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Women in Nuclear Canada

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Overview

WiN is a world-wide association of individuals, focusing on women, working professionally in various fields of nuclear energy and radiation applications. WiN Canada was formed in early 2004 with six Chapters across the country. WiN Canada has taken a lead role in providing its members with the tools needed to inform the public about nuclear and radiation technologies. WiN Canada has continued to grow its membership year over year, with over 2,800 members across Canada, providing more women the opportunity to support the nuclear industry and the opportunity for professional development. 

WiN Canada and its membership strive to achieve three goals. The first is to make the public, especially women, aware of the benefits of nuclear and radiation technology in areas such as energy, health, the environment, food and water. The second is to prepare and support women to take on leadership roles in the nuclear industry. The third is to help fill the growing need for qualified workers in STEM and skilled trades in the nuclear industry.

WiN Canada has been actively engaging in conversations with women about the benefits and risks of nuclear technology since its inception, before many others were doing the same. WiN is one of the leading groups in Canada that has taken on the challenge of changing public perceptions of nuclear-related technologies head on, preparing its members to be able to work with the public to better understand the industry and positioning them for effective and constructive dialogue.

In 2019, WiN Canada launched its Strategic Plan with a vision to advance WiN’s impact on the nuclear industry and community. Our strategy is a roadmap for WiN Canada to strengthen its membership, be the trusted voice in the Canadian nuclear industry, and position the public to advocate for the use of nuclear technologies. WiN Canada has put the plan into action and is working on a number of enhancements to its current offerings as well as new services and programs to empower its members to lead.

WiN Canada is pleased to contribute to the SMR Action Plan, working with the other partners to achieve the recommendations outlined in the SMR Roadmap. Many of WiN Canada’s members, across the country from New Brunswick to Saskatchewan, contribute to the efforts to develop and deploy SMRs in Canada.  Many of our members work at one of the major utilities, SMR vendors and suppliers, for the regulator, the provincial and federal government, and other areas of civil society and academia.

The Statement of Principles for the SMR Action Plan aligns with mission of WiN Canada, especially to “strengthen diversity and representation in the nuclear industry through greater inclusion of women, minority communities and youth, and exploring meaningful and long-term economic partnership opportunities with Indigenous, rural, remote and northern communities”. WiN Canada fully endorses the Statement of Principles and is committed to working with the partners to ensure Canada is a leader in SMR development.

WiN Canada has an important role to play in the SMR Roadmap. Firstly, WiN Canada is uniquely positioned to create public confidence in SMR technologies. As stated in the SMR Roadmap findings, men, particularly those with higher levels of income and formal education, are more likely than women to view nuclear power favourably. WiN Canada can and does address that gap through its efforts towards its mission is to make the public aware, and especially women, of the benefits of nuclear technologies, including SMRs.

Secondly, WiN Canada will work with industry to ensure women are represented at all levels and areas of SMR development and deployment. Through WiN Canada’s professional and leadership development programs, and initiatives to promote career interest in the nuclear industry, the SMR ecosystem will be able to recruit and retain qualified workers in STEM and the skilled trades. Not only is WiN Canada interested in fostering career interest in nuclear and SMR technologies, but also in ensuring that women have the skills, confidence and opportunities to step into leadership positions within the SMR sector and the nuclear industry as a whole, which is overwhelmingly male (women make up less than 20% of the workforce). WiN Canada is proud to be a signatory of the Equal by 30 initiative and looks forward to supporting the nuclear industry in reaching this important objective.

WiN Canada envisions an SMR ecosystem that is strong and sustainable, where Team Canada includes diverse groups participating at all levels, including women, young people and indigenous peoples. A successful SMR ecosystem is one where everyone, regardless of gender or background, has the opportunity to contribute, lead, and innovate.

