Engineers Canada:

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity in Engineering

Engineers Canada supports consistent high standards in the regulation of engineering and encourages the growth of the profession in Canada.

The Challenge

The engineering profession in Canada and in much of the world is male-dominated with a proportionally low representation of people from marginalized communities. Engineers Canada, as the only national voice of the engineering profession, has been working to improve representation and create better opportunities for all engineers, of all backgrounds to contribute to the profession. This includes the goal of achieving 30% female-identifying representation in the Canadian engineering community by 2030 (30 by 30).

While there are numerous training programs supporting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI) in the marketplace, there was a gap regarding issues specific to engineers and geoscientists. The merit-based culture of engineering introduces biases that required specific attention and many of the existing programs did not provide engaging material that would help Engineers Canada achieve the impact they sought to have.

The Solution

Engineers Canada decided to develop a custom, multilingual training course to represent issues specific to the engineering and geoscience professions and the Canadian engineering and geoscience community. The intention of the course is to increase awareness and provoke meaningful conversations among the 300,000 members of the engineering profession in Canada and the larger engineering and geoscience community as a whole. The process started with consultation and engaging EDI officials from engineering regulators and special interest groups including The National Society of Black Engineers, EngiQueers Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Chairs for Women in Engineering, and others. An outline was developed to capture the issues and material most important to challenge the underrepresentation of marginalized groups in the profession.

Through a competitive RFP process, Xpan Interactive was selected to support the instructional design and course development. Xpan has a great deal of expertise in digital training solutions and producing an engaging learning experience that impacts meaningful change as well as familiarity with EDI subject matter. Xpan’s instructional design team leveraged the outline developed by Engineers Canada as the starting point for the course and augmented the material using proven principles in adult education.

The project had a compressed schedule requiring carefully coordinated development sprints and feedback cycles. Xpan and Engineers Canada partners collaborated through an iterative development process to ensure that the final course reflected the vision and message intended by the groups who contributed to the original outline.

The course features a scenario-based instructional style with animation to present characters from a diverse range of backgrounds as they go through various challenges related to EDI in engineering and geoscience.

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Subject Matter includes:

  • Why EDI is relevant to engineers and geoscientists
  • Defining EDI terms
  • Unconscious and implicit bias
  • Inclusive behaviours and competencies
  • How to address discrimination in the workplace
  • Championing change

Anyone who wants to can register and take the course for free:

The Outcome

This course is now available to the more than 300,000 engineers and geoscientists in Canada and to other members of the engineering community for free, through Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia’s online knowledge centre. The initial feedback shows that it will be a great first step towards creating a more inclusive environment for professionals and initiating conversations in the community.

The project was completed on time and on budget with an engaging experience for participants to learn how they can be champions for change. The final deliverable is a course that Engineers Canada feels proud of and represents the issues around EDI in a positive way to help advance change. The iterative development process Xpan follows ensured that the course speaks with the voice of the under-represented groups that produced the original outline and introduces the issues respectfully.

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