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CCWESTT 2024 Conference Schedule

Charting a Course – Navigating Systemic Change

12:30 

12:45 

1:30  

2:15  

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2:40  

4:30  

5:00  

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5:30  

Professor Elizabeth Croft is the Vice-President Academic and Provost at the University of Victoria (UVic) in British Columbia, Canada, a research-intensive comprehensive university leading the world in climate action, sustainability, rights of indigenous peoples, health equity, and international research collaborations. She is internationally recognized for her leadership in research and education innovation and for advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in academia and industry. 

 

Professor Croft holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of British Columbia, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Waterloo, and a doctoral degree in robotics from the University of Toronto. She is an expert in the field of human-robot interaction. Her work advances the design of intelligent controllers and interaction methods that underpin how people and autonomous, collaborative systems can work together in a safe, predictable, and helpful manner. She has led large-scale collaborative research projects utilizing robots alongside people in manufacturing and guided multidisciplinary initiatives with automotive and aerospace industry partners. Her outstanding contributions have earned Professor Croft considerable recognition, including the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Alan Blizzard Award, WXN’s Top 100 most powerful women in Canada award, and the Engineers and Geoscientists BC RA McLachlan Award. 

 

Professor Croft is a fellow of the American Society of Engineers, the Institute of Engineers Australia, Engineers Canada, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

8:00  

9:00  

Jove Nazatul is a trans, non-binary person of colour and immigrant of mixed Asian heritage who works full-time in the trades and is the first trans, non-binary person to be elected to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA). An intersectional person, Jove has been an advocate for change for years. 

 

Sarah Campden is the Director of Project Services at Wiser Projects Inc., a planning and professional consulting firm in Victoria, helping to support equitable and accessible communities that reflect current and future needs. Wiser is a women-led organization with B-Corp certification and over 75 years of collective experience in community planning, policy writing, and non-profit housing and community development. The Wiser Team consists of professional planners, civil and architectural technologists, financial and social entrepreneurship professionals, and certified project managers.

 

Sarah has an Associate of Arts Degree from Camosun College, a diploma in Architectural Drafting and Building Technology and has since added AutoCAD, Civil 3D, subdivision design, project management, construction administration and leadership courses to her resume. She has worked as a Geomatics Technician, Technical Services Coordinator, Project Manager, Civil Technologist, Associate and currently as a Director.

 

After over 8 years on the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) Board, Sarah became the first female President in June 2019. This position has assisted her in setting her career and personal goals. She is the recipient of both the ASTTBC Top in Technology and Women in Technology award.

 

Sarah was born here in Victoria, and has been married for 28 years to a Red Seal Automotive Technician and Camosun graduate and has a 19-year-old daughter, who is currently enrolled in the Fine Furniture and Joinery Program at Camosun College. This is a Camosun College alumni family!

 

Eden Hennessey (she/her) is a Social Psychologist who researches and mobilizes knowledge related to diversity promotion and discrimination reduction. She is the inaugural Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Data Specialist at Wilfrid Laurier University and Research and Programs Director of the Laurier Centre for Women in Science (WinS). Dr. Hennessey advocates for equity and inclusion in academia and combines arts with data to impact world-wide audiences through photo-research exhibits.

 

Jessica Vandenberghe, P.Eng., FEC, FGC (Hon.) is a member of the Dene Thá First Nation, a sixties scoop survivor and raised in an inclusive German farming family in northern Alberta. Her exceptional career is based on two engineering degrees from the University of Alberta. She has worked in the oil sands, mining, regulatory, infrastructure, consulting industries and academia. She is the Assistant Dean, Community and Culture with the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Victoria and the owner of Guiding Star Consulting. She is a mother of two and at the intersection of two equity deserving groups in the Engineering Profession, which drives her passion for equity, diversity and inclusion along with Truth and Reconciliation. She believes that we can walk together to heal, build strong relationships, teach ethical and respectful behaviour, and be changemakers to create progressive and inclusive organizations and communities.

 

Sweta Rajan (she/her) is a speaker, coach, facilitator and consultant with over 2 decades of experience in science, training and development, and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) advisory. She is a staunch advocate for immigrant women in STEM fields and centring their voices. Her systemic approach supports co-creating spaces that empower people and communities to fulfill their potential.

10:45 

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11:00

The 2023 Women in the Workplace report by McKinsey and LeanIn helped to debunk the myth that women are becoming less ambitious and called attention to the ‘broken rung’ as the biggest barrier to women’s advancement. At WCT we are rewriting the rules of ambition – bringing women from coast to coast together to support one another, overcome the barriers that stand in their way and leave the old models and obstacles where they belong – behind them. During this 20-min session, we will share our approach with the audience, building a collaborative approach between employers and their employees to move the dial on gender equity for Canadian women in SETT and sharing lessons from research we have done with employers across Canada that have seen considerable movement against gender equity goals. We’ll also share some newly emerging promising practices or known gaps that offer the highest likelihood of moving the dial at a systems level.

In McMaster Engineering, we have worked to enable faculty allyship through structural changes. We have engaged senior male faculty members to coach junior equity-deserving faculty members, introduced an informal program to facilitate networking, and embedded equity and inclusion champions on faculty committees.

 

Senior (mostly male) faculty members participated in leadership workshops, which included training on how to use coaching techniques. They were asked to practice their coaching with junior women or Black faculty members. The matches were made within the Faculty but between departments to mitigate hierarchical power dynamics. Senior male leaders committed time to building relationships with junior faculty learned about their experiences and about their research and successes. They are now in a better position to advocate for and support these faculty members in the future.

 

Networking is more challenging for under-represented folks, so we implemented an optional monthly “coffee with a colleague” in which faculty members are randomly matched to build community.

 

In academia, many decisions and policies are made by faculty committees. We implemented a role we called the Equity and Inclusion Champion on each of these committees. This person’s task is not to be an expert but to initiate conversations about equity and inclusion, including how decisions affect a diversity of stakeholders. We recommend that the role be taken by folks who are not in equity-deserving groups, partly to remove the burden of perceived self-advocacy but also to give license to men to raise these issues, embedding the practice and changing culture.

The need to revisit Black Engineers of Canada (BEC)’s strategic plan became apparent after 3 years since its inception. There had become a growing interest in BEC to partner with and assist organizations/businesses with ties to the engineering community reach their diversity objectives. Meanwhile, BEC was continuing to engage with members and a growing volunteer base of Black students, graduates and professionals in engineering that are increasingly facing challenges in their career progression. In approaching 2024, the BEC Board of Directors and other key volunteers carried out a strategic planning session and challenged themselves to respond to the following: How can BEC leverage its growing interest to provide long-lasting benefits to its members? This presentation shares the successes and challenges BEC has encountered since being founded in 2020 and how lessons learned were used by the strategic planning session participants to establish SMART objectives and strategies as part of the refined 5-year Strategic Plan. The presentation also touches on BEC’s next steps in becoming operational, from action planning to performance measurements and how it plans to impact/influence systematic issues within the science, engineering, trades and technology (SETT) community.

WEST (Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology) is a student group at the University of Victoria focused on providing female-identifying students with opportunities to grow their technical and soft skills through industry driven projects. To do this, WEST partners with local industry leaders, such as Schneider Electric and FortisBC, to create design and research projects centered around a real-world challenge the company is trying to solve. Students will then provide a solution to this challenge and grow their technical and interpersonal skills through the delivery of a proposal report, progress presentation, final report and pitch presentation, where the latter is presented to a panel of esteemed judges at the Project Showcase. This presentation will highlight WEST’s motivation and current methodology for finding project partners, developing the project, and engaging with students. It will also cover the previous two projects WEST ran with Schneider Electric in the summer of 2023 and FortisBC in the fall of 2023, including their successes and lessons learned. We will also highlight the need and strategies used to consider diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) when selecting and designing the projects. WEST’s goal with this presentation is to highlight the incredible benefit and impact of these projects to female-identifying students, share the methodology so this concept can be recreated in other universities and receive feedback on how to maximize the impact of WEST and our projects for future student cohorts.

11:35

The underrepresentation of women in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is a continuing concern for policymakers. While women’s graduation rates in STEM fields have increased significantly over the past decades, there is a gender gap in representation in the STEM workforce. This raises questions about the barriers to gainful employment and the factors facilitating women’s engagement in STEM fields. Work-family tension has been explored in relation to how it influences women’s career choices. What remains underexplored is how family socialization, values, and support for women and girls, from an early age until entry into employment, influence decisions regarding career paths. The values promoted by families regarding gender, work, education, family, and types of careers are likely to influence the career pathways of young women. Drawing on the guiding framework of Family Services of Peel (FSP), of Equity, Anti-oppression, and Anti-racism, we explore how families produce an environment for women and girls who pursue or aspire to pursue STEM careers. We ask, (1) What values surrounding gender, gender equity, family roles, and employment are instilled in young women and girls that inform their career choices in STEM? (2) What support within the family facilitates entry into STEM careers? And (3) How can we support families in building gender equity to support women in entering and remaining in STEM careers?

