CNSC and CLFN to co-chair international mentoring workshop for Indigenous girls

News release

June 17, 2022 – Ottawa, ON

Today, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced that it will host Canada’s first Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) International Mentoring Workshop in May 2023. The event will be co-chaired by CNSC President Rumina Velshi and Curve Lake First Nation (CLFN) Chief Emily Whetung.

Since 2017, the NEA has facilitated several international workshops with the aim of increasing the visibility of women working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and encouraging girls to pursue STEM-related career opportunities.

The 2023 workshop in Canada will bring together Grade 9 Indigenous girls and accomplished mentors. It will weave together Indigenous knowledge and western science to engage and inspire participants.

“The CNSC is proud of its longstanding, collaborative relationships with many Indigenous Nations and communities, including CLFN, and I am honoured to co-chair this workshop with Chief Whetung,” said President Velshi. “STEM careers can be highly fulfilling and rewarding – we must ensure that Indigenous women and girls have access to these opportunities.” 

Improving Indigenous participation in key employment sectors such as STEM is an important element of Canada’s reconciliation journey. Investing in education for Indigenous learners is one way of addressing STEM inequalities.

“Curve Lake First Nation has always recognized education and mentorship as important components of building and sustaining knowledge across generations,” explained Chief Whetung. “In 1954, at Curve Lake First Nation, Elsie Knott became the first woman in Canada to be elected Chief of a First Nation; she was a strong advocate for education and women in leadership. This is in keeping with the important roles of women in our community and in our culture. I am honoured as well to co-chair this workshop with President Velshi and to continue advocating for women in STEM careers and leadership roles.”

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Quick facts

  • Indigenous people make up 4% of adults in Canada. However, less than 2% of people working in STEM occupations are Indigenous.

  • In 2021, the CNSC and CLFN signed a terms of reference agreement for long-term engagement. The arrangement provides a forum of collaboration to address areas of interest regarding CNSC-regulated facilities and activities within CLFN’s traditional and treaty territory. 

  • The CNSC will work with Government of Canada partners to support the successful delivery of the 2023 workshop.


Kim Cunningham
Media Relations
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
613-996-6860 or 1-800-668-5284

Katie Young-Haddlesey

Chief Operating Officer

Curve Lake First Nation

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