinar: Diversity and Inclusion – more than words
Sponsored by Cansel
Moderator: Nicole Chabot, Vice-President, L. Chabot Enterprises
Register here

AN INDUSTRY FOR ALL

The heavy construction industry has always drawn its workers from various groups within our communities. The Manitoba Heavy Construction Association’s Diversity tab provides members, managers, employees and future employees resources and information, aiming to assist with recruiting, hiring and retaining workers and making all workers, from all backgrounds, welcome. Take a look at our initiatives, to see what we’ve done and where we’re going.

DIVERSIFYING OUR WORKFORCE

Who works in heavy construction?
This diverse industry has something for everyone, whoever you are and whatever your skills, qualifications or interests. Our industry members are proud of their work in attracting people from all backgrounds.

There are numerous, well-developed resources, including on-line courses and seminars for employers, managers and employees on what diversity looks like, why it’s important to you and how we can all work to ensure successful implementation of respectful workplace policies.

EMPLOYERS/ MANAGERS

Workers

Future Workers

Resources for all

Messages

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE, YOUR CAREER IN HEAVY CONSTRUCTION AWAITS
This industry and this association are intent on providing jobs and careers to all. 

BUILDING ON OUR PAST, ON THE ROAD TO NEW POSSIBILITIES
The history of heavy civil construction and roadbuilding has been built, to a degree, on the work of diverse groups.

MOVING BEYOND STEREOTYPES – DIVERSITY IN HEAVY CONSTRUCTION
Did you see the recent story about pink porta-potties on British Columbia construction sites? I must admit, it raised an eyebrow or two. Really? Pink?

MHCA’S LEE WOODS NAMED VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: TOURISM WINNIPEG
MHCA Marketing and Communications Coordinator Lee Woods is proud of their work to raise the profile of Pride Winnipeg.
View story

Do you have questions about the MHCA’s marketing materials and publications? Contact Lee Woods at lee@mhca.mb.ca

LATEST NEWS

MHCA initiatives

MHCA has been working with various industry and community partners to diversify recruitment and employment in the heavy construction industry.

Looking for work? Need to hire?

Click here to post your resume or a job position on the MHCA WORKSAFELY™ job board.

In the news

August 18, 2021

The MHCA, as part of the Manitoba Construction Sector Council, is involved in a number of initiatives to attract women and Indigenous people to the industry. The Manitoba government announced $600,000 grant in August, 2021, for a training program in four northern, Indigenous communities to help women enter the trades, including water and sewer heavy construction work. Listen to Cathy Cox, Minister for the Status of Women, talk about the opportunities here.

Province of Manitoba | News Releases (gov.mb.ca)

Manitoba funding trades training for Indigenous women

August 19, 2021

Sietta Marsden, 19, of Pinaymootang First Nation, says it can be intimidating for women to step into the industry, but the training course helped her overcome her initial reservations. Now she can be a role model for younger women considering construction as a career.

Manitoba funding trades training for Indigenous women (aptnnews.ca)

Indigenous women in Manitoba have a new opportunity to take trades training in their communities

August 19, 2021

Carol Paul, Executive Director of the MCSC, spoke to Sam Samson, from CBC Information Radio’s Up to Speed program, about the training initiative, challenges the construction industry faces in recruiting women and Indigenous people and why women should look to construction for good jobs and career opportunities.

Listen here

With equity far from reality in Manitoba's unemployment rates, construction and manufacturing sectors are targeting a "she-covery" strategy to move forward.

Faith Fundal is joined by two women who operate heavy construction companies. Nicole Chabot, owner of Chabot Enterprises Ltd, and Colleen Munro, President of Hugh Munro Group.

March 8, 2021
Listen now

Pandemic job losses impact more Manitoba women than men

Almost one year after the pandemic began, policy analysts say unemployment rates for Manitoba women are quickly outpacing rates for men.

March 8, 2021
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Leading family business into next generation

Colleen Munro pulls up to her office just off Wilkes Avenue in Winnipeg and gets ready for another day of business as owner and president of Hugh Munro Construction. Founded in 1959, Hugh Munro Construction provides excavation and heavy construction services for Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

April 29, 2020
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Manitoba recognizes International Women’s Day with funding for career programs

Manitoba’s provincial government has announced funds geared toward propelling women into fields of work dominated by men, like construction and information technology.

March 8, 2021
Listen now

Manitoba tech, construction sectors get $50K to boost women in trades

The Manitoba government announced supports for programs that promote women in trades on Monday as part of International Women’s Day.

March 8, 2021
Read article

Pink portable toilets a signal of changing site attitudes?

It may not be the traditional welcome mat, but the pink portable toilet is becoming a sign of changing attitudes at construction sites as more women enter the job site.  

