Ecosystem Partners

Diversity Institute

About the Diversity Institute

The Diversity Institute (DI) conducts action-oriented research to address the needs of diverse Canadians through the lenses of employment, innovation and skills.

In partnership with Toronto Metropolitan University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, DI has been at the forefront of promoting equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) as essential to Canada’s competitiveness for more than two decades. Led by Dr. Wendy Cukier, founder and academic director of DI, the institute’s 130 full-time staff work with more than 100 research collaborators and 200 partner organizations. The institute has extensive experience working with businesses, nonprofits and equity-seeking groups across Canada in both official languages.

The Diversity Institute leads the government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and is the research lead for the Future Skills Centre.

The institute does multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder research to understand barriers to inclusion of equity-deserving groups in the workplace, make workplaces more inclusive and promote diversity in leadership. It identifies, develops and scales inclusive approaches to strengthen Canada’s skills and training ecosystem. It does so by working with a network of academic experts, industry and community leaders, and government and social innovators, all of whom are dedicated to building an inclusive workforce.

And, it delivers impact. It conducts groundbreaking research and develops innovative programs like ADaPT  to tackle barriers to participation of equity-deserving groups in the workplace; champions legislative change; and works with organizations in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors to help them embed EDI into the heart of their strategies.

As one of five founding partners of the 50 – 30 Challenge, DI helped to create the Challenge and hosts the WhatWorksToolkit, which provides resources to organizations that want to adopt or improve diversity practices. Working with the Standards Council of Canada, DI developed the terminology and definitions of the 50 – 30 Challenge in a publicly available specification.

Areas of expertise:

  • One of the largest databases in the country of women and diverse leaders; along with DI’s See It. Be It. database, this provides an unmatching pool of women and diverse people to help 50 – 30 Challenge participants access talent.
  • Expertise in evidence-based innovation, change processes and program evaluation.
  • Experience developing and putting in place EDI strategies for more than 100 organizations across many sectors, including information and communications technology, financial services, health care, arts and culture, policing, post-secondary institutions, and all levels of government.
  • Deep subject matter expertise on diversity and inclusion on boards and in senior leadership independently and through DI’s extensive networks.
  • An AI enabled platform that will be used to support the matching of candidates to board and leadership opportunities.
  • Using the Diversity Assessment Tool (DAT), DI can help 50 – 30 Challenge participants assess organizational practices, processes and policies; and support development of diversity and inclusion strategies.
  • A database of best practices and tools, including the What Works Toolkit.
  • Building governance and leadership capacity among equity-seeking groups through training and programs.
  • Recruiting and matching diverse board and leadership candidates to opportunities with 50 – 30 Challenge participants.

How we can support 50 – 30 Challenge Participants:

The Diversity Institute supports 50 – 30 Challenge participants by sharing our areas of expertise and best practices on the importance of hiring a diverse workforce and providing guidance on the development of diversity and inclusion action plans. Participants can leverage DI’s expertise to help them achieve their EDI goals.

Much of what DI offers is action-oriented, grounded firmly in evidence. As such, the institute provides many tools and a range of support, including diversity assessments, target setting, predeveloped webinars partners can use and specialized training, for example in how to integrate equity, diversity and inclusion into organizational strategy. The Diversity Institute can help 50 – 30 Challenge participants engage with and build a talent pool based on competencies defined by organizations and search consultants.

Additionally, DI uses a powerful AI-enabled technology platform to give 50 – 30 Challenge supporters what they need. This robust evaluation framework will track progress and help identify best practices for the participants.

Furthermore, as participants move through their 50 – 30 Challenge journey, we help them evaluate what is working and report on progress using metrics like increased representation, number of organizations engaged, participants’ satisfaction, and improvements in processes, skills development and organizational practice.