Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity

The Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity is a public commitment by Canadian employers, educators, unions and governments to promote gender diversity within their organizations. Developed and launched by EHRC in 2017, the Accord proposes united action by employers, educators, unions and governments to:

  • expand the breadth and depth of the skilled workforce;
  • ensure that women are informed of the opportunities available in the sector of their choice;
  • and, once employed, are fully supported and provided with equal opportunities to grow and develop to their full potential.

It provides a real opportunity for all stakeholders to actively engage in building a workforce that is truly representative of Canada’s people. 


Our Key Beliefs

Women represent a much smaller component of the Canadian workforce than they should, and continue to face barriers that limit their advancement and retention within their careers. These barriers include discrimination, a lack of mentorship, and/or a non-inclusive workplace culture. Integrating women into the workplace requires more than just opening the doors to female employees: paradigm shifts require ongoing focus and attention.

Few of us reach our goals without the support of others; normalizing women in trades and technology careers takes leadership and commitment from industry and educators, as well as individual ownership of change. Together, we can ensure Canadian industry becomes truly reflective of the society we live in.

More women participating in our sector and economy results in more potential, diverse thinking, increased safety and better performance.

There is real opportunity for employers to actively engage in building a workforce that is truly representative of Canada’s people. Integrating women into workplaces requires more than just opening the doors to female employees. It means ensuring that workplace culture is receptive to supporting those women.
Michelle Branigan, CEO Electricity Human Resources Canada

Drive Positive Change in Your Organization: The Accord Process

There are two ways to get involved and take action towards change: as an Accord signatory or as an Accord advocate. Both streams focus on the united action required to ensure the support and advancement of women in the workforce.

Step 1: Declaration of Commitment

Signatories demonstrate their commitment to gender diversity within their organizations by signing a certificate of commitment and declaration, which sets a range of benchmarked initiatives to achieve commitments outlined in the Accord. There are three different types of commitments based on the type of organization:

  • Employer Commitments
  • Union Commitments
  • Educator Commitments

In addressing the key commitments, EHRC recognizes and acknowledges that not all organizations will progress at the same rate, nor will results always be immediate. However, EHRC encourages organizations to adopt a bold internal vision inspired by the Accord which will direct organizational efforts towards gender equity.

Advocates demonstrate their commitment by signing a declaration that they will actively engage in outreach, promotion, and communications with their constituencies about the Accord to encourage those constituents to become official signatories. An integral component to the Accord process is the need for senior leadership to sign these declarations, which ensures diversity commitments are approved internally.


Step 2: Implementation & Action

For signatories, the next step in the process is the implementation of clearly benchmarked initiatives supporting commitments outlined in the Accord.

For advocates, implementation takes the form encouraging network members to become official signatories of the Accord. This can be achieved through a variety of means including one-on-one discussions, events and conferences; newsletters, social media, presentations, email and letter communications.


Step 3: Review (signatories only)

At the two-year mark from signing, the signatory undertakes a review to determine the organization’s progress and provide feedback both internally and to EHRC. The two-year review provides organizations with an opportunity to analyze the effectiveness of their diversity practices, while re-aligning strategic plans as needed.

All material provided through the self-assessment (step 2) is kept strictly confidential.  Should EHRC wish to highlight inspirational successes on an individual basis the relevant organization will be asked to provide written approval.

For more information: Contact Merertu Mogga Frissa, Program Manager, Diversity & Inclusion via e-mail frissa@electricityhr.ca, or telephone at 613.235.5540 ext. 237.


Register Now

Ready to make the commitment? Start today on advancing gender equality in your organization.

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Advancing Gender Diversity in Canada's Electricity Sector: A Compendium of Success Stories

Our Compendium documents diverse initiatives from our Accord signatories across the sector who’ve taken steps to supporting gender diversity in their workplaces. Take a look!

View the Resource

Leadershift: Pathways to Gender Equity

EHRC’s research informs the Accord’s approach: visible commitments to gender equity made at the executive leadership level are a foundational part of creating meaningful, lasting change in the workplace.

Read Leadershift: Pathways to Gender Equity, our survey of women’s representation across the Canadian electricity sector.

View the Resource


Women Leadership Nation

EHRC is proud to partner with Women Leadership Nation (WLN) to support signatory organizations who are committed to closing the gender gap. EHRC’s partnership with WLN was developed with the understanding that changing the gender landscape is not easy: it takes tactical and continued efforts to effect systemic change. EHRC’s vision in partnering with WLN is that those organizations who need support will be equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to identify and overcome barriers slowing down your organization’s progress. WLN are experts at delivering holistic training, measurement, and tailored support solutions to help employers become not just more diverse, but more agile and competitive.

