Engineers Canada has submitted its annual pre-budget recommendations to the federal government in advance of the 2022 budget. This year’s submission includes three recommendations on specific topics important to the engineering profession.
First, Engineers Canada is calling on the government to kickstart the economy through the acceleration of projects promised in the Investing in Canada Plan program, and to support green infrastructure and natural resources investments.
Accelerating project approvals will create jobs across the country and support the economy. Well-designed, properly built, continually maintained, and reliable infrastructure is critical to public safety, quality of life, and a competitive economy. Much of Canada’s core public and private infrastructure requires significant immediate, and future investments to ensure its sustainability for its complete life and service cycle.
Additionally, the federal government must continue to invest in green infrastructure as a recovery strategy to both benefit the economy post-COVID-19, as well as to deliver on Canada’s climate commitments. Supporting natural resources also remains critical to Canada’s economy, and increasing support for such projects will reduce the need and cost of importation, support the labour force, and increase Canada’s self-sufficiency.
Second, Engineers Canada is urging the government to continue to support equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives across Canada, including supports for employers to address discrimination, harassment, and improving EDI in the workplace for women, Indigenous, Black and other racialized people, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and persons with disabilities.
The federal government must take the initiative to fund employer training programs, workplace mentorships for women and underrepresented engineers, and work-integrated learning opportunities that encourage women, Indigenous, Black, people of colour, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and persons with disabilities to pursue engineering education and engineering careers. Additionally, the federal government should provide funding towards the creation of EDI training and resources, focused on engineering, for small and medium-sized business enterprises, as well as remote workplaces in construction, mining, natural resources, and other engineering sectors that lack access to EDI resources.
Third, the pre-budget submission calls on the government to provide funding to support Indigenous people’s access programs to post-secondary engineering education programs across Canada. While Indigenous people make up more than 4.9 per cent of the total Canadian population, Indigenous people account for only 0.6 per cent of engineering undergraduate enrolment. A new report commissioned by Engineers Canada estimates that Indigenous representation in the engineering profession is at only 0.73 per cent.
Although the federal government has outlined their commitment to support Indigenous people in STEM, it is important that the government provide sustainable funding for Indigenous learners, along with support programs that provide adequate tools for Indigenous students to succeed in the post-secondary environment. Doing so will not only sustain the economy and Canada’s innovation output, but it will also support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.
Read the full recommendations in Engineers Canada’s pre-budget submission.