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Celebrating International Women’s Day

Tile Womens Day 2019


Diversity & Inclusion

“Inclusion and diversity in the workplace generates  new ideas and approaches that empower people and the businesses succeed.” says Colleen Baxter, VP of Human Resources with J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI). “Achieving this diversity includes welcoming more women  in leadership roles and  non-traditional work areas.”

This year, JDI invited women and men to attend a social at our Saint John office where they discussed the benefits of an inclusive workplace culture and talked about their work experiences.  Participants represented a wide spectrum of careers, experience level, and educational backgrounds - see highlights from the event here!



Kent Building Supplies: Making Development Accessible

Kent Building Supplies’ Management Development Program supports employee development  in a  number of key areas, including financial/inventory management, leadership, change management and employee engagement. Participants must be nominated by a senior manager to attend. 

Over 60% of participants in its most recent program were women, their highest proportion yet! Congratulations to those graduates, and to all women who contribute to the growing success of the business every day.

Kent Management Development Program Women's Day 2019
Female graduates of KBS's most recent Management Development Program.


JDI Mentors Women in the Workplace

“Diversity and inclusion are important because our collective voices and contributions drive our businesses and our communities to be better, stronger, more innovative, and more creative," said Kathryn Edwards, VP Human Resources, Midland Transport. "It inspires collaboration and a desire to lift everyone to their full potential.” 

“Our goal is to have our workforce reflect the communities we operate in," said Steven Price, VP Corporate Human Resources, J.D. Irving, Limited. "A diverse organization contributes to our success, and women play an equal role in helping our businesses continue to grow.” 

Kathryn Edwards, VP Human Resources, Midland Transport, recently received the Award of Achievement, Diversity & Inclusion from the University of British Columbia. Steven Price is VP Corporate Human Resources, J.D. Irving, Limited. They are two of our senior leaders working with high potential females from across J.D. Irving, as part of a mentorship program to prepare them for leadership in our businesses and communities.

Earlier this week, J.D. Irving, Limited sponsored eight employees to attend the national Women With Drive conference – an event for those looking to learn more about the recruitment and retention of women.



Girls STEM Up: JDI Presenting Sponsor for Upcoming Conference

The J.D. Irving, Limited 2019 Girls STEM Up Conference is the first event of its kind in Atlantic Canada. The conference aims to empower women and celebrate diversity across the traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, where women have been historically underrepresented. Event organizers hope to drive conversation about the opportunities and barriers facing women of all ages from pursuing careers or further education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). 

“We are pleased to partner and sponsor the upcoming Girls STEM Up conference – a first for New Brunswick! We are committed to help empower the younger generation of females to get excited about pursuing careers in STEM. One key area where we want to see more females is in non-traditional occupations.” said Colleen Baxter, VP of Human Resources with the presenting sponsor, JDI. "There are so many opportunities and it is an absolute pleasure to support an event so focused on driving this kind of change. Our organization alone forecasts 7,500 full time hires over the next three years – many in STEM fields.” 

Girls STEM Up was inspired by a group of young, female students who found a knowledge gap among their fellow students relating to opportunities for women in STEM. The organizing committee is comprised of nine post-secondary students studying at the University of New Brunswick across multiple degree programs. 

Girls Stem Up Team 2019
The nine-member Girls STEM Up council, including: Jill Lamb, Mansa Agbaku, Vaishu Anupindi, Kiera Dolan, Louise Pickard, Charlotte Sampson, Emily Meagher, Reid Sutherland, Simal Qureshi


“We were incredibly excited when JDI extended an offer as the title sponsor,” said Jillian Lamb, the Girls STEM Up conference chair. “To us, it was validation that someone else believed in the same vision and goals.”

Girls STEM Up is open to women enrolled in high school or post-secondary education, as well as Allies (students who do not identify as women but support stronger female representation). Over 250 delegates are expected to attend the full-day conference at the Fredericton Convention Centre on March 23, 2019. Tickets for Girls STEM Up are $25 each for students and are available for purchase online until March 15th via Girls STEM Up

New Boots: Supporting Women in Finding a Future in Trades

In April 2018, the Province of New Brunswick launched the New Boots: Progressing Women in TradesNetwork. This program's mandate was to attract, support. and retain more women in non-traditional skilled trades. 

