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Engineers Canada calls on federal government to convene national dialogue to modernize maternity and parental leave


OTTAWA, August 30, 2016 Engineers Canada today published an Issue Statement calling on the federal government to convene a national dialogue to modernize maternity and parental leave in order to best support Canadians and the country’s economic growth.

“The time is now to have a national conversation about a system that so many Canadians rely on as they grow their families,” said Kim Allen, MBA, FCAE, FEC, P.Eng., Engineers Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. “We need to modernize the maternity and parental leave system in order to ensure that the system best serves parents, employers and our country’s economy.”

The current maternity and parental leave system is seen by many as one of the contributing factors to the attrition of women from professional roles, and specifically for women in the engineering profession.

“Women make up more than half of the Canadian population, but they currently only make up 12.8 per cent of engineers in Canada,” said Jeanette M. Southwood, M.A.Sc., FCAE, FEC, P.Eng, Engineers Canada’s Vice-President of Strategy and Partnerships. “We are committed to growing that number to ensure that the engineering profession reflects the demographics of Canadian society, and an improved and modernized maternity and parental leave system will help us attract and retain more women in the engineering profession.”

Engineers Canada proposes that the federal government convene a national conversation on this topic by holding a public consultation with relevant stakeholders to properly understand the realities facing professionals who take employment leaves. This would better inform the government on how best to structure and administer the employment leave benefit programs.

Engineers Canada and the twelve provincial and territorial engineering regulators are committed to increasing the number of women in the engineering profession. In 2015, they launched 30 by 30, Engineers Canada’s goal of raising the percentage of newly licensed engineers who are women to 30 per cent by the year 2030.

In 2016, Engineers Canada published Managing Transitions, a planning resource guide that outlines best practices for employees and employers managing maternity or parental leave in the engineering and geoscience professions. The guide aims to create welcoming workplaces in the profession with good leave practices that will attract and retain talented employees.

The full Issue Statement can be found on Engineers Canada’s website.

Engineers Canada is the national organization of the 12 engineering regulators that license the country's 290,000 members of the profession. Together, we work to advance the profession in the public interest.

For more information, contact:            

Brent Gibson
Practice Lead, Communications
Engineers Canada
613.232.2474 x234