Employment Equity Report 2022 now available

Two women chatting over coffee

The Annual Employment Equity Statistical Report for 2022 details the workforce analysis for equity-identified groups at York University. The report for the period Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022 is now available here: Employment Equity and Diversity.

The report highlights representation at York University for the four federally designated groups – women, Indigenous Peoples, racialized persons and persons with disabilities – under the Employment Equity Act, and representation rates for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. It also highlights some of the employment equity initiatives undertaken in 2022 and identifies future employment equity goals.

As part of its obligations under the Federal Contractors Program, the University is required to conduct a workforce analysis to identify areas of under-representation of designated group members in its workforce. The Annual Employment Equity Statistical Report details this workforce analysis.

The report also notes the recommendation from the Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to develop a pan-university employment equity action plan. The action plan would include benchmarks for recruitment, hiring and retention of equity-deserving individuals, as well as qualitative and quantitative reporting mechanisms, with the goal of increasing representation, career progression, success and retention across all employee groups. 

To find out more about Employment Equity at York and to view past reports, visit: yorku.ca/vpepc/employment-equity-and-diversity.

Fall orientation kicks off with events for Black, mature and international students

Four students walking on York University's Keele Campus in the fall

With fall term classes beginning on Sept. 6, the official start of the new academic year at York University is almost upon us. For students who are new to York, this is always an especially exciting and busy time, with a long list of orientation events to participate in and keep track of. 

The Transition and Orientation 2023 website helps with all of that, directing community members to the many events and activities happening in the lead-up to September and beyond. There, students will find:

  • a schedule of events and corresponding registration information;
  • the new student checklist;
  • a college finder tool;
  • an extensive resource guide of student support services;
  • information for parents and families;
  • housing and residence details;
  • contact information; and
  • important social media accounts to follow.

One of York’s top priorities is to ensure that all students feel welcome and supported in every way during their university experience. Guiding all transition and orientation programming is a focus on decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion. This means there will be many events designed specifically for priority communities, including (but not limited to) Indigenous, Black, international, 2SLGBTQIA+, first in the family, mature and transfer students.

Below are details about the first few events kicking off York’s 2023 Orientation. Stay tuned for more in YFile in the coming weeks.

Black Excellence at York University (BE YU) Welcome Event 

The BE YU Welcome Event is designed to celebrate incoming post-secondary students who self-identify as Black. The event’s theme is “BE YU and Getting to Know You,” and the intention is to delve into the Black student experience in post-secondary while building personal and professional relationships and celebrating the achievements of incoming York students. 

The BE YU Welcome Event will be held on Aug. 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the University’s Second Student Centre. Incoming students who are interested in attending can register here. For more information about BE YU, visit futurestudents.yorku.ca/black-excellence.

Mature and Transfer Student Orientation Sessions

Mature and transfer students can attend an orientation session either virtually on Aug. 17 or in person on Aug. 22. The session is intended to help ease their transition to their new school and increase their chances of success. They will have the opportunity to meet the Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part-time Students (ACMAPS) staff, hear personal stories from other mature students, have mature student learning myths debunked, and connect with other mature and transfer students. For complete details and to register, visit the Mature and Transfer Student Orientation Sessions page

In addition to the orientation session, Ready, Set, YU! is another program available to mature and transfer students, providing access to transition coaches who can offer specialized support to help students meet their transitional milestones and successfully navigate campus resources. 

International and Exchange Student Orientation 

Incoming international and exchange students students are invited to attend the International and Exchange Student Orientation taking place on Aug. 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There, they will learn about the various support services available to international students and have an opportunity to meet with on- and off-campus vendors such as banks, cell phone providers and more. For those who cannot attend on Aug. 28, the session will be repeated on Sept. 8 and 14.  

In addition, an optional event being offered is Shopping Essentials with York International on Aug. 27, where students can take a guided trip to nearby shopping centres to purchase any essentials they may need for the start of the school year. 

For complete details and to register for either event, visit the International and Exchange Student Orientation website.  

For more information about York University’s 2023 Transition and Orientation events, visit yorku.ca/orientation.

