Canadian Women in Ocean Industries Leadership (CWOIL)

Inclusion and Diversity

Increasing the Number of Women and Under-Represented People
in the Ocean’s Sector

Professional Services
Development of a National Long-Term Action Plan
February 8, 2022

OceansAdvance invites suitably qualified organizations to respond to this Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for the provision of Professional Services to develop a long term, strategic action plan which will operationalize our vision to increase the number of women and under-represented people in the ocean’s sector.


For the purposes of this contract, Newfoundland and Labrador based OceansAdvance Inc. (OA), the NL ocean technology cluster, is the contracting agency.


Only 16% of all Canadian businesses are owned or led by women and yet studies by the McKinsey Global Institute show that by advancing women’s economic empowerment in the economy, Canada could add up to $150 billion in GDP by 2026. Research shows that gender and cultural diversity, along with a society founded on inclusion and belonging, are proven multipliers to innovation, corporate performance, profitability and economic growth.

To enable and accelerate Canadian innovation, research and technology development, market and export leadership in the marine and ocean tech sector, it is critical to attract, develop and retain a robust, diverse and inclusive talent pipeline that includes women and underrepresented people.


The Canadian Women in Ocean Industries Leadership (CWOIL) initiative seeks to develop an emerging long-term action plan which will directly address the goal to increase Canada’s leadership, competitiveness and contribution to ocean industries. Our initiative will foster an ocean talent pipeline with women from every walk of life; Indigenous communities; persons with disabilities; and racialized people.

CWOIL is seeking to develop the partnerships and supports needed for women to access opportunities in the ocean industries sector by building an inclusive, sustainable, feminist, and resilient economy that values inclusion and diversity by:

• Improving inclusion and participation by Women in Canada’s ocean industries;
• Encouraging new entrants into the ocean economy by encouraging women led companies;
• Retaining current and future critical employees in the ocean economy;
• Increasing collaborations between ocean companies, academia and the research community and
CWOIL partner organizations;
• Brokering new linkages and foster new opportunities for Women in oceans; and
• Building an international network of Women committed to supporting and collaborating to increase the number of women and underrepresented people in oceans locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

In July 2022, we will host a conference which will see further discussions and affirmations of the plan, as well as a celebration of our current female leaders in the sector.


The Vision: We aim to help Canada become a world leader for women and underrepresented people to pursue and establish a thriving, successful, well-paying career in ocean industries; fulfil their personal and professional potential; and maximize their impact on Canada’s ocean sector and economy more broadly.

Operationalizing this vision will involve the development and implementation of a comprehensive, bold long-term leadership plan which clearly identifies the activities needed, identifies the partners and pinpoints the funding programs available to foster an ocean talent pipeline with women from every walk of life, resulting in the creation of the tools, resources and programs to create inclusive and accessible pathways for future women leaders.

This plan will harness the strengths of all partners to create new networks, tangible opportunities and outcomes that inspire, attract, retain and empower current and future ocean Women leaders. Consultations will take place with identified partners who will collaboratively contribute to the workplan and the development of follow-up programs.


Electronic notification of an Expression of Interest to bid is required by 12:00 noon NST, Friday, February 11, 2022.

The purpose of this expression of interest to bid is to ensure that each question submitted is answered and distributed to all perspective proposers to ensure a level playing field for all submissions.

All questions must be submitted in writing, no telephone calls will be accepted.

Final submissions of full proposals must be submitted electronically no later than 12:00 noon NST, Monday, February 21. The contract will be awarded no later than COB, Thursday, February 24, 2022. The finish date for this project is October 14, 2022.

Only fully incorporated Canadian owned firms will be considered.


• Develop a national plan with a focus on diversity and inclusiveness.
• Provide monthly updates to the CWOIL Core Team and more frequently near the completion of the draft.
• Organize, plenaries, workshops, panels, and one-on-one discussions with current partners. Could be in the range of 30 (mostly one-on-one) , t exact number o be decided upon further discussions with Core Team.
• Identify new partners.
• Facilitate discussions with partners to identify the gaps and reasons why women and underrepresented groups do not see the oceans sector as a career option.
• Clearly identify the activities, actions, tools, resources and programs needed to create inclusive and accessible pathways for women and under-represented groups.
• Make recommendations on leads and teams to support the implementation plan in partnership with the identified organizations.
• Pinpoint funding agencies and programs that support women and other suitable programming.
• Develop a draft work-action plan for discussion at the July 2022 Conference which includes recommendations for rollout and execution of the plan.
• Present draft plan to CWOIL Core Team.
• Facilitate further discussions at July Conference, gather feedback.
• Incorporate suggestions from feedback into final report.
• Deliver final results- report to CWOIL Core Team.


Table 1: RFP Structure


The proposal of the successful Proponent will form part of any resultant contract agreement by attachment and incorporation by reference. Claims made in the proposal will constitute contractual commitments. Any provision in the proposal may be included in the resultant contract as a direct provision thereof. The successful Consultant, as a condition of submitting its proposal, accepts that a customized contract may be negotiated.

