The Campus Equity Toolkit is a guide to supporting students prepared by the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health and the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario.
This guide is part of a province wide effort to enhance equity, by promoting positive mental health and well-being at postsecondary institutions. It has been reviewed and informed by diverse perspectives, including members of the Aboriginal Reference Group (Council of Ontario Universities) and Indigenous Peoples Education Circle (Colleges Ontario).
This guide targets student leaders, front-line staff, faculty members, and program leaders who directly interact with students as a part of their roles and responsibilities, in addition to policy makers and strategic planners, who indirectly influence the experiences of students. Readers are encouraged to use this guide to consider the accessibility of resources and how choice can be expanded to support student retention and success.
This toolkit aims to take a meaningful approach in offering guidance on how to support students from all walks of life, whether in need of mental health and addictions supports or not, and the suggestions provided are meant to enhance campus experiences for students in the long term.
What to expect/how it can be used
This toolkit uses the topics of equity, diversity and inclusion, to explain their impacts on mental health, and the importance of addressing preexisting conditions in campus life. This is not a definitive resource as the experiences, perspectives and approaches of students are diverse across the province and informed by their lived experiences, however, the steps and strategies outlined provide a foundation for learning, reflecting and engaging.
Ontario’s increasing diversity is reflected among the student population in postsecondary campuses. This diversity is one of the province’s greatest strengths, creating a need for designing inclusive and welcoming campuses. Consider that between 2006 and 2016, the Indigenous population has risen by 42%, that immigrants are projected to make up 36% of Ontario’s population by 2036, and that the enrolment of international students is increasing at a higher rate than of Canadian students.MacDonald, M. (2019). International student enrolment continues to soar in Canada. University Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.universityaffairs.ca/news/news-article/international-student-enrolment-continues-to-soar-in-canada/ These students arrive from diverse countries, cultures, and religions, enrich the student body with their participation, and create opportunities to meaningfully embed diversity and equity into campus life.Guo, S. & Jamal, Z. (2007). Nurturing Cultural Diversity in Higher Education: A Critical Review of Selected Models. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 37(3), 27-49. Retrieved from https:// files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ799706.pdf These benefits emerge when students’ unique needs are acknowledged and the design and delivery of programs and services are created with equity in mind.Strange, C. C. & Coz, D. H. (2016). Serving Diverse Students in Canadian Higher Education. Canada: McGill-Queen’s Press
When we talk about applying an equity lens, we are referring to understanding the unique needs of students based on aspects of their identity such as culture, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental health disability, etc., which have resulted in experiences of marginalization. These are individuals that experience differential access to power, wealth and other resources, leading to social, economic, and political marginalization. In contrast to equality, which seeks the same treatment for all individuals, an equity-based approach recognizes that individuals need to be treated differently based on their unique needs, and plays an especially important role in mental health.
|↑1||MacDonald, M. (2019). International student enrolment continues to soar in Canada. University Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.universityaffairs.ca/news/news-article/international-student-enrolment-continues-to-soar-in-canada/|
|↑2||Guo, S. & Jamal, Z. (2007). Nurturing Cultural Diversity in Higher Education: A Critical Review of Selected Models. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 37(3), 27-49. Retrieved from https:// files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ799706.pdf|
|↑3||Strange, C. C. & Coz, D. H. (2016). Serving Diverse Students in Canadian Higher Education. Canada: McGill-Queen’s Press|