Inaugural events celebrate Black and rainbow grads


Spring Convocation saw the launch of two inaugural graduation celebrations, one organized by the York University’s Black Alumni Network (YUBAN), and the other by the Sexuality and Gender Advocacy Alumni Network (SAGA).

The events, designed to celebrate the resilience and achievements of the Black and 2SLGBTQIA+ graduates, joins the existing Indigenous grad event organized by the Centre for Indigenous Student Services (CISS), as part of York’s ongoing support of decolonizing, equity, diversity and inclusion (DEDI) initiatives.

The new events are also the result of efforts by the York alumni engagement team to re-build the Black, Indigenous and 2SLGBTQIA+ alumni networks in recent years.

The Black Grad Celebration, hosted by economics alum Fikayo Aderoju (BA ’22) and Schulich School of Business alum Reni Odetoyinbo (BBA ’18), was marked by inspirational words from Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community & Diaspora Carl James (BA ’78, MA ’80, PhD ’86), as well as a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by York student Ayokunmi Oladesu, a member of Vanier College Productions.

Black Grad Celebration
Black Grad Celebration

“For many Black university students, Black graduation ceremonies are opportunities not only to reflect on their journey through university, but also to celebrate the fact that despite the odds, challenges, doubts and setbacks, they want to celebrate how they managed to obtain their post-secondary credentials that once seemed elusive and unobtainable,” said James.

Actuarial science graduate Kobe Cargill (BA ’23) also took to the stage, sharing his experience as a Black international student, emphasizing the importance of recognizing the achievements of Black graduates.

“I am the first in my family and in my high school to leave Jamaica and get a university degree. I am doing this first and foremost for my family and friends back home,” he shared. “York is a large university with an extensive alumni network, and as Black alumni, we are laying a foundation for those to follow.”

The 2SLBGTQIA+ event, organized by SAGA, was hosted by political science alum Sara Elhawash (BA ’15) who welcomed recent grads and alumni, while acknowledging their accomplishments and challenges in getting where they are today. The event featured food, music and remarks delivered by Alice Pitt, interim vice-president equity, people and culture, and alumnus/current PhD student Gin Marshall (MES ’20) of SexGen, York’s committee responsible for advising and advocating around issues and concerns of sexual and gender diversity.

Rainbow Grad Celebration
Rainbow Grad Celebration

“I was truly honored to witness the power of unity and authenticity within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Having graduated in 2015 without a supportive network, it was heartwarming to celebrate alongside my fellow graduates who finally had the opportunity to embrace their true selves,” said Elhawash.

The evening provided an opportunity to network in a safe space and share words of encouragement and advice for future grads. Marshall spoke about their experiences as a queer-identifying university student and their challenges in the workforce. “We know the pendulum is swinging back towards more discrimination, and there is lots of work to be done. Recognize yourself, frame your degree and make sure it represents who you are. It is essential for you to recognize this accomplishment,” they said.

Along with YUBAN and SAGA, these two inaugural events were supported by the Division of Advancement, the Division of Students and the Office of the VP, Equity, People and Culture, and had participation from faculty and staff across the University.

York community celebrates Pride Month

Pride Month vari hall stickers 2023

A ceremony to celebrate Pride Month on June 7 at York University’s Vari Hall Rotunda was attended by staff, faculty, students and other University community members, who took part in the day’s events organized by the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion (CHREI) in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Events and Student Community & Leadership Development.

Beginning with opening remarks, the event featured a flag unfurling ceremony and booths to share information about SLGBTQIA+ resources and services available at York. Attendees were also invited to enjoy free treats and snap a selfie with York’s mascot Yeo.

See a photo gallery of the event, below. Visit York’s Pride Month website to learn more.

York University Pride 2023 opening ceremony

Study finds bisexual women at higher risk of suicide

women depression mental health support

New research by York University and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) finds that the risk of attempting suicide for women who identify as bisexual is more than three times higher compared to heterosexual women.

Published June 7 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the study also finds that compared to heterosexual individuals, gay men and gay women/lesbians are twice as likely to attempt suicide – both fatal and non-fatal, which is referred to by researchers as a suicide-related behavior (SRB) event.

