Canadians Working for Inclusivity in Chemical Sciences, Engineering, and Technology (CWIC) Network is a member resource group (MRG) under the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) whose purpose is to promote inclusivity, equity, and diversity in the chemical sciences by connecting chemical sciences groups across Canada. By being an MRG, we can provide valuable opportunities for networking and support to the members.

CWIC has Chapters (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Groups) across various Canadian Universities that constantly host diverse events keeping Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, and Accessibility as the core theme. Over the last couple of years/months, our Chapters across Canada have constantly been organizing community-building and networking events such as IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast, Picture a Scientist screening and discussion, EDI journal clubs, Networking sessions for undergraduates and International Women’s Day celebration.

Through this article, we have briefly described various events that the Chapters have organized over the last few years.

University of Ottawa Working Towards Inclusivity in Chemistry

  • Book Club – In collaboration with the Faculty of Biology’s EDI committee, the Chapter has helped to organize an EDI-focused book club for their faculty. The book club has read various books and is currently on its tenth novel since beginning in the Fall of 2020. Most of the books read by them are now included in their departmental library to give easy access to EDI-related novels. These novels are often on long waitlists at public libraries, and the cost of each novel can often be a barrier for individuals especially those from underrepresented communities. Therefore, this library helps students in their faculty further their education on EDI-related topics with as few barriers as possible.

Books read so far – The Skin We’re In – Desmond Cole, The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist – Ben Barres, The Inconvenient Indian – Thomas King (Audiobook read by Lorne Cardinal on Spotify), 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act – Bob Joseph, Braiding Sweetgrass – Robin Wall Kimmerer, Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education – Jay Timothy Dolmage (free ebook), White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo, How to Pronounce Knife – Souvankham Thammavongsa, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot, and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents – Isabel Wilkerson.

The Chapter participated in the events organized for National Truth and Reconciliation Day, Orange Shirt Day and was a part of the Spirit Walk led by Indigenous survivors, grandmothers, mothers, and daughters and organized a virtual seminar by Dr. Jay T. Dolmage (University of Waterloo) aimed to promote discussion surrounding disability in academia and how we can better adapt our attitudes, policies, and practices for our students and peers.

UBC Chemists for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI)

  • STEAM Program – CDI partnered with Science World’s Girls in the STEAM program to host a live stream aimed at middle-school-aged children, where they talked about the science of color, hosted virtual lab tours, performed several demonstrations, led a hands-on activity, and answered questions about what it’s like to be a scientist. Their goal was to inspire girls to pursue science by emphasizing how their research has real-world applications (especially in health and medicine) and how chemistry can be used to improve people’s lives. The live stream was attended by 26 people live from across Canada, and the recorded version now has >160 views on YouTube. CDI has also completed outreach visits to one local high school and will be completing 1-2 additional outreach visits soon.
  • EDI Committee – Informed by CDI’s climate survey from last academic year, in which students reported being unsure of how to report an EDI concern or unhappy with the existing EDI reporting process, the chemistry department formed an EDI Committee consisting of faculty, staff, and graduate student representatives. During its first year, the committee has organized various EDI initiatives such as working to develop an online, confidential reporting system for EDI concerns, putting together a proposal for hiring a Faculty of Science Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity specialist to handle all EDI concerns for the Faculty of Science and bystander intervention training workshop.
  • CDI has also launched an LGBTQ+ Discord server to provide an online safe space where LGBTQ+ chemists can socialize and support one another (optionally anonymously), an EDI event calendar from across campus, and care packages for a chosen charity.

Working towards Inclusivity in Chemistry Toronto (WICTO, University of Toronto)

  • Seminar Series – Each year, WICTO hosts a series of seminars that showcase successful and accomplished people of diverse backgrounds from both academia and industry. Various speakers from around the globe give hour-long talks at the University of Toronto to inspire, inform, and motivate students.
  • Person of influence – One of their earliest ideas, our “person of influence” series highlights scientists with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Every month, they choose a scientist to highlight and post a photo of them with a short bio to all their social media accounts.
  • Mentorship program – In this program, undergraduate students (mentees) are paired with a graduate student or postdoc mentor in the Department of Chemistry at the U of T. The program aims to provide mentees with an opportunity to learn from the experiences of a mentor pursuing research within the field of chemistry, and to form meaningful connections with a variety of role models and ambassadors.
  • Annual Workshop – Each year, WICTO hosts a workshop that is open to the entire chemistry department to attend free of charge. Typically, they select a workshop that focuses on the central theme of that given year. In the 2021/2022 term, their workshop was titled ‘Fostering Queer and Trans-Inclusive Spaces’ and was facilitated by The 519, a local organization in Toronto dedicated to advocacy for the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ communities.
  • Apart from this, WICTO has organized various other events such as Grad Flash Talks, LGBTQ+ Sticker Campaign, and Wine & Cheese event to network and socialize.