"This is a great initiative and we look forward to working with New Boots to grow the number of skilled tradeswomen in our operations," said Jim Irving, Co-Chief Executive Officer.

J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) was proud to partner with New Boots at its inception by sponsoring 10 women through the program. Today, we remain a proud partner of the organization. Recently, a number of JDI tradeswomen were featured in a New Boots-led video project. We have some early clips to share – check out the video below for more!  JDI is also a sponsor of the upcoming New Boots Summit in Saint John on April 11 and participating in try-a-trade events in Dieppe and Edmundston at local community colleges.

Skills Canada and Young Women in Construction

This year JDI and Irving Shipbuilding are proud sponsors of the 2019 national Skills Canada competition for trades.  The event will be hosted in Halifax this year and include a Young Women in Construction Conference in partnership with Techsploration.

Improving Access to Safe Drinking Water: Women In Science

Access to safe drinking water is essential for any community, but for those in Canada’s remote northern areas, guaranteeing such access can be difficult. In the hamlet of Pond Inlet, Nunavut, water is drawn from a lake, chlorinated, and transported by specialized trucks to the community’s homes and businesses. The water is stored on site in storage tanks.

Dr. Graham Gagnon and Dr. Stephanie Gora from Dalhousie University’s Centre for Water Resources Studies (CWRS) and Tim Soucie from Pond Inlet are leading efforts to advance the community’s ability to provide clean drinking water.

This is one of nine research projects supported by Irving Shipbuilding and the Nunavut Research Institute, who in 2016 awarded $2 million in funding to applied Arctic research projects focused on areas of importance to Canada’s Arctic communities and marine industry.

In February, Drs. Gagnon and Gora travelled to Nunavut, where they met with local stakeholders and conducted testing on the water held in residential storage tanks and plumbing systems for contaminants such as lead and biological activity.

International Womens Day Lab Photo - 2019
Dr. Gora, Caroline Ontiveros, and Megan Muckpah-Gavin conduct tests at Dalhousie University’s Centre for Water Resources Studies.


Based on the results of this preliminary testing, a pilot program to monitor biofilm growth in water storage tanks was developed that will help determine how frequently storage tanks should be cleaned to ensure that they continue to provide safe drinking water. An initiative to identify the sources and causes of lead contamination in Pond Inlet’s drinking water was also designed. Both studies were launched in May 2018.

Crucial to this project is the exchange of knowledge between the CWRS team and local stakeholders in Nunavut. Knowledge transfer workshops have been and will continue to be organized by the project team to share technical expertise and lived experiences surrounding water quality.

“These knowledge transfer workshops allow for the CWRS team and Pond Inlet’s residents to get together and create a plan that focuses on improving the quality of life for the community and is respectful of traditional ways of Arctic living”, says Dr. Gagnon. “It is truly a community-oriented project with what we hope will have a wide-reaching impact.”

Irving Shipbuilding is proud to fund projects like these through the Value Proposition commitment under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy. Through this commitment, Irving Shipbuilding will invest 0.5% of contract revenues in projects that will help create a sustainable marine industry. The Value Proposition commitments on the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, currently under construction at the Halifax Shipyard, will provide approximately $12.5 million in funding to projects across Canada.         

JDI Women Connect

From within the organization, JDI Women Connect is an employee-based group that is focused on supporting the current and next generation of women realizing their full potential in the workplace.  

Over the next three years, JDI is forecasting 7500 full time hires in Canada and the US.  We will also hire over 2500 students across our  diverse operations..  700 of these full-time hires will be skilled trades across all divisions. 93% of these skilled trades jobs are in Atlantic Canada. 

Female Welder CFM - International Womens Day 2019
Jen Martell, a welder with CFM.


As we recruit the workforce of the future, we are also working with great partners - local universities and community colleges. We are reaching out with co-op programs, case competitions, scholarships, and career fairs.   Check out the stories of the women who joined us for recent co-op terms.

 Are you a new grad looking to start your career? Visit Recent Graduates to learn how you can grow with JDI.