High school calculus and physics courses have been described as a “critical filter” where sociocultural factors influence fewer women than men to pursue STEM careers. Within STEM, engineering has among the lowest representation of women, and work has focused on attracting them into these high school courses and STEM studies. We examined gender differences in enrolment in five standard engineering admission courses, engineering university enrolment, and provincial school system differences. We found that among students who took all five common engineering admission requirements and had an 85% or higher average, half as many female than male students entered engineering the following year. Our findings suggest that there is a considerable pool of women qualified to enter engineering programs who are not, supporting the need for systemic approaches to change. In future research, this is another important group that should be examined in the engineering attraction and retention ecosystem.

Language barriers, having to navigate the Canadian school system, family responsibilities, and a lack of confidence are just some of the reasons that racialized immigrant girls are often overlooked when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program opportunities. WISEST (Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology), a unit at the University of Alberta focused on advancing diversity and empowering women in STEM, partnered with Action for Healthy Communities (AHC). This local community-based agency specializes in working with immigrant and refugee populations sets out to better understand the systemic barriers that prevent racialized immigrant girls from succeeding in STEM fields. After extensive conversations with community members, the two organizations put together a unique STEM program specifically for racialized immigrant girls from junior high to high school across Edmonton and into rural communities across Alberta to allow these girls to explore the possibilities of STEM. 

 

Join WISEST in this session as they share an overview of the program they’ve built, called Gender Equality Leadership Lab (GELL), the impact of this program, and some things they’ve learned along the way that could benefit you in building more equitable, diverse and inclusive learning spaces.

 

WISEST (Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology) exists to advance diversity while empowering women in STEM fields. WISEST achieves this vision by promoting the participation of underrepresented groups, which includes young women, gender-diverse people, 2SLGBTQ+, rural, Black, Indigenous and students of colour.

In the search for systemic change toward increasing gender equity in ESTT (engineering, science, technology, and trades) one of the potential solutions is to support female professional licensing. Professional licensing, in whatever form it takes in ESTT, can be a great equalizer allowing women to aspire to jobs accessible only to people with professional licensing; and a great retainer allowing women to find more job satisfaction to stay in these careers for a lifetime. 

 

WES is a non-profit organization in Canada, that has been hosting the Women in Engineering Summit on an annual basis since 2018, inspired by the 30 by 30 Initiative by Engineers Canada. The 30 by 30 Initiative seeks to achieve by the year 2030 that 30 percent of newly licensed engineers and geoscientists in Canada identify as female – that number is currently hovering at around 21 percent. 

 

Because the initiative is tracking professional licensing, and because WES is aware of the many systemic barriers to female professional licensing, they instituted the annual WES Essay Contest in 2022. The goal of the essay contest is to give women pursuing professional licensing in engineering or geoscience, a chance at removing the financial barrier of paying the original licensing fee out of pocket, without employer support. 

 

This session will cover: (1) why female professional licensing can increase gender equity in ESTT, (2) what are some of the systemic barriers to female professional licensing, and (3) how the WES Essay Contest is organized and funded.

12:10

Canada’s skilled labour force gap has been well-publicized. To help fill this gap, post-secondary institutions need to implement intentional measures to attract and retain a more diverse group of students. This presentation will focus on the recruitment, application, and admission of women into trades programs. Lessons learned from this presentation can be applied to help increase enrollment of women into science, engineering, and technology programs.

Gender-based violence remains a prevalent issue within the workplace, particularly in male-dominated fields that are considered to be non-traditional for women and have an over-representation of men in senior leadership roles. As demonstrated by empirical and non-empirical research, women in SETT are subjected to gender-based violence at higher rates than their non-SETT counterparts. Violence of any form has been linked to serious negative impacts on a person’s professional development and personal well-being. Gender-based violence can result in work disruption, loss of motivation, higher levels of stress, and impairment of work performance. Moreover, gender-based violence has become a social, financial, mental, physical health problem due to its negative consequences for victims, which include decreased income, loss of job, impaired mental, psychological, and physical well-being, and in some cases loss of life.  In this presentation, we will outline the unique characteristics of SETT workplaces that are fostering this behaviour, and share personal stories and statistics illustrating the prevalence of gender-based violence and sexual harassment in SETT fields. We will then propose potential actionable solutions that create safe and inclusive work environments and promote cultural and systemic change

The INSPIRE program represents a pioneering initiative in the realm of engineering and science with a focus on fostering systemic change towards greater equity and inclusion. Serving as a platform for research and community-engaged innovation, INSPIRE targets the empowerment of the next generation of engineers and scientists. This experiential-learning program is designed specifically to address critical gaps in the participation of minority groups within STEM fields. Central to the program’s strategy is the teaching of current industrial engineering skills, the enabling of applying these skills in real-world projects, and leveraging a supportive network which offers mentorship opportunities from industry and academia. The program’s multifaceted approach combines hands-on project experience and exposes students to a variety of tasks within the engineering realm, including requirements elicitation, prototyping, design, implementation and validation. Additionally, unique training modules are included such as training on equity, diversity, and inclusion, and design thinking methodologies. While advocating for minority participation, it also instils a deeper commitment to inclusion, equity and the human aspects behind science and engineering. Through its innovative strategies and objectives, the INSPIRE program stands as a unique example for creating systemic change in STEM, paving the way for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive engineering and scientific community. The program has received recognition in the form of international awards and Dr. Damian’s ECS-CAPI Chair in Inclusive Science, Technology, and Engineering.

12:35 

This session will cover the challenges women face working in male-dominated workplaces. At times, it may feel isolating trying to navigate through these challenges. Learn how women can break the glass ceiling and overcome adversity. Discovering their inner strengths and talents in the fast-paced world. Most importantly finding meaningful growth, support, and allyship to succeed. 

 

Bio – Elizabeth Moses is originally from South Sudan and was born in a refugee camp. She moved to Canada at the age of 5 and grew up in Windsor, Ontario. She discovered her passion for the skilled trades in high school as a student of FIRST Robotics Canada. Elizabeth spent three years building robots and competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition. 

 

She graduated from the St. Clair College General Machinist program in 2019 and is the recipient of the 2020-2021 Alumni of Distinction Awards. Recently, Elizabeth Moses became a two-time winner of WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards and is the youngest tradeswoman to receive the recognition in Canada. Moses is also a recipient of CIBWE – Top 100 Black Women to Watch in 2023 and ABC100- 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women 2024. 

 

Currently, Elizabeth is working on her second career in the trade as a sheet metal worker in the SMART Local Union 280 in British Columbia. As a second-year apprentice, she serves on the Executive Board as the Apprentice Liaison.

1:45 

Be More Than A Bystander (BMTAB) is a training and educational program to support organizational and cultural shifts towards more welcoming, healthy, safe and respectful workplaces. The training equips participants with practical tools and strategies to intervene and end cycles of bullying, harassment and violence in the skilled trades industry.The 1-hour workshop is designed as an introductory training into ending discriminatory bullying, harassment and violence in workplaces. This workshop is geared towards anyone interested in learning practical, real-life intervention strategies that can be used in any workplace. 

 

Learning outcomes- 

  • Understanding contexts of bullying, harassment and violence
  • Learning intervention tools
  • Building skills through engaging in scenarios

Canada was founded on colonialism, in which racism, Indigenous oppression, and gender discrimination was active in the leadership of the past and so exists in the systems we live, work, and play in. We need to face the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Truth and work towards reciprocity, respect, inclusion, justice, and change to get to a place of culture and language restoration and progressive legislation. This session will talk to how to approach integration of Indigenous ways of knowing, being, doing and relating and contribute to decolonization. It starts with humility, is grounded in respect, and requires courage.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA) training in organizations aims to promote a more inclusive environment, yet its efficacy can be hindered by various factors. This session examines the critical aspects of EDIA training that often lead to unintended, ineffective, or adverse outcomes for equity-deserving groups in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Trades (SETT).

 

This interactive workshop addresses the common pitfalls of EDIA training, emphasizing a shift from individual fixes to systemic change. The focus is on transitioning from skills acquisition to understanding the underlying causes of discriminatory attitudes in the workplace. It elevates the often-ignored voices of those most impacted by systemic barriers in SETT, even in EDIA training contexts. The session also addresses unintended outcomes of ineffective EDIA training, such as reinforcing discriminatory attitudes, disproportionately burdening individuals from equity-deserving groups, and even lower job performance. 

 

Effective EDIA training is fundamental in catalyzing gender equity in SETT. Drawing on evidence-based strategies and leveraging the diverse, lived experiences of presenters, including women, BIPOC, and individuals with disabilities, this interactive workshop presents informed approaches to address the issue of inclusivity in EDIA training. Attendees, including current and emerging leaders, SETT professionals, students, and EDIA advocates, will be empowered to influence EDIA training for genuine inclusivity, promoting gender-equitable and inclusive workplaces.

Since 1984, the WISEST Summer Research Program has been a catalyst for change, fostering STEM opportunities for high school students, especially those from equity-denied identities. Annually, we select 40-45 young women and gender-diverse students in grade 11 for a transformative 6-week, paid research internship at the University of Alberta.