Any resultant contract from this RFP will be governed by the by-laws of OceansAdvance and shall be issued in the name of the successful Consultant exactly as that successful Consultant personal or corporate name is stated in the RFP response document. Funds payable for materials delivered pursuant to any resultant contract shall be paid only to the Consultant who is so listed as party to any resultant contract. Only legal registered names of Proponents are acceptable.

The proposal will contain the signature, name, title, and contact information of the person authorized to sign on behalf of the Consultant- Firm on the proposal submitted in response to this RFP.

The responsibility rests with the Firm to submit a complete proposal, with proper and adequate detail to substantiate all aspects of its proposal.  Incomplete proposals shall be deemed to be noncompliant.  A complete proposal should include but not be limited to:

  • Legal name and status: The firm must be wholly incorporate under Canadian laws; the proposal shall state the correct legal name and legal status of the proposing entity and the correct mailing address.
  • Firm’s contact: The name, title, telephone numbers, E-mail address and civic address of the representative(s) who may be contacted for clarification or other matters relating to the proposal shall be provided.
  • Content: The proposal will be clear, concise, and must include sufficient detail for effective evaluation and for substantiating the validity of stated claims.  The proposal shall not simply rephrase or restate the requirements, but rather shall provide convincing rationale to address how the Consultant intends to meet these requirements.
All terms and conditions will apply to the Firm and they will be responsible for subcontractors’ compliance. The Firm will be responsible for all work done by the subcontractors. The Firm will be responsible for all damages and will complete any work unfinished by the subcontractors.
  • The total value of any contract must be in Canadian Dollars and inclusive of applicable taxes, fees, expenses, and travel costs if applicable.
  • An initial payment totaling 30% of the contract value will be made to the consultant upon consultant engagement, submission and approval of a work plan and submission of an invoice.
  • An additional payment of 30% of the contract value will be made midway through the project following a project update with the client.
  • The remaining payment of 40% of contract value (with an option to hold back 10% – pending review of submitted deliverables) will be made upon successful completion of the project, final report and submission of an invoice.
  • Payments will be processed by OceansAdvance within 30 days of receipt of invoice.


Work will be carried out at the Firm’s premises, with occasional meetings at the OceansAdvance office or via Zoom.

Communication between OceansAdvance and the consultant will consist of both email, telephone calls and in person or online meetings.


Note: This project is currently under review and awaiting funding approval. OceansAdvance will award the contract based upon the results of the evaluation of submitted proposals.  OceansAdvance will notify the successful consultant in writing via electronic means. Those that are not successful will receive written notification via electronic correspondence once the award of contract has been accepted and the negotiations have been concluded with the successful consultant. OceansAdvance reserves the right not to explain in detail why unsuccessful consultants were not selected. The resulting contract will contain such reasonable terms as the Client may require.


The project’s official start date will be February 24, 2022. The project must be completed by 4:00 p.m. NST October 15, 2022.

Table 2: Project Deliverable Dates


Any costs incurred for this project are the responsibility of the Firm.

*OceansAdvance may hold back up to 10% of the total project cost to ensure the final product meets the requirements specified in the RFP and per our funding partners conditions.

Any intellectual property that is developed as a result of this project in completing this work shall be vested with the Client.  The consultant shall deliver all files and documentation for this project to OceansAdvance upon its completion and shall destroy all files and documentation on hand.


All written reports submitted under this agreement shall be provided in Microsoft Word and pdf formats.  Data tables shall be provided in Microsoft Excel format.


Project commencement is incumbent upon OceansAdvance receiving confirmation of funding.
Strict confidentially is required for this project.


OceansAdvance and a Steering Committee will evaluate the proposals. OceansAdvance reserves the right to reject all proposals and either cancel or re-issue if necessary.

The qualifications, commitment, related experience and knowledge of the project personnel will be key evaluation factors. The experience of the event management team in undertaking assignments of this nature and magnitude will be a significant factor in proposal selection.

The successful contractor will be determined based on the following:

  • The extent of knowledge and experience in relation to the work, with 2-3 samples of previous work;
  • Understanding of the scope and objectives of the proposal;
  • Proposed approach, work plan and schedule; and
  • Cost (in Canadian dollars).
  • Electronic notification of intention to bid is required by 12:00 noon, NST, February 11, 2022.
  • Proposals must be submitted electronically to the OceansAdvance contact no later than 12:00 p.m. NST February 21, 2022.
  • Proposal should not exceed eight (8) pages in total including cover page.  Appendices are acceptable.
  • All questions must be submitted electronically; questions and responses will be provided to all respondents via e-mail prior to the submission deadline.
  • No extensions to the submission date will be considered.
  • The successful proponent will be contacted within 7 business days of the RFP closing.
  • All proposals must be sent via email to the OceansAdvance at the following:  Cathy Hogan, Executive Director, OceansAdvance
All correspondence must be in electronic format to: