Marianne Wilkinson

Councillor, Kanata North

Ottawa Public Health partners with industry to reduce smoking on construction sites

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and EllisDon are working together to improve the health of construction workers in Ottawa. This innovative partnership supports construction workers to quit smoking. Smoking rates for trades and construction sector workers are nearly twice as high as the Canadian adult population. The Construction Industry Cessation Project offers quit-smoking tools, supports and incentives available on the job site.

To celebrate World No Tobacco Day, Ottawa Public Health presented the construction service company EllisDon a Smoke-Free Champion Certificate for their contributions to the health and wellness of their employees, and recognizing two of their staff for quitting smoking during a month-long contest.

“The health and wellbeing of trade workers on the job site are everyone’s concern,” said the Honourable Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s Minister of Labour. “Reducing smoking and second-hand smoke exposure on the job site improves productivity for businesses and the quality of life for those working in the construction industry.”

The EllisDon smoking cessation pilot program took place on the worksite of the future United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters training centre. Workers interested in quitting smoking attended Lunch-and-Learn sessions, participated in a Quit n’ Win contest and used telephone counselling services offered through the Smokers’ Helpline. Nicotine replacement therapy was also available through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) STOP Study. Following the success of this pilot project, OPH has already begun expanding the Construction Industry Cessation Project to other interested worksites and is working with several construction companies.

“Employees spend a large portion of their day at work and that makes the workplace an ideal setting to support those who are thinking about quitting smoking or who are ready to quit,” said Councillor David Chernushenko, member of the Ottawa Board of Health. “This is another example of Ottawa Public Health’s leadership in working with industry and health sector partners to reduce smoking rates and to expand smoke-free spaces in our community.”

“Promoting better health options is a win for both our tradespeople and our bottom line,” said Steve Smith, Area Manager at EllisDon. “Having on-site supports for workers interested in quitting smoking is a valuable tool for any business that wants to build a healthy and productive workforce and workplace.”

The Construction Industry Cessation Project is a demonstration project funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and includes key partners such as the Smokers’ Helpline and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

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