Students walking around campus.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

The University of Ottawa is committed to ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion in the scholarly and leadership environments of our students, staff, and faculty. To support this commitment, the President created the position of Special Advisor, Diversity and Inclusion.

Special Advisor, Diversity and Inclusion

Reporting directly to the President and working collaboratively with all units and members of the university community, the mandate of the Special Advisor covers all matters relating to any grounds enumerated under the Ontario Human Rights Code, including race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability. 

Dr. Steffany Bennett, University Research Chair in Neurolipidomics and professor in the Faculty of Medicine, was appointed as a Special Advisor, Diversity and Inclusion in 2018. Her mandate includes analyzing the main elements identified in reports from the joint APUO-UOttawa committee and developing an action plan. She also provides expert advice to the University community on issues of diversity and inclusion. 

Headshot of Steffany Bennett

Key objectives

The Special Advisor’s focus is on achieving several objectives in key areas relevant to the portfolio.

  • Review existing uOttawa recommendations and reports related to equity, diversity, racialization, and inclusion (and other related external policies that affect uOttawa in these regards). Specifically, analyze the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) report and the “Report to the President of the University of Ottawa, Diversity and Inclusion: Challenge and Promise” and propose the elements of an action plan for the next two years and beyond;
  • Use “gender-based analysis plus” methodologies to identify barriers to implementation of proposed recommendations, identify steps needed to remove those barriers including the financial and human resources constraints; and
  • Propose best practices on diversity and inclusion issues. Recommend and advocate for policies and practices promoting gender, diversity, and disability equity for racialized faculty and staff including, but not limited to research support, nominations for awards, advancement opportunities, conditions of employment, and hiring practices.
  • Ensure that uOttawa properly collects and disseminates the necessary data for benchmarking and comparative analysis of (a) the current level of recruitment, retention, compensation, and the advancement of male, female, racialized faculty and staff and under-represented groups, and (b) changes in these levels over time.
  • Review, advocate for, and recommend opportunities for education, professional skill-building, mentoring, and cross-faculty and cross-disciplinary interactions for underrepresented faculty and staff with respect to leadership and career development;
  • Provide thought leadership and serve as a resource to uOttawa senior administrative and academic leadership on matters of significance to underrepresented, discouraged, or marginalized persons on any grounds enumerated under this mandate;
  • Advise the president and the Administration Committee on every dossier being brought forward in order to provide counsel on systemic discrimination;
  • When necessary, participate to national or international conferences on diversity and inclusion issues;
  • Keep informed about the developments on Indigenous issues without intervening directly except where there is joint agreement to do so;
  • Liaise with the community on diversity and inclusion issues;
  • Liaise with the Human Rights Office when needed;
  • Report to the President, his team and the Administration Committee on a regular basis;
  • Submit to the President, in a timely manner, a list of actions to be implemented that identifies priorities, timelines, and measures to evaluate the success of implementation;
  • Contribute to the preparation of the next strategic plan concerning diversity and inclusion issues.
  • Chair the standing committee on diversity and inclusion; and
  • Generally, advise the President on any issue bearing on diversity and inclusion issues at the uOttawa campus.

Understanding the demographics of our population is critical to continuing to foster a more equitable, diverse and inclusive University of Ottawa. Counting yourself in is crucial for us to better understand our university community, including its diversity and makeup.

The primary goal of our survey is to gain a more fulsome understanding of our university community. Knowledge of the vibrant composition of our ecosystem allows us to identify inequitable barriers, take evidence-informed action and improve our collective experience. The survey gathers anonymous information so that our community can self-identify in terms of gender, indigeneity, racialization, accommodation/disability, LGBTQIA2S+ status, language preference and proficiency in Canada’s official languages.

The Human Rights Office (HRO) is responsible for ensuring that this data remains confidential and that it will only be disaggregated to inform and prioritize the University’s equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives and address inequities.

As part of our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), everyone is invited to complete the confidential Self-Identification survey. Faculty and staff can access the survey through VirtuO. Students can access it through uoZone. It takes approximately five minutes to complete the anonymous survey. Participation is voluntary however we encourage all members of our university community to complete the survey. The more complete our data is, the better we can respond to the needs of our population and pursue evidence-informed actions.

Reports and surveys

Contact us

Special Advisor

For any comments, questions or suggestions about diversity and inclusion.