Canada’s post-secondary sector does not reflect the diversity of our country — particularly when it comes to Black academics.

Only 2.3 per cent of the senior leaders at Canada’s universities are Black despite 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population identifying as Black. A report for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council found that only 1.96 per cent of Canada research chairs in all sectors are held by Black-identifying individuals.

This underrepresentation is a significant challenge that demands collective action. That’s why, in 2021, more than 40 universities and colleges signed the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education — a framework for confronting anti-Black racism within post-secondary institutions.

Since then, Canada’s PSE sector has made some good progress with targeting hiring programs and student support services. We must continue to invest in our current efforts while exploring new ways to foster Black inclusion and equity. 

Efforts to boost Black inclusion are about ensuring all communities in academia have equal opportunity for success. Removing barriers for one community does not come at the expense of other communities or excellence. Universities and society benefit when we allow diverse voices to enrich our teaching, learning, research and service. 

Continue reading the (May 3, 2024) op-ed co-authored by Wilfred Laurier University President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy and University of Waterloo President and Vice-Chancellor Vivek Goel in the Waterloo Region Record