Latest news

Government of Canada ensures Canada’s research community is as diverse as our country

New draft charter and grants will help increase diversity and inclusion at academic institutions

News release

February 11, 2019

February 11, 2019, Oshawa, Ontario

Canada’s greatest potential can only be realized when all people are welcomed into the laboratory, the classroom and the field. We all benefit from the wide range of perspectives and talent that make our research and our society better. In a competitive global economy, Canada can't afford to leave talent on the sidelines.

That is why on this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, unveiled the draft Made-in Canada Athena SWAN Charter, and announced the creation of a new fund to foster equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research. Minister Duncan was joined by the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality, and Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Member of Parliament for Whitby.

The draft made-in-Canada Charter reflects Canada’s diverse reality and will help further Canada’s goals of addressing EDI in our laboratories and classrooms. It is based on the internationally recognized United Kingdom Athena SWAN (Scientific Women's Academic Network). The draft charter was developed following extensive consultation with Canada’s research community, and been adapted to reflect Canada’s rich diversity. Another round of consultation will begin next week to allow under-represented groups and academic institutions to provide feedback on the draft Charter.

Minister Duncan also announced $10 million in funding over five years for EDI Institutional Capacity-Building grants to help post-secondary institutions across Canada embrace and increase diversity. Institutions may request up to $200,000 per year for up to two years for projects to develop and implement EDI policies, plans, and training.

The Minister also recognized this important International Day of Women and Girls in Science by launching the next phase of #ChooseScience, a national social media campaign to encourage girls and young women to enter science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The campaign and its accompanying website aim to engage young women in science, through home-based experiments, citizen science projects and testimonials from Canadian women working in STEM.


“Our Government is returning science and research to their rightful place while embracing equity, diversity and inclusion in the lab, the classroom and the field. Efforts to promote science are important for a forward-looking and welcoming research community that leaves no one on the sidelines. Together, these new Capacity-Building grants and the new made-in-Canada program will help us ensure Canada’s research community is as diverse as our country.”

- The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“By harnessing the ideas and talents of everyone in the research community, we drive innovation, make our country more competitive, and all Canadians benefit. Today’s announcement creates more opportunities for women and underrepresented groups in research institutions across Canada, and is a powerful step toward building a vibrant, diverse and inclusive research community.”

- The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality

“Fostering equity, diversity and inclusion is an active process that reflects how we act, think and lead at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. These are core values that drive innovation and excellence, enhance quality and integrity, and underscore what it means to be a university. We can only reach our greatest potential when we eliminate barriers to ensure all people are welcomed into the lab, the lecture theatre and the campus.”

- Dr. Steven Murphy, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2018 announced the Government of Canada’s plan to adapt the internationally recognized Athena SWAN initiative for Canada’s unique research landscape and to establish best practices for advancing EDI.
  • Minister Duncan held roundtable discussions with Canadian higher education leaders and researchers on the opportunities and challenges of bringing the Athena SWAN program to Canada.
  • For the purposes of the EDI Institutional Capacity-Building grants, underrepresented groups include women, Indigenous Peoples, members of racialized minorities, people with disabilities and LGBTQ2+ individuals.

Associated links

Follow Canada’s three granting agencies on Twitter: @CIHR_IRSC, @NSERC_CRSNG, @SSHRC_CRSH

For Canadian science news, follow @CDNScience on social media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook


Daniele Medlej
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and
Economic Development Canada

Valérie Levert-Gagnon
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Contact Newsletter

Get highlights of things happening at NSERC delivered to your email inbox. View all Newsletters

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Youtube
  • Instagram