Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The Algoma University Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on Campus (EDIC) project builds on the framework developed by the Algoma University Diversity Advisory Committee Action Plan completed in 2006, and the Algoma University Diversity and Equity Committee established in 2016 by the Dean’s Office.
The current Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee was spearheaded by the President’s Office in 2017 and will continue to investigate, inform, develop and recommend best practices in regards to equity gaps Algoma University.
Definition of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity
As defined by the Province of Ontario
The Canadian Constitution of 1985 recognizes three groups of Indigenous peoples: First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. These diverse peoples are also referred to as Aboriginal peoples. In 1988, the Canadian government passed a law, the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, to formalize its commitment to multiculturalism and the protection of ethnic, racial, linguistic and religious diversity within Canada. That said, Indigenous peoples in Canada continue to challenge Canadian laws that have in many cases undermined their traditional knowledge and ownership of their traditional territories.
Algoma University values equity of access. This means ensuring that every person has access to what they need and the removal of barriers that are disadvantageous to certain groups above others; for example, in relation to fairness. This is different from treating people equally, which is behind the concept of “equality.”
Algoma University values and respects all aspects of being human; inclusive of visible and invisible qualities, experiences and identities that shape who we are, how we think and how we engage with and are perceived by the world. These qualities can be based on dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical or mental abilities, religious/spiritual beliefs, or political ideologies. They can also include differences such as personality, style, capabilities, and thoughts/perspectives.
Algoma University values, recognizes and respects the diversity of thought, experiences, skills and talents of all. Members of underrepresented or equity-deserving groups include, but may not be limited to: women, Indigenous peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), persons with disabilities, members of racialized groups and members of 2SLGBTQQIPA+ communities. In recognition that all individuals have multiple aspects of identity, an intersectional lens will also be used when assessing barriers and/or developing policies/programs at the University.
Robinson- Huron Treaty Territory
We acknowledge that we are in Robinson-Huron Treaty territory and the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg, specifically the Garden River and Batchewana First Nations, as well as the Métis People.
We are on sacred lands set aside for education as envisioned by Chief Shingwauk for our children and for those as yet unborn.Learn More
Algoma University’s EDI Mandate
Created and accepted in 2021, the EDIC Mandate states:
“Algoma University (AU) commits to embedding equity, diversity, and inclusion to foster a welcoming environment on our campuses. EDI values must be transversal in the entire organization to fulfil Algoma University’s commitment to undoing systemic and institutional discrimination and to be publicly transparent and accountable. We also acknowledge that racism and discrimination exists and affects the five targeted designated groups in disproportionate, distinct and complex ways (women, Indigenous, Black and other racialized persons, persons with invisible and visible disabilities, and 2SLGBTQQIPA+ persons).”
Senior administrative accountability is a crucial prerequisite for organizational change. Efforts to embed EDI in AU’s decision-making systems and structures require intentional, reflective actions, and dialogue by the Senior Management Team. This signals the importance of moving beyond legislative compliance, but also undoing systemic and institutional discrimination
Algoma University's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Climate Study
As Algoma University moves towards creating actions to undo systemic racism and discrimination that affect underrepresented groups (URG) – women, Indigenous, Black and other racialized persons, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQQIP2SA+ persons) in disproportionate, distinct and complex ways, Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA) has begun a comprehensive Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Climate Study that will include an environmental scan, an employment systems review and a comparative review. This research is part of actions that demonstrate AU’s commitment to Indigenization, equity, diversity and inclusion across the institution.Learn More
Canada Research Chairs Program: EDI Stipend Awarded for 2023-2024
The EDI Office is happy to announce that we successfully obtained a $50,000 stipend to go towards the development and implementation of tailored in-house EDI training modules and targeted EDI speaker series as part of the Canada Research Chairs Program requirements.Learn More
The Signing and Launch of the Scarborough Charter
Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education: Principles, Actions and Accountabilities
Algoma University has joined other institutions in signalling its commitment to endorse the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education. The Scarborough Charter is an outcome of the National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities, a series of national forums focused on addressing equity and inclusion in Canadian post-secondary education. These forums were organized by the University of Toronto (spearheaded by UofT Scarborough), in collaboration with other Canadian universities.
At the National Dialogues and Action forum held in October 2020 (with over 3000 participants from 60+ institutions), the Inter-Institutional Advisory Committee was established to draft a national charter on dismantling anti-Black racism and fostering Black education in universities and colleges.
Following months of feedback from students, faculty, staff, senior leadership, sector-wide institutions, Black political leaders outside of academia, and other key stakeholders, a final copy of the Scarborough Charter was circulated. The Inter-Institutional Advisory Committee requested that partner institutions signal to endorse the Charter by October 1, 2021, in time for the anticipated official launch date. The signing and launch of the Scarborough Charter will take place virtually on Thursday, November 18, 2021 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET.