 

Our mandate is clear: to ensure equitable access to STEM by empowering students and dismantling barriers. We will discuss the strategic, and intentional integration of values—equity, diversity, and inclusion—throughout the application and selection process.

 

Adjusting the application to allow for choice answering questions, and flexibility in the medium through which students can submit their applications attempts to address possible barriers. Training a team of adjudicators on how bias can appear in reviewing applications, providing tangible strategies to overcome bias, and having a clear rubric has been crucial for an equitable selection process.

 

This presentation is an invitation to those engaged in selection committees, and hiring processes, or anyone keen on embedding equity, diversity, and inclusion into their systems. Discover how our journey can inspire change from the very inception to the culmination of a process. Our story is a testament to the power of embracing these values in every major decision, fostering a culture of empowerment and inclusivity.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of a conversation that goes beyond rhetoric—join us and let’s chart a course toward systemic change.

2:20 

Join us for an exploratory session delving into the transformative power of nature, safe spaces for innovation, and fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) within Science, Engineering, Trades, and Technology (SETT). 

 

In “”Nature’s Innovation Catalyst,”” we unravel the barriers hindering innovation and knowledge sharing. We investigate the impact of nature on creativity and ideation, questioning whether stepping into nature can spark inspiration and innovation beyond the confines of our desks.

 

Unlock the secrets of fostering safe spaces that embrace failure as a stepping stone to success. Learn how to create environments that encourage risk-taking, experimentation, and learning from setbacks, crucial in nurturing a culture of innovation.

 

Dive deep into the realm of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in SETT, moving beyond the checklist. Explore strategies to authentically embed EDI principles within organizational frameworks, discussing their pivotal role in driving innovation and creativity.

 

This session isn’t just about discussions; it’s a call to action. Join us to discover actionable insights, tangible strategies, and real-world examples to cultivate an environment where innovation flourishes, failures are celebrated as stepping stones, and diversity is the cornerstone of progress within the SETT landscape.”

2:55 

Every community faces their own socioeconomic challenges, diverse as the individuals who live there. Addressing these challenges and remaining solution-focused relies on the community, and its commitment to helping all its members succeed. This includes women and other underrepresented groups in welding and other skilled trades industries. The CWB Foundation has seen first-hand that when creativity is combined with a proven framework and a connection to the economic needs of a community, workforces at all levels see increased opportunities and resources for women. Focusing on the success of our Women of Steel™: Forging Forward project we will speak to the value of collaboration and demonstrate how to understand a community’s needs to develop pivotal networks that support women to choose and succeed in the trades. Moreover, we will explore how building these networks and support systems on a micro and macro scale can have a significant influence on greater systems change in SETT.

Participants will leverage Queer theory to critically examine normative concepts of gender, sexuality, and overlapping systems of oppression, such as race, class, and ability. The Queer theory approach will draw attention to the frequent exclusion of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) in conversations on gender in engineering. More generally, the rise in anti-2SLGBTQ+ violence in Canada, including in professional education and practice, underscores the urgent relevance of Queer theory. 

 

The case study of Concordia University’s high-profile Women in Engineering – Career Launch Experience (WIE-CLE) mentorship initiative will demonstrate what research shows as the slippery slope of well-intentioned programs. Affecting systemic change in SETT requires a deeper understanding of how even well-meaning initiatives perpetuate the discriminatory behaviours they set out to dismantle.

 

The workshop will include expert-facilitated interactive discussions and collaborative activities that focus on the experiences of TGNC engineers. Participants will gain insights into the challenges TGNC engineers face, including implicit biases, microaggressions, and overt discrimination as a case study of the experiences of the broader 2SLGBTQ+ communities.

 

The workshop’s objective is to equip participants with the mindset and tools for creating more inclusive and equitable environments in SETT fields, including implementing policies that acknowledge the full spectrum of gender identities and expressions. The workshop will also touch on how equity and inclusion are imperative components of engineers’ ethical and professional responsibility in order to further motivate all stakeholders to move in this direction.

Did you know that immigrant women make up the majority (52.06%) of Canada’s women in STEM yet experience the worst labour market outcomes compared to immigrant men and non-immigrant women in STEM? Responding to CCWESTT’s recommendations for cultural shifts and scaling up of direct-impact programs for systemic change, this timely workshop presents TGC’s research that highlights the untapped economic potential of immigrant women in STEM, including what we know about the talent pool they represent, the challenges they face, and how STEM employers and organizations can innovate their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to support this powerful demographic. Learn more about the lived experiences of immigrant women in STEM through a film screening and interactive discussion of TGC’s “We Were Here All Along”, a short film that portrays the experiences of highly-skilled immigrant women and their workfinding journeys based on TGC’s research and in-depth interviews with 74 STEM-trained immigrant women across Canada. Workshop attendees will engage in conversations through the lenses of priorities, power, and accountability.

“This presentation provides the history of and updates on APEGA’s progress towards the 30-by-30 goal; having women compose 30 per cent of professional members in engineering and geoscience by 2030. In this presentation, we will highlight the research findings and recommendations from four years of work (2018-2022) by APEGA’s EDI team on the barriers that women face in the engineering and geoscience workplace in Alberta. The research projects included large-scale surveys and focus groups of 10,000 members and 650 companies, as well as a historic pay equity analysis of 8 years (2014-2022) of APEGA’s voluntary salary survey data. Generally, the results show that men and women experience very different worlds at work; with the top-mentioned barriers to workplace inclusion for women being the traditionally masculine work environment, issues with career development and advancement, bias, discrimination, and harassment, and issues related to maternity/parental leave, among other barriers. We present recommendations and action items that individuals, leaders, and organizations can take to remove the barriers that women experience and shift the engineering and geoscience workplace to a more inclusive one. As a result of attending this session, participants will be able to: 

  • understand the history of APEGA’s 30-by-30 goal and the work APEGA’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) team is doing to support the advancement of women in the professions. 
  • identify leading practices for individuals, leaders, and organizations to remove the barriers that women experience and shift engineering and geoscience workplaces to be more welcoming to women and other underrepresented groups.”

3:25  

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3:35  

Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba was established in 1920, at a time when the effects of colonization were strong and were seen in active oppression of Indigenous Peoples, gender discrimination, no consideration for disability, newcomers, and spiritual practices and beliefs other than Christianity. With a mandate to govern and regulate the practices of professional engineering and geoscience in Manitoba and to serve in the public interest, it is vital we modernize to ensure diversity, inclusivity and equity is thoroughly evaluated and at the forefront of every process and policy, along with Truth and Reconciliation. This session will talk about the work done to develop an action plan that strengthens gender equity, anti-racism, decolonization, and anti-oppression and how we will commit and hold ourselves accountable.

The lack of diversity in physics remains a persistent worldwide problem. A key challenge is the paucity of data about the demographics of physics communities and their experiences. In Canada, there has never been an assessment of those studying or working in physics. Here, we present findings from Canadian Physics Counts: the first national survey of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the Canadian physics community. Our intersectional approach gathered a wealth of information on identity, age, employment and educational experiences, culture and climate, caregiving responsibilities, and experiences of harm. Analyses revealed key findings, including the first data on those who identify as non-binary or gender diverse, and the first data on Indigenous scholars. Black and Indigenous physicists were most underrepresented (< 1%), while White men were overrepresented at every rank across sectors. Harm, harassment, and assault were more commonly experienced by the most underrepresented (i.e., racialized women, gender diverse people). Women and racialized people in physics were responsible for most caregiving, and this disparity increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Our analysis identifies areas for intervention and recommendations for building a diverse and inclusive physics community in Canada that can be a global exemplar.

The Gender Equality Coalition of Ontario created and trademarked a program called ignite:HER; Women and technology with Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. This innovative and award-winning program was designed to welcome all women and gender-diverse folks to come as they were to access to training in entry-level technology skills and wrap-around services to maximize opportunities for success. This project sparked two additional projects: one called Women in Steel, and another called ConnectHER. We have also proposed another project with the Canadian government called igniteTHEM. We would love to come to the conference and present around this exciting work. These projects all surround the promotion of gender equity within trades and technologies. We presented on this topic at the United Nations (CSW2023). Our presentation will expand the conversation to discuss the social constructions of gender, sex, and sexualities in relation to science, technologies, and trades. Specifically, we will address the nature of systemic change and argue that we must move towards the fifth wave of feminism that is inclusive of all genders. Shifting the narrative and rhetoric around definitions of gender and sex in relation to trades and technologies represents a major systems change that could potentially promote a reimagining of gender roles and norms in society.  We must transform our limited understanding of genders and sexes towards a more intentionally intersectional and inclusive approach.  Systemic change happens when the structures of power that are currently in place around technology and skilled trades change and adapt.

“Are there as many male allies in STEM as we think there are? If so, are men genuinely embracing being allies to address systemic issues within STEM? The reality is that male allies are wanted and needed, but allyship is often poorly understood and can be misrepresented. 

WISE Planet, a program that empowers women and other under-represented groups in STEM to become Change Leaders, commissioned a study to explore how male allies could be meaningfully included and supported in the program without jeopardizing its culture.

 

This session will kick off with an overview of the context, findings, and recommendations from the male allyship study before moving into interactive group sharing followed by hands-on practice using a toolkit for becoming or recruiting Authentic Male Allies.

