Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)

Inclusive diversity is the sine qua non of collaborative and interdisciplinary research.

CANSSI EDI is a comprehensive, multi-dimensional approach to EDI that encompasses

  • Policy
  • Education and training
  • Support for inclusion and accessibility
  • Outreach
  • Measurement and evaluation.

CANSSI EDI is key to the success of all the other CANSSI flagship programs.

Region: National
Involves: Faculty, students, and postdoctoral fellows

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From the outset, CANSSI’s research orientation and dedication to supporting all statistical scientists across Canada led to close alignment with important aspects of equity, diversity, and inclusion, specifically the following:

  • Diversity is key to forming the strongest and most effective research collaborations.
  • Equity is key to enabling all members of a collaboration to reach their potential.
  • Inclusion is key to successful collaborations and maximizing individual success.

The comprehensive, multi-dimensional approach of CANSSI EDI evolved from the Institute’s longstanding commitment to encouraging diversity and inclusivity in Institute programs. The success of CANSSI EDI is key to the success of all CANSSI programs. For this reason, CANSSI EDI is a living program that is updated continuously as we evaluate our activities, acquire new experience and data, and adapt to changes in society.

What’s Involved

What’s Involved

Program Goals

CANSSI EDI is a comprehensive, multi-dimensional approach to EDI that encompasses

  • Policy
  • Education and training
  • Support for inclusion and accessibility
  • Outreach
  • Measurement and evaluation.

The program is focused on developing specific actions to tackle barriers, inequities, bias, and lack of inclusivity.


CANSSI’s EDI policies and requirements include:

  • Policies related to governance and operations of the institute, including diversity standards for selection of the Scientific Director and Deputy Director, committee members and staff, and the adjudication processes for scientific programs
  • Requirements for CANSSI-supported researchers, graduates, and postdoctoral fellows, which include participation in CANSSI EDI programming and incorporating consideration of EDI into their research and training programs
  • Advisory relationships with individuals and companies with expertise in EDI
  • Continuing CANSSI’s strong grass-roots tradition by including the Canadian statistical sciences community in the evaluation and guidance of CANSSI EDI

Education & Training

CANSSI provides training in EDI through a dynamic program of events and training courses. The goal is to strengthen the engagement with EDI in the community and develop future leaders committed to pursuing EDI in their research and training activities. Activities include:

  • Seminars, workshops, and other activities concerned with EDI issues
  • Panels and national town halls on EDI issues
  • EDI education courses offered by professional organizations specializing in EDI

CANSSI provides supportive opportunities, e.g., the CANSSI Showcase, for young researchers, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows to share their research with the community while honing their communication skills.

Support for Inclusion & Accessibility

CANSSI addresses inclusivity and accessibility in a number of ways, including:

  • By design, CANSSI programs encourage partnerships among researchers at different institutions, appointments, career stages, and regions of Canada.
  • CANSSI provides professional mentoring, training in communication of research, and support for applications to CANSSI programs.
  • By design, the Graduate Student Exchange Scholarship (GSES) program is accessible to junior researchers at any university and provides valuable professional and mentoring experience.
  • By design, the Research for Social Good (RSG) program supports researchers, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows interested in applied research with a direct impact on problems important to society. This supports areas that are often underfunded compared to other areas of scientific research.
  • The CANSSI Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship (CDPF) and Collaborative Research Team (CRT) programs provide an opportunity for faculty to establish prominent research leadership.

Measurement & Evaluation

To evaluate the effectiveness and impact of CANSSI EDI policies and activities, CANSSI employs a comprehensive approach, including:

  • A comprehensive effort to collect diversity data on participants, leaders, and supervisors, as well as adjudication processes for all CANSSI programs
  • Organizing an annual town hall on CANSSI’s EDI activities to gather community feedback
  • Working with professional organizations and consultants to rigorously evaluate CANSSI EDI, as well as CANSSI operations, under the guidance of a sub-committee of the Board of Directors
Outreach & Expansion

Outreach and Expansion

Support for Disadvantaged & Underrepresented Groups

CANSSI undertakes activities directed towards increasing the number of students from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups that consider statistics in their future.

The challenges begin at the secondary level, since little statistics is covered in standard curriculums, few teachers are trained in statistics, and the advantages that statistical training conveys for career paths is often unknown. The challenges continue in postsecondary education, where the range of statistics courses is often small and taught by non-statisticians, and there is no opportunity for statistics research in colleges and smaller universities, which often serve relatively large disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

Outreach and expansion activities in CANSSI’s portfolio are designed to meet these specific challenges.

Postsecondary Support

CANSSI supports activities designed to reach postsecondary students who have a relatively strong quantitative background. For example, we support the Vancouver Datajam, Hockey Hackathon, and summer training camps which make a concerted effort to reach underrepresented and disadvantaged groups and operate programs designed to create inclusive environments. Another example is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science organized by CANSSI Ontario. This event spotlighted women researchers in Ontario.

Secondary Support

CANSSI is a major co-sponsor and co-organizer of Florence Nightingale Day (FND) together with the Caucus for Women in Statistics (CWS) and the American Statistical Association (ASA). Operating since 2018, FND is an international one-day event aimed at attracting secondary students from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups to study statistical sciences.

FND includes panels with strong diversity in composition, including university students, faculty, and industry researchers. It also includes hands-on statistics activities led by students, faculty, and high school teachers. FND is organized at local colleges and universities for high school students from the region, and virtually for students from all over the world.

Scientific Director Donald Estep serves on the Board of Directors of Florence Nightingale Day, Inc. The vision is to expand FND to become a national event involving high school students across Canada.

Long-Term Activities

CANSSI Research Training Library (CRTL) 

CANSSI is initiating elements of the CANSSI Research Training Library (CRTL) that houses high-quality sets of materials for research-level courses to provide students at all Canadian universities and colleges access to advanced preparation for research.

The CRTL is motivated by the fact that students at some resource-constrained universities have limited access to research-level coursework, which affects their preparation for future careers and competitiveness in seeking employment. Moreover, the pressures of exploding enrollments mean that most departments have a need for the program.

SURMOUNT program

SURMOUNT aims to create partnerships that serve cohorts of students in statistical sciences from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups. It provides access to advanced courses, research opportunities, and mentoring that can prepare students for success in graduate school, while directly reducing the host of socio-economic barriers they routinely face.

The SURMOUNT program relies on partnership between universities, government agencies, and industry.



All CANSSI outreach activities are supported by a comprehensive communication action plan. This disseminates opportunities to participate, showcases accomplishments of the diverse community involved with CANSSI programs, and serves to increase inclusivity and accessibility in CANSSI programs.



The policies, programs, and activities are guided by the CANSSI EDI Committee. CANSSI also works with consultants that have specific expertise in EDI issues.


Questions? Contact Us


Louisa Benhamida

Program Coordinator

General Inquiries