Diversity and Access
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The more we talked to Ontarians about the future over the last year, the more we heard about the transformative changes already taking place across the province. The world of work is shifting, new technologies are being developed, and economic opportunities are quickly opening up for those who can seize them. Yet many Ontarians remain concerned that only a limited few will ultimately benefit from these changes. In the context of these risks, Ontarians delivered a clear message: A better future for Ontario won’t be possible if it does not include all Ontarians.

What We Heard
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Our Top Priorities
Read about our strategies and recommendations for strengthening Diversity on Campuses and Ensuring Access to a university education.
What Ontarians Want
An inclusive society in which all Ontarians can contribute to and benefit from the province’s economic success.
Stronger relationships with Aboriginal communities and a focus on ensuring they have the tools to thrive, including by increasing their participation rate in postsecondary education.
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Increased access to university for under-represented groups, and more culturally sensitive supports for them on campus.
Acceptance of cultural diversity and religious tolerance will lead to a stronger nation, which will create a unique competitive advantage that other nations lack.
- Survey respondent
Today, Ontario is only growing more diverse as immigrants continue to settle in the province. Over the last year, we heard repeatedly that continuing this openness will help create a better future for our province and country.
My dream for the next 150 years of Canada is that it is for Aboriginal peoples and that reconciliation will be a priority at all levels of government, and that I can be involved in positive action in Ontario to achieve this.
- A student responding to our survey
In our survey and at our roundtables, we heard particular concerns about efforts to ensure that Aboriginal communities are empowered and set up to thrive in the years and decades to come.
$27.7 billion: How much Canada’s economy would grow if we closed the gap in economic outcomes between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population.
- National Aboriginal Economic Development Board
Ontarians emphasized that the empowerment of Aboriginal communities is essential to the province’s future.
You can have a good interpersonal experience, which can make you feel like you belong, but that doesn’t mean the culture that you are working in is actually fair and equitable, or that the institutions and the systems are actually fair and equitable.
- Andrea Nemtin, President and CEO of the Inspirit Foundation, at the Ontario’s Universities Roundtable on Diversity and Inclusion
Ontarians’ concerns about whether Ontario’s future will be truly inclusive extended further as well. Many noted that Ontario’s diversity has always been one of its finest qualities, but emphasized that barriers remain in place for a number of Ontarians.
My biggest concern is those being left behind. The ones who are not part of this transition towards the knowledge economy. As more and more things become automated there will be [fewer] jobs for the unskilled or low skilled workforce.
- A student responding to our survey
In the context of growing inequality worldwide, Ontarians worried about whether all Ontarians will be able to share in the benefits and prosperity that new technologies and a changing economy may bring.
With the right strategies, skills and supports, Canada could position itself at the foreground of a new economy. Without the right approach, Canada could find itself in a long-term period of economic stagnation, with many Canadians on the sidelines of a chaotic, churning labour market.
- The Mowat Centre
Many warned about the potential consequences of pushing further into a technology-driven economy without ensuring all the proper supports are in place for Ontarians.
Today’s graduates are brighter, more talented and more diverse than ever before. They will carry us forward with new discoveries in medicine, engineering and the humanities to bring us a brighter, more diverse future as a country.
- Survey respondent
And finally Ontarians told us that, by increasing access to underserved communities and producing diverse and talented graduates who are ready to face a changing world, universities are important partners in helping ensure that a growing and changing economy benefits all Ontarians.
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Our Top Priorities

Read about our strategies and recommendations for strengthening Diversity on Campuses and Ensuring Access to a university education.

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Health Care

Learn about what Ontarians have to say about our health care.
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.