 

The workshop will provide an overview of four critical allyship dimensions: learning mindset, accountability, meaningful relationships, and system change creation. We will highlight characteristic differences between a mentor, a sponsor, and an ally, illuminating that not all supportive relationships embody allyship. We will explore small practical steps of outward action or inward reflection to migrate from mentorship or sponsorship to allyship. These shifts in visible behaviours or internal contemplation can create minor disruptions in a complex system, which may, in turn, contribute to more substantial systemic changes. 

Participants of all genders will walk away thinking more purposefully about Allyship and will also receive a personal copy of the Male Allyship toolkit.”

4:15  

Today’s western world has been built by men for men applying a mechanical worldview.  The urgency and the importance of change have never been more apparent – consumerism, pollution, and the economic obsession with financial growth are harming our mental, emotional and physical well-being.  This path leads in one direction: exhaustion.  A paradigm shift is required to build a new path.  A path that prioritizes health over wealth, reciprocity over consumerism, and purity over pollution.  These aren’t supercilious goals.  Grounded in the ecological paradigm, this paper explores the application of Complexity Leadership Theory (CLT) to emblazon a new path forward for humanity.  Women in engineering, science, trades, and technology are in the belly of the beast and must make the time to question the current systems.  Just as a path is constructed one brick at a time, so is an enabling leadership practice. This practice creates an inclusive, collaborative, and innovative environment; the very conditions required for health, reciprocity, and purity.  Even female leaders who advocate and support systemic change are limited by their own individual agency.  Embracing this paradox, all leaders must engage the many and re-envision the value that the processes and products in our world have.  Delineating what place, space, and grace mean in your leadership practice is an essential step forward in normalizing a multi-generational view, extending the definition of value beyond financial and economic limitations.  To build better, we need to be better.  Women in SETT fields must co-create a sustainable value.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in STEM workplaces remain at the forefront of conversation, advocacy, policy-making and action. EDI is no longer limited to gender but extends to indigenous people, visible/racialized minorities, people with disabilities and LGBTQ2S+ people. Historically, these groups are excluded, marginalized and underrepresented in academia and the workforce. Despite EDI policies (for hiring and retention), safe spaces, and focused events and programs (i.e. mentorship and allyship), enacting systemic change requires innovation, creative problem-solving, and understanding factors and alternatives. As sharing of EDI shortcomings, implementation of policies/programs, and software become publicly available, opportunities for effecting successful, sustainable, equitable working environments can be assessed.

 

Presenters’ perspectives of academic experiences in male-dominated professions of computer science and engineering from a “Gen Z” and “Baby Boomer”, respectively, examines the changing culture and factors affecting change. A review of hard-earned successes and policy/program developments will be followed by an interactive session where attendees may engage in a safe, anonymized environment to further EDI efforts in the workplace. Using real-time analytics, participants use multi-criteria techniques to rank factors affecting EDI using AHP (Analytical Hierarchy Process) and assess alternatives for EDI systemic change using TOPSIS (Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution). The results are shared to provide insights into why some efforts fail and alternatives for possible successes.

 

The presentation summarizes EDI efforts and through engagement on today’s EDI challenges by using multi-criteria decision-making tools (AHP and TOPSIS) to objectively assess factors and alternatives to direct systemic change.

Do you identify as being a racialized woman/gender diverse person? Join us in this open session, where participants are encouraged to connect with each other to discuss their perspectives and lived experiences around belonging in STEM spaces. This session aims to create a space where people can come as they are, share about the joys and barriers of pursuing a STEM career, and to connect with others who have shared experiences. 

 

Feedback from participants from the previous year had said that this was a transformative space, that they’d never experienced a space created just for racialized people, and that it was so valuable and affirming to hear that others have experienced the same things.

 

The session is meant to be a free-flowing conversation, however, there will be a moderator to help facilitate the discussion if needed. 

 

This session is hosted by WISEST (Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology). WISEST exists to advance diversity while empowering women in STEM fields. WISEST achieves this vision by promoting the participation of underrepresented groups, which includes young women, gender-diverse people, 2SLGBTQ+, rural, Black, Indigenous and students of colour.

In this interactive session, Marg Latham, Chair of WinSETT Centre and Project Manager Edna Dach will present the what, so what and what now regarding a thirty-month WAGE Canada funded project that was aimed at reducing systemic barriers in SETT. Specifically, the project was designed to help SETT organizations assess their culture, identify strategies and build plans to advance more women in SETT by developing a Maturity Model; delivering a certification program that provides managers with the skills to improve workplace culture and positioning women in SETT for success by developing their leadership and career management skills thru Leadership Workshops and a Coaching programme.   Come hear about this project and the work that has been accomplished.  During the session, participants will have the opportunity to share ideas with respect to “What Now”.

5:00  

END OF FRIDAY PROGRAM

7:45  

8:45  

Breaking Down Barriers and Creating Systemic Change

Candice Loring – Director of Indigenous Relations, and Initiatives at Genome BC; 

Adjunct Professor at UBC Okanagan

 

Candice Loring will guide us through her experience of being a change agent and discuss ways that organizations can embrace equity diversity and inclusion alongside reconciliation. Learn how to create an action plan that contextualizes concepts like decolonization into tangible incremental changes within your organization.

 

Bio – As Genome BC’s Director of Indigenous Relations and Initiatives, Candice Loring K’wiloo’km N’kwala is working to advance the Indigenous innovation ecosystem. Candice is also an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Management at UBC Okanagan. She held the role of Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations &amp; Initiatives in Equity,

Diversity &; Inclusion at Mitacs. 

 

As a proud member of the Gitwangak band from the Gitxsan Nation in Northern British Columbia, Candice’s passion for small businesses and entrepreneurship, along with her background in business management, has allowed her to expertly guide and support hundreds of organizations through collaborative innovation projects in her position at Mitacs. 

 

Through her commitment to advancing the national Indigenous innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem,  Candice serves on numerous councils and committees, including the board of Directors for Minerva BC. 

 

In 2021, Candice was recognized as one of Canada’s most inspirational women entrepreneurs and business leaders by Canadian SME Small Business Magazine for her economic development work in Indigenous communities. She is a Ch’nook scholar scholarship recipient named Kelowna’s 2022 BDO Top 40 Under 40. Candice was also named UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Management Alumni Builder Award recipient in 2023.

9:45  

BREAK

10:00

ConnectHER aims to recruit, retain, and support women in Red Seal trades through a female-led mentorship program to help increase the number of women entering and staying in the trades. This project intends to identify where women encounter obstacles, why and when they leave the skilled trades, and the degree to which mentorship and other wraparound supports affect their decisions to stay. Fanshawe Corporate Training Solutions, as the leader of the ConnectHER project, is building a national community to ignite a movement and drive diversity, equity, and inclusion in male-dominated industries. The ConnectHER HUB, in partnership with CCWESTT, will be an accessible platform to connect with like-minded individuals and tradeswomen, and allow for the participation in discussions, education, workshops, and other local-to-you activities across Canada in both official languages. The project goals are to educate, support and empower women to foster security, self-advocacy, and confidence into their worksites and beyond. If we want more girls and women to consider the skilled trades, we need to allow them to see that it is possible. Seeing is believing. It is in the best interest of all to make this shift and move forward. This is the impact that ConnectHER plans to deliver for influencing greater changes to systems in SETT. Together, as the ConnectHER Community, we can break barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create inclusive work environments where everyone can thrive. Join us in championing women in skilled trades, and building a future where talent and skill are celebrated regardless of gender.

In February 2022, Rio Tinto released their report on the Workplace Culture throughout their company operations, Report into Workplace Culture at Rio Tinto. Key findings from this report included high levels of sexual harassment of women and men, elevated levels of racism that were higher in certain countries and half of employees experienced bullying. In July 2021 the Parliament of Western Australia began an inquiry into sexual harassment against women in the fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) mining industry and issued their final report in June of 2022, Enough is Enough, based on 36 public submissions and 15 hearings. The Chair’s Forward starts with: When we commenced this parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment in the mining and resources industries workplaces, I knew horrific stories would be brought forward. But I was shocked and appalled well beyond expectation by the size and depth of the problem. Both of these reports recommended that workers be trained in bystander intervention strategies. Mine Shift developed the allyship and bystander intervention-based DIGGER training program in 2018 so workers recognize and know what to do when harassment happens to them or in their presence. Workers learn about Direct actions, Indirect actions, Get a co-worker, Get an Authority, Engage the target and Record and Report.  Mine Shift was founded by geologists and engineers in the mining industry that wanted to bring a solution that is immediately actionable.  We are working with mining companies to integrate bystander intervention training into their health and safety programs so workers know what to do and say when faced with all forms of harassment.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly prevalent in various fields, including engineering, manufacturing, and technical design. However, despite its widespread use, specific demographics, notably women and particularly mothers/caregivers,  remain underrepresented in the AI field. These groups have historically faced systemic, cultural, and individual-level barriers in the tech industry, which contributes to their underrepresentation. 

