Supporting positive culture change
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
In my recent columns in Engineering Dimensions, I have shared the progress being made on revising PEO processes and protocols as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to create a remote work environment. The successes we’ve achieved on these fronts have been the result of the dedication and perseverance of all our staff and volunteers. I’m grateful to be surrounded by such a devoted group committed to fulfilling PEO’s mandate of protecting the public interest.
Despite the trials and tribulations that we’ve encountered along this journey, and the attention required to overcome the obstacles in our path, PEO has not lost sight of the more serious issues affecting society at large.
As the engineering regulator in the Province of Ontario, and as an employer, PEO is acutely conscious of, and sensitive to, the strong and compelling public interest that has recently developed regarding issues of race and discrimination, in particular with respect to the treatment of Black and Indigenous people. As the regulator of a diverse profession in a diverse province, we are committed to doing our part to help eliminate racism and racial bias. We do this by actively promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in all the endeavours and activities with which we are associated.
As an employer, PEO has developed strong anti-discrimination policies related to hiring and employment, as well as to the involvement of our volunteers. These policies continue to evolve to promote equity and diversity and to reflect best practices. We continually review our policies and ensure these are communicated so as to provide clarity and transparency, and are being followed appropriately.
As a regulator, PEO will continue to monitor our licensing processes so that instances of bias or discrimination are addressed promptly and effectively whenever they arise. PEO will also continue to assess and, as necessary, amend our policies and processes to ensure that they do not reflect any unconscious or systemic bias. In addition, we will respond vigorously to any regulatory complaints against licensed engineering professionals or holders of certificates of authorization that raise issues of bias, prejudice or discrimination based on race or any other prohibited ground.
PEO also acknowledges the important work of its Equity and Diversity Committee. Since its establishment in 2007, this committee has been exploring ideas and initiatives that will make the engineering profession and the practice of professional engineering more reflective of the public which it serves. This work is continuing, and will ultimately be reported on with recommendations to PEO’s Council.
PEO is proud to have this strong foundation of progressive policies and initiatives in place, even as we acknowledge that there is much more work still to be done. As an organization charged with regulating in the public interest, we are committed to providing an open, dynamic, and highly inclusive culture in our own organization and to doing our part to support meaningful and sustained change in society as a whole.
Johnny Zuccon, P.Eng., FEC