A Canada-wide initiative to increase the number of women in the underrepresented geoscience and engineer profession is gaining traction, says the president of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers (NAPEG).
“I think one of the big pushes that we’re seeing for engineering and geoscientists across Canada actually is promoting females in that industry,” Melanie Williams, president of NAPEG said.
“There was a Canadian-wide initiative called 30 by 30. So, they want 30 per cent of females in the industry by 2030.”
Williams indicated that approximately 350 current members are women.
“NAPEG continues to grow each year with a current membership of 296 resident professionals, 2,500 non-resident members, and 630 permits to practice for firms. I am very happy to see the number of women in the engineering and geoscience field increasing.”
Williams said many diverse paths lead from the geoscience and engineering profession.
“It can go anywhere from (being) a mine manager of a huge industrial mining company, to someone who’s in the field looking at rocks… it’s such a versatile industry, engineering and geosciences.”
In the North, Williams said membership is solid overall, with new licensees registering on a regular basis.
“So, we are doing quite well. Our membership is pretty strong,” she said.
According to the NAPEG website, a group of engineers and geologists formed the Society of Professional Engineers of the Northwest Territories in 1969, leading to legislation in 1979 that established the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of the Northwest Territories (NAPEGG).
When Nunavut was designated a territory in 1999, NAPEGG was given authority to expand to include the authority to regulate engineering, geology and geophysics there.
Today, NAPEG continues its goal “to protect the public by ensuring that all registrants meet high standards of competence, learning and professional ethical conduct” in the practices of professional engineering, geoscience and applied science technology.
A notable achievement for the association came in October of this year with the passing of Bill 93 - Practice of Engineering Geoscience and Applied Science Technology Act. This new legislation replaced and repealed the former Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act.
“The new act will require significant work drafting bylaws and new policies over the next year or two. This will concentrate on the new legislated requirements for continuing professional development, the publishing of the disciplinary findings and the new ability to issue limited licences for engineers and geoscientists, along with the registration of engineering and geoscience applied science technologists,” Williams stated.
In 2001, to connect with students and to highlight the type of work they do, NAPEG held its first annual bridge building contest. Bridge building kits were sent to every school in the NWT and Nunavut and once built by the students, there were sent back to NAPEG to be tested for their strength and design, Williams noted.
Also each year, NAPEG presents 11 awards at a banquet recognizing outstanding engineering and geoscience projects.
“It is truly great to recognize projects designed with innovative solutions for challenges you only see in the North,” Williams stated. “Engineers and geoscientists in other parts of Canada do not have to deal with the fun part of doing work in the North, such as working in remote locations or permafrost.”
For more stories from NWT and Nunavut Mining 2023, click this link: https://www.nnsl.com/special-feature-publications/special-feature-pdfs/2023-mining-supplement/