Update from the President’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI Task Force)
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion:
Meeting the Challenges in the Practice of Radiation Protection
by Jahan Quaji and Ed Waller
CRPA EDI Task Force
In June 2020, in response to protests and riots against police brutality and systemic racism taking place in the US, Canada, and the rest of the world, the Canadian Radiation Protection Association (CRPA) committed to re-evaluating our code of ethics. To take on that work, the President’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI Task Force) was created.
The task force is led by CRPA members, not the board of directors. In the beginning, four CRPA members volunteered, but the association is currently seeking more volunteers to join the task force. 
Although CRPA is scientific in nature and mandate, we also have a social responsibility to condemn all forms of racism and discrimination. As an organization, our goal is to support our society and to do better by promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Exploring Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at a North American Regional Conference
The first ever North American Regional Conference, hosted by the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) and the Health Physics Society (HPS), provided an opportunity for CRPA to present a summary of the work performed by the EDI Task Force.
The conference was held in St. Louis, Missouri, from February 20 to 23, 2022, and was co-sponsored by HPS, CRPA, and the Sociedad Mexicana de Seguridad Radiológica (SMSR).
A unique session at the conference was entitled, “Meeting the Challenges in the Practice of Radiation Protection – Diversity and Inclusion.” Speakers from the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), IRPA, CRPA, HPS, and the Dutch Society for Radiation Protection, as well as speakers from academia and government, framed an international perspective on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion for our profession.
While it was clear that all organizations in attendance have strategic initiatives in place to foster fair and respectful workplaces, broad and homogeneous participation from diverse groups, and welcoming environments for all, both within their organizations and broadly within the radiation protection profession, it was also clear that these initiatives are relatively new. CRPA is no exception.
Ed Waller shared the initiatives CRPA has been undertaking with respect to EDI. He discussed
- the history of CRPA,
- our history with EDI,
- some limited demographic data,
- the current CRPA code of ethics, and
- the work of the President’s Task Force on EDI.
Ed discussed developing a respectful behaviour policy and revisiting the code of ethics, our participation in gender equity issues, and CRPA’s position regarding Truth and Reconciliation.
The presentation was well received and generated some active discussions, especially with respect to
- establishing mechanisms for addressing issues and complaints related to EDI,
- the type of information the societies should be collecting to support advancement of EDI, and
- appropriate performance indicators for determining effectiveness of EDI initiatives.
Some equity data was reported that demonstrates how the female to male ratio of employees can be improved while yielding a wider salary gap. This often happens when new hires come into lower-paying jobs.
“I believe one area that was underrepresented in the discussions was EDI with respect to LGBTQ+ issues,” says Ed. “This is an area that requires more attention in the future.”
He says these types of discussions are important for societies to tackle, even though they can lead to some uncomfortable and revealing reflections. “As we enhance our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusiveness, we will be able to bring stronger messages to our members, employers, the public, and associated societies.”