Hon. Mac Harb: Honourable senators, last week we marked National Engineering Week, held every year to honour the many contributions made by engineers here in Canada and around the world. Almost every single aspect of our day-to-day lives is touched by the ingenuity and professionalism of engineers.
Honourable senators, there are more than 160,000 engineers in Canada, but only 10 per cent of that number are women. However, as an engineer myself, I am pleased to inform the honourable senators assembled here that there is a Canadian foundation dedicated to increasing the number of women participating in this important industry sector. That foundation is the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation.
The Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation was created 15 years ago in the aftermath of the École Polytechnique de Montreal tragedy of December 6, 1989. It honours the memory of the 14 women who lost their lives. Each year, the foundation provides scholarships to women studying engineering in recognized universities. It seeks out extraordinary women who are already enrolled in an engineering faculty and helps them continue their studies and make a career in the field. The foundation's funding comes from the private sector and from the thousands of individuals who believe in its mission and the work it does.
CEMF is an excellent example of an organization that works through partnerships and alliances. One of its key supporters, the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, is the national organization of provincial and territorial bodies that license Canada's 160,000 professional engineers.
CEMF believes that young girls must be encouraged to take a keen interest in science in elementary and secondary schools. This has led to another key partnership with Actua, an organization that runs science camps across Canada.
I wish to acknowledge and thank the Canadian Engineer Memorial Foundation and its partners for the work they do across our great country to encourage young women to pursue careers in engineering in Canada, and for promoting engineering as a career choice to all young people, regardless of gender.