Evidence of meeting #29 for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was engineering.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Tracey Leesti  Director, Labour Statistics, Statistics Canada
  • Marc Lachance  Assistant Director, Labour Statistics, Statistics Canada
  • Josée Bégin  Director, Centre for Education Statistics, Statistics Canada
  • Michael McCracken  Chair and Chief Operating Officer, Informetrica Limited
  • Marie Carter  Chief Operating Officer, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Engineers Canada
  • Alana Lavoie  Manager, Government Relations, Engineers Canada

5:05 p.m.

Chief Operating Officer, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Engineers Canada

Marie Carter

We're part of a group called the Canadian network of accreditors and regulators. There's another word in there that I've missed. It's the CNNAR, which has most of the regulated professions in it. Aside from that, we work with our partners at the national level, from the engineering perspective, so we work with the Association of Canadian Engineering Companies. We work very closely with the deans of engineering. Most of the studies we do incorporate industry, education, and the profession, and then we reach out to see what other professions are doing.

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Do I still have time, Mr. Chair?

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

You do. A minute and a bit.

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

This is not directly related to engineering, although they do quote an aerospace engineer in this article. There was an article in The Toronto Star yesterday around a manufacturing jobless rebound. They said that at one time, a typical manufacturing worker on the shop floor had a high school education, but in the new advanced manufacturing sector, it could be an aerospace engineer with two master's degrees and an MBA. They also indicate that for many employers, what they are not looking at is where they could actually fill some of these jobs at a lower level, for example, with a one- or two-year community college program, where they could actually get the skills. I know there are engineering technicians and whatnot.

Are you working with employers to look at perhaps some other ways of addressing those skill shortages? Or are you looking at some of those jobs as entry-level jobs that they could then ladder into other more advanced degrees, with some support from the employer?

5:05 p.m.

Chief Operating Officer, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Engineers Canada

Marie Carter

We are not specifically as you've outlined it. However, we have a good relationship with the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists. We understand very clearly that there's an engineering team that is not just professional engineers but that includes technicians, technologists, and the whole team.

We're currently working on what we're calling a Canadian framework for licensure. In the end, the intent is to have the laddering piece available within that framework.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

Thank you.

Your time is up.

Mr. McColeman.

March 14th, 2012 / 5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Brant, ON

Thank you for coming today.

I want to go down the road of education and the linkages to education in terms of attracting people into the engineering field to begin with. I'd like you to give us examples, if you could, of some of the things you've done. You mentioned you're in close contact with deans.

What have you done with the schools of engineering that's innovative or that may be on the cutting edge of making sure that graduates who are coming out can perhaps bridge that 5- to 10-year gap? It may be some added curriculum or work experience that they might have gotten in the field. The parallel might not be apprenticeship but maybe internship programs. Is there anything in the Canadian post-secondary realm that you can cite as working towards this gap?

5:10 p.m.

Chief Operating Officer, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Engineers Canada

Marie Carter

Yes, and I'm happy I can answer that one with a firm yes.

We accredit all of the undergraduate engineering degree programs in Canada. One of the things that most of the universities are moving towards are co-op programs. In these, universities actively work with industry to place their students for four-month, eight-month, or full-year terms.

So rather than graduating in four years, you're graduating in five or six, but you've gained a year to two years of work experience within that time. We're finding that a large number of the graduates will be hired by the companies with which they did their co-op portion. That works very well.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Brant, ON

So it's a co-op in the traditional sense that while you're studying you're getting a work placement, which could lead to a job.

From an immigration point of view...I met a young engineer this summer in Ireland. He was a caddy at a golf course. Of course, with the way the Irish economy is, caddy was the best job he could get.

Do you have a success story about an immigrant engineer coming to this country that you could tell this committee?

5:10 p.m.

Chief Operating Officer, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Engineers Canada

Marie Carter

We actually have success stories on our website, which are available to have a look at.

Just before Christmas, I was at a Professional Engineers Ontario function, and a fellow came up to me and gave me his card. He said, “I came here as an immigrant. I got through the licensing program with no problem”—he was a structural engineer—“and I now own my own business. I'm hiring immigrant engineers, and if you need to show somebody a success story, I'm it.”

The first time Hatch called me I suggested they try Ireland, because we have a mutual recognition agreement with Engineers Ireland, so somebody registered with Engineers Ireland gets recognized fairly easily in Canada. When he phoned me yesterday, he said he had managed to mine all of the engineers that he could out of Ireland, and now he needed to go somewhere else for that.

There are a lot of success stories out there.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Brant, ON

Are the engineering schools and the post-secondary engineering faculties full?

5:10 p.m.

Chief Operating Officer, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Engineers Canada

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Brant, ON

They're at capacity? So is one of the solutions perhaps to build more capacity within post-secondary programs?

5:10 p.m.

Chief Operating Officer, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Engineers Canada

Marie Carter

Absolutely.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Brant, ON

My last question is—and I'll try to make it quick because I'm running out of time—what are you doing at the high school level or even the elementary level to attract young people into the engineering field?