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Diversity & Inclusion

Applying a systems-level ecological model to understanding barriers, making workplaces more inclusive, and promoting diversity in leadership


A seven-year SSHRC-funded Community-University Research Alliance (2011-2017), DiversityLeads examined over 6,000 senior leaders in Greater Montreal Area and Greater Toronto Area to track diversity in leadership in six sectors of the economy. Drawing on expertise of over 20 partners, the project examined similarities and differences between and within sectors, and suggested best practices to advance women and visible minorities to senior leadership positions.

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OnBoard Canada

In partnership with TD Bank, DI conducted a nation-wide survey of diversity on public, not-for-profit, and corporate boards to enhance understanding of the factors involved in increasing board diversity. DiverseCity onBoards is now OnBoard Canada.

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Recess Project Canada

Founded by Ashoka Fellow Dr. Lauren McNamara, the Recess Project simultaneously studies and actively addresses social barriers that children face on school playgrounds. The project has worked with over 2,000 children by coordinating activities that create opportunities for all to feel included.

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ALiGN Network for Employment Equity and Inclusion

A cross-sectoral partnership between the DI, Magnet, the Ontario Tourism Economic Corporation,, WhoPlusYou, Lumina Learning, Specialisterne and other partners to overcome unconscious bias and other structural barriers impacting the outcomes of women, Indigenous persons and people with disabilities in financial services, communications and transportation.

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Partnership for Change

The RBC Immigrant, Diversity and Inclusion Project

This $1.75-million initiative generously supported by the RBC Foundation enhances knowledge and practice relating to issues faced by immigrants and their children. In partnership with the Toronto Metropolitan Centre for Immigration and Settlement (opens in new window)  this project is achieving its aim through action-oriented research projects, a series of internships and seed funding for new ventures, as well as a strong focus on outreach and knowledge mobilization to shape policy and practice. 

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The Black Experience Project in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

A revealing report that sheds new light on the Black experience, as lived by those in the Greater Toronto Area. This research provides evidence that can be used in the development of change in policy, programs and practices.

Region of Peel Social Mobility

This project uses multiple methods to learn more about the social mobility of immigrants living in Peel Region (i.e. Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon). Our goal is to inform government about key individual factors that impact the development and long-term settlement of immigrants across the life-course.

Specifically, it will:

  • Identify key factors that impact the developmental and settlement trajectories of immigrants in Peel;
  • Explore the implications of these key factors for the development and delivery of Human Services programs in Peel.

This research will help us better understand individual transitions into and out of poverty, and fill a gap in the Canadian literature on social mobility.

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Diversity & Unions

This is a series of three projects that examine diversity, discourse, and unions. The first project is a critical discourse analysis of unions’ online discussions of diversity, with the goal of evaluating the way in which discourses of diversity are used within the context of union membership. The second project focuses on examining the representation of diversity in union leadership in locations with higher proportion of diversity in the population. The final project is an analysis of unions’ efforts to combat youth unemployment.

Diversity in the Legal Sector

This project is a sub-project of DiversityLeads that examines the progress of diversity in senior leadership positions in law firms as well as the composition of federally and provincially appointed judges in the Canadian judicial system. This project aims to identify best practices and provide strategies for attracting and advancing underrepresented groups.

The Diversity Institute has conducted groundbreaking research on diversity and inclusion in Canada, developed impactful programs like the Newcomer Entrepreneurship Hub, championed legislative change on Bill C-25 and has helped companies understand the opportunities of inclusion and develop tools to harness inclusion as a driver for success.