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Past Conferences

For over 30 years, in various locations across Canada, a community supporting gender equity and diversity in science, engineering, trades and technology (SETT) has been gathering together. Since its founding, CCWESTT has continued the tradition of hosting bi-ennial conferences, where participants learn and are inspired to take action towards creating a diverse and inclusive SETT workforce.

Theme: Charting A Course - Navigating Systemic Change

This conference took place in Victoria, B.C., May 23-26, 2024.

This three-day national conference shared current and emerging best practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) paths towards gender equity in SETT, collaboration and partnership for change, gender-based violence, decolonization, intersectionality, including lived experiences, and creating safer spaces. Thank you to everyone who so generously gave their knowledge, experiences, and wisdom. We are energized and looking ahead to CCWESTT 2026! The 2024 Program can be found here.

Theme: Reach for the Stars: Creating Impact Together

The 19th bi-ennial CCWESTT 2022 conference highlighted activities by member organizations, industry partners, and government initiatives that are working towards a more diverse SETT workforce in Canada. Over 300 delegates came together after a long isolation, and were inspired by a diversity of speakers and presentations. The conference logo was designed to represent Bellatrix, the female warrior. Over one hundred delegates attended the third installment of the CCWESTT Policy Forum. Read the Policy Forum Report here. The Pre-forum briefing document can be accessed here. CCWESTT 2022 was also proud to host a free Student Outreach Program that was specifically designed for high school students (14+), to encourage them to explore career possibilities in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology (SETT) careers. The conference program can be found here. 

Theme: Future Forward: Engage. Advance. Inspire.

The 18th bi-ennial CCWESTT 2020 conference aimed to provide keynote speakers, sessions, and workshops that represent all areas of SETT and all stages of career advancement. Due to Covid-19, CCWESTT 2020 was offered as a Virtual Speaker Series. Throughout November 2020, virtual sessions with the conference keynote speakers took place in an interactive, online format. The keynote speakers included Angeline Nelson and Dr. Jaime Cidro,  Dr. Gina Cody, Julie Angus, and Sherry Holmes.

Theme: Learn, Grow, Act: Re-Define The Future

The 17th bi-ennial CCWESTT 2018 conference brought together national and international subject experts, employers, CEOs/presidents, government representatives, and women in SETT at all phases of their career lifecycle to share their knowledge and experience around equity, diversity and inclusion. Research, industry, and life experience were distilled into conference proceedings, white papers, and policy documents. Conference attendees were encouraged to be part of the solution to the wicked problems that face society through collaboration and innovation while leveraging diverse teams! The final conference report summarizes the conference highlights and the policy forum. 

Theme: Sustaining Growth for Innovations: Bringing Women to the Forefront

The 16th bi-ennial CCWESTT 2016 conference focused on sustaining growth for innovation. “Bringing Women to the Forefront” was selected as the theme to continue pursuing the CCWESTT vision of  promoting women in all aspects, from schooling to leadership roles. The theme was inspired by two major documents that were approved in 2015-2016: “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and “Seizing Canada’s Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation.” In both documents, it is clear that women in SETT have an important role to play, but it’s very clear that many barriers still exist. The policy forum held during the conference was also inspired by a barrier that was not always obvious: dangerous conditions for expecting women in SETT. The final conference report summarizes the various presentations and discussions that occurred during the conference, as well as recommendations and actions drawn from the policy forum.

Theme: Open Opportunities: Mentoring the Future

The 15th bi-ennial CCWESTT 2014 conference theme, “Open Opportunities: Mentoring the Future '' reflects not only collective hopes and dreams for the future but also embodies a big Prairie sky full of possibilities with an unobstructed horizon. The conference was a way to work together in creating open opportunities for women to pursue and advance in science, engineering, trades and technology (SETT). Conference themes included raising awareness for youth, educators, and diversity groups of the opportunities for women in SETT careers. The conference also provided immediate and practical tools to empower, create, and explore a new status quo, and offered both networking and mentoring opportunities.

Theme: Moving Forward Together

The 14th bi-ennial CCWESTT 2012 conference theme was “Inspiring a SeaChange”. The conference included an inaugural Policy Forum entitled “Moving Forward Together” with a focus on the experiences of women engaged in the fields known collectively as SETT (Science, Engineering, Trades, and Technology) and on the policies, programs, and practices affecting their participation. The forum’s goal was to inspire a partnership approach towards increasing the participation of women in SETT, by moving forward together, from insight to action. Read the full Policy Forum document here.

Theme: Leading the Way

The 13th bi-ennial CCWESTT 2010 conference highlighted topics ranging from examining the growth and development of SETT professions to exploring opportunities to develop the variety of skills professionals require to advance individual careers. Keynote speakers included Betty-Ann Heggie, Heather Bishop, Lydia Surasky-Matte and Bani Dheer, addressing issues from social activism, youth, the trends shaping our future workplaces, and the role of feminine energy in business.


