Diversity and Inclusion

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) are at the heart of President Jacques Frémont’s strategic priorities. The most recent action in support of EDI was made on May 21, 2019, when the University of Ottawa proudly endorsed the new Dimensions charter that champions eight principles of EDI. Identifying and addressing systemic barriers in post-secondary education and research advancement are key components of the charter, and the University has reiterated its strong commitment to support EDI among researchers.

In November 2016, the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion was created. The Committee's goal, under the chairmanship of Caroline Andrew, a full professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences, was to gather as much information as possible to guide our University’s efforts in eliminating barriers to inclusion and to ensure that diversity becomes a criterion of excellence on our campus.

The University has also carried out studies on equity, diversity and inclusion among faculty, in collaboration with the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO). The reports, presented by a joint APUO-UOttawa committee, provides various means to better illustrate the situation of our professors and researchers.  It pays particular attention to pay equity and the hiring process, especially for Canada Research Chairs.

These reports shine a light on the many challenges to overcome in order to become a model of inclusion and diversity.  They equally address a number of questions, and provide recommendations touching on a variety of issues, which the newly appointed Special Advisor will be able to assess in the course of her upcoming mandate.

Those who wish to contact the Special Advisor can send an e-mail to uOttawaInclu@uottawa.ca

Follow the Special Advisor on Twitter: https://twitter.com/uOttawaInclu

Appointment of a Special Advisor

Steffany Bennett

To mobilize our resources and maintain momentum in light of these two reports, Steffany Bennett, holder of the University Research Chair in Neurolipidomics and professor in the Faculty of Medicine, has been appointed as a Special Advisor, Diversity and Inclusion, for a two-year period. Her mandate will include analyzing the main elements identified in these reports and developing an action plan. She will also provide expert advice to the University community on issues of diversity and inclusion. Her full mandate is as follows: 


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 has created the position of Special Advisor to the President on Diversity and Inclusion, reporting directly to the President and working collaboratively with all units and members of the university community. The Special Advisor’s mandate 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.

The Special advisor will focus on achieving a number of objectives in key areas relevant to the portfolio.​

Policy Development
  • 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 Rector 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.
Collection of Data
  • 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.
Advancement and Leadership
  • 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.

Within 18 months from the beginning of the mandate, and taking into account the lessons learned, the Special Advisor will propose specific recommendations concerning the optimal treatment of diversity and inclusion issues.

Contact the Special Advisor

Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion

The Ad-hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion acted as a “think tank,” reflecting on questions relative to diversity and inclusion at the University of Ottawa. The committee collected, analyzed and interpreted data in order to draw up recommendations and proposes the implementation of concrete measures aimed at diversity and inclusion.

The Committee was made up of full-time professors from each of the University’s nine faculties, part-time professors, researchers, members of the administrative staff, undergraduate and graduate students.

  • Provide an overview of the current situation with regard to inclusion for three groups of University of Ottawa community members: professors, students and support staff.
  • Determine systemic barriers to inclusion, along with these three groups (consultation plan).
  • Produce a report describing the current situation, proposing University diversity-related objectives and concrete action to achieve genuine inclusion for students, support staff and professors. The report can also make recommendations concerning an institutional framework for matters relating to diversity and inclusion.



The objective of this Ad Hoc Committee is to work on:

  1. Eliminating barriers to the achievement of genuine inclusion
  2. Making diversity a criterion of excellence within the university community overall (support staff, students and professors) so that the University of Ottawa becomes a model in this area.

The Committee will address inclusion as it relates to the Ontario Human Rights Code protected grounds.

List of Members


  • Caroline Andrew, Distinguished University Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences

Full-time professors

  • Sophie Thériault, Vice-Dean Graduate Studies and Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section
  • Rakhi Ruparelia, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section
  • Catherine Tsilfidis, Associate Professor and holder of the Donald and Joy Maclaren Chair for Vision Research, Faculty of Medicine
  • Christabelle Sethna, Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Holly Johnson, Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Catherine Mavriplis, Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering, and NSERC–Pratt & Whitney Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering
  • Craig Phillips, Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Ruth Kane, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education
  • Sharon L. O’Sullivan, Associate Professor, Telfer School of Management
  • Ravi Pendakur, Full Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Christina De Simone, Professor, Faculty of Education
  • Martine Lagacé, Vice-Dean Governance and Secretary, and professor, Faculty of Arts

Part-time professors

  • Fernando Mata, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Gordon DiGiacomo, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Houssein Charmarkeh, Faculty of Arts
  • Marc Rahme, Faculty of Health Sciences

Undergraduate students

  • Shahad Khalladi, Faculty of Science
  • Malika Osman, faculties of Social Sciences and Arts
  • Imane Hamich, Telfer School of Management
  • Abdullah Al-Haj, Faculty of Health Sciences
  • David Couturier, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Gaëlle Faye, Telfer School of Management

Graduate students

  • Radamis Zaky, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Saeideh Kheradmand, Faculty of Engineering
  • Claudia Pricilia Chandra, Telfer School of Management
  • Haoyu Wu, Faculty of Engineering

Support staff (non-managers)

  • Sean Ford, Systems Analyst, Information Technology
  • Melanie Miles, Human Resources Generalist
  • Carole Bourque, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, Human Rights Office
  • Sébastien Pilon, Aboriginal Resource Centre
  • Olfa Labassi, Projects Coordinator, Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section
  • Lisa Abel, Aboriginal Program Coordinator, Undergraduate Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine

Support staff (managers)

  • Sonya Nigam, Director, Human Rights Office
  • Françoise Moreau-Johnson, Manager, Centre for Academic Leadership
  • Manon Desgroseilliers, Manager, Institutional Research and Planning
  • Manon Dugal, Senior Director, Human Resources
  • Aline Germain-Rutherford, Associate Vice-President, Teaching and Learning Support Service
  • Caroline Tremblay, Senior Manager, Office of the President
  • Susan Hylland, Director, Sports Services

PSUO-SSUO members

  • Julie Vaillancourt, Facilities
  • Jeremy Cassidy, Student Academic Success Service
Back to top