The work has already begun. WiN Canada has developed strong partnerships with industry to work towards addressing the recommendations in the SMR Roadmap. The partnerships WiN Canada has fostered span from other similar associations, nuclear utilities, mining organizations as well as government and regulatory bodies.  The focus on a number of these partnerships is to drive better representation of women in the industry as SMRs are brought to the forefront of nuclear innovation.

WiN Canada looks forward to taking action on the recommendations in the SMR Roadmap made to members of civil society, and to contributing to Team Canada through a strong SMR ecosystem.

ACTIONS

CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Lead Industry Accountability for Diversity and Inclusion
STATUS: UPCOMING
WiN01

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 13, 39, 49, 53

ACTION

Work with SMR Roadmap partners as part of “Team Canada” to ensure that diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of the deployment of SMRs. WiN Canada will facilitate a roundtable discussion in 2020 with key leaders amongst the nuclear industry to create a forum for discussion on diversity and inclusion, how to achieve gender parity, and how WiN Canada can work with the partners to support the achievements of their internal targets.       

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Greater representation of women in leadership roles.
  • Transparency and accountability improves outcomes for Canadians and Canada.
  • The nuclear sector in Canada is able to draw from a diverse pool of highly skilled professionals that is fully representative of women, youth, minorities, and Indigenous persons.
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Advocate for SMRs through participation in CNSC SMR license hearings
STATUS: UPCOMING
WiN02

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 24

ACTION

WiN Canada will prepare both written and oral submissions for interventions on licensing processes for SMRs, providing input on and advocating for SMRs’ positive impacts on communities and on women in the workforce.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • The public will continue to have full information on the impact of and active engagement in Canada’s regulatory framework in relation to SMRs on a range of issues—including licensing and waste.
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Educate and Engage the Public on the Benefits of Nuclear and SMR Technologies
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
WiN03

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 39, 49, 50

ACTION

WiN Canada will continue its efforts conducting public outreach through its Speakers Clearinghouse, which leverages the talent and expertise of its members to educate the public, including public school and high school students, women’s groups, community groups, government organizations and conferences on SMRs and nuclear waste management. WiN Canada will also encourage students to pursue careers in nuclear energy and the skilled trades through its participation and support of the Skills Ontario and Skills Canada competitions and other similar events.  

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Enrollment by women, minorities, and Indigenous persons in university and college programs in nuclear energy is increased.
  • The public has a better understanding of the diversity and breadth of the nuclear sector, the people who work in it, and their passion, as well as the career opportunities within the nuclear sector.
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Deliver Skills and Leadership Development for a Diverse and High-Skilled Nuclear Sector
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
WiN04

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 39

ACTION

WiN Canada will continue its efforts to create professional development opportunities to the over 2,800 members across Canada to enable them to take on a variety of roles within the SMR ecosystem. This includes WiN Canada’s leadership development program launching in September 2020, which consists of a five-part educational series on key leadership capabilities; a Cultural Awareness program currently in development to provide members with the tools to engage with diverse communities and indigenous communities in particular; and WiN Canada’s webinar series, which will include a seminar focused on SMR development in Canada.           

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • The nuclear sector in Canada is able to draw from a diverse pool of highly skilled professionals that is fully representative of women, youth, minorities, and Indigenous persons.
INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS AND MARKETS
Promoting Industry Leadership and Innovation on the Global Stage
STATUS: UPCOMING
WiN05

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 29, 34

ACTION

WiN Canada will promote Canada’s leadership role (and in particular, women’s leadership role) in SMR development on an international stage during its WiN Global Conference to be held in October 2021, facilitating knowledge-sharing, partnerships and international collaboration with industry leaders and the Canadian federal government. This will be achieved through panel discussions, presentation of technical papers and informal/formal meetings to be held during the conference.      

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Canada leverages international partnerships and science and technology collaboration in support of SMR development activities that benefit Canada.
  • Canada presents a unified and coordinated approach internationally, showcasing the full breadth of the sector and leadership in nuclear innovation.