Debates of the Senate  
3rd Session, 40th Parliament,Volume 147, Issue 31.
  Thursday, May 27, 2010
Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering Science, Trades and Technology
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, from May 14 to 16, I had the great pleasure to attend the biennial conference of the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This year's theme was "Leading the Way: Empowering Women, Building Communities."

The conference brought together 250 delegates from all over Canada who are committed to the advancement of women in the sciences, engineering, trades and technology, the SETT fields. We gathered to learn, network and engage in the issues that surround the obstacles and challenges of women in the sciences, engineering, trades and technology fields.

I had the added honour to moderate a panel discussion entitled "Human Resources: The Future Workforce." From keynote speakers such as Nan Armour and Betty-Ann Heggie to presentations on outreach, recruitment and retention, the conference was truly a success.

This conference also marked the national launch of the WinSETT Centre. In 2003, the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology embarked on the Women in SETT Initiative to effect change at the institutional level. The centre is located in Edmonton and its goal is to increase the retention and recruitment of women in the SETT fields. The WinSETT Centre will be the catalyst for the ongoing and sustained employment and advancement of women in SETT fields. The centre will achieve its mission by developing and disseminating, through collaboration and partnerships, the tools and expertise useful to industry, government, educational institutions and women in SETT organizations to recruit, retain and promote women in SETT.

This national centre provides Canadian women with the necessary resources they need to succeed in SETT fields. From employment opportunities to mentorship and advice on reaching a work life balance, the WinSETT Centre is there to help women achieve greater representation in these non-traditional fields.

There remains a continuing under-representation of women in these fields in Canada. In 2006, only 26 per cent of those engaged in the computer science and IT fields were women, 12 per cent in engineering and 4 per cent in the construction trades. These numbers must change.

The centre's progress is a direct reflection on its board members and sponsors, such as the Government of Alberta; the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta; the NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for the Atlantic Region; Suncor Energy; the University of Alberta; the Province of Saskatchewan Status of Women Office; and Vale Inco.

We hope that the centre will achieve its goals and provide women with the necessary resources and tools to contribute to Canada's innovation agenda, as well as garner greater economic security for Canadian women.