The federal government is investing nearly $500,000 for a pilot project to increase women’s participation in the manufacturing sector.
At Steelworks Design in Peterborough on Thursday, Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef, the Minister of Status of Women, announced the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) will receive $498,000 in federal funding for a three-year pilot project aiming to “attract and inspire more women and youth to pursue a career in manufacturing.”
The project, entitled “Untapped Potential: Attracting and Engaging Women in Canadian Manufacturing,” will see CME create regional networks to work with a national working group to attract more women into manufacturing professions and create “more inclusive and diverse workplaces.”
A 2016 CME management issues survey indicated that nearly 40 per cent of respondents are currently facing labour and/or skills shortages. Moreover, 16 per cent of businesses stated that ongoing shortages may force them to shift production and investment outside of Canada.
The survey says women make up 48 per cent of the Canadian workforce but only 28 per cent of manufacturing jobs.
“Generating sustainable economic growth and helping ensure all Canadians are full participants in the innovation economy is a priority for our government,” stated Monsef.
“We are taking real action to increase the representation of women in the labour force, while also taking concrete steps to provide women with the skills needed to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.
“This will grow our economy while also providing women with good middle class jobs in all sectors, including the manufacturing sector.”
MP Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, says attracting women to the manufacturing sector is critical to helping companies grow, filling job vacancies and replacing the existing aging workforce.
“By funding projects that aim to support and improve women’s access to good, well-paid manufacturing careers, we are helping address immediate labour shortages, build a contemporary workplace where there are no gender barriers to success, and strengthen our economy for the benefit of all Canadians,” he said.
Rhonda Barnet, chairperson of CME’s national board of directors, and COO of Steelworks Design says the CME is grateful for the government’s support.
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The CME represents more than 10,000 companies nationwide, accounting for an estimated 82 per cent of the Canadian manufacturing production.
“Our collaboration will help our members attract and retain women in manufacturing careers,” she stated.
“Creating more inclusive and diverse workplaces is critical to supporting economic prosperity – for Canadian women and, for our manufacturing industries.”