6. Call to Action

Call to Action


We cannot afford to miss out on half of the country’s work capacity. To succeed in a complex and dynamic business environment, Canada’s mining industry needs to gain access to at least its fair share of talented women. We need to attract skilled women, keep them, capitalize on their strengths and recognize their added value. The National Action Plan lays out the challenge for our industry – to drive a widespread change in culture from yesterday’s mining industry to tomorrow’s.

There can be no doubt that there is fresh momentum to issues of gender inclusion in our country. At the time of writing this Plan, Canada has its first federal government Cabinet that has full gender parity. Several jurisdictions across the country have introduced regulations to require publicly traded companies to explain their progress toward gender equity at senior executive and Board levels . Universities, colleges, associations and nonprofits have undertaken renewed efforts to support girls and young women to pursue educational programs and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields; many have committed to achieving challenging goals, such as the University of British Columbia’s commitment to increasing the number of women in its undergraduate engineering programs to 50% (UBC, 2015).

Our National Action Plan is in keeping with this new tide of change. The Plan is not a soft call to have good intentions for gradual evolution. In 2011, a Conference Board of Canada report concluded that at the then-current rates of change across various sectors of the economy, it would take 151 years before men and women are in equal numbers in middle and senior management positions in Canada (Chenier & Wohlbold, 2011).

The fifteen organizations that have collaborated with WIM Canada on the development of this plan have already taken actions, some of which are outlined below. Contributing their insights and experiences to this National Action Plan, they are challenging Canada’s other mining employers and industry stakeholders to take immediate and purposeful action.

Fifteen organizations have committed to this change.

Partnering for Change

Organizations that are committed to supporting gender inclusion in mining have many opportunities to partner with like-minded groups. There are strong and innovative initiatives in place across the country with demonstrable impact in presenting a positive view of the sector and attracting young women to relevant occupations. Partnership opportunities can include financial or in-kind sponsorships, hosting worksite visits, and taking part as mentors or speakers at events.

For example:

  • Agrium is a partner of, and donor to, the Canadian Women’s Foundation – a nonprofit that helps women and girls move out of violence and poverty, and into confidence.
  • Barrick Gold Corp. is collaborating with White Ribbon, a global organization working to end violence against women and girls, to design a series of violence prevention programs for the company’s mine sites around the world.
  • Goldcorp partnered with Carleton University to create the Advancing Women in Leadership program which aims to give women new insights, depth and skills to navigate the workplace and to lead change. Other activities include sponsoring initiatives such as the annual gala fundraiser of The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs of British Columbia; Rugby Canada’s National Senior Women’s Fifteens team and Sevens team; and the YWCA of Vancouver Women of Distinction Awards.

Sample Organizations and Initiatives:

The WinSETT Centre is an action-oriented, non-profit organization that aspires to recruit, retain and advance women in science, engineering, trades and technology (SETT). Offerings include a Leadership Program tailored primarily to early- to mid-career women working in SETT. http://www.winsett.ca/

ENG-CITE – GOLDCORP PROFESSORSHIP IN WOMEN IN ENGINEERING AT UBC eng-cite is the working name of the Goldcorp professorship in Women in Engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC). It aims to broaden the current talent pool by reaching out to high school students, parents, and counsellors to encourage students with aptitude in science, engineering and math to pursue a career in those fields. The program is delivered primarily through events designed for girls in grades 8-12, such as Engineering Explorations, with programming matched to the school curriculum. http://engcite.engineering.ubc.ca/

GOENGGIRL Go Eng Girl is an opportunity for girls in grades 7-9, and one parent/guardian to visit a university to learn about the world of engineering. Girls are grouped with current female undergraduate engineering students for a design-build-test challenge, while parents receive a presentation from the Faculty of Engineering on opportunities in the field. It is offered on the same day annually in universities in several provinces across the country. http://www.onwie.ca/programs/go-eng-girl

MINING MATTERS Mining Matters is an initiative of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) for students in grades K-12. The organization provides current information about rocks, minerals, metals, mining and the diverse career opportunities available in the minerals industry. Mining Matters offers exceptional educational resources that meet provincial curriculum expectations. Programs are developed with the help of sponsorships, donations and in-kind contributions from industry and other funders. http://www.pdac.ca/mining-matters/

NATURAL SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING RESEARCH COUNCIL (NSERC) CHAIRS FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING The Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering Program (CWSE) was launched in 1996. Its goal is to increase the participation of women in science and engineering, and to provide role models for women active in, and considering, careers in these fields. Programming includes outreach and education to primary and secondary students and their parents, leadership programs for young women professionals, and education and resources for employers. One Chair has been established for each of the following regions: Atlantic: http://www.wiseatlantic.ca/, Quebec: http://cfsg.espaceweb.usherbrooke.ca/, Ontario: http://sciengwomen-ontario.ca/en/, Prairies: http://cwse-prairies.ca/, BC/Yukon: http://www.sfu.ca/wwest.html

SKILLS CANADA Skills/Compétences Canada is a national, not-for-profit organization that actively promotes careers in skilled trades and technologies to Canadian youth. Programming is organized on a provincial basis, and includes offerings such as Try-A-Trade® – a partnership with industry, labour groups, associations and post-secondary institutions to engage students in safely sampling one, or a handful, of tangible skills used in day-to-day job activities. http://skillscompetencescanada.com/en/provinces-territories/

WOMEN WHO ROCK Women Who Rock is a professional networking organization dedicated to supporting and empowering women’s leadership and career opportunities within the mining industry. It creates mentorship opportunities by connecting aspiring women to leaders in the industry through its events and outreach activities. http://womenwhorock.ca/


What these companies are doing

Several of these employers have already taken meaningful actions along the lines outlined in this National Action Plan. For example:

Starting with Commitment from the Top:


  • Goldcorp has demonstrated powerful senior executive commitment to women’s equality. With a strong champion in the President and CEO, the company has signed the Catalyst Accord and joined the 30% Club Canada to increase the proportion of women directors on the Board, endorsed the CEO Statement of Support for the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles, and signed the Minerva Foundation’s CEO Pledge in BC.
  • In late 2014, the company introduced a Diversity Policy, established a VP of Diversity position and created a Diversity Committee.