June 25, 2021
Read article

Interested in talking to someone about your future in heavy construction? Call Jackie Jones at 204-947-1379.

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE, YOUR CAREER IN HEAVY CONSTRUCTION AWAITS

This industry and this association are intent on opening job and careers to all. As Chair of the MHCA Board of Directors, I welcome you to the MHCA new Diversity web resource. It’s starting small – highlighting some of the work that has been done to increase representation in our industry – with full intention of growing fast to provide members and potential workers resources that support recruitment and employment.

I grew up in the industry, working at the family business and chose a career with L. Chabot Enterprises, where I am now Vice-President. This was no easy or pre-ordained path, however. Step into heavy construction – it is an interesting, vibrant environment with multiple opportunities to find a niche, but it demands a commitment that rivals most other workplaces.

Its rewards, however, are immediately tangible. Good pay, meaningful work and wide-open career opportunities. I very much believe in “see it, be it.” I am not the first Indigenous woman to make this industry my home, but I recognize there are too few of “me” and too few from diverse communities working in heavy construction.

This is very much about seeing and being seen, because that’s a necessary element of successful recruitment and retention. This web resource is also about assisting our industry, our employers with their work to attract, welcome and retain employees from a greater diversity of groups and communities.

The heavy construction industry is open to you, however you may identify. We hope you’ll consider the opportunity to also describe yourself as a heavy construction worker.

Nicole Chabot, G.S.C.

Chair, Manitoba Heavy Construction Association
Director, Canada Construction Association
V-P, L. Chabot Ent.

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Forged by 2020, tempered for 2021

If you stick with a job long enough, you’ll meet those moments when your resolve is sorely tested.

Those moments test the very fundamentals of how you’ve operated, the strength of your business strategy and its ability to nimbly adjust to emerging crises and outright threats.

Wow. 2020.

Not since, I would say, the forced-unionization battle during the expansion of Manitoba’s Floodway has any other event so rocked the moorings of our collective lives like the pandemic’s economic disruption.

And here we are.

As our outgoing Chair Jack Meseyton states, in his able review of the year for us, COVID-19 is not leaving us anytime soon. But we have come through the worst of an unprecedented threat to our economy, and by extension our industry’s businesses, relatively unscathed as an industry. How many business sectors can say that?

I am not going to review the year’s accomplishments, but I can say this: we are in a stronger place now than where we were March 1st because we relied on time-tested advocacy fundamentals – anchored by the principle that government’s first job is growing the economy.

COVID-19 tested us and now we know we are equal to its challenges in the months to come.

Chief among the challenges is the fact that governments at all levels have lost revenues, and deficit-financing means each will be making hard decisions on expenditures and budget priorities.

That fact will set the tone and direction of MHCA’s 2021 advocacy priorities.

First, even with the hard-won incremental increases in the Highways Capital budget, this area of concern remains our No. 1 issue.

I believe there is good understanding and support for our long-standing position that Manitoba Infrastructure should release annual and five-year Highways Capital programs, rolling over unexpended funds to the following year’s budget.

Annual and multi-year budgets round out the plan, to translate the long-term strategic vision for our trade transportation network into reality.

There are other, immediate issues provincially, including

  • Pressing Manitoba to submit project applications to Ottawa so we get full take up in time for the next construction season of the province’s allotment under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan. These funds are critical to municipal infrastructure priorities
  • Assisting in moving the federal government to timely approval of the Lake Manitoba-Lake St. Martin Outlet Channel project
  • Shifting MI’s service delivery model for highway maintenance to private-sector, open tenders
  • Securing provincial commitment to improve the Quarry Rehabilitation Program, to green-light the process of updating the program and levies. This is key to protecting community and municipal relations and long-term access to aggregate resources through good environmental stewardship of lands that have hosted pits and quarries.

On the municipal level, we are focused on ensuring Winnipeg City Council budget outcomes reflect and respect citizen’s #1 priority, which is to improve the condition of roads and infrastructure. Hence messages: to safeguard budgets; keep the annual 1% + 1% levy dedicated to the renewal of local and regional streets intact; update the infrastructure deficit; ensure an evidence-based sustained predictable and incremental financial plan with which to guide long-term investment.

Strong investment in infrastructure is an economic imperative for Winnipeggers, every bit as much as it is for Manitoba especially as we recover from the impact of the pandemic.

As well, MHCA will work to ensure:

  • City Council adopt a public policy that encourages the use of recycled concrete aggregate in road-building projects, with RCA meeting equivalent specification standards as virgin limestone
  • The joint city-industry Specification Review Committee proceed on its review of the City’s updated base and sub-base specifications CW3110-R21, including soliciting an analysis of local RCA properties and also a jurisdictional scan of practices
  • Engagement with the City on new specification reviews, including road design

On a national level, we are no less aggressive in promoting the fact our economic recovery needs strong, strategic infrastructure investment.