EHRC members and Accord signatories will benefit from preferred pricing and access to valuable resources, created to help them succeed in achieving gender equity.

WLN is deeply committed to helping:

  • Employers understand their current level of unity, in setting goals, creating a more diverse work culture that is inclusive and collaborative, which will result in a more innovative, agile and competitive organization.
  • Participants go on a journey of self-discovery that will create a greater understanding of their strengths, identify opportunities for growth, learn new leadership skills and generate strategies for overcoming barriers.
  • Teams engage in a deeper dialogue about differences, identify commonalities, and increase the potential for greater understanding, acceptance, respect, and collaboration.

Learn more about Women Leadership Nation.

Equal by 30

Equal by 30 is an initiative of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and a commitment by public and private sector organizations to work towards equal pay, leadership, and opportunities for women in the clean energy sector by 2030. Equal by 30 asks companies and governments to endorse equity principles, then take concrete actions to help close the gender gap.

Through this campaign, NRCan is bringing together leadership from across the energy sector to galvanize action and help all players—from private sector companies to governments at all levels—take action together.

I’ve already signed the Leadership Accord, why should I sign onto Equal by 30 as well?

NRCan recognizes that certain sectors, such as the electricity sector, have already made significant progress towards the goal of gender equality.  That is why this international campaign has been designed as an umbrella under which domestic, made-in-Canada frameworks can continue to exist and evolve. Signatories of the Accord will continue to report progress directly to EHRC, based on the commitments outlined in the Accord.

EHRC encourages Accord signatories to also sign on to the Equal by 30 Campaign, since it broadens the visibility of an organization’s commitments to an international stage.

As an existing Leadership Accord signatory, will I need to report twice?

No. Accord participants face no undue duplication or burden.

In the case of the Accord, signatories report directly to Electricity Human Resources Canada, and progress is shared with NRCan at an aggregate level.  EHRC will only share individual best practices or achievements with NRCan with the explicit approval of the individual organization, and established agreements around confidentiality, with respect to the disclosure of information, are strictly adhered to.

Learn more about Equal by 30.

Women's Empowerment Principles

The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) are a set of Principles offering guidance to business on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community. Established by UN Global Compact and UN Women, the WEPs are informed by international labour and human rights standards and grounded in the recognition that businesses have a stake in, and a responsibility for, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) are a primary vehicle for corporate delivery on gender equality dimensions of the 2030 agenda and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. By joining the WEPs community, the CEO signals commitment to this agenda at the highest levels of the company and to work collaboratively in multistakeholder networks to foster business practices that empower women. These include equal pay for work of equal value, gender-responsive supply chain practices and zero tolerance against sexual harassment in the workplace.

Accord Advocates & Signatories

Thank you to all these organizations who are championing diversity and have signed on to the Accord. In addition, we would like to recognize those industry associations who work to support the Canadian electricity industry and have committed to advocating for the role of women in the sector.


Hydro Ottawa
Alectra Utilities
Bruce Power
Ontario Power Generation
Halton Hills Hydro
Algonquin College
Power Workers Union
IBEW Canada
hydro one
K-Line Group
Welland Hydro
Whitby Hydro
Kenora Hydro (merged with Thunder Bay Hydro)
Essex Power Corporation
Orangeville Hydro
Society of United Professionals
Costello Utility Consultants
Burman Energy
Grimsby Power
London Hydro
Burlington Hydro
Electrical Safety Authority
Composite Power Group
Toronto Hydro
G&W Canada
nalcor energy
Nova Scotia Power
Northern College
Borealis GeoPower
Gowling WLG
S&C Electric Company
City of Vaughan
Georgian College
TOC Logistics
Engineers Canada
BC Hydro
La Prairie (merged with WESCO)
Ontario Society of Professional Engineers
Schneider Electric
St. Catharines
Nuclear Waste Management Organization
Mohawk College
City of Ottawa


Ontario Waterpower Association
Efficiency Canada
Women of PLT
Energy Council of Canada
Ontario Energy Network
Women in Nuclear Canada
Plug 'n Drive
Women of Influence
Waterpower Canada
Women Leadership Nation
Women's Energy Network
Ontario WRISE
New Boots
White Ribbon
Electro-Federation Canada
Live Your Potential
Get Energy
Society of Women Engineers Toronto
Women + Power
SkyFire Energy
Hire Immigrants Ottawa
North American Young Generation in Nuclear
African Women in Energy Development Initiative