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Research Projects

The Diversity Institute coordinates multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder research and leads numerous projects that address emerging employment trends and advance economic inclusion. In collaboration with a network of post-secondary institutions, corporate and community partners, not-for-profits, government, labour and industry associations, the Diversity institute promotes inclusion in employment, entrepreneurship and skills development.

Group of laughing young people with notebooks around a table

Diversity and 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.

In partnership with TD Bank, OnBoard Canada and Canadian Women’s Foundation, this project builds on Dr. Cukier's previous SSHRC-funded DiversityLeads research to analyze cross-sector leadership in the eight large and medium-sized cities across Canada, examining trends over time and sharing findings to promote diversity and inclusion among senior leadership.

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 Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement (RCIS), 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. 

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.

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.

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.

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Future Skills

Identifying, developing, replicating and scaling inclusive approaches that will strengthen the nation’s skills and training ecosystem.

The Future Skills Centre – Centre des Compétences futures (FSC-CCF) is a forward-thinking centre for research and collaboration dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success. We believe Canadians should feel confident about the skills they have to succeed in a changing workforce. As a pan-Canadian community, we are collaborating to rigorously identify, test, measure, and share innovative approaches to assessing and developing the skills Canadians need to thrive in the days and years ahead.

The Future Skills Centre is governed by a consortium of partners, external link that offers deep knowledge of economic and technology trends, public policy, rigorous applied research and evaluation expertise, extensive knowledge mobilization and convening experience, and long-standing commitments to inclusive approaches to skills training and development.

The Centre is forging a network of stakeholders from across the country, linking thousands of service providers, employers, governments, community groups, academic and practitioner researchers, and millions of Canadians to enhance access to in-demand skills and training.

We are focused on intentional and engaging solutions to anticipate the emerging needs of employers, as well as the needs of those not currently participating fully in Canada’s changing workforce. The Future Skills Centre has a particular focus on equity-seeking groups and underserved communities, including women, youth, Indigenous peoples, newcomers, racialized peoples, LGBTQ2S+ peoples, persons with disabilities, veterans, and people from rural, remote, and northern communities.

The Advanced Digital and Professional Training Program (ADaPT) is an action-research project funded by the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth which equips new graduates with the "soft" skills and digital skills Canadian employers are seeking, along with a paid internship. By focusing on youth from diverse groups and social science and humanities graduates, ADaPT is contributing to inclusive economic growth.

ADaPT is now partnering with the Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC) on the ALiGN/ADaPT project to include online learning modules and psychometric-based leadership development opportunities through OTEC's ALIGN network.

This three-year, Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund project is evaluating and researching the barriers to work-integrated learning (WIL) for post-secondary students in Ontario through a series of interviews with institutional and employer stakeholders, analysis of national student surveys, and surveys of student participation in WIL.

In this five-year, Ontario Research Fund: Research Excellence project led by Dr. Wendy Cukier, scholars, industry and community partners will examine the discourses and data related to the skills gap and challenges that women, immigrants, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous people face in the Information and Communications Technology sector. This project seeks to develop policies, practices, and technologies to expand the talent pool and advance inclusion.

Group of laughing and animated people wearing business clothes and talking around a table that is piled with notebooks, sticky notes, and laptops

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

A network of academic experts, industry and community leaders, and government and social innovators dedicated to building an inclusive and highly competent workforce.

The Diversity Institute has been selected to lead the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) with $9 million in funding over 3 years from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The WEKH will use evidence to understand what works to grow enterprises led by women, to support women business support organizations and erode barriers in the ecosystem. In collaboration with Ryerson’s Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship and the Ted Rogers School of Management, the Diversity Institute will bring together a network of partners that reach more than 100,000 women entrepreneurs at different stages of development and more than 250 organizations.

The Ontario Inclusive Innovation (I2) Action Strategy is a partnership with Telfer Centre for Executive Leadership at the University of Ottawa to create an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem through enterprise support for 2500 growth-oriented Ontario women entrepreneurs and conducting gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) of enterprise support organizations. I2 aims to develop a gender-based certification program and a series of workshops for intermediaries within the entrepreneurship ecosystem and showcase evidence-based practices for empowering women entrepreneurs at a one-day conference.

A partnership project with Magnet, the Export Business Portal is a platform for registered businesses to receive free customized updates and information about export-related services, funding, resources and opportunities.

In partnership with Scadding Court Community Centre (SCCC), NEH provides entrepreneurship, settlement and wrap-around services that prepare participants to run a business in Canada. The Diversity Institute will assess the impact of the program on the economic integration of vulnerable newcomers.

The Ryerson Diversity Institute was a provider of Summer Company from 2013-2018. Summer Company is a program of the Government of Ontario that helps students between 15 and 29 years old start and run their own summer business by providing funding, mentoring and training.

The Diversity Institute will not be a program provider in 2019. Learn more about our work with Summer Company over the past several years.

In partnership with SCCC, the Diversity Institute is testing a new model for supporting women entrepreneurs. Supported by the Ministry of the Status of Women, the Women's Entrepreneurship Hub (We-Hub TO) provides future skills and entrepreneurship training through a bootcamp style program. Counselling, settlement services and childcare are among the wrap-around supports offered to encourage participation from women experiencing complex barriers to employment.

This study aims at understanding the innovation ecosystem in Eastern Ontario in order to better understand how services, supports and local assets that contribute to creation of new businesses and investors as well as the retention and expansion of existing business. It explores the application of innovation models to smaller communities and makes a series of policy recommendations to enable innovation.

With sites in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario, WIIP will improve newcomer employment outcomes while producing a skilled, resilient and productive Canadian workforce to drive economic and social development. Supported by $1.8 million in funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.