Tackling the Gender Gap in Mining: Gender Equity in Mining Works Saskatchewan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Saskatoon, SK, February 20, 2019 – In a Canadian first, Saskatchewan’s minerals industry and its supply chain will be tackling one of the most significant workforce challenges facing the mining sector – the lack of representation of women.

The International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) is partnering with the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) in a first-of-its-kind project to bring MiHR’s Gender Equity in Mining Works (GEM Works) program to a province’s minerals sector as a whole. Currently, women represent just 16% of the mining industry in Canada, compared to 48% of the overall Canadian workforce.

“Typically, individual companies have made efforts to increase the participation of women in their workforce,” says Al Shpyth, IMII’s Executive Director. “IMII’s minerals member companies have recognized that we are likely to be more successful as an industry in addressing the gender gap if we pool our knowledge about common barriers to create more effective strategies.”

“MiHR’s Gender Equity in Mining Works (GEM Works) initiative is the only program that provides mining organizations with proven, industry-developed tools to help identify and mitigate systemic barriers to gender inclusion in the workplace,” notes Ryan Montpellier, MiHR’s Executive Director. “GEM Works helps employers foster workplaces where both women and men have the best opportunities for making great contributions and MiHR is excited to have this unique chance to work with Saskatchewan’s mining sector and its supply chain to help close the gender gap.”

To help launch the project, MiHR is hosting a half-day workshop in Saskatoon on February 28th to provide interested local mining employers with knowledge and skills to help improve gender equity within their organizations. To register for this free workshop visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/gender-equity-in-mining-workshop-saskatoon-tickets-55064580643

Fors more information about this project, please see the attached Backgrounder or contact the IMII or MiHR.

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About IMII

International Minerals Innovation Institute is a unique innovation supporting network of mining companies, government departments and agencies, and post-secondary and research institutions, jointly funded by industry and government. It exists to deliver innovations that matter to mining in Saskatchewan.


About MiHR

The Mining Industry Human Resources Council is Canada’s knowledge centre for mining labour market intelligence. An independent, non-profit organization, MiHR drives collaboration among mining and exploration companies, organized labour, contractors, educational institutions, industry associations and Indigenous groups to identify opportunities and address the human resource and labour market challenges facing the Canadian minerals and metals sector.

For more information contact:

Al Shpyth, Executive Director
International Minerals Innovation Institute
(306) 668-2057

William Meyer, Director, Marketing and Communications
Mining Industry Human Resources Council

Backgrounder – Gender Equity in Mining Works Saskatchewan

This project is being funded under IMII’s Diversity & Inclusion Challenge Program. Launched in 2017, in response to IMII member companies having identified improving diversity & inclusion in the minerals sectors workforce as among their education and training priorities, the Diversity & Inclusion Challenge Program aims to incent innovative approaches to increasing the number of Indigenous people and women enjoying successful careers in the minerals industry in Saskatchewan. To date IMII has committed $1 million to support projects in response to 7 challenges and has funded 6 projects.

This project is being undertaken in response to two challenges released in 2018: Challenge 5 – Enhancing Workplace Cultures in Supply Chain Companies and Challenge 7 – Encouraging Alternate Career Choices and Success for Women in Trade, Production and Technical Occupations.

This project is a facilitated GEM Works Industry Cohort, lead by MiHR’s gender inclusion subject matter experts/practitioners. As part of this cohort, MiHR will support (up to) a 10-member Gender Champion Taskforce of leaders working in Saskatchewan mining operations, production and within supply chain companies, provide training for Gender Champions and applying proven tools to identify/mitigate systemic barriers in current organizational policies and practices.

Participating organizations will nominate one individual in a leadership role as a Gender Champion, to participate in a day-long education session equipping them with new skills/knowledge to advocate for gender inclusion. Champions will then support their two company Change Agents (one man and one woman working within production or company operations) to conduct the policy and practice review process. Each participating organization will select a minimum of one policy or practice to review – creating a tangible assignment within each work environment. Over the course of one year, each GEM Works participating organization will provide metrics on how the policy review and subsequent changes to the selected policy or procedure have impacted equity within their workplaces. During the course of the project, employees within the participating mining organizations and mine supply companies will be provided the opportunity to complete the GEM Works eLearning series reinforcing the messages from their organizations Gender Champions, the policy review being conducted by the Change Agents; building capacity for gender inclusive workspaces.

Each of the participating companies will document/share their gender equity journey with a video case study which will be disseminated via MiHR, IMII and the Saskatchewan Mining Association and (with permission) Saskatchewan Industrial and Mining Suppliers Association to encourage broader Industry impact and participation. The project will immediately benefit all participants by developing gender equity awareness and skills for creating more gender inclusive workspaces, and subsequent employees and future employees of participating organizations will benefit from more inclusive workplaces.