 

In response to the growing recognition for the value of equity, diversity and inclusion the Vector Institute has been leading intensive 6-week AI education program  for underrepresented groups, including the Caregivers & Machine Learning (ML)  program in 2022 and 2023.These programs targeted underrepresented groups, aiming to teach the fundamentals of ML and programmatically implementing ML models. The focus was on attracting individuals, not exclusively female identifying, on parental leave, enabling them to apply ML within their expertise upon reentering the workforce.

 

This research investigates challenges and opportunities faced by caregivers who experienced work interruptions due to family responsibilities while pursuing AI training or careers. Using a mixed-methods approach, the study combines quantitative data from post-program surveys, measuring knowledge acquisition and confidence growth, with qualitative insights gathered from semi-structured interviews. These interviews delve into personal journeys, obstacles overcome, and achievements of caregivers in the 6-week AI education program.

 

The primary objectives of this research are:

  1. Understand barriers preventing underrepresented groups from pursuing AI training or careers;
  2. Assess the impact of a 6-week AI education program on increasing participant knowledge and confidence;
  3. Explore post-course outcomes and provide recommendations for future training opportunities.

A STEM student’s first professional experiences when transitioning from university to the workplace is crucial because they set the stage for expectations about future experiences in STEM. However, women leave STEM during this period at higher rates than men, suggesting this transition may be difficult for women. One factor that may push women away from STEM are negative workplace interactions that provoke feelings of gender identity threat, which could compromise women’s well-being and performance at work. This was supported by the current research, a large-scale 2-week daily-diary study with a unique sample of 261 first time STEM co-op students. Results showed that on days where women (not men) co-op students had work conversations with men (not women) that made them feel less acceptance and respected, they also reported greater gender identity threat. Moreover, women experiencing gender identity threat reported higher burnout and also performed worse on a daily working memory task. This work provides new direct evidence that for woman, feelings of gender identity threat stemming from negative interactions at their STEM workplace may have real psychological and cognitive costs.

10:35

For 10 years, Associated Engineering has made a commitment to improving the retention of women engineers, technologists, and scientists across the company. Historically, retention of women professionals was as much as 6 percentage points lower than men in the same roles. This presentation will discuss the findings from ‘stay interviews’ completed with longer term staff and the subsequent initiatives established. These include flexible working arrangements and mentoring programs, which have helped improve retention, leading to increased representation of women in technical leadership and managerial roles across the company. We are now looking to better understand and address the challenges women professionals face in a hybrid work environment. Improving retention is particularly relevant today, in a job market in which recruiting talent and maintaining a stable workforce are challenging. By engaging more women in engineering and science, we can better represent and meet the needs of the communities we serve. Key points:
  1. The reasons why employees join and/or leave a company are not always the same as why they stay. Understanding why women professionals choose to stay in an industry dominated by men is key to improving retention and ‘playing the long game’.
  1. Through ‘stay interviews’ conducted with longer tenured women employees, Associated identified the top reasons they have stayed with the company for 10 years or longer. Initiatives such as mentoring circles, flexible working arrangements, and parental leave supports not only benefit employees, but also provide broader benefits for companies through improved long-term retention.
  1. Retaining women through junior and intermediate levels is essential to ensure the ‘pipeline’ of women into senior technical and leadership roles. This is conducive to some of the proven benefits of gender diversity in the workplace, including improved creativity, innovation, collaboration, decision-making, employee satisfaction, and corporate financial performance.

As Canada prepares to build a low-carbon energy sector, it must develop a plan to fulfil the hundreds of thousands of new jobs arriving with a decarbonized economy that our current workforce cannot fulfil. This is an important opportunity for Canada to supply the labour demand by investing into a sustainable workforce- one that is equitable and offers good, well-paying jobs. 

 

Gender equity can be a solution to and co-benefit of transitioning to a clean energy economy. There is an untapped talent potential found in communities that have historically been excluded from the energy sector. Canadian women, girls and gender-diverse individuals are not offered an equitable platform to the same resources, opportunities, compensation, and treatment as their male peers. Canada’s gender pay gap is heavily influenced by the energy sector due to a lack of representation. The opportunity to address climate change—and to invest in the energy sector is time sensitive—it must happen this decade. If designed right, it can offer a multitude of economic benefits, while simultaneously addressing significant social issues. 

 

This presentation will explore the data behind Canada’s gender gap in the energy sector and use research from the Pembina Institute to offer actionable policy solutions to bridge the gap.

Procurement practices can drive change within industry. Including EDI in procurement is rooted in the goal of advancing the inclusion of people from underrepresented groups, with an overall goal of increasing diversity and equity within the industry. When procurement requirements are structured in a way that aligns with intended outcomes, it provides project partners with the opportunity to work together to advance EDI. 

 

The approaches taken to including EDI in procurement can drive changes that achieve the intended outcomes, but in other cases, with unintended consequences for the organizations, industry, and individuals.

 

Observing changing trends in procurement practices related to EDI requirements in procurement, the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia (ACEC-BC) undertook a project to examine current practices and impacts both within BC and the consulting engineering sector, but also in different jurisdictions and industries, seeking to uncover practices to drive change while avoiding unintended consequences that disadvantage certain groups or create more barriers for people in underrepresented groups.

 

This presentation will share key findings from the research, focusing on effective practices and programs, as well as sharing recommendations for industry and policy makers.

Understanding the intersectionality of women in STEM and working parents is critical to maintaining a healthy STEM professional pipeline. The STEM Moms Project, a year-long focus group on this novel topic, examined how motherhood contributes to the loss of mid-career women in STEM. Unique perspectives and experiences were collected from over 50 STEM mothers across Canada during 15 group discussions. Loss of mid-career women in STEM has broad implications as research shows that more gender-diverse teams have more high-impact scientific discoveries and organizations with more women in management and leadership roles yield greater productivity and more successful business performance. Moreover, Canada has made significant progress to make childcare affordable for working parents through the Multilateral Early Learning and Childcare Agreement. Given the investment to remove barriers for women’s labor force participation, it seems fitting that Canada should also invest in retention programs for STEM mothers.

 

Based on group discussion analysis, the STEM Moms Project recommends the following actions:  

  1. Increased Support Programs Specific for STEM Mothers;  
  2. Solutions for Allyship, Advocacy & Action, which include Safe Environment, Leadership, and Mentorship supports, and Workplace Guidelines;  
  3. Transformational Changes for Society, including continuous career assessment and work-life integration and increased focus on ​​unrecognized leaders and dual career families. 

Establishing Canadian policies that promote the retention of STEM mothers, and, by extension, women in STEM and working parents and advance transformational systemic change to achieve gender equity could significantly increase the impact of Canadian STEM research, innovation and business on a global scale.

11:10

EMBERS would like to present the experience of women in the Trades from two perspectives.  From the perspectives of Amy, a 34-year-old woman who has worked in oil/gas and Construction Industry for over a decade, can provide a first-hand account of the sexism, harassment and discrimination she has endured as a woman navigating those industries. She will also speak about what she is currently doing as a Construction Safety Officer to change attitudes and make it a safe space for women at her current place of work. 

 

The second perspective will be with Lynne, Director of Training and Partnership at EMBERS Canada. Lynne will talk about her experiences of helping women get into the Construction/Trades industry and the challenges they face. She will also highlight how and why a Women in Trades contract she delivered for the Provincial Government was one of the most difficult training programs to deliver and how it speaks to the myriad of issues/barriers/sexual harassment/trauma that women face in the industry.

 

Together, Aimee and Lynne aim to emphasize through their own ‘lived experience’ the pressing need to eliminate barriers to employment that embrace gender equality and empower women in traditionally male-dominated fields, such as Construction/Trades. Their collective experiences serve as a testament to the urgent transformation required in these industries.

Women continue to be under-represented in many professions and industries in Canada, including the mining industry. Organizations that fail to foster workplace culture to attract and retain a diverse workforce risk missing out on critical talent. As a result, many organizations in the traditionally male-dominated mining industry seek to be inclusive and proportionally representative of their local communities. Using a participatory research approach between industry and academic researchers, this International Mineral Innovation Institute (IMII) and Mitacs-funded study will put recommendations into action to shift Saskatchewan mining workplace culture to be inclusive and welcoming of all actual and potential employees. To create inclusive workplaces, everyone, including leaders and those in majority groups, can be engaged, trained, and supported to act as “active allies”. In this study, researchers piloted an allyship training program in the Saskatchewan mining industry to support potential allies to adopt a practice of inclusion. The Active Allies course was designed by researchers to develop allyship competencies in participants and support the advancement of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in their organizations. In this presentation, we will share our findings and lessons learned and discuss implications for future EDI training programs. This presentation will be valuable to individuals and leaders seeking practical and evidence-based solutions to contribute to equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplaces.

For nearly a decade, the engineering profession has committed to increasing the number of newly licensed women engineers to 30 per cent by 2030. Currently, women represent less than 20 percent of newly licensed engineers, putting the profession at risk of not achieving its goal.  Informed by a recent environmental scan and a thorough evaluation of the 30 by 30 initiative, Engineers Canada is regrouping and refocusing its efforts, mobilizing engineering regulators, higher education institutions, employers and government leaders, STEM NGOs, and gender equity champions to create a more diverse, inclusive, and trustworthy profession.