Gender Equity in Chemical Sciences (GEICS, McMaster University)

  • Mentorship Program – The Chapter organized a graduate student mentorship initiative that aimed to connect senior graduate students (mentors) to students new to the chemistry and chemical department (mentees).

 UCalgary Chemists for Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity (CIDE)

  • STEM Together – With ongoing monthly “STEM Together” meetings, students share their research with peers in an informal setting with enthusiastic Q&A rounds. They have hosted 10 sessions so far with speakers from diverse departments as well as from different Canadian Universities.
  • STEM-Pals – The added inception of “STEM-Pals”, a four/six-month mentorship program, connects middle school students with a science peer so that they can get to know about various future opportunities in STEM. Their program has been added to the co-curricular record and includes 100+ registered students showcasing a readiness to make a difference within our community. So far, they have launched two successful rounds of this program and are working towards launching the third round along with an in-person school outreach event.
  • Podcast – UCalgary CIDE has started a Podcast titled “UCalgary Podcast” to give voice to women, visible minorities, and anyone from underrepresented groups working in STEM. The episodes revolve around EDI-based themes and have been launched on both Spotify and anchor. They have released four episodes covering diverse topics and are working towards interviewing hosts from diverse backgrounds.
  • Panel Discussions – UCalgary CIDE has organized various panel discussions on diverse topics such as Career Guidance, Allyship, and EDI in Academia and Industry with the aim of bringing diverse audiences together with the goals of leading to lifelong connections and strengthening the community.

Dalhousie Working for Inclusion in Chemical Sciences (Dal WIC)

  • EDI Blog – Some of the initiatives that they have taken over the past year are Sharing Educational Resources through their blog where they publish posts that highlight EDI issues in STEM fields. These posts are submitted by members of Dal WIC and give an overview of a particular issue, linking to external resources where the reader can learn more.
  • Dalhousie Graduate Stipend Project – They launched Dalhousie Graduate Stipend Project through which over 200 graduate students at Dalhousie University were surveyed to ask for feedback about their experiences receiving stipend payments. This was to assess the prevalence of stipend payment errors and to evaluate the impact of these errors on graduate students. Further to help decrease stipend payment errors and mitigate their impact on students’ solutions were proposed by the Chapter. The Chapter is working with the Dalhousie Faculty of Graduate Studies and Chemistry Department to help rectify some of these issues.
  • Speaker series – Through Dalhousie Belong Speaker Series, the Chapter aims to increase the visibility of BIPOC folks in STEM fields.

 UAlberta Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry Toronto (UAWIC, University of Alberta)

  • Margaret-Ann Armour Lecture Series – The Chapter’s efforts to increase the visibility of diverse speakers in the department evolved into the Margaret-Ann Armour Lecture Series. This student-invited named lecture series was established in 2019 and it aims to highlight diversity in the field by providing a platform for researchers who do outstanding work both in the lab and in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusivity in STEM.
  • Diversity in STEMinar – UAWIC has organized a “Diversity in STEMinar” series with various seminars under this series. The fourth seminar focused on “Diversity in STEMinar: Combating Challenges Faced by Black Grads in STEM” which included three prominent #BlackInSTEM voices, Dr. Evelyn Asiedu, Dr. Anna Ampaw, and Michael Ocheje to host a panel discussion on increasing diversity in STEM and how we can all take action.  The Spring 2022 Diversity in STEMinar titled “2022 Diversity in STEMinar Series – AsapSCIENCE” took place recently with the invited speakers (Greg and Mitch) from AsapSCIENCE.
  • Over the years, UAWIC has organized numerous events such as Photo Scavenger Hunt to encourage department members to explore the university campus and the city, Door decoration contest for LGBTQ+ STEM Day in collaboration with Pride in STEM.

CWIC is proud to showcase that our Chapters have put together various diverse and inclusive thought-provoking initiatives since their foundation and are continuing to make a change in our community.

If you would like to know more about the above-mentioned events, have any suggestions, or are interested in starting a new chapter at your university, please feel free to reach out to us using the following email – We will be more than happy to hear from you.