President, Engineers Canada
Manager of Outreach & Engagement, Engineers Canada
Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Strategic Partnerships, Engineers Canada
Engineering touches nearly every aspect of our lives. Through engagement, partnerships, and events, Engineers Canada is raising public awareness of the role engineers play in solving the world’s most pressing challenges.
Engineers are credited with playing a key role in Canada’s economic development. “One of the stories that often pops into people’s minds is the national railway, but that’s only part of engineers’ contribution,” says Danny Chui, President of Engineers Canada. “Our ability to travel and communicate with people around the world, live in large cities with access to clean water and sanitation are the results of engineers’ efforts and ingenuity, so they’ve had an impact not only on the economy but also on public health and safety,” says Chui. A more recent example of the latter was how engineers responded to the COVID-19 crisis, rapidly developing personal protective equipment (PPE) and air purification systems.
“Engineers are going to be even more relevant as we go forward because our country has these huge challenges,” says Chui. Addressing climate change, outdated infrastructure, and inequitable digital access — particularly in Indigenous and rural communities — requires the specialized expertise and perspectives that engineers, as systems thinkers, bring to the table.
Beyond solving technical and design problems, engineers also have a strong ethical obligation to protect the public. “Being ethical and responsible for their own design are key requirements of our licensure process,” says Chui.
Engineers are going to be even more relevant as we go forward.
Working to increase leadership and innovation in the field
Engineers Canada, the national association of the provincial and territorial engineering regulators that license the country’s more than 300,000 engineers, is working to increase leadership and innovation in the field through various initiatives. One way is by leading National Engineering Month (NEM), occurring in March each year. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate the profession, spotlight our achievements and connect with our communities and the next generation through free engineering outreach events,” says Kim Bouffard, Manager of Outreach and Engagement at Engineers Canada. This year, there will be several events aimed at engaging youth from kindergarten to grade 12. “One of our mandates is to help people have a better understanding of the impact and value of an engineer’s way of thinking, especially among youth,” says Bouffard. “NEM is also a chance for members of the engineering community to get together to discuss issues, where the issues are going, and how we can all work together, she says.
Another way that Engineers Canada is leading is by creating communities of practice with key stakeholders to identify common challenges and objectives. “Issues like STEM education, climate change, new types of engineering, and equity, diversity, and inclusion are complex so having these communities of practice is a way to move these issues forward together with the engineering regulators, higher education institutions, and our other partners in the engineering community,” says Bouffard.
Working to create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive profession
As the national voice of the engineering profession, Engineers Canada is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). “We can’t create solutions that work for society unless our profession reflects society, says Jeanette Southwood, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at Engineers Canada.
Among its many EDI initiatives is one called 30 by 30, which aims to raise the percentage of newly licensed female engineers to 30 percent by 2030 from the current 20.6 percent. “This initiative has been adopted by all 12 engineering regulators across the country and we’re working together to identify ways to remove barriers associated with women becoming engineers,” says Southwood.
Another focus area is increasing access to engineering to underrepresented groups such as Indigenous peoples. “Identifying what the issues and challenges are will help us move forward because they vary depending on which group is underrepresented,” says Southwood.
Curious to know how engineering touches our daily lives, shapes our world, and tackles some of Canada’s greatest challenges? Participate in one of the many events taking place across Canada as part of National Engineering Month by visiting exploreengineering.ca.