De Novo Treatment Centre is working in partnership with the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario and the Ontario Erectors Association to conduct research that aims to identify and address the cause for higher rates of addiction and suicide within the industry.
Rates of addiction and suicide in the construction industry are among the highest across all sectors, with nearly one-third of all opioid-related deaths among those employed being in the construction industry. Additionally, statistics have indicated that the rate of suicide is three times the national average in the construction and building trades (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Purdin 2019).
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, these issues are becoming increasingly prevalent with unemployment and other COVID-19 restrictions placed on the province. As a result, the need for addiction treatment and mental health supports has increased.
As the sole addiction treatment service to the construction and building trades of Ontario, De Novo Treatment Centre wants to investigate the drivers behind these issues. Their research team will be administering approximately 3000 surveys among the industry’s frontline workers and leaders to gain a deeper understanding of the presenting issues. This research is being funded by the Ministry of Labour – Training and Skills Development Fund. We have commissioned one of Canada’s leading research firms, Pollara Strategic Insights, an independent market research company to conduct a survey among clients, union members, and industry leaders on De Novo’s behalf.
"This type of research project will help us identify some of the main factors causing these high rates of suicide and addiction," said Aaron Sinclair, Executive Director at De Novo. "From there, we hope to provide resources to address these needs, address the addiction and suicide issues, and save lives. Unfortunately, addiction and mental health related issues are not lacking in any sector; however, I am grateful for the opportunity to lead a research team that will help improve the quality of lives within this industry. This would not have been possible without the funding from the Ministry of Labour – Training and Skills Development Fund."
The Ministry’s new Training and Skills Development Fund is designed to address challenges as a result of the pandemic as well to help reduce obstacles to hiring, training, and retaining while preparing workers for the province’s economic recovery. The De Novo research initiative supports all levels in the industry including Journeypersons, Apprentices, and management personnel.
Ultimately, this research project sets out to develop training tools for training centres, unions, and employers to better understand and address addiction and suicide among workers in the industry. It will also establish a report to help address these systemic issues, improve the productivity and quality of life of skilled tradespeople, and to have better outcomes for employer partners who need a healthy workforce to help grow the economy.
It is De Novo’s goal that this project can help better understand the contributing factors of addiction and suicide in the Ontario construction industry specifically. It also aims to create training and workplace tools to help address this problem and ensure better outcomes for apprentices and journeypersons in the skilled trades. If you are employed in the unionized construction and building trades industry and are interested in completing the 10-12 minute survey, please call Grace Tiersma, Research Project Coordinator at 1-800-933-6686 ext. 242 or email Grace.firstname.lastname@example.org.