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New Ryerson-Maytree initiative set to advance the inclusion of immigrants and visible minorities

Published on 28/08/2014

Maytree is pleased to announce the creation of the Ryerson Maytree Global Diversity Exchange to further advance the inclusion of immigrants and visible minorities in Canada and worldwide.

This new initiative will allow Maytree to connect its long-standing interests in diversity and inclusion to an institutional home with vibrant links to research, academics and students. It will further provide us with the opportunity to create a larger imprint, both nationally and internationally.

The initiative will be housed at the Ted Rogers School of Management’s Diversity Institute at Ryerson University and led by Ratna Omidvar as its founding Executive Director who will be relocating to Ryerson. It builds on the long-standing relationship between Maytree and Ryerson, including its research partnerships on the DiverseCity and DiversityLeads projects.

Under Ratna’s leadership, the Global Diversity Exchange will develop a program of academic and applied research, identify evidence-based leading practices and promote policy and solutions that strengthen the case for diversity and inclusion.

In addition, it will become the new home for a suite of successful Maytree programs: Cities of Migration, DiverseCity onBoard, the Flight and Freedom book project and hireimmigrants.

Cities of Migration and DiverseCity onBoard have had impact both in Canada and abroad. Flight and Freedom, due for publication in 2015, will tell the stories of Canadians who have fled their home countries, often under threatening conditions, to find their way to Canada. The book will highlight the contributions they have made to their new country. Hireimmigrants has a solid track record of working with Canadian employers to enhance their skills in attracting, employing and retaining skilled immigrants.

In creating the new initiative at Ryerson, Canada’s comprehensive innovation university and the country’s first and only Ashoka Changemaker Campus, Maytree’s long standing interest in diversity and inclusion will benefit from a larger home with unique strengths like a strong research base. This initiative will also help shape the next generation of global leaders. The Global Diversity Exchange will work with faculty and students across the university, including Ryerson’s Centre for Immigration and Settlement, and it will provide Ratna and her colleagues with extended networks to shape business practices and public policy. This is a natural evolution of the work developed at Maytree and will provide a strong platform for carrying the work forward.

At Maytree, we see this move as consistent with our approach. First, we incubate a strong program in an important area of public interest before others have identified its vital nature. Then we create a plan to find a future home where it can grow beyond what Maytree would be able to sustain. In the diversity and inclusion realm, we did this with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, which is now a thriving independent organization. In other issue areas Maytree was an early investor and co-founder of The Caledon Institute of Social Policy and the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement, both fully independent organizations.

The Global Diversity Exchange will be strongly supported by Maytree through the transfer of staff and programs, the provision of services and by operating funding. As Maytree’s chairman, I will continue to be involved with the programs and the initiative, as a colleague of Ratna, and as a member of the initiative’s advisory committee. This change will not end Maytree’s interest in diversity and inclusion, but rather provide a strengthened initiative.

The transition will begin immediately, with the first phase to be completed in September. The second phase will be completed by the end of the year.


Non-profit sector


The Global Diversity Exchange will connect Maytree’s long-standing interests in diversity and inclusion to an institutional home with vibrant links to research, academics and students.