Thank you for the opportunity to be here today to speak to this issue.
At Women Building Futures, we work with companies that are engaged in Canada's construction, maintenance, and energy sector, and we work with women like Melodie every day.
I don't mean to repeat any of the wonderful points that were made by my fellow speaker, so my response will focus on a bit of a different perspective in all of this.
Women are Canada's largest under-leveraged human resource asset. By that, I mean that women working full time in Canada, thirty hours a week, earn on average $32,000 a year. It means that half of our workforce in this country are struggling to make ends meet, let alone being able to contribute to our tax base in the way that we need them to. Meanwhile, Canada is losing one-quarter of its very well-paid construction and maintenance and energy workforce. That's about 250,000 tradespeople, again, in one of Canada's highest paid sectors. We are not only losing them, we are losing the considerable collective tax contribution they make to our society.
Together, this is creating an unprecedented opportunity for Canada and Canadian women. Bill C-243 would play a significant role in bringing this opportunity to fruition. This bill would increase access to jobs that pay well. Raising the annual income of women, getting women and their children out of poverty, will help to replace the retiring trades workforce. We need this workforce to continue to attract investment so that we can attract, build, maintain, and operate our projects across this country.
We also need to replace the considerable tax base that Canada is losing to this retiring workforce.
I'm going to give you just one example of the type of result we see at Women Building Futures due to more women coming into this high-paid workforce. Right now, we have an Alberta company that is building a project just outside of Edmonton. This company, North West Refining, contracted with Women Building Futures to recruit and train 40 women as iron workers, scaffolders, and carpenters for this project. These 40 were recruited and trained. They're all working at the refinery and 39 of those 40 individuals are now registered apprentices. The average increase in income for these individuals was 203% on the day of hire. If they had been making $32,000 a year before being hired, they were, on day one of being hired, making $96,000. This changed the lives of these women and their families, including 34 children. Moreover, 20% of these women are indigenous.
The story that Melodie shared with us this morning is very common. Right now in Canada, we have an opportunity before us that we absolutely must act on. We are losing a significant chunk of our workforce in this country. They're paid among the highest salaries. Women are absolutely more than interested and capable of doing this work. Bill C-243 is going to women to come into and work at these jobs, without the fear that was expressed eloquently by the other speakers today.
We need a national strategy that would help Canada reinvest in the women who are already out there working 40 hours a week. They're the perfect recruitment asset for Canada's industry that pays high salaries.
All I can say is, Melodie, thank you for sharing your story and pushing this bill. Thank you to everyone who is speaking today and working towards bringing this bill to fruition, to help women get into these jobs, because it will benefit the women, their children, and Canada as whole. Thank you.