AU is committed to address equity and inclusion on our campuses and to work on actions to sustain enduring culture against anti-Black racism, in support of Black inclusion and excellence in the Canadian higher education sector.
Stay tuned for details on how to register for the virtual signing and launch.
Education, Awareness and Learning
Black History Month
Black History Month is a time to share and learn the numerous important contributions and achievements of Black Canadians to the history of Canada. Check out all the activities and events that we have planned for students, staff, faculty and the community!
Anti-Black Racism Education Awareness Dialogue
A self reflective session to identify and develop skills to disrupt racism in a respectful, compassionate and inclusive manner. This is intended as a starting point towards open dialogue on the issue of race and race relations as it pertains to Black people in Canada. The AU leadership team will be the first to engage in the dialogue.
EDI-related Research Grants
In the fall of 2020, the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Secretariat awarded Algoma University a grant of $50,000 to help support hire the first EDI Officer to lead EDI work on its three campuses and begin the groundwork for the development of AU’s EDI action plan to conform with Canada Research Chairs program requirements.
Cultural Safety Online Learning Program
This is a FREE facilitated online learning program for Algoma University community members who would like to increase their intercultural understanding, communication skills and cultural safety, incorporating self-awareness and reflect upon [people’s] own cultural biases. This program has been co-developed by the Algoma University EDI Committee, and the Department of Experiential Learning and International Affairs who have adapted an existing, proven curriculum successfully used in the higher education environment.
Participants will deepen appreciation of the key terms of Culture, EDI, and Cultural Safety, and increase awareness of Anishnaabe people and territories where all three AlgomaU campuses are located and their historical connection. Participants will develop and deepen the knowledge, skill, and confidence needed to advocate for EDI, particularly the long term impact that colonialism has had on Black, Anishinaabe, and all racialized groups in Canada.
Participants will also enhancs cross-cultural learning and a way to celebrate the cultural diversity that we are wonderfully surrounded by.
Unconscious Bias Training
Self directed Unconscious Bias training available on Canada Research Chairs website.
CRC Program: EDI Stipend
The EDI Office is happy to announce that we successfully obtained $50,000 to advance the public accountability and transparency requirements of the Canada Research Chairs Program. This includes developing institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan.Notice of award, CRC Program: EDI Stipend
Where We Are Now
To realize the aforementioned Mandate, the Senior Executive team holds accountability through AU’s EDI Project Charter, our governance mechanism.
Currently, AU’s EDIC is working on developing a comprehensive model for creating equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). EDI capacity building across its three campus locations is required to achieve inclusive excellence. Inclusive excellence is a concept that recognizes the integral relationship between diversity and quality in research, teaching, service and governance. The ultimate goal is to reflect the diversity of all employees and students. To ensure AU’s three campuses embed EDI in all high-level documents and decision-making procedures and policies, this project will prioritize the following:
1. Advance actions identified by the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) such as collecting data, completing an environmental scan to understand AU’s current EDI climate and redefining institutional excellence based on EDI metrics;
2. Develop an evidence-based, comprehensive three-year EDI strategy and action plan that includes the creation, maintenance and coordination of a series of policies and actions — including training initiatives and annual events on campus — engaging all relevant stakeholders in partnership, contributing to its goals.
AU has provided administrative support for the activities of the newly-rebranded EDIC Committee. AU’s EDI Charter and the EDIC committee’s Terms of Reference provide a foundational framework in the creation of the EDI strategy and action plan.
At present, AU’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) has expanded to include representation from all underrepresented groups (URGs). The EDIC is also developing a strategy for Creating Welcoming and Inclusive Campuses. The purpose of this strategy is to identify and plan education and awareness events, as well as revising and creating policies and processes that foster student and employee participation. These activities aim to create and foster a welcoming, safe, and inclusive learning, teaching, and working environment where all students, faculty and staff are represented and respected.
The EDIC’s work is guided by five different working groups, each with their own objectives:
1. Accessibility, Policies and Procedures: Advisory committee – To provide an EDI lens for all HR updated policies as per PEQAB requirements.
2. EDI Education Awareness and Events: To identify training needs and organize events across the institution to include in the 2020/2023 EDI Action Plan. This includes developing in-house training if/where possible.
3. AU’s Special Mission: To demonstrate actions outlined in AU’s TRC commitment to our Special Mission in working with Anishinaabe and other Canadian communities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, regionally and nationally, with affinitive ties to the site, to achieve the true realization of Shingwauk’s Vision of the Teaching Wigwam
4. Anti-Racism and Discrimination:
- Anti-Black Racism
- Anti-Indigenous Racism
- Anti-Asian Racism
- Anti-2SLGBTQQIPA+ Discrimination
- Creating a Welcoming and Inclusive Campus
- Education, Awareness and Training
- Canada Research Chairs Program
To develop concrete actions that demonstrate Algoma University’s commitment and support for the National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities, and the New Principles on Indigenous Education, the National Dialogue and Action Charter (under development) and to combat Anti-Black and Anti-Indigenous racism respectively; including other forms of racism and discrimination (Anti-Asian and Anti-Islamophobic racism and discrimination against 2SLGBTQQIPA+ communities).
