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Canada’s universities take on new Dimensions

Queen’s commits to the federal government’s Dimensions EDI program, championing equity, diversity, and inclusion across the research ecosystem.

Principal Daniel Woolf and Minister Kirsty Duncan sign the Dimensions EDI charter.
Queen's Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Daniel Woolf, and Minister of Science and Sport, Kirsty Duncan, sign the Dimensions EDI charter.

In conjunction with a $35 million national research funding announcement made at Queen’s last week by Canada’s Minister of Science and Sport, the university has signed on to Dimensions EDI – a pilot program designed to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in the post-secondary and research sectors.

During a meeting with Minister Kirsty Duncan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf signed the Dimensions EDI charter, joining 18 other university and college heads in championing its mission.

“Queen’s, along with many institutions across Canada, publicly endorsed the charter when the program was announced last week,” says Principal Woolf, during the announcement event. “Putting pen to paper today is a sign of our commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable future for all researchers in Canada.”

The Dimensions EDI program fulfills a commitment made in the federal government’s 2018 budget, and is based, in part, on a successful UK-based initiative called the Athena SWAN (Scientific Women's Academic Network) program. A series of national consultations, led by Minister Duncan, occurred throughout summer and fall of last year, and informed the Canadian program development. There was extensive participation by Queen’s representatives in the national consultations.

Charter signees commit to adopting the program principles, which aim to foster increased research excellence, innovation, and creativity within the sector and across all disciplines through increased equity, diversity, and inclusion. In doing so, institutions agree to address obstacles faced by, but not limited to, women, Indigenous people, those living with disabilities, members of racialized groups, and members of the LGBTQ2+ communities.

Ultimately, such principles inform policies and practices that improve access to the largest pool of qualified potential participants, enhance the integrity of a program’s application and selection processes, and strengthen research outputs and overall excellence of research.

“I want to thank Principal Woolf and Queen’s for signing on to the Dimensions EDI charter. We want as many people learning and researching at our world-class institutions as possible,” says Minister Duncan. “We strive to insure that everyone has access to equal opportunities, treatment, and recognition, and we see this as a critical step – one that we believe will change research culture for the better.”

Achieving the Dimensions EDI objectives will involve collaboration, transparency, and the sharing of challenges, successes, and practices between charter members.

“Increased equity, diversity, and inclusion are cornerstones of the continued success, excellence, and growth of our university,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “In joining the Dimensions EDI program, our multi-pronged efforts to build on these areas will benefit from the added collaborative contributions of our sector partners.”

Learn more about the Government of Canada’s Dimensions EDI program and its guiding principles, and more about the university’s equity, diversity, and inclusivity efforts on the Inclusive Queen’s website.