Ocean EDI&A

Understanding the value of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in Canada’s ocean sector

What EDIA boils down to in the end, is people. Our ocean sector can’t become more productive, profitable, and sustainable without a workforce behind it.
Written by
Dr. Kes Morton PhD, PMP
Published on
July 5, 2024

Kes’ Ocean Story

I will never forget "that call.” I can even picture the room I was in when I got the call offering me the perfect job. 

But as soon as I picked up the phone, my 4-month-old baby started screaming for attention. 

I quickly grabbed the phone and baby and went outside, hoping the fresh air would keep her distracted (a technique that had worked for me in the past). On the other end of the line, my would-be boss asked, ‘And who would that be?’

I mustered up all my courage and tried to say with confidence that I certainly did not feel,  ‘That’s my 4-month-old daughter.’

Silence.

“Well, let me tell you about our flexible work options.”

Exhale. 

It brings tears to my eyes to think about that moment. In a world where women with very young children who wish to work are often stigmatized, I’d found a workplace that valued flexibility and diversity, and that was willing to work with me. Said child is now 12, and I worked diligently at that organization for five years. 

That quick offer, those few words from the leader of that organization, made it clear that I, in my new parent state, was welcome. 

The case for increasing diversity in oceans is crystal clear to me. I’m part of the diversity of oceans and am lucky to work with many other brilliant, diverse ocean visionaries. 

But there still isn’t enough diversity in the industry for us to effectively tackle all the big ocean challenges on the horizon. The industry needs to embrace diversity further, and there’s a strong case for doing so.  

Empowering Canada’s Blue Economy through growth, productivity and innovation

We need not look any further than the current state of the Blue Economy, to understand the first key motivator for more EDIA in oceans. Our Blue Economy is both rapidly growing and, simultaneously, under performing. The Ocean industry is experiencing a massive increase world-wide and is projected to grow to 220 billion dollars by 2035 in Canada alone. 

For Canada’s Blue Economy to achieve this goal and reach its full potential, it’s imperative that organizations are able to pull on the incredibly diverse workforce that exists. By making industry jobs more appealing and accessible to a wider audience, Canada’s Blue Economy will have the chance to flourish. 

Beyond the upswing in productivity and increased capacity through more jobs, the ocean industry would benefit from the innovation of fresh ideas and new perspectives, introducing original ideas and ways of thinking to address problems and tackle challenges in new ways that haven’t been tried before. 

Confronting Canada’s Climate Crisis 

The second important point of consideration when discussing EDIA in oceans is the environment. We’re facing a climate crisis right now. This is an issue that needs to be faced immediately. While it’s important to encourage the next generation, it’s even more imperative to be capitalizing on those in the workforce right now. 

This is where EDIA comes in. The climate crisis requires collaboration and cooperation. Everyone needs to work together towards one common goal—fighting the climate crisis. 

By ensuring that there is a place for everyone to be welcomed, accommodated and accepted in the ocean industry, our oceans can become healthier by harnessing the power of the people already willing and equipped to work on solutions. 

Creating Connections 

What EDIA boils down to in the end, is people. Our ocean sector can’t become more productive, profitable, and sustainable without a workforce behind it. Likewise, the climate crisis cannot be solved without a strong, dedicated team of individuals working together to find solutions. 

But how do we encourage these ideal outcomes?

  • Implement EDIA practices in our workplaces: Ensure that our organizations are up to date on EDIA best practices to attract and retain talent, resulting in productive workforces. 
  • Create safe, inclusive and welcoming environments: Make an individual effort, both professionally and personally, to ensure that you’re supporting the kind of ocean industry you’d like to work in. Even the smallest interactions, acts of kindness and compassion can lead a long way to the future we’re all striving towards.  
  • Support diverse ocean visionaries: We know that people need to see role models like them within the industry and it’s important that we make the extra effort to artificially support these connections until they start happening naturally. 

Only when we all join together to strive towards our common goals, can our industry achieve its full potential. 

To learn more about Ocean EDIA checkout https://www.piscesrpm.com/ocean-edia 

Written by Robin Contos, Content by Dr. Kes Morton

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Dr. Kes Morton PhD, PMP
July 5, 2024

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