Ontario Society of Professional Engineers

OSPE Promotes Gender Equity in Engineering 

The engineering industry comprises approximately 14% practicing female engineers. One third of engineer graduates never enter the field due to their perceptions of the industry being inflexible and non-supportive of women, while one half of female engineers leave due to working conditions, lack of advancement, or low salary. On behalf of their members and in partnership with Women and Gender Equality Canada, Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) wanted to address this problem. OSPE established a project to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) performance in engineering companies and support women to stay in the engineering field. Increasing gender equity in engineering not only addresses a shortage of workers but can also increase industry innovation due to more diverse views when tackling problems.

The focus of the project was influencing public sector buyers to increase EDI performance requirements in their public infrastructure projects. Public sector organizations are the largest spenders on infrastructure and, therefore, engineering services, so they are a powerful lever in the engineering industry. OSPE engaged Reeve Consulting as experts in public sector procurement to support them in their work to influence public sector procurement processes and increase EDI requirements in public projects.

Reeve provided in-depth training on public sector procurement processes, and the topics of EDI, then provided the staff with opportunities to implement their knowledge through activities, and an in-person workshop.

Reeve Consulting provided the following deliverables:

  1. eLearning program for OSPE team
  2. Webinar #1 Public sector procurement processes and how to implement EDI into procurement
  3. Webinar #2 – Skills for delivering an advocacy campaign with public sector organizations
  4. Half-day In-Person Workshop– Campaign strategy and implementation

The eLearning program provided OSPE staff with adequate background information regarding sustainable procurement. This information was provided through videos and reading materials to equip them for the webinars.

Webinar #1 dived into the world of procurement- understanding public sector procurement, and how sustainability is implemented specifically in construction service contracts. Webinar #2 allowed staff to learn more about the topics of EDI, specifically related to EDI performance in suppliers, how engineering firms could respond to procurement criteria, and how women would benefit from EDI policies, procedures and initiatives.

Through the in-person workshop in Toronto, Reeve Consulting ensured that the advocacy staff had a deep understanding of the procurement processes and were confident talking about equity, diversity, and inclusion in procurement. To build on this knowledge and to activate the learning, Reeve guided OSPE staff with activities to confidently deliver their value proposition and to be aware of potential public sector concerns. OSPE used stakeholder maps to prioritize advocacy engagements, drawing on Reeve’s established network of public sector clients.

Reeve Consulting concluded the project with OSPE advocacy staff feeling confident and well-prepared to engage with stakeholders after the delivery of the project.