U of T earns third consecutive Best Diversity Employer designation

Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 10:05am

The annual competition for Canada's Best Diversity Employers was a successful one for U of T, named one of this year's winners for the third consecutive year.

Canada's Best Diversity Employers competition recognizes employers with exemplary workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs involving women, members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal peoples, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered/transsexual and queer (LGBTQ) employees.

The competition is run by Mediacorp with the assistance of specialists from the diversity consulting firm TWI, Inc. They reviewed hundreds of employer applications and selected U of T as one of Canada's leaders in workplace diversity.

U of T is an employer that recognizes there is strength in difference, said Andrea Carter, U of T's employment equity and AODA officer. I believe that we focus on individuals' strengths and through this focus are building a more diverse workforce. Many job candidates are excited about applying to the university because of our commitment to equity.

The award honours U of T's dedication to establishing a work environment that embraces all groups of people and eliminates discrimination. Each of our 13 equity offices has a solid understanding of the challenges many members of our community may face and works to identify and remove these barriers, said Carter.

U of T's three-year winning streak is a validation of the university's decision to make equity and diversity university priorities. It is gratifying to be recognized for work that is so central to our identity as a university, said Professor Angela Hildyard, vice president (human resources and equity). We are always seeking new ways to make this a welcoming place for our diverse workforce and student body.
For instance, in 2008, annual evaluations for professional and managerial staff included -- for the first time -- a category for assessment of their competence in addressing equity, diversity and inclusivity.

Jude Tate, U of T's gender and sexual diversity officer, said one of her office's focuses during the past year has been to communicate with employees about the difficult impact of overt and covert stereotyping that may exist in workplace settings. I am proud of the tremendous contributions so many employees make each day towards creating welcoming and engaging places to work at U of T, she added.

U of T was also named one of the Top Employers in the Greater Toronto Area by Mediacorp earlier this year.

More information about U of T's commitment to equity, diversity and excellence can be found at www.equity.utoronto.ca/.

By Karla Wobito