  • To address diversity at Teck, a Senior Executive Diversity Committee was created to oversee inclusion and diversity-related initiatives. This committee adopted a set of objectives that helped guide the development of an inclusion and diversity strategy for Teck, and are implementing a number of specific measures aimed at attracting and retaining a diverse workforce. Most recently this committee developed Teck’s Inclusion and Diversity Policy, which has been endorsed by Teck’s Board of Directors and Senior Management team. The policy is aligned with Teck’s values and existing corporate charters and policies and can be accessed on the company’s external website.
  • Teck has also joined the 30% Club Canada, an organization focused on building a strong foundation of business leaders who are committed to meaningful, sustainable gender balance in business leadership. The goal of the 30% Club is to increase board seats held by women to 30% by 2019.

Other companies

  • Several companies have had executive participation in MiHR’s Becoming a Gender Champion executive development session.

Using Baseline and Readiness Assessments:


  • Baseline and assessment measures within Cameco include feedback from wome employees through small group “coffee chats” with a senior executive, as well as follow-up surveys for anonymous input. The company identifies themes and uses them to inform action plans.


  • In 2016 Goldcorp conducted a Diversity and Inclusion survey. This will provide the company with valuable information to guide its ongoing efforts.

Taking Action on the Signs and Symbols of a Workplace Culture:


  • During 2016, Cameco has been completing a review of all employment systems, policies and practices to identify barriers to participation and representation – for women as well as for other underutilized groups. Leveraging their compliance requirements as a federally regulated employer, the results will provide important insights on their formalized processes.
  • One of Cameco’s targets for 2016 has been to ensure that appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can be available to women at all operational sites.


  • At Teck, progress to change role titles to their gender neutral form continues across the organization. Titles changed to date include “Foreman” to “Supervisor”, “Serviceman” to “Service Attendant”, “Pumpman” to “Pump Attendant”, “Craneman” to “Crane Operator” and “Lineman” to “Power Line Technician”.

Integrating Work with Personal Commitments:


  • AREVA has a solid focus on supporting work-life integration for its employees, including flexible work schedules in locations where they can be accommodated; personal leave days, a teleworking program, a site job sharing program, a 7×7 work schedule at site and a 2013-2015 pilot partnership to gain preferential access to a leading daycare provider.

Training and Coaching:


  • In 2015, Goldcorp introduced the four-module Growing Choices program for women, building on the successful and innovative Creating Choices program. To date, more than 1,550 women employees have completed these highly impactful leadership programs. Men are invited to participate by becoming mentors.
  • Supporting the development of a “talent pipeline” of young women, Goldcorp has given financial support to the University of British Columbia for a Professorship in Women in Engineering.
  • More recently, all Goldcorp executives, Mine General Managers and regional leadership teams participated in Unconscious Bias training.


  • Encouraging women’s development, AREVA supports a women employee networking group with speakers and presentations; AREVA also partners with the Edwards School of Business Womentorship program.


  • Teck has conducted Respectful Workplace Training across the majority of the organization. They have also conducted Unconscious Bias Training across senior levels of the organization. The training helps participants understand and overcome unconscious biases, and build a workforce and workplace that encourages an inclusive culture.
  • Teck’s Trail Operations partnered with the Greater Trail Community Skills Centre and Status of Women and launched Mining and Refining for Women, a mentorship program that helps support the advancement and retention of female employees at all levels in mining and resource sectors. The program started in 2015 and a second cohort of this mentorship program is currently underway.
  • In order to continue to strengthen the diversity of their talent pipeline, Teck has reviewed development plans for high-performing and high-potential women, and inclusion in leadership programs is being closely monitored and proactively managed.

Targets with Teeth:


  • Creating “targets with teeth”, Cameco has corporate diversity and inclusion targets for 2016 that are tied to annual bonuses. The goals include actions related to establishing a five-year diversity and inclusion plan for achieving sustainable progress.

Reinforcing the Strategy:


  • Cameco’s diversity and inclusion plan is designed explicitly to include consultation and communication with employees, tangible actions to remove barriers, and a focus on creating a culture of inclusion.
  • The action plan includes monitoring and evaluation processes and clear accountabilities.

Resulting achieved by the National Action Plan employers

Several of the employers that collaborated with WIM Canada on this action plan were able to provide quantitative results of recent hires, promotions, and changes in representation rates. In the context of a significant industry downturn and the related workforce reductions, they were nonetheless able to achieve positive results. Overall, these results demonstrate our industry’s ability to make significant change when the commitment is solid.

Many of these employers have had a longstanding interest in building a more genderinclusive workplace and increasing the representation of women. Several were already on the path to improved results. Their success can be attributed to their track record and also to the renewed commitment demonstrated in their involvement with this National Action Plan initiative.

Collectively, actions undertaken by these companies demonstrate accountability and leadership, providing a lightning rod for the industry on how to effectively and systematically change our workplaces. Setting measurable goals, creating sustainable change strategies, and collaborating across the industry in good times and in bad will help to shift the mining sector culture to one that is fully inclusive of women and men.

The invitation has been made. Employers throughout Canada’s mining sector, and stakeholders who care about the industry’s success, we encourage you to join in this momentum for change.

12 The industry committee working with WIM Canada on the National Action Plan has 15 members, including 13 employers, MiHR and CIMM.

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