Construction Labour Relations Conference James St. John

James St. John

Business Manager / Financial Secretary
Central Ontario Building Trades
Hammer Heads

James St. John began his career in 1989 as an Ironworker. He later moved into residential construction as a building Super and then an owner. James is currently the Business Manager / Financial Secretary of The Central Ontario Building Trades, the largest local Building Trades Council in North America. James is also the President / Director of the Hammer Heads Program. The Building Trades created the Hammer Heads Program to provide youth from under-resourced and Indigenous communities in the Greater Toronto Area with an opportunity to explore a career in the skilled construction trades.

Prior to becoming COBT Business Manager, James was the first Full-Time Worker Co-Chair of the COBT for the Pearson International Airport Expansion, Terminal One in 2002 and remained as Co-Chair until the end of 2003. During that time, he was the recipient of the John M. Beck Award that recognizes the outstanding contributions of a project-based joint Health & Safety Committee active in Ontario construction. He was instrumental in having the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) adopt the COBT’s Full-Time Worker Co-Chair Program as one of their “Best Practices”. In 2015, James was the recipient of the OCS’ Tripartite Leadership Award in recognition of his commitment and lasting contribution to the tripartite process.

James was also the driving force behind the creation of the CEIR (Construction Exposure Incident Reporting) Program, working closely with the Workers Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) and, at that time, the Construction Safety Association of Ontario (CSAO). James is also the recipient of the Canadian Building Trades’ 2022 Distinction Award in recognition of his contributions toward apprenticeship through the Hammer Heads Program.
James is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Workers’ Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) and the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development’s (MLITSD) Prevention Council.