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EDIA Project


In Canada and worldwide, there is a growing realization that diversity is vital for communities to flourish, to be at their healthiest and most successful. People from different backgrounds and identities bring unique perspectives, talents and ways of knowing which benefit all of us. Vancouver Island University is committed to achieving improved and lasting diversity, equity and inclusion through an ambitious new initiative which aims to transform VIU culture and landscape.

Funded through the Tri-agencies EDI Capacity Building Grant, VIU undertook an EDIA project from 2019-2021. The EDIA project stands for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action, and over a multi-year time span, it will promote fundamental structural changes in policy, processes and leadership.

The vision of the EDIA Project was to enable VIU to foster equity, diversity and inclusion in the service of excellence throughout the university research enterprise and all its operations, by development of evidence-driven practises and systems that will effect sustainable institutional changes.

The project’s goals were to:

  • Identify areas for action to improve equity, diversity and inclusion, based on data, surveys and consultation processes
  • Develop and implement an Action Plan, based on evidence and analysis of the VIU context
  • Improve reporting mechanisms, supported by restorative justice circles
  • Develop and implement an education plan, with a focus on bias education and awareness
  • Create an ongoing EDI Advisor position at VIU
  • Celebrate diversity and our successes in this area, and shared what we have learned

Activities included review of relevant literature and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Plans from other institutions; data gathering, including VIU-specific disaggregated data; surveys, focus groups and interviews; drafting of a comprehensive and sustainable EDIA Plan based on our unique needs; and implementing the plan through systems change (policy and process revisions), individual change (training and education), and a specially trained response team to mediate incidents where an individual or group feels marginalized or mistreated.  A Participatory Action Research (PAR) model was used, to continuously review and revise the project, to ensure it remains responsive to ongoing needs.

Guidance and direction for this project was provided by a gender-balanced Working Group comprised of:

  • Provost and Vice-President Academic
  • Associate Vice-President, Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity
  • Associate Vice-President, Human Resources
  • Director, Equity, Diversity and Human Rights
  • Director, Indigenous Education & Engagement
  • Elder
  • CRC or CRC candidate
  • Faculty of International Studies representative
  • Dean of Arts and Humanities
  • Dean of Health and Human Services
  • At least one faculty member from each of the federally designated groups (FDGs)
  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor
  • Policy Analyst (resource as needed)

The project enabled VIU to release our EDI Action Plan in 2021. VIU would like to thank the Tri-agencies for the EDI Capacity Building Grant to allow us to undertake this important work.