This year, MHCA will

  • Take receipt with Western Canada Roadbuilders & Heavy Construction Association (WCR&HCA), the Canadian Business Council and the Canadian Construction Association of a commissioned analysis, initiated by the MHCA, by the Canada West Foundation, of the need for renewed capitalization of Canada’s trade transportation system, including regional and provincial focus
  • Join, with these organizations, in advocating for transportation infrastructure investment at the second meeting of the New West Partnership, to be hosted in Manitoba
  • Early in the new year, put transportation infrastructure investment on the table at the next meeting of the Council of Transportation Ministers

With the CCA and construction industry associations, MHCA will continue to oppose the encroachment of community benefit agreements within federal infrastructure investment agreements and speak loudly against the imposition of trade barriers wherever they appear, including against local preference clauses in provincial tender and construction documents that advantage the bids of construction companies residing within that province.

The MHCA will continue to respond quickly to emerging issues, providing services our members want and need to remain competitive and to work safely.

On that note, I would like to give special mention to the accomplishments of our WORKSAFELY™ team, led by Don Hurst. This year, our WORKSAFELY™ team helped our members protect their staff and businesses against the risks presented by COVID-19.

Our safety and health protocols, rapidly prepared when the pandemic struck, allowed our industry to show the Public Health and political offices that it could continue to work safely, which was foundational to being listed as an essential service.

Before I wrap up, I want to say that I am proud of what we accomplished in 2020 and I am optimistic for 2021. We have formidable challenges ahead but the past year’s achievements prove we can and will meet them.  I have people to thank for that:

Jack Meseyton has served as our Chair for two years. He has served the association and industry with great generosity, distinction and integrity and never failed to answer the phone and assist me when the need arose.

In our frequent discussions on Broadway, Jack has been a stalwart, articulate and passionate representative of our industry, hammering home the messages that needed to be heard. I am in his debt for his guidance, insight, wisdom and courage.

Nicole Chabot, our incoming Chair, has been a keenly engaged executive member since 2011. She is an impressive businessperson, a leader in her community and a formidable voice for our industry. Nicole has been unstinting in her service to our association and to me, personally. I am excited to work with her as Chair, and am confident our achievements will continue with her leadership. 

Lastly, it must be said that each of our accomplishments, including the mere inches gained on files that seemed impossibly complicated this year, was only possible because of the legacy of leadership from our Boards of Directors and members. That collective leadership and commitment to what the MHCA represents has laid down years of progress, built on time-tested principles that guide our advocacy.

When the world goes sideways suddenly and unexpectedly, there is immeasurable comfort in knowing if you stick to principle, rely on the guidance and support of industry members who do not waver from values forged in experience, you will land right-side up.

Thank you

Chris Lorenc, B.A., LL.B.,

President, MHCA

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Moving beyond stereotypes – diversity in heavy construction

Did you see the recent story about pink porta-potties on British Columbia construction sites? I must admit, it raised an eyebrow or two. Really? Pink?

Pink is such a tired metaphor. But I admit I think a porta-potty without a urinal is a welcome development.

We need to push past stereotypes. So, I am beyond happy to be part of a concerted effort to launch the Diversity resource on our MHCA website. So much potential and value in this initiative, which aims to move beyond the view that heavy construction is the domain of one gender and largely of one colour.

I am the MHCA Diversity Advisor. My position reflects the fact the MHCA and its WORKSAFELY™ team are doing more work to diversify the heavy construction labour force. And we wanted a spot to showcase that work, to assist our members and to show those interested in seeking jobs and building careers that we welcome you. And our Board agrees.

I want to be your contact for any questions or suggestions regarding diversity and the heavy construction industry.

The MHCA will be posting the work we have and continue to do to generate interest in heavy construction among non-traditional labour groups, including young people (click here). For example, our high-school ‘introduction to heavy construction’ program with the Seven Oaks School Division begins in September and I anticipate it will find its way into many more educational settings.

The fact is heavy construction employers are facing labour and skill shortages, much as is construction generally. We need you to take an interest in this industry. Our employers need to ensure they offer a welcoming environment, capable of training new recruits.

A lot of the material you will find on these pages intends to inform, to educate and to start a discussion.

That is where you and I come in.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions, queries and suggestions at 204-947-1379 or jackie@mhca.mb.ca

Jackie Jones, CAE
Education and Diversity Programs Advisor, MHCA & WORKSAFELY™

 

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