Remarks by Minister Sohi at the Panel on Gender Equality in the Energy Sector at the G7 Energy Minister’s Meeting

Speech

SPEAKING POINTS
Halifax, Nova Scotia
September 21, 2018

Hello and welcome.

Last year, under Italy’s Presidency, the G7 held the very first Ministerial meeting on gender equality.

This year, Prime Minister Trudeau set a new precedent for the G7 by creating the Gender Equality Advisory Council:

  • Led by Melinda Gates and Canadian Ambassador to France, Isabelle Hudon; and
  • Supported by an extraordinary team of leaders from around the world.

Over the course of the last nine months, these women and men have brought together their considerable talents and perspectives to advance gender equality.

  • Their seminal work, the report “Make Gender Inequality History” now provides a blueprint for the G7 to transform good intentions into measurable, concrete action.

There is still work to do as we build a diverse and inclusive world. But advancing gender equality is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.

There is a clear gender imbalance in the global energy sector — and that includes Canada’s.

  • Internationally, women represent only 35 percent of the clean-energy workforce, and about 25 percent of the traditional energy sector.
  • According to the G20, if we could reduce the gender employment gap — even by 25 percent by 2025 — it would add a full percent to the baseline GDP growth for OECD countries. And that would create 100 million new jobs.

International research consistently shows that a diverse workforce and gender-balanced boardrooms ensure:

  • Greater organizational performance; and
  • Stronger bottom lines, in both the private and public sectors.

There is global consensus that successfully advancing a low-carbon future will depend on our ability to harness all possible talent:

  • This is needed to create breakthrough ideas and solutions that will transform our world.
  • This also means that we won’t get ahead if half of us are being held back.

In my department at Natural Resources, we’re committed to moving forward on gender equality. My department partnered with MaRS, an innovation hub, to launch the Women in Cleantech Challenge.

  • This challenge seeks to support women cleantech entrepreneurs by providing them with funding, lab access and business incubator support;
  • This week, six winners were selected at an event in Toronto. I would like us to take a few minutes to watch a short video about the event.
  • Women in Cleantech – Meet the Winners

I look forward to seeing these entrepreneurs’ progress throughout the next phase of the Challenge.

In addition to the Challenge, my department recently helped launched the new Equal by 30 Campaign under the Clean Energy Ministerial.

  • This campaign seeks the endorsement of high-level principles to support gender equality by both public and private sectors;
  • And it’s promoting concrete and measurable commitments to equal pay, opportunity and leadership.

This work reflects the spirit of the Gender Equality Advisory Council’s report, which provides our G7 countries with clear ways to transform good intentions into concrete action.  

  • As the report reminds us, “Making progress toward gender equality is everybody’s business, and it cannot be business as usual.

That’s why Canada recently co-hosted a pre-G7 event on Powering Up Canada’s Energy Sector by Advancing Gender Equality, and where we welcomed two new signatories to the campaign.

We are thrilled to have Italy as signatory to this campaign – a great show of leadership on behalf of the G7, and I hope that more countries will join.

  • The G7 has a significant opportunity to drive change far beyond the borders of its membership.

And we are likewise thrilled that each of the panel members here today are either signatory, or partners to our work in creating an inclusive workforce.

Now, I would like to welcome Marie-Hélène Labrie to moderate our next panel.

  • Ms. Labrie is the Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Communications, at Enerkem.
  • She is also one of Canada’s Ambassador of the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Initiative, a joint Clean Energy Ministerial / International Energy Agency initiative to advance the participation of women in energy.

Please join me in welcoming Marie-Hélène Labrie.


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