Electricity Human Resources Canada’s (EHRC) Connected Women is a national mentorship program designed for women and funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) and it supports women in the electricity sector who are either already working in technical or trades occupations or are preparing to enter the industry. Program partners include Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, Hydro Ottawa, and Manitoba Hydro, and the first cohort of mentors will be graduates of Algonquin College’s Women in Electrical Engineering Technology (WEET) program.
Of the workers that make up Canada’s electricity industry, women represent a minority. Approximately 26% of the electricity workforce is female and less than 5% of those are employed in trades occupations. While the proportion of women in the industry is rising, it remains well below the average for the Canadian workforce and EHRC is committed to bringing up the proportion of women in the electricity and renewable sector to the national standard (of 48%).
Connected Women aims address not only the under-representation of women in the sector, but also developing tools to advance gender equality and opportunities between men and women in the sector. EHRC has received feedback from industry stakeholders emphasizing the significant role that mentors and sponsors play in the successful attraction and retention of female workers in the sector. Defined networking and mentoring processes (both within and among employers within the sector) help to ensure that female workers have extra support and guidance, particularly when transitioning into the sector. This support is particularly key when entering a sector that has been traditionally populated by men and continues to see low numbers of women in the trades and/or STEM occupations.
Ensuring Program Success
EHRC believes everyone can benefit from professional advice and encouragement, no matter where they are in their career. Therefore, we encourage applicants to view this experience as a commitment to their own professional development.
It is important for mentees to understand that the Program is driven by your engagement – your level of participation will ultimately impact the success of the relationship. Take goal setting seriously! This is a formal Program with the expectation that there will be at least 4-6 meetings over a 6-month period; only those willing to commit and invest their time should apply.
Within the program, mentees will have the ability to request a specific mentor. It is important to emphasize that some mentors are highly sought after therefore it is strongly suggested that you clearly articulate the rationale for being chosen within your application form. Mentors will be basing their decisions on what you have included in this section of the application as well as the application overall.
The platform that will support you during this journey is Menteer, an open-source platform developed by EHRC which can be accessed here.
Once you have accessed the platform, select if you would like to register as a mentor or mentee. Note: You can register as both; however, you will need to use distinct emails and passwords for each type of application. Then, complete the following sections of the application:
- Personal information & Education: In this section you will enter all your contact information, select a password for your account and outline your education.
- Professional Information: In this section you will summarize your work experience.
- Mentor-Mentee pairing questions: In this section you will provide the information that will be used to match you with a mentor or mentee.
- Declaration: You will not be able to apply without ensuring you have read and agree to the Terms of the Program.
Once you have completed and submitted your application check your inbox for a welcome email. You will need to click on the link provided in this email to confirm your account.
EHRC has assembled a national steering committee who guide, oversee, and provide strategic direction to the project. The Committee also provides input into any recommendations that emerge from the research/model implementation. Finally, the Committee encourages people to contribute in identifying innovative approaches to mentorship and sponsorship opportunities.
- Nirav Patel, Manager – Recruitment & Diversity, Talent & Business Change, Ontario Power Generation (Project Chair)
- Michelle Branigan, CEO, Electricity Human Resources Canada (Project Manager)
- Germaine Chazou-Essindi, Senior Program Officer, Women’s Program, Status of Women Canada
- Daniele Fleming, Staff Officer, Power Workers’ Union
- Norm Fraser, COO, Hydro Ottawa (EHRC Chair)
- Michelle Johnston, Executive Vice President, Society of Energy Professionals
- Dana Knoll, Employment Evaluation Specialist, Manitoba Hydro
- Andrea McQuillan, Local Assistant Business Manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- Christy Morrison, Supplier Relations Manager Canada, Electrofederation/WESCO
- Louise Reid, Manager, Talent Attraction & Acquisition, Hydro Ottawa
- Kathryn Reilander, Coordinator, Electrical Technician and Technology Programs, Algonquin College
- Alice Sahazizian, Diversity Consultant, Hydro One
- Joy Shikaze, Executive Director, Women in Nuclear-Canada
- Amena Zafar, Work Experience & Mentoring Coordinator, Licensing International Engineers into the Profession, School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto
Founding Program Partners
This project has been funded supported by Women and Gender Equality Canada.