CEO Update Regarding Tragic Accident at Workplace Yesterday

by | POSTED: Apr 29, 2015

Our sincere condolences go out to the friends and family of the individual who lost his life in the workplace accident in Westmount yesterday. We are also heartened by the outpouring of care and concern from communities in the wake of what has happened.

Some media reports have mentioned that the individual was placed at the worksite by Bissell Centre. To clarify these reports, our Casual Labour Program did not place the individual at this jobsite or to any of the companies cited by the media. We are not a subcontractor and do not hire people directly, but  connect workers with companies that are registered with Bissell Centre.

We are still awaiting the official identity of the individual and will share information when  more is known.


About our  Casual Labour Program:

Over 20 years ago, we recognized the safety concerns of workers. We started our Casual Labour Program as a social mission to address those concerns and to reduce barriers to employment for people on the street. We are committed to providing our participants the training and resources needed to ensure safety and success in the workplace.

Worker Safety and Employer Accountability:

Our Casual Labour Program offers up to 100 job placements every day for the unemployed. We work closely with over 500 registered employers who understand and agree to our standards regarding workplace safety, the hiring process, and successful payment for the worker. In 2014, we conducted 60 jobsite visits and we ended relationships with four businesses that did not meet our quality control standards.

Worker safety is our highest priority. A committee of participants in our program meets regularly to share their experiences on the jobsite and provide feedback and raise concerns in order to increase our awareness about safety in the workplace. Workers are encouraged to leave the jobsite if safety is an issue. That way, Bissell staff will meet with the employer to voice these concerns.

We encourage people to not accept jobs without safety measures in place, but the reality is that there are people who are desperate to work and do not raise safety concerns out of fear of losing their job. We try to mitigate this through education and skills training.

Safety and Skills Training:

The Casual Labour Program offers training and skill enhancement free of charge for workers needing to be job ready. The program provides: employment counselling, job searches, resume writing, Construction Safety Training System (CSTS), H2S (Hydrogen Sulphide) Alive, Standard First Aid, and other job specific training. It also offers free lunches, boots, coveralls, gloves, and bus tickets when needed.

Casual Labour Success Story:

For three years, Steve relied on Bissell Centre’s Casual Labour Program to find daily, temporary work. The staff of our Employment Services Program saw that he had a strong work ethic, a drive to succeed, and was a reliable participant of the program. They were able to immediately engage with him and discuss setting career minded goals, including operating his own business.

Personal issues in Steve’s life started to take control and pull him away from the program. He was seen less and less on a daily basis and this was a cause of concern for staff.

Employment Services was able to enroll Steve into Bissell Centre’s Homeless to Homes (H2H) Program to get him housed in hopes of getting his life back on a track. With the support from H2H, Steve was able to have the space to address his personal issues, gain the life skills necessary to get control of his life, and restore his confidence. The road blocks that impeded his ability to be a successful participant with the Casual Labour Program were reduced.

Steve has since come back to Bissell Centre’s Program as a registered business owner of a successful roofing company that billed $20,000 in the first month of operation. Employment Services was able to provide him with referrals and encouragement to start his business and continues to support him with his success. The program refers casual labour staff to work for him, provides the resources to help with problems that may occur on the worksite, and offers guidance to his staff who might also be dealing with personal problems.

Casual Labour Statistics:

  • 60 jobsite visits (2014)
  • 14,000 casual labour placements (2014)
  • 500 registered employers
  • $1M in the pockets of our workers
  • 100 full time job placements

For more information about our Casual Labour Program, please visit our webpage  here.

For media inquiries, please contact Darren Brennan, Marketing and Fund Development Associate, at 780.423.2285. ext. 129, dbrennan@bissellcentre.org.