Our Guiding Principles for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity

The university's EDI Strategic Plan is guided by the following principles.

The University of Albert's principles and actions are underpinned by respect for the dignity, rights, and full participation of all those who live, work, and learn within the university. That is why the following principles have guided the development of the university's Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity.


Diversity refers to difference or variety. In a broad societal equity, diversity, and inclusivity context, diversity refers to demographic or identity diversity, including that based on the protected grounds. Within universities, diversity encompasses these, as well as difference or variety in education, perspectives, opinions, heuristics, disciplines, faculties, skills, and learning opportunities.
The University of Alberta supports and encourages diversity through the identification and removal of barriers and biases, and the creation of workplaces and learning environments that are free of harassment and discrimination.


Equity is about fairness in access to education and employment and in the opportunity to succeed in these domains. Employment equity principles, policies, and practices enable equitable access, representation, opportunities, and meaningful participation of socially diverse people-from the federally designated and other equity-seeking groups such as women, members of visible minority groups, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ2S+ people.
We recognize that policies, practices, informal processes, and language created by and for particular groups of people, with a default norm in mind, produce structural barriers that limit access and inclusion for other individuals and groups. Taking equity as a guiding principle means that the university will respect and value the differences of our members by actively identifying and removing barriers, including structural barriers, to ensure that historically excluded groups have the same opportunity to fully flourish at the University of Alberta.


Inclusion means that we value and cultivate full and meaningful engagement of historically and structurally excluded individuals and groups. Inclusion refers to enabling all individuals on our campuses to fully enjoy the opportunities the university has to offer, and to have all equity seeking groups meaningfully represented in all aspects of university life and decision-making roles university wide.

Human Rights

Every person, by virtue of being human, is entitled to certain fundamental rights regardless of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religious beliefs, gender, gender identity and gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, age, political beliefs, and any other protected ground as amended over time. Each person is entitled to a life of dignity, equality, and respect, free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying.
The university's commitment to human rights is reflected in its policies and practices, as well as the supports it makes available to the members of its community.

Equality - Substantive

The University of Alberta embraces a substantive approach to equality-this means that achieving equality is not only a matter of treating likes alike (formal equality), but also requires us to consider and address the range of conditions that create experiences of disadvantage for some individuals and groups. We consider the full context and impacts of our practices and processes, recognizing that these may be experienced differently by different individuals and groups.


An intersectional approach to equity, diversity, and inclusivity begins from the understanding that the different vectors of social diversity, (race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, nationality, religion, language, age, etc.) do not exist separately or in isolation from each other. Instead, the various vectors of social diversity are interwoven and affect each other.
Intersectionality focuses on how multiple, interwoven vectors shape social belonging, cultural representations, social and political institutions, as well as the material conditions of our lives in ways that are not reducible to any singular vector or social category.
Initially developed by women of colour seeking to understand how their existence and experiences of marginalization could not be reduced to gender or racial categorization alone, today we understand that everyone's life is shaped by intersecting social categories.
Intersecting social categories play a role in exclusion and shape social, political, and material marginalization and dominance. Experiences and systems of persistent social inequality cannot be understood without an intersectional framework.


Accessibility refers to the degree to which physical, pedagogical, and administrative structures of the University of Alberta are (re)designed to enable the full, meaningful, and equitable engagement of all of the university's community members.
Accessibility includes, but is much broader than, ramped access to buildings. It also includes, for example, designing for physical, financial, sensory, social, and language-level access. Whereas accommodation refers to making specific changes to support the full participation of an individual who has encountered barriers, an accessible campus is one that seeks pro-actively to reduce as many barriers as possible, while creating efficient and transparent processes for individuals to gain the accommodations they require and are entitled to by law.

Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

Reconciliation refers to a process of building and sustaining respectful, ethical relationships between Indigenous peoples and the rest of Canada based on mutual understanding and respect.
Universities across Canada have responded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action in ways relevant to their institutional context.
The University of Alberta has responded with an emphasis on capacity building and foundational change in support of Indigenous initiatives, programming, and personnel with a vision for making the U of A a welcoming place for Indigenous students, faculty, and staff. The university's equity, diversity, and inclusivity initiatives will endeavour to support the principles of the Indigenous strategic plan and prioritize cross collaboration with it.