partnering on creating
diverse communities
Ensuring that economic success and high quality of life are attainable by all Ontarians.
“Innovation is just new thinking translated into the marketplace. So if you have the same people talking about the same issues over and over again, you’re not going to get innovation.”
- Matthew Fortier, Vice-President of Policy at the Institute of Corporate Directors, at the Ontario’s Universities Roundtable on Diversity and Inclusion

The Issue

As Canada and Ontario grow increasingly diverse, it’s vital that universities reflect the province’s population and help create inclusive environments. Ontario’s diversity is one of the province’s greatest strengths, and ensuring inclusive and welcoming campuses is essential for both the sake of our students and the province.

The Background

  • Ontario and Canada’s populations are growing today because of immigration. Statistics Canada estimates that immigrants will account for up to 30 per cent of Canada’s population, and 36 per cent of Ontario’s population, by 2036.
  • The Aboriginal population grew by 42 per cent between 2006 and 2016, more than four times faster than the non-Aboriginal population. Twenty-seven per cent of that population is 14 and under. But Aboriginal peoples in Ontario and across the country are less likely to have a postsecondary education than non-Aboriginal people.
  • Fostering inclusive campuses that reflect the population of Ontario and Canada is essential to ensuring the province thrives in the future and that it benefits fully from the knowledge and ideas of its diverse population.
  • Universities are proud of their diverse campuses, but we also know that diversity brings a responsibility to ensure there are culturally sensitive supports on campus and spaces where all students can gather and feel comfortable.
  • Committing to the work of reconciliation is also fundamental, not just on campuses but across the province. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) outlined recommendations in its 2015 report on how educators can help repair the harm caused by residential schools. Universities have since redoubled their Indigenization efforts.

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What We Heard
Learn more about what Ontarians had to say about creating diverse communities and ensuring access for all Ontarians.

Key Facts about Diverse Campuses

What Ontario Universities
Are Doing

Ontario’s universities are committed to building diverse and inclusive campuses across the province. To achieve that, we are:

Working with Aboriginal communities to ensure Aboriginal students encounter a welcoming and supportive environment on campus. We are committed to incorporating Aboriginal histories, culture, traditions, and culturally appropriate supports and meets the specific challenges that are laid out for educators as part of the TRC’s recommendations.


Fostering diversity on our campuses by recruiting international students from around the world. Ontario’s universities welcome more than 64,000 students from more than 200 countries, helping bring a world of ideas to the province where they can help our businesses and communities thrive.

Offering a wide range of cultural supports that ensure international students and students from immigrant and minority communities all feel safe and welcomed while on campus.

How Government Can Help
  • Invest in culturally sensitive student services

    Increase the investment in culturally sensitive student services and the implementation of cultural awareness and safety training for students, faculty and staff.

  • Support Aboriginal students

    Increase investments to attract and support Aboriginal students, including incentives to increase the numbers of Aboriginal faculty.

Partnering for a Better Future
By fostering diversity and inclusion on campuses and across the province, Ontario can ensure it is benefitting from the range of knowledge and ideas that help make our communities vibrant, our workplaces innovative, and the province a great place to live.
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Building Strong Communities

Find out what universities are doing to build strong communities in Ontario.

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Deepening Our Relationship

In 2016, COU reached out to its membership to gather information on activities that support campus Indigenization.

In It Together

The College Student Alliance, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, Colleges Ontario and the Council of Ontario Universities have come together to develop an action plan on post-secondary student mental health.

Going Greener Report 2015

Ontario universities’ seventh annual Going Greener report highlights progress made by campus communities toward environmental sustainability.

Read the Report

In our report, you will find a comprehensive summary of what we heard from Ontarians and how Ontario's universities are working across all sectors to help students thrive, support our communities, and drive a growing, dynamic province.