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Construction Safety Nova Scotia achieves gender parity

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“In 2020, we looked around and decided we needed to make a change,” Howley explains. “We put together a subgroup of our board to help us recruit and select candidates. Through that process, we now have eight women on our board. We're very pleased that it didn't take long or be difficult to find great candidates.”

The benefits of this new diverse board are many. Gender parity brings a diversity of perspectives and ideas, which is critical to the dynamic and evolving field of occupational health and safety. Howley stressed the importance of this diversity in promoting innovation and inclusivity within the industry. “It helps the board to be open to new ideas and different opinions. In the past, our board was very male-dominated and had similar personalities and orientations. This change helps us not only see how we are changing, but also how the world around us is changing.”

CSNS' commitment to diversity goes beyond gender. Howley points out that the organization wants to reflect the broader population of Nova Scotia by including people from ethnic minority groups and people with disabilities. “Our work is not done. We need to continue to look at the board because we want to reflect the population of Nova Scotia,” he says. “We've really made a big leap forward, but there's still a lot of work to be done.”

The 30th Annual General Meeting was not only a celebration of gender parity, but also an opportunity to recognize excellence in safety within the industry. The event featured Candace Carnahan as the keynote speaker, and outstanding companies and individuals were recognized with various safety awards. Winners included Andrea Giles of Solar Ascent, who received the Women in Safety Leadership Award, and Mervyn McClay of Data Wiring Solutions Inc., who was honored with the Safety Champion Award.

When Howley reflects on these successes, he emphasizes the broader impact on the industry. “By focusing on diversity, we've taken a real step forward in ensuring that everyone feels safe and welcome on a job site in Nova Scotia. It's about changing the culture.”