By: Gerard McDonald, Engineers Canada CEO
As COVID-19 continued in 2021, the past year proved tricky yet transformative. With milestones like achieving gold level certification from Excellence Canada, launching the first 30 by 30 Conference, and shifting accreditation visits to fully virtual, Engineers Canada had a banner year.
Looking forward, 2022 marks a new phase of growth as we adopt A Vision for Collaboration: Engineers Canada’s 2022-2024 Strategic Plan. The new plan outlines six key strategic initiatives and establishes a new vision for the organization. It is a roadmap that points to areas where we will collaborate to strategically position our profession to adapt to a changing regulatory landscape, select and adopt best practices, and remain relevant across Canada.
The product of multiple consultations and refinements, the plan was built in response to some of the major trends and risks identified throughout the strategic planning process. These include the evolving regulatory landscape, the impact of technological innovation on the regulation of engineering practice, trends in licensure rates among engineering graduates, and the challenges COVID-19 has presented to the career paths of women in engineering and the efforts needed to create a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive profession.
Going into 2022 with our new strategic initiatives, these are a few of the activities I anticipate:
Accelerate 30 by 30
Engineers Canada is the national voice of the engineering profession and we remain committed to a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive profession. As part of our work under our new strategic plan, we will amplify our 30 by 30 initiative in order to increase the percentage of newly licensed engineers who are women. We will sustain momentum, augment our efforts, and strengthen our support of regulators. In particular, I’m looking forward to building on the success of last year’s first annual 30 by 30 Conference and hosting the 2022 30 by 30 Conference in collaboration with APEGA. I’m also looking forward to the completion of a 30 by 30 employer strategy, wherein we can determine how to more fully engage engineering employers in the profession’s efforts to achieve 30 by 30, and ensure that employers have the information that enables them to make their workplaces more equitable, diverse, and inclusive. We also plan this year to update our Managing Transitions guide in collaboration with APEGA and Geoscientists Canada to offer tangible resources to employers and employees for managing parental leaves. These are just some of the many initiatives that I anticipate in what is sure to be another busy year for the 30 by 30 program.
Indigenous participation in engineering
In addition to our work on 30 by 30, advocating for greater Indigenous participation in engineering education and the profession is a core part of our work to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in the profession that reflects Canadian society. Last year saw the completion of research into the representation of Indigenous people in the engineering labour force. I look forward to seeing us build on that report this year with further research and analysis of the experience of Indigenous engineers. We will also be completing an Indigenous engagement plan on building respectful relationships with Indigenous organizations and engineers. 2022 will also see us seek to complete the Progressive Aboriginal Relations Program with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.
Kickstart work on Strategic Priority 1.1: Investigate and validate the purpose of accreditation
Our work supports engineering regulators in fulfilling their mandates of protecting the public. Part of this work includes supporting pan-Canadian implementation of consistent requirements and practices. Under Strategic Priority 1.1: Investigate and validate the purpose and scope of accreditation, we set out to review the accreditation process and work with regulators and stakeholders to determine areas for improvements. In 2021, the project team laid the groundwork, seeking consultants, organizing the steering committee and various task forces. 2022 will see the delivery of two reports that will inform the project’s work: one on the current realities and future possibilities in engineering education, and another on benchmarking our own accreditation system to other Canadian professional accreditation systems and to other engineering accreditation systems worldwide.
Strategic Priority 2.2: Reinforce trust and value of licensure
Engineers play a critical part in improving the lives of Canadians and others around the world, while holding paramount the responsibility to protect the public. Yet, the public has a low familiarity with the diversity of work done by engineers, and how that impacts their lives. Through a high profile public marketing campaign, Engineers Canada will build greater trust in the profession and awareness of the myriad of ways engineers advance society. In addition, we’ll also seek to understand the licensure motivators of engineers, engineering students, engineering graduates, and EITs and explore ways we can support these individuals on their path to licensure.
Launch Strategic Priority 1.2: Strengthen collaboration and harmonization
Collaboration is a way of life at Engineers Canada, and the new plan will see us discuss and define the regulators’ requirements for regulatory harmoinzation. In 2022, we will be developing a position paper on this topic which will form the basis of consultations with the regulators in 2023. We will collaborate with regulator staff to understand our past successes and failures and use this to inform the position. The postion paper, which will be written with a task force of the Board, will include a review of past work in this area, an analysis of the current state of regulatory harmonization, and options for future work in this area.