DiverseCity onBoard

DiverseCity onBoard connects qualified candidates from Aboriginal, visible minority, and under-represented immigrant communities to agencies, boards, commissions, and committees in the public and non-profit sectors. In doing so, it works to ensure that the governance bodies of these institutions reflect the diversity of the people who live and work in the Greater Toronto Area.

"We found a candidate that brought us a new perspective as well as a strong strategic mind that was removed from the passion of the environmental movement. DiverseCity onBoard was so much more than just a referral organization; they worked with us to find the right fit."

Chris Winter, Executive Director, Conservation Council of Ontario


Qualified individuals who are interested in serving their community in a leadership capacity and building their leadership skills can electronically sign up for DiverseCity onBoard. After a pre-screening interview to assess eligibility, qualifications, and interests, qualified individuals are placed on an online roster of candidates.

Provincial and municipal sectors and non-profit organizations may also register electronically with DiverseCity onBoard. Once approved, they have access to the profiles and resumes of candidates on the roster. The online database is organized in such a way that candidates not only are automatically matched with relevant vacancies but also can view and consider other vacancies. Similarly, organizations can draw on both the automatically generated short list and general roster of candidates.

Newcomer Involvement

DiverseCity onBoard reaches out to people from Aboriginal, visible minority, and immigrant communities who are qualified, willing, and interested in serving on the boards of public and non-profit institutions. After establishing their eligibility, applicants are required to attend an interview with program staff to discuss their skills, experiences, and interests. The process ensures that candidates on the DiverseCity onBoard roster are highly skilled individuals who will be an asset to any organization.

Training on governance competencies is also offered to organizations on DiverseCity onBoard's roster. A new toolkit, DiverseCity in Governance: A Toolkit for Non-profit Boards was recently published specifically for organizations to assist them in diversifying their boards.

Stakeholder Collaboration

Given the nature of the program, stakeholder collaboration is built into DiverseCity onBoard. The program has a partnership with the Ontario Hospital Association’s Governance Centre of Excellence to offer the Essentials of Governance for Public Sector Boards certificate program for qualified candidates on its roster who are ready to serve on public boards.


Regular newsletter and updates are sent to both candidates and organizations. DiverseCity onBoard reports to the funder on a regular basis.

Positive Outcome

Since 2006, 535 appointments to agencies, boards, commissions, or committees in the public and non-profit sectors have been filled by DiverseCity on Board roster members. The program also has established annual Diversity in Governance Awards. Since 2007, the awards have been honouring public and non-profit sector agencies, boards, and commissions which have made tangible steps to promote diversity at their highest levels. There are 475 organizations registered on the DiverseCity onBoard roster.

"When our boards and our membership better reflect the diversity of Ontario citizens, sport will be in a better position to work with and for the communities we serve. DiverseCity onBoard can help us do that. Their professionalism and the training they provide to the volunteers on their roster inspire confidence."

Margaret Emin, Chair, SPORT4ONTARIO


The program is conscious of the fact that there are thousands of public and non-profit governance bodies across Canada that need to reflect the rich diversity of Canadian society. Therefore, it has created a "replication" toolkit named DiverseCity onBoard to assist any parties interested in setting up their own programs. The toolkit describes a successful program model and provides tools to replicate the program in other communities.


Service Providers
The Maytree Foundation
Government of Ontario
Greater Toronto Area, ON
Year of Launch
Languages of Delivery
English (with some material in French)
Newcomer Groups Served
Individuals from Aboriginal, visible minority, and under-represented immigrant communities, as well as public and non-profit sector organizations
Expected Results
Welcoming Communities (Newcomers receive help to establish social and professional networks so they are engaged and feel welcomed in their communities)

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