 

Through this session, we’ll share how we are pivoting our efforts and mobilizing our networks around a new vision and strategy. We’ll share how, after a decade of collective action, we are incorporating the lessons we’ve learned. This session sets the stage for a forward-looking discussion and explores the implications of this strategy on the broader SETT community as the engineering profession prepares to set sail on its system change strategy.

Women and men alike experience a significant impact on their professional outcomes, mental health, financial planning, and time management capacity, when becoming parents or caregivers. Their values and vision of success may change significantly. For companies, this is an opportunity to enhance employees’ management and leadership skills, and their talent retention capacity. This opportunity remains under-leveraged in most of today’s corporate environments. By engaging Pros&Babes to raise awareness on this important topic, and facilitating action from their employees, corporate clients can meet ESG targets (e.g. 30% of women in leadership roles by 2030) enhance their employees’ confidence, morale and performance, while minimizing talent loss due to parental leave transitions and caregiving duty pressures.

 

Summary of points addressed:

  • How does burnout show up in working mothers/parents?
  • Case studies of STEM moms who overcame burnout and thrived at home and at work.
  • Exercise (vision, values, 168 concept) What becomes possible if we proactively prevent burnout?
  • Example of a plan

 

The STEM moms project report states that existing programming for managing the transition to parenthood as a STEM professional is minimal. Corporate entities and employers should look to outsource this support as part of health and wellness programs or incorporate it into existing Employee Resource Groups. Pros&Babes offers this type of support, and helps create next-generation leaders who influence how women operate in SETT professions.Our tools help women and their allies overcome the challenges described in the STEM moms project report, and are a nice complement to their materials.

11:45 

Alexis Armstrong – The Smoko Podcast and Peggy Workwear

www.smokopodcast.ca www.peggyworkwear.ca

 

Bio – The Smoko Podcast celebrates women and non-binary individuals working within non-traditional roles.  Smoko showcases leaders, influencers, educators, and organizations whose excellence deserves recognition and support. The Smoko Podcast is the sister brand to Peggy Workwear; with a combined mission of increasing representation. Our vision is through community, authentic storytelling, and exceptional workwear we can reform culture and redesign industrial spaces. The Smoko Podcast is hosted by Alexis Armstrong (MSc, MBA), a sedimentologist with a passion for advocacy. Alexis’ background is in mining and research; with notable experience working for the IODP aboard the deep-sea drilling vessel the Joides Resolution.

The Smoko Podcast will be interviewing – 

Caroline Mekodom – Certified Engineering Technologist (CET)

 

Bio – Caroline Mekodom is a Certified Engineering Technologist (CET) in Instrumentation, with more than 15 years of experience in her sphere of career. She is an active member of ASET, the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta. Born and raised in Cameroon, Caroline settled in Canada 18 years ago with an associate degree in Electrical and Automation Engineering. She faced multiple challenges getting into her field of profession. Few years later, with resilience and determination, she finally entered the workforce and oriented her career into biomedical instrumentation Engineering. Caroline currently works as Senior Customer Support Engineer at Revvity Inc, a biotechnology research Company for Life Science Diagnostics. She specializes in Genetic Screening instruments for reproductive health. Her role is to support and assist medical laboratories in implementing their projects and achieving their goals. This role suits her passion for problem-solving and overcoming challenges.

 

Caroline also holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is dedicated to the community and encourages women in male dominated careers field via coaching and mentorship. She has participated in professional campaigns with ASET and has been a speaker in schools and community events, sharing her experience and challenges, encouraging others in their personal and professional development. She enjoys serving the community.

12:30 

Please join the CCWESTT Board of Directors to hear about the organizations’ activities and plans for the coming year. Participation in the AGM is open to all. Each organization member receives one vote, although multiple representatives from a member organization are welcome to attend. If you are a voting member, please ensure your selected voting representative registers at the door and sits in the designated area.

1:40 

This panel will feature collaborators from three leading feminist organizations in Canada: Canadian Women’s Foundation, Plan International Canada, and YWCA Canada to discuss how their programs and collective work advance inclusive workplaces and employment opportunities for diverse women and gender diverse people in Canada. Drawing on key learnings from the In Good Company (IGC) and Move Forward projects, panellists will highlight key innovations and interventions that support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to increase their DEI efforts, enable women and gender diverse people to succeed in traditionally male-dominated industries, and, more broadly, help ensure an equitable economic recovery.

 

Panelists will speak to how community-based strategies can spur cross-sectoral action to address a range of employment and retention barriers – such as housing precarity, realities of rural and remote living, chronic poverty, newcomer issues, single parenthood, Indigeneity, and disabilities, and, more fundamentally, to enact structural shifts in the labour market. Through case studies and impact stories, the session will address how evidence-based practices can drive equity and resilience for communities at greatest risk of exclusion from high-growth industries from which they have historically been excluded such as technology, engineering and the skilled trades.

 

The case studies provide a platform to share and learn current perspectives, trends, issues, gaps and prospects for inclusive leadership and equitable workforce participation across Canada by learning from community champions engaged in addressing persistent challenges and potential root causes for resistance to systemic change.

Increasing gender inclusion in STEM requires overcoming the pervasive tendency to think science, think male. In this session, we provide a summary of insights gained from a research consortium called Engendering Success in STEM (ESS). Established in 2017, ESS includes psychologists and STEM partners in industry and education who collaborate to test interventions designed to foster gender inclusion in STEM. The session will include talks by members of four distinct research teams (Projects CLIMB, PRISM, SINC and RISE) aimed to identify evidenced-based best practices for increasing girls’ and women’s participation and success in STEM along their pathway of education, training, and professionalization. Dr. Pun will present evidence from Project CLIMB on the development and malleability of implicit cognitive biases that associate STEM with “male” in early childhood, with implications for young girls’ self-views and performance. Dr. Spencer will present evidence from Project PRISM testing a unique intervention in summer STEM camps that both changed boys’ stereotypes of girls’ STEM ability and boosted girls’ STEM interest. Dr. Karmali will present both quantitative and qualitative evidence from Project SINC on engineering students’ experiences of threat and stress in their engineering courses and co-op positions. Finally, Dr. Schmader will present evidence from Project RISE that theory-informed inclusion training can be effective in fostering greater allyship and inclusion among women in STEM workplaces. Together, this set of talks provides a salient example of the promise of research partnerships between industry and social science to translate basic psychological science insights into practical solutions.

Site safety for all needs to consider both physical and psychological safety and must consider the different needs of different people on site. This includes different needs of people with varying identities as well as for different roles on site, including engineers who visit sites and construction workers who work on site. Safety considerations range from access to washrooms and sanitation facilities, anti-harassment and anti-discrimination, access to appropriate PPE and more. This panel discussion will bring together consulting engineering, and owner perspectives, exploring the topic from lenses of those responsible for the site, those who come to site to perform work, and those who work on the site on a daily basis. The specific environments of site work vary greatly from urban construction sites to remote field sites that are hours away from services. There are opportunities to develop practices, policies, and tools that support all of the people that work regularly or periodically on these sites. Panelists will share practices, approaches to collaboration, and regulatory changes that are making a difference to make work sites safer for everyone.

Engage with colleagues from across Canada in an energetic brainstorming and action-oriented workshop to identify the current problem areas for equity and inclusion in STEM faculties and build solutions. The workshop will use a creative collaboration approach to assess the current state of progress (or lack of progress) and formulate actionable steps towards reaching equity in the ranks of professorship by 2030. The overall goal of the activity is to strengthen the organization of a budding network of underrepresented faculty members and researchers across Canada and their allies. Special attention will be given to identifying needs for different career levels, including those vying for professorship, early-career (assistant to associate), mid-career (tenured but not full), and firmly established (full or Chairholder) professors. Solutions for taking action will be formulated in the different spheres of the problem, be they in systemic change, hiring and promotion, mentorship, engaging allies and stakeholders, or leadership development, to name a few. We expect different working groups to emerge from the activity, who will take concrete actions towards a firm goal for 2030. While Engineers Canada’s 30 by 30 goal has been in place for a number of years, with only modest results achieved so far, the shrinking timeline brings urgency to the task. It’s time to take bolder action.

2:35 

Join CCWESTT as they share their journey about effective strategies influencing systemic change in SETT. Learn about their recent Gap Analysis Report, Theory of Change, and how findings were used to design the CCWESTT 2024 conference. The team will also share how they used a systems change lens to scope their new project focused on engaging men as allies to eliminate gender-based violence in skilled trades workplaces.

This interactive workshop will present a framework for changing system policy and outline practical tools to advocate for and support systemic policy change. Specifically, workshop participants will explore the workplace topic of ‘glue work’ through experiential learning. As defined by software engineer Tanya Reilly, glue work is the less glamorous – and often less promotable – work that needs to happen to make a team successful. Participants will brainstorm and evaluate policy changes to organizational systems and culture to recognize glue work. This often unvalued/undervalued work is critical to an organization’s function and its capacity to develop and retain technical talent. Thus, recognition and more equitable distribution of ‘glue work’ is essential to organizational performance and their retention of technical talent, particularly women, who often do a disproportionate amount of this work.   

