At their meeting in May 2021, the Engineers Canada Board voted to join the federal government’s 50 – 30 Challenge. This is an initiative that aims to improve access to positions of influence and leadership on corporate boards and in senior management for women, racialized persons including  Indigenous people, Black Canadians, people who identify as LGBTQ2S+, and persons living with disabilities.

The 50 – 30 Challenge asks organizations to aspire to two goals: gender parity (50 per cent) on Canadian boards and senior management, and significant representation (30 per cent) on Canadian boards and senior management of other under-represented groups. Engineers Canada’s own 30 by 30 goal similarly aims to see 30 per cent of newly licensed engineers be women by 2030, and its equity, diversity, and inclusion work aims to increase the representation of under-represented groups in engineering, such as Indigenous people.

“Engineers Canada has long advocated for equity, diversity, and inclusion in engineering, and the Engineers Canada Board is committed to leading by example” said Danny Chui, Engineers Canada President. “We have joined the 50 – 30 Challenge because we know that a more diverse Board fosters new ideas and creative solutions, and achieves better outcomes.”

At its annual Induction Ceremony on May 29, 2021, Engineers Canada welcomed eight new Board Directors, achieving the gender parity goal of the 50 – 30 Challenge. Directors who are women account for 57 per cent of the 2021-2022 Engineers Canada Board. Meanwhile, women have made up over 50 per cent of the Engineers Canada senior management team for over five years.

“I’m incredibly proud that the Engineers Canada Board has achieved gender parity,” added Chui. “As a national organization that strives to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in the engineering profession, I hope that we can set an example for other engineering organizations to similarly strive for gender parity on their boards and in their workforces. 

“However, we still have work to do to achieve greater representation from other under-represented groups. We hope that the 50 – 30 Challenge can help us direct and structure our work towards the 30 per cent target.”

Launched in October 2020, the 50 – 30 Challenge is an initiative of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, working in conjunction with business and diversity organizations. More than 1,270 organizations have signed onto the challenge as of July 2021.

 “I am thrilled to have Engineers Canada join the 50 – 30 Challenge. As an integral organization in Canada’s engineering industry, they are fostering innovation by embracing diversity and inclusion, as well as ensuring a diverse leadership to create a more equitable country for everyone,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “I look forward to watching this program grow and become the new standard for organizations across our nation.”

Since it was launched, the federal government has committed $33 million over three years to the 50 – 30 Challenge. This funding will assist diversity-serving organizations to support private and public sector organizations—including corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises, post-secondary institutions, not-for-profits, and charities—with the development of tools to help them achieve the Challenge’s goals. These tools could include assistance with developing diversity strategies, the creation of mentorship and training opportunities, and an online toolkit and resources that would be available to businesses and organizations across the country.