Antony Chum
Antony Chum

For this study, the research team looked at Ontario participants from the Canadian Community Health Survey, which was linked to anonymous administrative health data such as emergency room visits or hospitalizations for non-fatal self-harm and fatal suicide events between 2002 and 2019. It is the first study to link population-based survey data with health records for over 123,000 individuals.

The findings point to an urgent need for better mental health supports within the LGBTQ+ community.

“We wanted to better characterize the disparity in suicide-related behaviors across sexual orientations and gender,” says lead author Antony Chum, a Faculty of Health assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in Population Health Data Science at York University and adjunct scientist at ICES. “Prior research on suicide attempts has mostly relied on self-reported data from surveys, which means we don’t have information on people who are too sick to participate or have died by suicide.”

The researchers, who include York University postdoctoral Fellows Gabriel John Dusing and Chungah Kim, found:

  • Overall prevalence of one or more SRB events was around two per cent in heterosexual individuals, five per cent in gay/lesbian individuals, and eight per cent in bisexual individuals.
  • Sexual minority individuals were at higher risk of SRB events, ranging from 2.10 to 4.23 times more likely when compared to heterosexual people.
  • After adjusting for age and gender, the risk of a SRB event was more than three times greater among bisexual individuals, and this risk was most pronounced for bisexual women.

“The higher risk for bisexual women could be attributed to greater discrimination that bisexual people face within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as higher rates of violence, trauma and caregiving burden that bisexual women may experience in opposite-sex relationships,” says Chum.

One limitation of the study is that data was not available for non-binary individuals and other sexual orientations, such as asexual and queer. Nevertheless, this was the first study to use a large representative sample linked with medical records, which improves the generalizability of the findings for other regions and populations.

“The study shows a clear need for better funding, policy and programming to address LGBTQ+ suicide risk,” says Chum. “We also need increased training for health-care workers to address LGBTQ+ suicide risk. Further, we want to encourage hospitals and clinics to collect sexual orientation data as part of routine patient care.”

Chum also notes the increasing creep of health care privatization and that publicly funded mental health supports need to be increased not just for LGBTQ+ people, but across the board.

The findings align with the authors’ related study published in March in PLOS One, which found that both sexual minority status and residing in under-resourced neighbourhoods with poor access to health care, were independent risk factors for suicide-related behaviours. Future research needs to explore interventions that improve the mental health of LGBTQ+ people while addressing social determinants of health, such as neighbourhood-level disparities and barriers to health care.

Watch a video of Chum, Dusing and Kim explain the research.

Learn more at News @ York.

Spring Convocation set for 2023 graduands

File photo Convocation students

Beginning June 9, graduating students will experience the time-honoured tradition of crossing a stage to accept a diploma when York University’s 2023 Spring Convocation gets underway.

Running from June 9 to 23, this year’s spring convocation will feature 13 ceremonies at both the Keele and Glendon campuses, as well as new celebrations for Black and 2SLGBTQIA+ graduands.

This year’s events will reflect the first changes recommended by a working group assembled in August 2022 by York President and Vice-Chancellor, Rhonda Lenton, tasked with exploring updates to the University’s convocations that further embed decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion principles, embody respect for Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and align with the institutional value of sustainability.

Among the changes taking effect this year will be clearer language around existing policies regarding First Nations, Métis or Inuit students, faculty and guests being encouraged to wear traditional ceremonial dress of their people and culture; the Canadian national anthem occurring after a land acknowledgement and, where possible, an Honour Song; and further reductions in plastic and paper waste and such as digital programs available via QR codes onsite.

New this year are special celebrations for Black and 2SLGBTQIA+ graduands that will take place on Wednesday, June 28 and Thursday, June 29 respectively. These events will celebrate and recognize the achievements of the Class of 2023 and the professors, staff, classmates, alumni, friends, family and allies who have supported their journey. The events are open to all members of the YorkU community.

As before, all Convocation ceremonies will be webcast live and a link to the feed, as well as a schedule of ceremonies, will be available on the Convocation website.