The ultimate goal of these initiatives is to recognize and promote inclusion and excellence for all.
5. Canada Research Chairs Program: To help in the development of Algoma University’s Action Plan to adhere to the EDI requirements of the Canada Research Chairs Program
AU’s EDI Strategy is being developed to demonstrate actions addressing Universities Canada’s Principles on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the Canada Research Chairs Program requirements and AU’s response to the TRC’s Calls to Action.
Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
We are happy to announce that Algoma University is an Employer Partner with the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) which provides us with a number of benefits that will support us on our diversity and inclusion journey.
In order to access all the benefits available to ALL AU employees and students, you will have to register with your AU email address.
CCDI Knowledge Repository: As part of the “Members Only” portal on their website, CCDI has an e-library with over 1,000 documents containing Canadian-specific and international diversity and inclusion research, reports, toolkits and news, which are indexed and searchable by multiple parameters (e.g. by keyword, by topic, etc.). This e-library is an evergreen resource and new content is continually being added. If you would like access to the Knowledge Repository, you can self-register here.
How to access CCDI Knowledge Repository:
- Subscribe to CCDI’s Knowledge Repository here:
- Select Algoma University from drop-down list of companies
- Register with your AU email address
- You will receive your login credentials via email. Please check your Inbox (and Junk Mail folder just in case)
- Log in to Knowledge Repository using your login credentials with this link.
- On the banner, hover your mouse over Knowledge Repository, click on CCDI Research
- For recorded webinars, click on CCDI Webinars. You’ll then be able to scroll through CCDI’s library of recorded webinars.
CCDI’s Knowledge Repository is like a brick-and-mortar library where you need a library card to borrow the resources. In this case, the library card is in the form of login credentials.
As for any reports/toolkits in the Knowledge Repository, please cite CCDI/author accordingly when making reference to these materials.
CCDI monthly webinars
CCDI offers educational webinars which will be free to all AU community members with an AU email address. Registration is currently open for the 2021 calendar year.
We invite you to register for upcoming CCDI webinars. Previously recorded webinars can be accessed via the Knowledge Repository.
CCDI monthly newsletter – Diversity Ink: CCDI’s monthly newsletter provides information about CCDI events and research, and other pertinent news from the Canadian diversity and inclusion realm. Click here and provide your contact information to subscribe. Also, you can view past editions of their Diversity Ink newsletter here.
Our onboarding sessions will be held weekly, every Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET (30 minutes) and are open to all staff, faculty and students. Click here to select a date that’s convenient for your schedule. Provided is also the CCDI Employer Partner video on the offerings of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion that AU community members will have access to this academic year. We encourage everyone to register and participate in ongoing webinars.
In 2015, Algoma University endorsed the New Principles on Indigenous Education, leading to AU’s response to the TRC’s Calls to Action (currently under revision). Indigenization has provided an important foundation for AU’s 2016-2021 Strategic Plan and 2016-2021 Academic Plan. Anishinaabe programming and events complimented initial EDI awareness and education efforts. Subsequently, in 2017, more robust EDI initiatives spearheaded by the President’s Office led to the signing of important commitments to EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Dimensions Charter and Universities Canada’s Principles on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) that still require a comprehensive strategy to address barriers to equity, diversity and inclusion.
The President and Vice-Chancellor has championed AU’s commitment to EDI in multiple ways, including supporting the nomination, selection and appointment of a Canada Research Chair in Healing and Reconciliation in 2018. AU’s commitment to diversity at the Senior Executive level and the Director/Manager levels of leadership across the organization has resulted in hiring the first EDI Officer and the appointment of a three-year EDI Academic Lead. Additionally, a new Vice-President position was created and was filled in January 2021; the position, called Nyaagaaniid (meaning ‘leader’ in Anishinaabemowin), has responsibility for Student Success university-wide, EDI and Anishinaabe Initiatives including leading the university to fulfil its Special Mission.
In 2019, AU, as part of its aspiration to be a national leader supporting Canada’s reconciliation movement, hosted (in partnership) on the Shingwauk site, the Universities Canada National Building Reconciliation Forum. In 2021 as the Strategic Plan and Academic Plan are updated, AU’s EDI Action Plan and Strategy development will play a prominent role.
Meet the EDI Leadership Team
Dr. Vivian Jimenez-Estrada
Associate Professor, Sociology and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Academic LeadView Full Bio
Jane Omollo, M.Ed., MPA
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion ManagerView Full Bio
Vice-President, Nyaagaaniid- Anishinaabe Initiatives, Equity and Student SuccessView Full Bio