In November 2020, Engineers Canada submitted recommendations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women regarding its study on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women to ensure that future economic recovery measures bring economic prosperity and support to women.
In May 2020, Statistics Canada reported that 1.5 million more women than men lost their jobs over a two-month period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Women in Canada are also shouldering the burden of unpaid care work at home, in addition to other factors, causing a decline in women’s active participation in the national economy. In the engineering community specifically, some of the Canadian engineering regulators have been tracking the pandemic’s impact on attrition rates of their members since the start of the pandemic. For Engineers Geoscientists New Brunswick, 29 per cent of their members who participated in an organizational survey (both men and women) indicated that the biggest challenge during the pandemic has been balancing responsibilities at home with work life and their career, while 15 per cent stated that completing current projects was their biggest challenge. Other regulators have also been monitoring the number of membership fee reduction applications that have been submitted since the start of the pandemic.
With these considerations in mind, and given Engineers Canada’s ongoing work to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive engineering profession, Engineers Canada submitted five recommendations to the standing committee:
- That the federal government work collaboratively with the engineering profession in supporting the recruitment, retention, and professional development of women in the engineering profession.
- That the federal government support outreach programs, bursaries, workplace mentorships, and work-integrated learning opportunities that encourage women to pursue engineering.
- That the federal government provide funding towards the creation of diversity, equity, and inclusion training modules for enterprises.
- That the federal government create incentives and programs that encourage gender parity on corporate and non-profit boards, and in senior leadership.
- That the federal government decouple parental leave from Employment Insurance.
Read the full submission on the Engineers Canada website.