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Diversity and Inclusion in Canada’s Oil and Gas Workforce



The oil and gas industry has long been seen as one of the least diverse. Yet studies reveal that companies who prioritize diversity and inclusion achieve higher performance than their non-diverse peers.

Canada’s oil and gas sector has made significant strides in increasing women representation on boards and executive officers over recent years. While more work needs to be done, this sector should continue taking steps towards closing the gender gap and encouraging more women into this highly technical, challenging yet rewarding career field.

Diversity and Inclusion in Canada’s Oil and Gas Workforce- Challenges and Solutions

Canada’s energy sector must ensure a diverse and inclusive workforce to remain competitive. By tapping into an array of skills, knowledge, and expertise, companies are better able to reach their business objectives.

As an industry, oil and gas faces numerous difficulties due to an ageing workforce and skills gap due to digital disruption. These matters necessitate strategic leadership from those with experience.

Though the sector has made strides towards diversity, much work remains to be done. To encourage more women into the industry and foster an inclusive culture, companies must work to remove systemic obstacles that prevent advancement.

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A diverse workforce provides companies with a unique set of perspectives and insights, which is critical for oil and gas firms as they attempt to address their challenges head-on.

Gender diversity is particularly significant in the energy sector. According to Catalyst, women make up 22% of employees worldwide in this industry, with most at entry-level positions and increasing in seniority with age.

Women have made significant strides toward gender parity at the highest levels of the oil and gas industry, but there remain numerous challenges that need to be overcome. One such issue is a lack of women in technical roles – essential stepping stones to senior positions.

Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous peoples make up a relatively small proportion of Canada’s oil and gas workforce, yet the sector continues to have higher Indigenous representation than other trade-intensive industries.

Recently, several oil and gas companies have made significant strides toward diversity and inclusion within their workplaces. Scotiabank and TD Bank Group, for instance, have set goals to double Indigenous representation across all levels of their organizations by 2025.

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Indigenous Canadians tend to have a higher proportion of employment in the goods-producing sector (agriculture, mining, oil and gas extraction, utilities and construction) than non-Indigenous Canadians. Furthermore, they have more opportunities in health care/social assistance, retail/wholesale trade and public administration compared to non-Indigenous Canadians. Furthermore, some partake in hunting, fishing and trapping – traditional economies which provide nutritional food as well as supplement income.

Persons with Disabilities

In Canada, one out of every five adults – approximately 6.2 million individuals – has a disability. Unfortunately, people living with disabilities face considerable employment obstacles due to low wages, precarious employment situations, and job insecurity.

The Government of Canada is dedicated to providing persons with disabilities financial security and access to quality jobs, while creating inclusive communities where disability is valued and respected. To address this challenge, they have launched several initiatives such as funding the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.

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In addition to addressing labour market shortages, the Fund helps persons with disabilities overcome barriers by finding and keeping good jobs. It also supports employers by providing programs and services that foster an inclusive and accessible workplace environment. In Budget 2022, $272.6 million was allocated by the Government for these initiatives.


Today’s LGBTQ workforce is not a static or monolithic entity with one set of experiences and needs. This is especially true for the younger generation of employees who are highly racially diverse.

Furthermore, younger straight employees tend to know their LGBTQ colleagues better and participate in ally programs (if available) where available. Furthermore, they are more likely to recognize discriminatory comments or actions directed at their LGBTQ peers.

These results highlight that companies have an opportunity to address the disparities that exist among different segments of the LGBTQ workforce. It is now or never for companies to move beyond table stakes D&I policies and culture-shifting initiatives applied with a segment-of-one lens, leading to improved business outcomes and stronger innovation.


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