‘Quit the Smoke Break’ resonated strongly for
one PCL worker in particular. Jean-Francois Bessette heard about the program
through a cheque stuffer he received with his pay stub. He had previously tried
quitting a number of times, but when he
got the letter from Ottawa Public Health (OPH) he took it upon himself to call
and ask for support, not only for him, but for his fellow workers on site as
well. PCL management agreed to implement the program on the West Block project
Jean-Francois began spreading the word to
all on-site. He told workers, “no pressure, but this is a great opportunity and OPH can help.” Jean-Francois managed to
recruit 23 workers on his own. “Quitting isn’t easy, but knowing there’s
support available to me through this program really
makes a difference. Sometimes you want to quit but don’t know where to start.
This OPH program closed the gap for the other guys and me.”
McKean, Ottawa Public Health Nurse for the Tobacco Control Unit, is proud to work
with the construction community and see the smoke-free shift happening. With
the higher smoking rates seen on construction sites, Heidi first noticed the hesitations
from a preconceived notion that “we were going to force people to quit.” Soon
workers realized that OPH and the program are
there to provide the tools and the information for people that are ready to
quit, which can double workers chances for success. The key message from OPH is
‘when you are ready to quit’ we are here to help. The key to the program’s
success is PCL’s Health and Safety group and OPH are working together towards
the same goal of supporting workers through their journey to quit for a
“The Smoking Cessation program is something I have been involved
with since we invited Heidi to the Labour Management Meeting a few years ago
for her to promote in the construction industry.” said Maurice Gravel, District
HSE Manager for PCL. “Heidi has done a great job at keeping us all informed on
the benefits and results of this program. Knowing the health benefits of this program allows me to keep promoting and
supporting Heidi with their goals.”
Goals of the program:
the skills, proper tools, and power to quit smoking tobacco successfully.
specifically to when the worker is READY to quit.
- Built to
create a supportive, smoke-free culture.
This program was designed in partnership
with construction management and workers,
and has been successfully running since 2013. Client satisfaction surveys show that:
- 100% of
clients are completely satisfied
- 100% of
clients would recommend this program to others
The program happening in Ottawa consists
- The Fresh Air contest (1-month contest) with three categories (Quit, Help Someone to Quit,
and Don’t Smoke) for all to participate regardless of whether you smoke or not.
- If deemed eligible, workers receive five weeks of FREE NRT. Using NRT + receiving cessation support =
2x chances for successfully quitting, ongoing support and referral to Smokers’
Helpline and community resources.
Why this program is needed:
- Statistics show that
the smoking rate among construction workers is double that of the national
average (34% vs. 17%).
of current tobacco users say they plan to quit smoking in the next six months.
- 77% of workers want
their health information in their place of work.1
Have a site in Ottawa? Interested in
implementing OPH’s construction cessation program? Contact Heidi McKean at
613-580-6744 ext. 26177 or e-mail at Heidi.email@example.com.
PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries
out work across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These
diverse operations in the civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings
markets are supported by a strategic
presence in 31 major centers. Together, these companies have an annual
construction volume of more than $8 billion, making PCL the largest contracting
organization in Canada and one of the largest in North America. Watch us build at PCL.com.
Ottawa Public Health
is responsible for providing public health programs and services that
contribute to the physical, mental and emotional health and well-being of the
residents of Ottawa while advocating for public policies that make our city
and its residents healthier. These
programs and services are delivered in accordance with the Ontario Public Health
Standards (OPHS) and the Ontario Public Health Organizational Standards (OPHOS)
established by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). The OPHS
reflect the requirements across the functions of public health, which include:
population health assessment and surveillance; health promotion; disease and
injury prevention; and health protection. The delivery of these programs and
services are guided by: need, impact,
capacity and collaboration.
media inquiries, please contact:
Heidi McKean, R.N., B.Sc.N., CCHN(C)
Public Health Nurse/ Infirmière en santé publique
Tobacco Control Unit/Contrôle du tabagisme
Ottawa Public Health / Bureau de la santé publique d'Ottawa
x26177 | firstname.lastname@example.org
PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
613-228-5373 | email@example.com
For any other worker wanting smoking
cessation support in Ontario, it is available through smoker’s helpline at 1-877-513-5333
1Conference board of Canada