Several trade organizations have endorsed a private member’s bill advocating for pregnant women working in skilled trades to have access to maternity benefits sooner because it would eliminate barriers for women in industry.
The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF), Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) and KickAss Careers are groups supporting the bill, according to the office of Mark Gerretsen, MP for Kingston and the Islands. Gerretsen introduced the bill to the House of Commons in February.
The bill proposes amendments for the Employment Insurance Act to improve the benefits structure for pregnant women who perform dangerous jobs and are unable to work due to their pregnancy. A woman in these circumstances would be able to use maternity benefits 15 weeks before her expected due date, which is seven weeks earlier than current rules allow.
Robert Blakely, operating officer of CBTU, said in a release that a national maternity assistance program would “eliminate barriers for women considering a career in the skilled trades.”
The bill highly reflects the mandate of CBTU’s “Build Together, Women of the Building Trades” program that promotes, supports and mentors women in the skilled construction trades.