WIM Canada launches 3-year study to develop toolkit to drive diversity

Published: 27/11/2014

NEWS RELEASE   November 25, 2014

Women in Mining (WIM) Canada, a not-for-profit organization, has been granted funding from the Status of Women Canada (SWC) to develop and implement a national action plan to increase the number of women in the mining sector. The focus will be on women in senior executive roles and non-traditional occupations such as trades, heavy equipment operators, miners, and engineers.

Currently, women in the Canadian mining industry represent roughly 14 percent of the workforce.  Furthermore, recent research has revealed that the Canadian mining and oil and gas industries have less than 1.4 percent of CEO roles occupied by females.  Only 5.9 percent of Board positions and 12.3 percent of senior roles are occupied by women.

WIM Canada President Tabetha Stirrett remarked “we welcome this support from the Government of Canada.  This funding will allow us to work closely with our industry partners to find new strategies to step up the hiring, retention and advancement of women in minerals and mining sector.”

Funding by the SWC will allow WIM Canada to work collaboratively with mining companies across Canada to share best practices and innovative ways to achieve a higher number of women in this sector and identify best practices from outside the sector to enable the culture shift required to build a more inclusive workforce.

Companies and organizations participating in this project include:  Cameco Corp., Rio Tinto, Teck Resources, McEwen Mining, Mosaic Company, DeBeers Group of Companies, Agrium Inc., Suncor, Agnico-Eagle Mines, Vale Inc., BHP Billiton, Barrick Gold, the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, and the Mining Industry Human Resources Council who collectively make up the Gender Advisory Committee that will inform the development of the Women in Mining National Action Plan. Each company will then implement its own action plan through the communities where they are operating. The first kick-off meeting of the Committee was held November 15, 2014. By all accounts it exceeded expectations and participants are very motivated to work collaboratively on this initiative from design to implementation.

There is a growing body of knowledge that speaks to the benefits of women in senior leadership roles. Specifically women bring a different style and approach to problem solving, mentoring, and achieving results that makes for a balanced approach to the workplace.  In the fall of 2013, the Ontario government developed new rules requiring public companies to set targets for the number of women in senior roles. Given the expected decline in workforce numbers in the mining sector due to an aging demographic, and recognizing the benefits of women in senior roles, mining companies are now seeking to fill these positions with women, thereby ensuring a greater supply of local labour while simultaneously strengthening their approach to doing business. Both factors that companies recognize will improve their bottom line.

For further information about WIM Canada, please visit www.wimcanada.org.