Canada’s Tech Industry and International Women’s Day

 Canada’s Tech Industry and International Women’s Day – Let’s Work Together

This Thursday, March 8, 2018, people around the world will celebrate and recognize women of all ages and in all industries for their achievements as part of International Women’s Day (IWD).  Let’s be sure to share the many incredible achievements of women in Canada’s ICT sector – whether new to the field or leaders in our industry!

ITAC welcomes and encourages its members to promote the important role women play in their own organizations and in all stages of their career lifecycle.  This can be done through social media, direct interviews with local media, and by highlighting the achievements of staff and leaders within their own organizations with customers, partners or stakeholders, and the community at large.

To help, ITAC has pulled together a few key messages/ statistics that may be relevant to your own communications activities as well as some hashtags you might want to use through your social media channels. Speaking of which, we would also like to help promote your IWD activities through our own website and social media channels, so let us know what you’re up to. We have an opportunity for women to share their thoughts on increasing women in the sector through IT World Canada; and as a reminder, we have also included a few of the great initiatives the Association is working on around the issue of equality for women in the ICT sector.

Submit your opinion to IT World Canada: Increasing Women in Canadian Tech

Recently, ITAC Director of Membership, Mariana Kutin Morais shared a request by IT World Canada with members, encouraging a response to the following question: How can we increase the number of women working in Canadian tech?

 Please note that they are looking for answers from women only. If you haven’t shared your response already, please provide your quote (only a few sentences) to Mariana by end of day, Tuesday, March 6, at and we will share it with the reporter directly.  A head-shot should also be included with your response. ITAC will share member responses that are published through its social media channels.

 Let us know what your organization is doing!

Let us know what your organization is doing on IWD (e.g. events, content highlighting outstanding female staff or leaders, etc.) and we’ll share it on our website and through social media channels. Contact ITAC’s Director of Communications, Janet Gibson Eichner at with the details and links to your website.

 Social Media:

If your organization is using social media to spread the word about the great work female staff, leaders and board directors are doing in your organization – or you want to highlight a key event you’re hosting around IWD – please remember that this year, the two key IWD hashtags are: #IWD2018 and #pressforprogress.

 We may also want to consider using the following to help unite the Canadian ICT industry:

  • #Cndwomenintech
  • #genderparityinCdntech

Upcoming Event

As a reminder, ITAC partnered with Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) to deliver highly successful Women in Leadership speaker series.  Although the event was supposed to be held on Thursday, March 8, it has been re-scheduled to Wednesday, March 28. We are excited to be joined by panelist Rola Dagher, President of Cisco Canada, who will speak about taking control of your career to give you the confidence you need to take the next step. It will be moderated by Fawn Annan, President and CMO of IT World Canada. Learn more or register.

General messages you can use in your communications


  • The ICT sector continues to be a male-dominated industry with women only representing approximately 25 per cent of Canada’s ICT workforce. We should be increasing this by at least 25 per cent more!
  • The Canadian tech sector strongly encourages all tech companies to set 30 per cent targets for female representation on their Boards.
  •  Industry, academia and government must work together to make real change and include and promote more women in the tech sector – as employees, as leaders and on boards. Increased diversity has been proven to promote growth, innovation and competitive advantage.
  • Promoting diversity in the tech sector is good social policy, it’s also great economic policy. The more women or other underrepresented groups’ voices are included, the better the company will be at developing products that appeal to those groups.
  • We should have one line on the fact that ITAC promotes diversity procurement innovation to all levels of government to encourage opportunity and growth for minority owned companies.


  • Talent is the foundation of our rapidly-expanding tech sector and of tech-based innovations across the country. Encouraging young women is instrumental to helping close the skills gap; reduce gender inequality; and build the growth potential of innovative companies in Canada.
  • The tech industry and government must work together to help close the digital skills gap in Canada by encouraging more young women to enter ICT by providing and supporting targeted programs and scholarships geared toward this group.
  • Canada’s tech industry strongly encourages government to provide funding for initiatives that encourage STEM education, coding for young people and to encourage young women to consider IT professions and to invite women into IT via alternate pathways

 ITAC Diversity-related Initiatives

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ITAC has had a gender diversity program since 2011 – which focuses on leveraging Canada’s diverse talent pool, and ensuring that Canada has the skilled people it needs to complete in the global digital economy.

ITAC’s Vice President of Industry Development, Denise Shortt – in collaboration with ITAC Diversity Committee Co- Chairs, Mary Whittle and Lisa Carroll – manages the diversity mandate for ITAC. Denise works closely with Executive Director, Gina van Dalen, who manages talent-related initiatives for ITAC.  Together they are helping move the dial forward on diversity in the ICT sector.

Here’s just some of the great work that’s being done:

  • ITAC has designed comprehensive programming to support women in ICT throughout all stages of their career life cycle, including: Young women in STEM programs; young women starting out their career; Women in Leadership; Women on Boards; and Women Entrepreneurs. This includes the development of a Gender Diversity Committee, comprised of over 60 active members who help develop programming to meet the diversity mandate.
  • ITAC partnered with Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) to deliver a highly successful Women in Leadership speaker series.
  • ITAC’s Women on Boards program has close to 40 highly qualified board-ready women willing to serve as corporate directors
  • ITAC continues to partner with provincial and federal governments to collaborate on gender initiatives and support public policy designed to increase diversity
  • ITAC is working to support and create global business opportunities for women-led entrepreneurs and help ensure that they get support and funding to grow and scale.
  • Through its Talent division, ITAC has developed:
    • Co-op Program (Work Integrated Learning): Youth require a new diverse set of skills and talent to meet marketplace demand as digital skills cross all sectors. Program provides up to 50% (to a maximum of $5,000) of a work term student’s pay in wage subsidies to employers. Employers that hire students from underrepresented groups including women in STEM, indigenous students, recent immigrants, persons with disabilities, and first-year students may also qualify for additional funding (up to 70% or $7,000).
  • ITAC Business Technology Management (BTM): Post-secondary program designed to meet need for professionals who combine business and information technology knowledge and skills. Over 30 leading institutions across Canada offer the BTM in both official languages, primarily as a university undergraduate program/ also offered to college, graduate, and continuing education students. BTM is now a recognized profession.
  • CareerMash: High school outreach program that focuses on hybrids that combine ICT with other advanced technologies, as well as hybrids of tech and business. Has been delivered to over 10,000 high school students in Ontario and Quebec. Independent research has found that kids exposed to CareerMash expressed significantly greater interest in tech careers.
  • Career Ready: ITAC’s work-integrated learning program, which supports partnerships between employers and post-secondary education (PSE) institutions to create more work-integrated learning placements for students enrolled in post-secondary studies across Canada. Program places 1,100 students over four years and focuses on occupations in computer science and inter-disciplinary programs with a specific focus on business, cyber security, AI and Internet of Things (IoT).