After five months on the job, Heather MacLeod is still eagerly counting the number of heavy-duty pickups she works on each day.
A former RCMP officer, MacLeod, 48, knew it was time for a change when COVID-19 forced her to start working from home. So she left the force after 15 years.
And although she never expected to be building trucks for a living, MacLeod is fully dialed in to her new position on the chassis line at General Motors’ Oshawa Assembly Plant.
“I have done a desk job before, and I’m just not content to sit around,” she said. “Walking into the assembly line for the first time, all the power tools that drop down from the sky, it’s just fascinating.”
MacLeod is one in a large cohort of female hires at the plant, which restarted Nov. 8 after it appeared to have closed for good in 2019. GM Canada used the fresh start to upend industry norms, building a 1,200-person workforce of which roughly half are women.
“I’m sure the automotive industry used to be a very male-dominated industry,” MacLeod said. “But if you walk around on our line, on our team, I think there’s more women than men, and we’ve got all age groups as well.
“You’ve got people just starting out. You’ve got people that are on their second or third career, like I am.”