The University of Toronto (U of T) has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2017. U of T has received this honour for a decade: each year since the Award’s inception.
The annual list by Mediacorp recognizes Canadian employers with exceptional workplace diversity programs for “employees from five groups: (a) Women; (b) Members of visible minorities; (c) Persons with disabilities; (d) Aboriginal peoples; and (e) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered/Transsexual (LGBT) peoples.”
“We are honoured and grateful to receive this award and all that it represents,” said Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity.
This award comes at a time for both celebration and reflection.
Addressing gaps in representation
Hannah-Moffat notes that “as a University in one of the most diverse cities in the world, it is important that we work to ensure the makeup of our faculty and staff accurately reflect the diversity of Toronto’s population.”
To help address this issue, she shares that the University has recently updated how it collects employment equity data and is actively reviewing its employee recruitment strategy, including building partnerships with community organizations.
Hannah-Moffat also points to the administration’s recent response to the University’s Truth and Reconciliation Steering Committee’s Final Report, which includes the creation of a position responsible for Indigenous initiatives as well as funds for 20 new faculty positions and 20 new staff positions, specifically allocated to hiring Indigenous people.
Members of HR & Equity came together as a community to celebrate U of T’s 2016 Display Your Pride event.
Engaging in our communities
“Meeting and sharing experiences with talented colleagues shapes our perception of ourselves and our lives. It enriches our work-life experience, while building community and friendships.”
— Lynsay Henderson, coordinator, Information, Registration & Member Services, commenting on LGBTQ-oriented initiatives at U of T
“It is critically important to acknowledge that we have a responsibility to continuously challenge ourselves to better reflect the rich diversities of our communities,” noted Hannah-Moffat. “One way to do this is through engaging in initiatives that challenge social perceptions and spark dialogue.”
Examples of such engagement can be found across the University: Connections and Conversations: an affinity group for racialized U of T staff and their supporters; the first International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) conference; and Artist Jaime Black’s powerful “REDress” installation on missing and murdered indigenous women.
Connections & Conversations hopes to spark tri-campus conversations about topics like racism and equity. (Photo by Rachel Halpern)
“(This group) work[s] together towards bigger and better goals that will support not just my immediate community but society. I feel privileged to have this opportunity to contribute, to feel inspired and to meet other wonderful people committed to continue to improve the University.”
— Connections & Conversations participant, Nora Lozano, Executive Assistant, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity.
As well, there are other activities that raise awareness and create a sense of community, such as U of T’s Display Your Pride events and Indigenous Education Week, to global and national engagements like our refugee initiatives and swearing-in ceremony, where almost 500 individuals were sworn in as Canadian citizens at U of T’s Convocation Hall.
Read more about some of our other diversity and equity initiatives: Gender Equity and Pathways to Leadership report; the updated Employment Equity Survey; and Accessibility training for all employees.
Yaser Nabib, first year civil engineering student (with Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr) was sworn in as a citizen at U of T ceremony. (Photo by Johnny Guatto)