Piling Canada

Supporting Canadian Engineers

Organizations aim at promoting the field to future engineers
Written by Chintan Patel
March 2024

The demand for engineers in Canada has changed dramatically over the years due to increased technology innovation and it is steadily increasing. According to the International Monetary Fund, it’s estimated that Canada’s gross domestic product shrank 5.2 per cent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the engineering industry grew about two per cent in the same year.

The economic impact of COVID-19 is further exacerbated by growing inflation rates, supply chain management issues and government policies. Engineers Canada helped to submit budget recommendations to the House of Commons Standing Committee to manage the increased demand for investment in engineering in 2020. Economic projections show a 2.8 per cent growth in 2023 due to government efforts and constant demand for engineering work. Therefore, more institutions, government bodies and industry stakeholders are encouraging young people to pursue a career in engineering.

The history of the Canadian engineering profession is rich and dates to the 19th century. The first act to regulate the practice of engineering passed in Manitoba in 1896 and it became a constitution in 1936. Engineers Canada was established at the time as the Dominion Council of Professional Engineers. In 1959, it was renamed the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, and in 2007, became Engineers Canada.

Engineers Canada has more than 80 years of history and 300,000 members. The organization supports high standards in the regulation of engineering, its members, associations and alumni. Its efforts focus on undergraduate engineering programs, national and international collaboration and programs, encouraging research and innovation, diversity and inclusion, regulating the licensing process, accreditation and more. Engineers Canada works with all provinces and territories to regulate the profession. Every board actively works to promote and include engineering requirements for the recent increased demand. Engineers Canada promotes and advocates with all levels of government for budget decisions, laws and regulations that affect the engineering profession. It supports events and programs such as 30 by 30, which aims to increase women representation within engineering, National Engineering Month, the Engineering Change Lab, STEM education programs and the Engineers Canada Awards.

30 by 30

The 30 by 30 initiative was introduced by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta in 2010. It aims to increase diversity and the inclusion of women in engineering to 30 per cent by the year 2030. Today, women represent 18 per cent of engineering professionals in Canada. This is due to low enrolment and graduation rates of women in engineering programs. To address this issue, Engineers Canada and its partners have united with post-secondary institutes and kindergarten to Grade 12 programs to promote engineering among young girls as a rewarding career choice. They provide mentorship and engineering project involvement, promote change in course curriculums and spearhead initiatives like Go ENG Girl and Go CODE Girl programs. These initiatives promote more innovation, creativity, balance in the industry and competitiveness. They are working with industry partners to make changes in work culture and organize networking events for the community. In May 2023, they organized virtual and in-person events where engineering professionals and students learned about change in the workplace, seeking and improving equality, diversity and inclusion.

National Engineering Month

National Engineering Month is an annual national campaign that occurs during the month of March, and is organized by Engineers Canada to celebrate and promote engineering excellence, awareness and appreciation. The theme for National Engineering Month 2023 was “There is a place for you in engineering,” with a focus on diversity, the friendly nature of the job and growth. Organizations throughout Canada celebrate the month with more than 500 events, including activities, webinars and competitions to bring together different audiences and spark their interest in engineering professions. All events related to National Engineering Month can be viewed on the Engineers Canada website and national event calendar. People can follow and register for any event easily and follow along on social media.

Engineers Canada Awards

Each year, Engineers Canada celebrates the engineering excellence of individuals or organizations through the Engineers Canada Awards presented to recognize achievements, contributions, services and technical expertise. Categories include Gold Medal Award, service awards for professional and community services, Gold Medal Student Award and the Award for the Support of Women in the Engineering Profession. Nominees are honoured at the annual gala. For more information about the awards and eligibility criteria go to engineerscanada.ca/awards-and-honours/engineers-canada-awards.

More organizations promote changes in engineering

There are more organizations promoting and making changes to current engineering practices, such as the Engineering Change Lab platform and Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB). The Engineering Change Lab platform is for the collaboration of different sectors that want to bring changes into the engineering community, improve the profession and solve problems together. The core lab team consists of 40 senior professionals from academic institutes, government agencies, industry and non-profit organizations. They organize workshops, encouraging participation from other organizations to manage and improve the engineering community.

EWB works towards ending poverty and bringing infrastructure change in rural African countries. They have chapters and communities at different universities and other academic institutions across Canada. They offer fellowship and encourage young engineering groups to participate in this type of activity, and encourage them to work in Africa for four to 12 months. This initiative connects different engineering professions globally, interchanging the knowledge and bringing back their learnings to the Canadian engineering community.

The engineering career in Canada is set to undergo transformative growth, spurred by progressive initiatives led by Engineers Canada and other organizations. This dynamic evolution will render the engineering field an exhilarating and highly sought-after career for individuals, especially aspiring young minds. Piling Canada

Category: Cover Story

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