Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
The Ocean Frontier Institute is committed to advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout our programming.

Promoting Equity and Inclusion

OFI’s Strategic Framework commits to advancing EDI through our programming. OFI employs many approaches in our endeavour to be a truly equitable, diverse and inclusionary Institute and continually engages with experts within our university partner institutions for best practices guidance.

  • OFI has adopted all policies and practices employed by our home institutions that support and promote diversity among our researchers, staff and trainees, including policies that promote employment equity through affirmative action,  address accommodation needs, prohibit discrimination, and that address personal and sexual harassment.

    equity, diversity and inclusion throughout all asp for OFI staff searches, search committee members are required to read and discuss EDI policy, procedures and unconscious bias documentation and submit all hiring documentation to institutional HR for review through an EDI lens, and OFI endeavours to ensure at least two members from ESGs are represented on all search committees
  • All LRP PIs are required to demonstrate equitable access to ESGs for all hiring and career development opportunities
  • Participation in outreach/conferences with EDI reflection (e.g., G7 Women in Youth Conf., Women in Science, Paris, Research at the North Pole Women in Science event)
  • Partnership in a new Ocean Allies project, commencing September 2020, being led by Pisces Research Project Management Inc. with funding from OSC and in partnership with Indigenous, industry, ocean associations, quasi gov’t associations, etc. with a goal to inspire, engage, employ, and continuously support diverse workforce through 5 areas of work: Defining Success, Training, Changing Systems, Improving Access, and Recognition and Support

In its Strategic Framework, OFI committed to achieving its vision through operational excellence and has built into its governance structure best practices to ensure EDI considerations, such as:

  • All Governance Committee ToR include a statement/requirement to foster diversity and inclusion
  • ToR under development for abroad-based Advisory Committee on Indigenous Engagement in Ocean Research(ACIEOR)
  • ToR for EIEC includes membership from the Indigenous community, with the intent that this member will also serve on the yet to be established ACIEOR to ensure liaison with the EIEC to assist in fulfilling its mandate to advise OFI’s Executive Council on the strategic research focus of OFI and alignment and progress of these activities towards the mission, goals, and deliverables of the OFI
  • Recent SC membership change to include early career researchers

OFI’s Strategic Framework also affirms OFIs commitment to engaging Indigenous peoples in ocean management solutions and building support for ocean research and its applications, as the NA and CAG encompass diverse Indigenous perspectives. OFI has taken specific steps towards enhancing Indigenous research and Indigenous ways of knowing into OFI research through implementation of the following best practices:

  • Requirement for Phase II LRP applications to include collaboration/engagement with Indigenous communities
  • Establishment of an Indigenous Engagement Steering Committee (ad hoc) to advise on the development of an Indigenous Engagement Guide
  • Development of an Indigenous Engagement Guide to facilitate efforts toward respectful and meaningful engagement of researchers with Indigenous groups
  • A requirement for all OFI researchers to undertake Indigenous cultural awareness training
  • Development of ToR is underway for the establishment of ACIEOR to ensure linkages and engagement with ocean organizations and Indigenous communities in Atlantic Canada and with researchers at Dal, MUN, and UPEI engaged in Ocean research
  • Inclusion of a water ceremony and remarks from a Mi’kmaq Grassroots Grandmother and Water Protector to set the stage at the opening of the UN Decade NARW hosted by OFI

In addition, OFI will embed into its new OFI Ambassador program, to be launched fall 2020, mentoring of early career researchers; in fact, the inaugural Ambassador in Ocean Literacy envisions working with an Indigenous youth ambassador in an advisory role to OFI’s literacy programming.

Equity and diversity training

As noted above, OFI will provide introductory Indigenous cultural awareness training for all members of the OFI research community and provide links to additional resources and learning opportunities for those engaging directly with communities or groups with a goal of supporting and encouraging greater awareness and respectfulness in the OFI research community for Indigenous culture and perspectives. A list of training resources and training opportunities is included in OFI’s new Indigenous Engagement Guide

Planning is underway for EDI training for OFI staff, as part of OFI’s commitment to staff professional development, being planned for fall 2020 through Dal’s Human Rights and Equity Services Office.

Indigeneous cultural awareness training

All OFI researchers, HQP, and staff are expected to complete Indigenous cultural awareness training being offered by OFI (on-line) - The Path: Your Journey Through Indigenous Canada,©NVision Insight Group Inc., partially meets the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action for Canadians to receive ‘cultural competency training’ by teaching about "the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law and Aboriginal-Crown relations."

  • Memorial University's Marine Institute is home to the MV Anne S. Pierce, a training and research vessel, as well as the RV Gecho II, a highly sophisticated inshore hydroacoustic research vessel.
  • In collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, OFI researchers have access to Canadian government research vessels. OFI also shares resources with its international partners.

Ocean Frontier Institute's EDI activities

  • Applicants for OFI sponsorship of opportunity for two students to spend a semester at sea asked "how they have contributed to or promoted equity, diversity, inclusion in their educational, employment, and/or volunteer experience"; both students chosen had shown strong leadership in EDIA (and one chose to self identify with an EDG)
  • Using this same approach in our OGEN program in the application of students to the program in our definition of excellence
  • OFI applied to DFO for funding for an Indigenous Ocean Research project entitled, "Braiding Ocean Knowledge," which will create conversations with Indigenous groups to co-develop a larger Indigenous ocean research call. If successful, a full-time Project Manager for this initiative will be recruited by OFI from an Indigenous group for 3 years
  • OFI has recently contracted Ken Paul, former Director of Fisheries, Assembly of First Nations, to assist the Institute on Indigenous strategy and design of an Indigenous research call
  • Staff sessions on EDIA: lunch and learn presentation for OFI titled "Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace: Starting a Courageous Conversation" – two part session
  • OFI’s Advisory Committee on Indigenous Engagement in Ocean Research being chaired with a two-eyed seeing approach.
  • Hosted a speaker in Dalhousie’s Belong Series. - OFI, its faculty and staff, are embedded at the three partner universities and in institutional EDI activities. OFI is committed to EDI and fully incorporates Dal, MUN, and UPEI policies and practices into the administration and management of OFI, its research and training programming, and its hiring practices. In addition to the 5 Equity Seeking Groups (ESGs) recognized by the 3 institutions (racialized persons, women, Indigenous persons, persons with a disability, and persons of a minority sexual orientation and/or gender identity), OFI gives special consideration to early career researchers