At the end of January, Engineers Canada’s Chief Executive Officer, Gerard McDonald, along with Jeanette Southwood, Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, Yasemin Tanaçan-Blacklock, Advisor, Equity and Belonging, and Eileen Sowunmi, Associate, Outreach and Belonging all participated in the second annual national EngiQueers Canada (EQ Canada) conference which took place this year in Ottawa.

EQ Canada was started in 2013 by 2SLGBTQ+ engineering students at McMaster University. Today, EQ Canada is a nationwide non-profit organization that brings together over 30 similar member groups at engineering schools across Canada, and the student co-founders, Vanessa Raponi and Alexander Dow, are now both proud P.Eng.’s. EQ Canada is one of Engineers Canada’s strategic partners.

McDonald and Southwood co-led a session on Engineers Canada and advancing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in engineering. Along with introducing Engineers Canada’s strategic plan, 10 core purposes, and current EDI work, the session discussed how EDI is the basis of good engineering and a key cornerstone of serving and protecting the public as a professional engineer. They discussed barriers that people currently face in the profession, and how EDI is a technical skill that engineering students, EITs, and professional engineers must develop for better results in their work and to better serve their community.

“At the conference, we also shared that Engineers Canada will be launching a new resource for engineering students, new graduates, and engineers-in-training: a licensure website called Pathway to Engineering,” said Southwood. “For new engineering graduates, the path to licensure is sometimes not clear. For the Pathway to Engineering portal, we have compiled information on the benefits of being a licensed P.Eng., how to navigate the licensing process, and information about equity in engineering. Pathway to Engineering will contain resources, webinars, and articles about the path to licensure throughout the licensing journey. Stay tuned for more.”

The 2024 EQ conference was a huge success, bringing together delegates from across the country, and featuring a variety of sessions to discuss the importance of taking up space, how to navigate this, as well as the implications of doing so as members and allies of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Tanaçan-Blacklock and Sowunmi participated in the networking sessions and had the opportunity to interact with attendees from across the country.

Southwood and Sowunmi also gave a speech at the gala praising the efforts of EQ Canada and all the participants who joined the conference. As sponsors, this conference continues Engineers Canada’s work on Core purpose 8 (CP8): Fostering recognition of the value of the profession and sparking an interest in the next generation of engineers and Core purpose 9 (CP9): Promoting diversity and inclusion in the profession that reflects Canadian society.

Said McDonald, “Engineers Canada is proud of our longtime partnership with EQ Canada and looks forward to seeing its growth over the years ahead”.