 

This workshop will define the actions needed for systemic policy change, identify practical tools to advocate for and support systems policy change and provide participants with the opportunity to use these tools in an interactive group setting. The participants will gain an understanding of the impacts of unrecognized ‘glue work’ on individuals and organizations and propose inclusive and equitable practices in organizational culture needed to acknowledge and value unrecognized leaders and distribute ‘glue work’ more equitably. Specifically, the participants will learn how to write an effective policy brief, one type of written communication tool for advocating and supporting systemic policy change, to ‘Make Glue Work Matter’ in their organization.

This presentation, plus panel discussion, will share Enbridge’s multi-faceted approach to creating and fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce, with specific efforts around the attraction and retention of women in STEM.

 

These efforts include:

  • A career re-entry program focused on recruiting women with technical backgrounds who have taken career breaks to raise families; 
  • Our “Evergreen” program and a partnership with Women Building Futures to enrich our talent pool for hard to fill positions in our field, operations, and maintenance teams; and 
  • Specific initiatives, events, and programs from our Prism Energy (2SLGBTQ+ community) and FEMINEN (Females in Engineering) employee resource groups (ERGs). 

 

We will share employee stories, illustrating how our initiatives have not only diversified our workforce and created a sense of belonging, but have also proven to be a strategic advantage in driving innovation and excellence. These personal journeys will provide insights into the challenges faced, triumphs achieved, and the transformative impact of our commitment to inclusivity. 

 

Join us as we explore the tangible outcomes of these initiatives, discussing the lessons learned, best practices, and the positive impact on workplace culture. Our aim is to inspire other organizations within CCWESTT to embark on similar journeys, unlocking the untapped resources in their talent pipelines.

With the growing diversity of the student population in engineering and science programs in Quebec, there is, on the one hand, a desire to improve teaching to include all individuals. On the other hand, there are gaps in the way engineering design teaching takes into account the diversity of the general population.  

 

This is why the Chair for women in science and engineering in Quebec, in collaboration with the École de technologie supérieure, is developing resources and tools to support the implementation of inclusive teaching practices in science and engineering at the college and university levels. Based on the principle of inclusive education, they address the following five areas: accessibility, climate, commitment, innovation and success. 

 

We are proposing an interactive workshop to gather the experiences of people who work with the student community on inclusive practices. More concretely, we’d like to find out what practices are being used, as well as the challenges to implementing them. Through the project and this workshop, we hope to initiate reflection and to inspire as many people as possible to take action since adopting new ways of teaching is one possible way of initiating systemic change within institutions.

3:20   

BREAK

3:40 

Canada has been waking up to the extent of harm that has taken place towards Indigenous Peoples and society has been seeking ways to be responsible for Truth and Reconciliation efforts by taking up the Calls to Action. Regulatory bodies are key in these efforts, safeguarding the public interest by overseeing professional licensure, standards, and discipline and shaping the expectations of professional conduct. The Association of BC Land Surveyors (ABCLS) has been exploring its role for Truth and Reconciliation efforts, along with other professional regulatory bodies in Canada.  ABCLS worked with consultants to conduct an environmental scan and engage with a variety of stakeholders resulting in Indigenous-led reconciliation recommendations and a strategy which the ABCLS Board approved in June 2023. This is their first Reconciliation Strategy and one of the first for land surveying regulatory bodies in Canada. This session will be a panel format to talk about the role of regulators in Truth and Reconciliation, the journey the ABCLS took, what it means to us, and what the reconciliation path forward looks like for one regulatory body. Our panelists include former ABCLS President Dave Swaile, CAO Kelly Stofer, and Jessia Vandenberghe, Indigenous Consultant from the consultancy team.

Questioned by community members and partner organizations about why we are still using the term “white paper” the NSERC Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE) Network researched the history of the term and how it is used and perceived. Originally referring to government documents, a “white paper” now refers to a document meant to educate and aid decision making in government, politics, academia, business, and technical fields, with no formal way to classify “white papers”. Due to origins of use in Canada and the racialized terminology experts (academics, researchers, librarians, Indigenous leaders, science policy experts and advocates in areas of racism or de-colonization) from across Canada met to explore the use of the term and gather views on a new naming practice. To heal from the past and support the process of reconciliation, the consensus was to end the use of the term “white paper” and create naming practices that align with the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Calls for Action. To initiate action for retiring and renaming the term “whitepaper”, clusters of working spheres were identified: Library Science, Government, Academia, and Business. Participants representing these spheres, will be gathering in early 2024 to determine the most appropriate term to replace “whitepaper”, and create actionable steps to inform and change naming policies across Canada. The panel discussion will identify the proposed term, and the action being undertaken to inform policy.

Girls, women, and gender-diverse people continue to face structural and systemic barriers in their STEM interests, education, and careers, affecting recruitment, retention, and advancement. These barriers are related to ongoing societal bias, expressed numerous ways including differential evaluation of work (e.g. assignments, applications), differential access to opportunities (e.g. mentorship, promotion), and a chilly climate within educational and work spaces. These factors can be compounded by intersectional identity factors such as race, disability, sexuality, and more.

 

However, there are evidence-based approaches that can support girls’, women’s, and gender-diverse people’s educational and career trajectories in STEM. This session will discuss (i) research related to barriers girls, women, and gender-diverse people face, (ii) evidence-based approaches to supporting girls and gender-diverse youth in STEM, and (iii) present data from a series of evaluations of two evidence-based STEM programs (online and in-person) for girls and gender-diverse youth.  Longitudinal follow-up data indicate that 94% of alumnae respondents are studying or working in STEM fields.

This ‘Accelerating IDEAS in STEM’ session focuses on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Sustainability as pathways to collaborative action, collective advocacy and systems change. SCWIST President Dr. Melanie Ratnam and Senior Project Manager Cheryl Kristiansen, P.Eng. will share strategies to drive impact and accelerate systems change in SETT including Make DIVERSITY Possible, Safe STEM Workplaces and STEM Forward.  Make DIVERSITY Possible works with companies to attract diverse talent through diverse recruitment processes, and create inclusive workplace cultures where everyone thrives.  Safe STEM Workplaces addresses gender-based violence and discrimination with training, policies and processes to support systems change. STEM Forward addresses systemic barriers for women and diverse individuals to accelerate participation, advancement, pay equity, and access to inclusive policies, including parental leave, childcare and flex work. SCWIST uses an intersectional approach to systems change to ensure that programs are co-created by the equity deserving groups involved in the systems change. Sustainability is a key focus – to advance UN Sustainable Development Goals – and to ensure the sustainability of actions to accelerate IDEAS and systems change. SETT case studies will be shared from sectors across STEM and skilled trades. Come explore toolkits and resources, including a Diversity Dashboard, policy framework and action-based tool.

4:20 

Pathways to Leadership Positions in the Skilled Trades

Karen Dearlove – BCCWITT

BCCWITT will share our successes, lessons learned and ongoing opportunities to build up our diverse tradespeople as leaders in the Skilled Trades industry. 

Through BCCWITT’s Leaders in Trades (formerly Regional Representative) Program, BCCWITT has supported our network of diverse tradespeople to advance into positions of leadership within the industry. This has included moving members of our network into public appointed boards and faculty at training institutions, regulatory bodies, community leaders, Trades career beacons, and much more.

We will share training and tools, outreach and partnerships, peer mentorship, regional mobilization, and connections to broader opportunities that are effective in empowering our community to become leaders. 

By highlighting best practices and success stories from our Trades Training and Employment and Leaders in Trades Training programs, we will show how empowering gender diverse tradespeople to become leaders has an overall positive impact on the industry.

Filling Critical Gaps for Women in Trades and Technology

Cheri Butt – Women in Resource Development Corporation (WRDC)

For over 25 years, Women in Resource Development Corporation (WRDC) has been celebrating the success of our work, and rightfully so. Thousands of women have participated in our career readiness programs and thousands more have benefitted from our on-on-one services and events. However, in our ongoing work with women, we heard their challenges and shared their frustration with systems that were not created to include them and meet their needs. Systems that continue to install barriers, restrict access to participation and lack the support they require. Over the past few years, WRDC began filling these gaps … with strategic partnerships and projects, our team are providing more inclusive and responsive programs, services, and supports.

With new Government of Canada funding and partners like Pinnguaq, the Canadian Career Development Foundation, techNL, and College of the North Atlantic, we are co-designing and delivering responsive programs with women in their communities and providing the individualized wrap-around supports and services they need to participate. We are providing foundational programs and digital literacy skills; we are creating multi-layered connections and access to resources for ongoing personal and career development; and through all these partnerships and projects, we are also providing gender and DEI expertise and support for project partners, post-secondary education institutions, employers, industries and sectors.

Join our session as we share what has been learned and the results of thorough research and evaluation on the impact of these new approaches, programs, services, and supports.