Pride Month a time to celebrate, reflect, learn

Pride Month banner 2023

Dear York community,

June marks Pride Month, a time to celebrate and reflect on the lived experiences of 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and to learn about the history, culture and contributions they have made to our campuses and to Canadian society. 

Members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community have been historically, structurally and systematically excluded. These barriers very much exist today in Canada and around the world. For example, more than 70 countries today still criminalize same-sex conduct, and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community still experience disproportionately high rates of gender-based violence and harassment.

York continues to fight for the equal rights and safety of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community standing against all forms of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, discrimination and racism. These actions are central to York’s core values of equity, diversity, inclusivity and social justice.

York is focussing on ways to remove systematic barriers to ensure that our campuses are experienced as safe spaces where everyone feels that they belong. This focus can be seen through York University initiatives such as the Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (DEDI) Strategy, the Provostial Fellows Program: 2023-24, and the newly announced President’s award for Excellence in Decolonization, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (DEDI) which recognizes sustainable and measurable change on campus, with an intersectional social justice lens, especially for equity-deserving groups such as women, visible/racialized minorities, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and 2SLGBTQIA+ people.

We invite you to visit the Pride website to learn more about the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and their ongoing work and accomplishments. We also encourage you to attend the events that are happening during Pride Month through the Central Events Calendar and Student Event Calendar. Join us for the Pride 2023 Opening Ceremony on June 7 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Vari Hall. The Ceremony is hosted by The Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion in collaboration with Student Community & Leadership Development.


Rhonda Lenton
President and Vice-Chancellor

Alice Pitt
Interim Vice-President Equity, People & Culture

Déclaration à l’occasion du Mois de la Fierté

Chers membres de la communauté de York,

Le mois de juin est le mois de la Fierté, une période de célébration et de réflexion sur les expériences vécues par les membres de la communauté 2ELGBTQIA+, et de découverte de leur histoire, de leur culture et de leurs contributions à nos campus et à la société canadienne. 

Ces personnes ont été historiquement, structurellement et systématiquement exclues. De telles barrières existent encore aujourd’hui au Canada et dans le monde. Par exemple, plus de 70 pays criminalisent encore aujourd’hui les comportements homosexuels, et les membres de la communauté 2ELGBTQIA+ subissent encore des taux disproportionnés de harcèlement et de violence basée sur le genre.

York continue de lutter pour l’égalité des droits et la sécurité de la communauté 2ELGBTQIA+ en s’opposant à toutes les formes d’homophobie, de biphobie, de transphobie, de discrimination et de racisme. Ces actions sont au cœur des valeurs fondamentales de York, à savoir l’équité, la diversité, l’inclusion et la justice sociale.

York se concentre sur les moyens d’éliminer les barrières systématiques afin de garantir que ses campus soient des espaces sécuritaires où tout le monde se sent à sa place. Cette orientation se traduit par des initiatives de l’Université York comme la Stratégie de décolonisation, d’équité, de diversité et d’inclusion (DEDI) et le programme de bourses de la rectrice  2023-2024, ainsi que le nouveau prix de la Présidente pour l’excellence en matière de décolonisation, d’équité, de diversité et d’inclusion (DEDI), qui récompense les changements durables et mesurables sur les campus, dans une optique de justice sociale intersectionnelle, en particulier pour les groupes en quête d’équité (les femmes, les minorités visibles/racialisées, les peuples autochtones, les personnes en situation de handicap et les personnes 2ELGBTQIA+).

Nous vous invitons à visiter le site Web de la Fierté pour en savoir plus sur la communauté 2ELGBTQIA+, ainsi que sur son travail et ses réalisations. Nous vous encourageons également à participer aux événements du Mois de la Fierté en consultant le calendrier central des événements et le calendrier des événements pour les étudiantes et étudiants. Joignez-vous à nous pour la cérémonie d’ouverture du Mois de la Fierté 2023 le 7 juin de 12h30 à 14 h au pavillon Vari. La cérémonie est organisée par le Centre des droits de la personne, de l’équité et de l’inclusion, en collaboration avec Développement de la communauté étudiante et du leadership (SCLD).

