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Digital tool helps businesses assess diversity data, attract & retain diverse talent

June 23, 2022

Simon Fraser University’s VentureLabs is collaborating with national industry and academic partners to develop a digital tool to help organizations establish policies and practices that increase diversity and inclusion strategies.

The Diversity Assessment Tool (DAT) App is being created by VentureLabs together with Toronto Metropolitan University’s (TMU) Diversity Institute, Magnet, and SalesChoice Inc. As a first-of-its-kind resource, the DAT App will support organizations as they build workplaces that attract and retain diverse talent.

The tool will create new pathways for people to work in digital jobs and acquire the necessary skills to do their jobs in workplaces of the future, which will require redefining jobs and skills, and changing how employers hire, train and retain skilled workers.

“As a top B.C. business accelerator supporting science, technology and innovation-based companies, we are excited to develop and pilot the DAT App within our VentureLabs community,” said Lesley Esford, SFU VentureLabs’ acting executive director. “By increasing the accessibility of diversity assessment and resources to organizations of all sizes it will allow them to create and implement an EDI strategy from the beginning.

“The ripple effect of organizations who have diversity strategies created by using this tool will create increased and ongoing demand for underrepresented groups and individuals for governance positions, procurements contracts, employees and leaders.”

The DAT App will transform diversity and inclusion (D&I) assessment from an expensive, resource-intensive activity, to an online, self-guided process that will be more accessible, particularly to small and medium enterprises. Its goal is to enable companies to build D&I best practices at an early-stage, so they can build a foundation that helps ensure a more inclusive corporate culture as they scale and hire.

“The Diversity Assessment Tool reinforces the Government of Canada’s commitment to increasing the representation and inclusion of underrepresented groups across the workplace,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “We must ensure that we are broadening and attracting diverse talent, in order to continue positioning Canada as a global leader in innovation and growing our economic prosperity.”

Once developed, the app will be piloted with members of the Digital Supercluster and other sectoral councils and chambers of commerce in Canada, to reach small-to-medium businesses (SMEs) across the country.

The project has a total investment of $1.4 million, with $900,000 invested by partners and $500,000 co-invested through the Supercluster’s Talent and Capacity program. More information on the Diversity Assessment Tool can be found here.