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Tailgate Toolkit Webinar in Review

On April 11th The BC Tradeswomen Society presented a webinar in partnership with the Tailgate Toolkit Project.  Tailgate Toolkit’s About page describes their project:

The Tailgate Toolkit Project is an innovative program aimed at increasing access to harm reduction services and ideas for those working in the construction industry.

After successful partnerships with Island Health in 2017 & 2021, the Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA) is excited to expand their harm reduction program provincially, with the support of the Ministry of Mental Health & Addictions. 

The precedent for this project comes from the 2018 BC Coroner’s Report “Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC: Findings of Coroners’ Investigations” which investigated demographic trends among those who had lost their lives to a drug poisoning event. The construction, trades, and transport industry are overrepresented – of the 44% of people who were employed at the time of their death 55% worked in our industry.

 The Tailgate Toolkit Harm Reduction Program was formed after an extensive stakeholder engagement process, consisting of interviews with tradesfolk with lived experience with substance use, as well as input from the Tailgate Toolkit Project Steering Committee. The Stakeholder Engagement Report can be found online, here.

 The Tailgate Toolkit Project consists of four components; on-site/virtual toolbox talks, supervisory training for site and company leaders, an industry support group, and extensive, region-specific resource guides for folks working in the construction/trades industry.

Funding for the Tailgate Toolkit is provided by the Ministry of Mental Health & Addictions, The Canadian Mental Health Association (BC Division), and the Community Action Initiative.

The presentation included resources, statistics and inclusive language that reduces the stigma around substance use. 

One of the statistics that stood out the most for me was that over 50% of people employed at the time of death due to drug poisoning are members of the construction, trade or transport industry and that 8/10 people who die due to drug poisoning are men.

One of the important things I learned was that since Substance Use Disorder is recognized as a medical condition, if you come to your employer with the need to pursue recovery they have an obligation to work with you to reasonably accommodate your needs.  Often your company or union may already have a program in place to help you enter into recovery, contact them to find out what resources they can provide for yourself or your co-workers. 

Tailgate Toolkit and Umbrella have created a weekly social support group called Hammer Time and the information is listed below:

The life of a construction worker isn’t for everyone, and most people don’t get it. That’s why we have created a space to talk about substance use with others in our industry: Hammer Time.

Hammer Time is a social support group (there’s no religious component, it’s not a 12 step program, and you don’t have to be sober to participate) being delivered in a partnership between the Tailgate Toolkit and the Umbrella Society.

Hammer Time happens on Zoom every Thursday from 7-8 PM and is facilitated by 2 Umbrella Society staff who have lived experience of working in the construction industry and substance use. 

Join Us This Thursday:

If you would like to look over Tailgate Toolkit’s resources or organize a presentation for you organization check them out

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