The Voice - Winter 2020 - 14

NEWS & EVENTS

OSPE hosts annual
equity, diversity, and
inclusion forum
The #EDIAdvantage

O

n November 26 & 27, more than 2,000 individuals
from industry, government, and academia came
together to attend OSPE's annual Diversity and
Inclusion Forum; The #EDIAdvantage, presented
by OSPE's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.
The event took place virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19
pandemic. While we were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to
celebrate Southern Ontario and the Windsor-Essex corridor by
hosting our forum in Windsor, we believed that the severity of the
pandemic meant that we had to take these proactive measures.
Having a virtual conference meant that we were able to reach
a broader audience, break down barriers to access the event,
and ensure that our impact reached every corner of Ontario and
Canada. OSPE's " The #EDIAdvantage " built on the success of
our 2019 " It's Time We Build " and " The EDI Imperative " forums,
by focusing on the core benefit of creating a more diverse and
inclusive profession, and helping to ensure that the engineering,
and STEM sector more broadly, attract and retain the best talent.
Of course, equity, diversity, and inclusion also lead to innovation,
competitiveness, and growth, but this is contingent on the human
capital that organizations and governments attract and retain.

into an organization's fabric, the event switched gears to a candid
discussion on the barriers facing Black, Indigenous, and other
people of colour (BIPOC) in engineering and STEM more broadly.
The first session of the day was a fireside chat between Kevin
Deluzio, Dean of Queen's University's Faculty of Engineering and
Applied Science, and engineering student Nicholas Ramsubick,
where they discussed equity-seeking students' experiences in
engineering. This candid discussion covered intersectionality,
allyship, creating safe spaces for BIPOC students to share their
stories, and how we can all reduce racial inequity. This frank and
engaging talk demonstrated how institutions can create inclusive
spaces and how students can be catalysts for change.
The discussion was followed by a keynote presentation
on intercultural competence. Keynote speaker, Hamlin
Grange, Founder of Diversipro, provided the audience with an
understanding of where the STEM sector stands as it relates
to intercultural competence. Intercultural competence is the
missing link in diversity and inclusion, and is needed in binding
these concepts together. Intercultural competence means
understanding, communicating, and effectively interacting with
individuals of varied background and experiences. This means
amplifying, celebrating, and connecting with differences instead
of " tolerating " or minimizing them.
November 26, 2020 - Day One
The second keynote speaker, Nicole Girard, Director General
Day one began with video greetings from the Honourable Bardish
Chagger, Federal Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and
- Navigation Protection Program at Transport Canada, led the
Youth. Following the government greetings,
second presentation of the day. This
Réjeanne Aimey, P.Eng., President and Chair
discussion focused on the importance of
Having a virtual conference
being an inclusive leader and how having
of OSPE, briefly discussed the importance
for the engineering profession to take
empathy was vital to this. The keynote
meant that we were able to
discussed the importance of listening,
leadership and drive change towards greater
reach
a
broader
audience,
diversity and inclusion. She expressed OSPE's
understanding, and respecting those who
unwavering commitment to being a catalyst
may appear different from ourselves, and
break down barriers to
for that change and outlined some of the work
how important it was for leaders to reflect
access the event, and
the association has done to date with support
that message to their teams.
from its members, volunteers, and partners.
Following the keynote, the audience
ensure that our impact
After establishing the importance of
had the choice to attend one of two panels
reached every corner of
maintaining diversity and inclusion (D&I)
taking place concurrently. The first panel
Ontario and Canada.
titled, " Recruiting and Retaining Diverse
as a core practice, which must be embedded

14

THE VOICE Winter 2021



The Voice - Winter 2020

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