Office to Advance Women Apprentices in Alberta

Emma Pollard – Carpenters Regional Council/ Office to Advance Women Apprentices

The office to Advance Women Apprentices began in NL 14 years ago to help navigate a workforce shortage. Its vast success has led to OAWA opening in 6 other province and most recently a 7th province Alberta. With 3 offices opening across the province over the next 1.5 years OAWA offers an individualized approach providing hand holding wrap around support to women’s entry and advancement of their Skilled Trade careers. The OAWA also works closely with employers to help clients stay employed, assist in diversifying your workforce and reducing barriers to employment. 

The office will work with trades women to help them through all stages of apprenticeship to help achieve red seal certification by   

  • intakes to match tradeswomen with the correct trade.
  • resume and interview prep
  • work referrals and job placement
  • navigating the apprenticeship system to get tradeswomen sponsored and going to school. 
  • connections to Local Unions for membership
  • mentoring and networking events to build community. 

By taking a strong proven model and making the adjustments required to fit local jurisdiction and community needs we believe we can achieve similar success as our founding province and provide opportunity to women all across Alberta to support their families.”

Women Building Futures: Changing the Trades Landscape with Partnerships & Tools for Success

Zane Hamm – Women Building Futures (WBF)

Women Building Futures (WBF) designs training and readiness for employment in trades and transportation careers. This workshop will profile our programs, readiness supports and partnerships that enhance gender equity and women’s economic security.  Join us for interactive discussion with ideas and resources for DEI toolkits. 

For more than 25 years, WBF has worked with community and industry partners on readiness, training and employment for a diversified and inclusive workforce that thrives with new ideas and culture of continuous learning. We’ve developed values-aligned partnerships and wrap-around services for training and employment.

In this workshop, we’ll share stories & resources:

  • Tools for Success – Navigation supports that prepare more women and gender diverse people for training for employment in trades and transportation, or next steps in decision-making. Tools to address barriers to employment in trades and transportation careers, with focused support for Indigenous women and communities. Includes Success Coach navigators, Career Exploration, Personal Development, Math, Try a Trade, and Financial Literacy.  womenbuildingfutures.ca

Employers of Choice & Work Proud Inclusivity Training – Workshop developed by Women Building Futures to provide organizations with the insight and tools to create more engaged, safe, and inclusive workplaces.  Work Proud helps organizations build workplaces where all trades people, including our graduates, can thrive.  Model includes assessment, resources, a phased approach with stakeholders, and a measurement plan.  https://www.wbfeoc.com/work-proud/

Join us to explore resources to enhance partnerships for readiness and workplace culture, and opportunities for active participation of women, gender-diverse people, and allies in all areas of this sector.

Researchers in SETT are the ones who build the future. Therefore, it is imperative to train them to solve the most significant technical challenges facing humanity, as well as to understand the impact of their research on society, communicate their findings, and advocate for the best policies to translate their work into action. 

The proposed workshop focuses on a comprehensive training program that builds pathways toward gender equality in SETT by addressing three key components: Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+), Science Communication, and Science Policy Training. 

 

GBA+ provides a practical understanding of the analytical tools used to assess the impact of research in underrepresented groups. We integrate interactive activities and case studies to facilitate nuanced discussions on equity and social justice implications.

The Science Communication segment employs practical exercises to enhance participants’ ability to convey scientific concepts to diverse audiences. The emphasis on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Practices (EDI-A) is woven into these activities.

 

The Science Policy Training module engages participants in role-playing scenarios, simulating interactions with policymakers. Through hands-on exercises, attendees gain insights into bridging the gap between research and decision-making, with a focus on ethical considerations and resource allocation optimization.

The workshop encourages collaborative exploration through group discussions and case studies, allowing participants to analyze the intersectionality of gender and other identity factors in research outcomes. We aim to contribute to the academic discourse on inclusive STEM education, fostering an environment prioritizing active participation, knowledge exchange, and skill development.

Moderator: 

A Collective Impact Approach to Advance the E in K-12 STEM Education

Rebecca White – Engineers of Tomorrow

As of 2022, the gender imbalance in the engineering profession is stark, with a threefold increase in male-identifying engineers compared to their female-identifying counterparts. Recognizing the urgency of this situation, this interactive session intends to explore a collaborative and systematic approach to advancing the ‘E’ in K-12 STEM education, a crucial step towards achieving gender balance in engineering.

An initial group of core partners have convened by Engineers Canada and Engineers of Tomorrow to develop a common agenda and strategic plan to identify community needs, influential factors, barriers, measurable outcomes and specific strategies. The group has adopted a Collective Impact approach for this work. Collective impact is a network of community members, organizations, and institutions who advance equity by learning together, aligning, and integrating their actions to achieve population and systems level change.

The goal of this session is to assess readiness of the K-12 STEM ecosystem by holding dialogue to help with understanding the community context, and current available resources. This information will help to inform a community engagement plan and map the landscape as we move into Phase 2: Initiate Action.

Panelists:

Pathways for Youth: Mapping Your Way to the Future in STEM

Kelsey Howlett – Women In Science and Engineering Newfoundland and Labrador

In 2022, WISE NL planned and executed their first Indigenous Youth Gathering, Pathways for Youth: Mapping Your Way to the Future in STEM. As an organization focused on increasing the participation of women, an underrepresented group, in STEM fields, we wanted to extend this outreach to focus on another underrepresented group, Indigenous youth. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Indigenous youth are mostly located in rural areas (specifically Labrador) which presents challenges with access to STEM resources and availability of STEM opportunities. Our goal was to introduce Indigenous youth throughout the province to STEM education and career opportunities by exposing them to leading Indigenous individuals working in these fields. This will be a presentation on successful strategies to engagement, lessons learned, where we go from here, and how WISE NL and its ongoing Indigenous Youth Initiatives aims to increase the participation of Indigenous youth in STEM and how we can continue to contribute to Navigating Systemic Change through these initiatives.

Improving Diversity in Engineering Across Nova Scotia (IDEA-NS)

Noreen Kamal, Debby Esho – Dalhousie University

At the undergraduate level, Engineering and Computer Science have long experienced problems in gender representation. At Dalhousie University, the percentage of Women in undergraduate Engineering has hovered between 22% and 25% over the last five years. Computer Science has seen a decline in Women students, going from slightly under 20% to 18% between 2018 and 2022. 

The IDEA-NS Project, which stands for “Improving Diversity in Engineering Across Nova Scotia”, aims to make an effort to alleviate this issue within the scope of Nova Scotia. Supported by the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, this project is currently led by Dr. Noreen Kamal of Dalhousie’s Department of Industrial Engineering. The campaign’s activities will use an intersectionality framework, ensuring a holistic approach that integrates a diversity of voices and perspectives. 

A two-pronged approach is being taken. Firstly, workshops in the style of hackathons will be delivered in high schools that will allow students to engage in interactive activities to demonstrate how engineers and computer scientists can create a better society. Secondly, a traveling exhibit will be developed that highlights technical innovations by members of equity-deserving groups. This will include both historic and new innovations. The exhibit will have interactive pieces for high school students to engage with.

The ultimate aim of IDEA-NS is to change the mindset of young adults choosing a degree, and change the perception of Engineering and Computer Science in such a way that they become more appealing to Women and other equity deserving groups.

Go Phys Girl Pilot Project

Samantha Rutherford – University of Guelph

Building upon the success of the Go Eng Girl! and Go Code Girl! models, Engineering and Physics outreach teams at the University of Guelph have piloted the first of its kind Go Phys Girl! in March 2024. The event was promoted to all women and gender-diverse students in Grades 7 to 10 to spend a half-day on campus to learn all about the incredible world of Physics and future career opportunities.

Research shows that we continue to lose equity-deserving groups from physics and related disciplines. In Ontario, Grade 10 science classes have an even gender balance but this drops to 40% women in Grade 11 physics, 34% women in Grade 12 physics, and then approximately 20% women in first-year physics or engineering programs. Students frequently report that they are advised not to take physics in high school because it will “”bring down their average”” and they are not given advice on its relevance and value to their future studies. Our Go Phys Girl! event is a first step in providing those positive extra-curricular experiences to help young women make the connection between their interests and the physical and engineering sciences. 

We will discuss the structure of the event and share feedback from participants as well as plans for future offerings.

Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba was established in 1920, at a time when the effects of colonization were strong and were seen in active oppression of Indigenous Peoples, gender discrimination, no consideration for disability, newcomers, and spiritual practices and beliefs other than Christianity. With a mandate to govern and regulate the practices of professional engineering and geoscience in Manitoba and to serve in the public interest, it is vital we modernize to ensure diversity, inclusivity and equity is thoroughly evaluated and at the forefront of every process and policy, along with Truth and Reconciliation. This session will talk about the work done to develop an action plan that strengthens gender equity, anti-racism, decolonization, and anti-oppression and how we will commit and hold ourselves accountable.

5:20   

BREAK

6:30  

9:00   

END OF SATURDAY PROGRAM

9:00  

Sponsors

BCCWITT logo
OACETT logo

Island Women in Science and Technology (iWIST)

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Stories and Numbers Highlighting Harassment in Mining Workplaces and Solutions towards Safe, Inclusive and Respectful Workplaces

Presented By: Susan Lomas, Mine Shift Foundation

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