Theme: Building on Success 

The 12th bi-ennial CCWESTT 2008 conference included a workshop to solicit ideas from conference participants on strategic directions for promoting the participation of women in SETT. The focus of the workshop was to discuss how the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE) program could best support the work of relevant stakeholders and to identify what support and resources may be available from stakeholders to enable the CWSE program to function better. A conference highlight - the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists (CCTT) launched a new national GoTechGirl initiative. Read the NSERC Chairs conference workshop report can be accessed here.

Theme: Producing Influential Leaders 

The 11th bi-ennial CCWESTT 2006 conference was a forum where participants gained leadership skills, networked with other dynamic colleagues, and celebrated women’s achievements in SETT. The conference included providing professional and career development opportunities, including leadership skills that facilitate career management and advancement, personal growth, and life balance. Discussions included providing research and tactics for more effective teaching in SETT and a better understanding of career choices. The conference also allowed for the discovery of human resources strategies that demonstrate leadership in encouraging diversity and aim to attract and retain women in SETT.

Theme: Let's Get Growing

The 10th bi-ennial CCWESTT 2004 conference was hosted by Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. The theme, Let’s Get Growing, acknowledged the Niagara area as a unique region to discuss three main topics: professional development; work, life, balance; and ‘paying it forward or securing our future.’ A mentoring session incorporated local students and their parents with the aim of informing them of careers available in science, engineering, and technology.

Theme: Women in a Knowledge-Based Society

The 9th bi-ennial CCWESTT 2002 conference hosted in Ottawa, Ontario was a joint conference with the 12th International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists (ICWES12). ICWES12 was a great partnership as the conference brought together engineers, scientists, social scientists and students to challenge the world to a new vision of women's roles and contributions in the areas of science, engineering and technology. The event brought important issues, such as the environment and the impact of technology on women and society to the attention of all participants and the public.

Theme: New Frontiers, New Traditions

The theme of the 8th bi-ennial conference tapped into topics of discovery, action, new horizons, vision and optimism. Participants were invited to share their energy, demonstrate leadership,

and celebrate achievement as this millennial conference collectively focused on reaching, recruiting, and retaining women in the SETT fields. The conference included a special session for CCWEST member organization delegates to develop policy proposals and to share program ideas and resources.

Theme: Women in the Workplace – Achieving Harmony

The 7th bi-ennial CCWESTT 1998 conference was a joint conference between DAWEG/CCWEST hosted in Vancouver, British Columbia. DAWEG - Division for the Advancement of Women in Engineering and Geoscience.  The mission of the conference was threefold:

  • To provide an opportunity for women in engineering, science, technology, and mathematics to come together and discuss projects to promote our professions to society;
  • To develop professional skills; and
  • To form business and support networks

Theme: More Than Just Numbers

The 6th bi-ennial CCWESTT 1995 conference hosted in Fredericton, New Brunswick was a joint conference between WIE and CCWEST. The conference encouraged women to become involved in science and technology. Participants enumerated the barriers to young women's participation in science, determined which programs were most effective in circumventing these barriers, and proposed ways to improve them. In her keynote address to the conference, Ursula Franklin addressed the need to ignore "rank" in the effort to educate young women, and "just get the job done." One workshop featured the success of the mentor/protege system at the University of British Columbia for female engineering undergraduates. Key to the success of this program was the "no-fault" approach in which, if the relationship wasn't working well, the student could seek a new mentor. Sometimes close friendships were formed between mentor and protégé, however, that wasn't necessarily the goal of the project. 

Theme:  Breaking The Barriers

The year 1992 marked the 5th bi-ennial conference, hosted at Glendon College York University in Toronto, Ontario, and the official formation of CCWESTT. This conference marked the transition from a gathering focusing solely on connecting a network of women and providing them with professional development skills, to one that would focus on the barriers to their success. The day before the conference started, a group of organizations met, and decided to form a coalition - named the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology (CCWESTT), and thus CCWESTT was founded. The conference was designed as more of a collaborative workshop, with the following goals: 

  • Identify the Barriers  women in SETT face: educational and at the workplace, isolating specific barriers
  • Develop recommendations to systematically overcome the barriers, the identifying organizations, institutions, and government best able to implement these changes with a set time frame
  • Prepare a report outlining the above and circulate accordingly

Theme: Alert to the Future - Meeting the Challenge 

The 4th bi-ennial conference in 1987, hosted in Calgary, Alberta, predates CCWESTT. The conference was known as the Canadian Conference of Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology. The conference offered stimulating presentations on a variety of topics meant to bring awareness, challenge, reward, and solutions to issues facing women in engineering, science, and technology. There was a focus on:

  • Meeting other professional women and new peers
  • Exchange ideas and experiences
  • Discover new goals and opportunities
  • “Recharge Your Batteries.”

Theme: Unknown

The 3rd bi-ennial conference in 1985, hosted in Ottawa/Hull Ontario, predates CCWESTT.  The conference used to be known as the Canadian Conference of Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology. If you have any information on this conference or others that are missing, please contact CCWESTT 

Theme: Unknown

The 2nd bi-ennial conference in 1983, hosted in Vancouver, British Columbia, predates CCWESTT.  The conference used to be known as the Canadian Conference of Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology. If you have any information on this conference or others that are missing, please contact CCWESTT


Learn more about our highly anticipated conference in Victoria, BC.