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Shortage of workers in Electricity sector represents major opportunity for women

Update – EHRC CEO, Michelle Branigan, speaks with the Toronto Star, CBC and CFRA about the need for women in the electricity industry. Click here to read the article or here to listen to the CBC broadcast and here for the CFRA broadcast.

Ottawa, ON– August 11, 2014 – Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC), today announced its Bridging the Gap project, a public / private initiative that aims at increasing the representation of women as skilled workers in the electricity and renewable energy sector, in Ontario and nationally. EHRC will be the central point of contact to provide women with information on career training, mentoring opportunities, apprenticeships and support – with many of these resources available directly on its website (

The electricity sector is forecasted to experience high growth and tight labour conditions, with an abundance of job openings, and high quality career opportunities.

“With women representing only one quarter of the Electricity industry workforce, and fewer than 5 percent in the trades, it’s vital that we encourage women to become more engaged and represented,” said Michelle Branigan, CEO of EHRC. “Given the severe skills gap shortage that the industry faces, women offer organizations a solution to the pending labour crisis.”

The electricity industry faces an aging workforce, along with massive upgrades of its infrastructure. Labour shortages are expected to be widespread among dozens of occupations and professions that encompass trades, engineering, management and administration. To address these wide-reaching human resource issues, a long-term talent strategy is required, which includes partnerships with/between industry, educators, training institutions, labour and other groups.

“The electricity and renewable energy sector is poised for huge growth in the coming years, and we know that close to one in five new jobs in Ontario are expected to be in the skilled trades in the next decade,” said Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “It’s crucial that women have the opportunity to pursue meaningful work in technical vocations, trades and other professions in the skilled trades and within the electricity and renewable energy sector. That’s why it’s so important that Employment Ontario and the Electricity Human Resources Canada are helping provide women with important information about these very attractive career options.”

Casie Murdoch, industrial mechanic and millwright, working in the sector endorses the career choice. “The industry is increasingly supportive of women. 99.9% of the employers and wonderful tradespeople that I’ve worked with have encouraged me, helped me, and guided me, all along the way.”

About Bridging The Gap
The Bridging the Gap project is a public / private initiative designed to increase the attraction, recruitment, and retention of women in the electricity and renewable energy sector in Ontario and Nationally. EHRC will take the lead to strengthen existing initiatives and foster an environment for the development of practical and effective programs targeted towards women who are entering the workforce (at the high school, apprenticeship, college and university level), and women currently working within the sector.

Through Bridging the Gap, EHRC provides women with information about mentoring, training, apprenticeships and support programs. In addition, it is launching a full marketing awareness program, along with a series of tools, resources and videos to facilitate connections between women and industry employers.

Funding for the project came from Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Hydro One, Employment Ontario, Alberta Advanced Education, and Engineers Canada. Partners include industry, government, and stakeholders, such as educators, labour union groups and others, who have come together to form an advisory committee for this initiative.