Sincères salutations,

Rhonda Lenton
Présidente et vice-chancelière

Alice Pitt
Vice-présidente intérimaire de l’équité, des personnes et de la culture

Mpox outbreak leads to stigmas, blame toward 2SLGBTQIAP+ community

Colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox particles (teal) found within an infected cell (brown), cultured in the laboratory. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID

York University researchers have furthered their study of the global mpox virus by publishing a new paper on the dangerous stigmas the 2SLGBTQIAP+ community face as the outbreak continues.

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared mpox an international public health emergency on July 23, 2022, over 100 countries have been affected by cases. A month earlier, York Postdoctoral Fellow Nicola Bragazzi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics Jude Kong and Distinguished Research Professor Jianhong Wu contributed to that decision by leading critical research identifying symptoms in a paper called “Epidemiological trends and clinical features of the ongoing monkeypox epidemic.”

Since the outbreak of mpox, and the paper, research has found that the Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual and pansexual (2SLGBTQIAP+) community, has been heavily and disproportionately impacted. Concerned with the risk the community faces in being stigmatized and blamed for transmitting the virus, Bragazzi, Kong and Wu turned from studying the clinical impact of mpox, to studying its social impact. They wanted to learn just how significant the stigma for the 2SLGBTQIAP+ community had become, because marginalized and minority populations being blamed for spreading a disease, can increase hesitancy to seek help when symptoms emerge or impact mental health conditions.

The result is a new study, co-authored with York’s Zahra Movahedi Nia (postdoctoral researcher) and Professors Ali Asgary and Dr. James Orbinski, which used two forms of artificial intelligence-driven natural language processing – topic modelling and sentiment analysis – to assess relevant popular discussions on Twitter and Facebook, identifying stigmatization sources, their hot spots and their sentiments.

“The 2SLGBTQIAP+ is a hard-to-reach community and social networks can be a useful venue to sample from this community and collect relevant data,” says Bragazzi.

The researchers discovered that online mpox has become tightly linked to the 2SLGBTQIAP+ community, with the majority of sentiments negative. Out of the 10 topics related to mpox and 2SLGBTQIAP+, eight were directly focused on blaming the community for spreading mpox.

“This study shows that the 2SLGBTQIAP+ community is being widely stigmatized for spreading the mpox virus, which turns the community into a highly vulnerable population. As a result, people are discouraged from seeking help upon observing the symptoms and the prevalence of the virus increases. Such stigmatization broadens disparities, brings social isolation and increases mental health disorders,” says Kong. 

The academic quantification and proof of ongoing social stigmatization is meant to aid public health officials in determining the direction of policies, informing them with data-driven outcomes that can help counter stigma which, if it increases, can lead to lack of treatment, thereby making it more difficult to contain and control the mpox outbreak.

“Our work will enable health officials to identify hotspots, control fear and stop discrimination among the population,” says Wu.

York community invited to Pride 2023 Opening Ceremony on June 7

Pride Month banner 2023

Join the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion (CHREI) in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Events and Student Community & Leadership Development for the York University Pride 2023 Opening Ceremony on Wednesday, June 7 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Vari Hall Rotunda.

The ceremony will feature opening remarks followed by the unfurling of the Pride flag. Attendees can enjoy free treats, snap a selfie with York’s mascot Yeo and learn about 2SLGBTQIA+ resources and services available at York. Engage in the conversation on social media using #YUPride and share what a campus free of homophobia and transphobia looks like, feels like and sounds like to you. 

All York community members are welcome.  

Event details

York University Pride 2023 Opening Ceremony
Date: Wednesday, June 7
Time: 12:30 to 2 p.m.
Location: Vari Hall Rotunda 

York professors lead Queer Comics Symposium

coloured pencils sketch cartoon

Building upon the work of the just-published and Lambda Literary Award nominated publication, The LGBTQ+ Comics Studies Reader: Critical Openings, Future Directions (University Press of Mississippi, 2022), York University Professors Alison Halsall and Jonathan Warren will host a Queer Comics Symposium on Friday, April 28.

This event, presented by York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and the Departments of English and Humanities, will focus on transdisciplinary and international LGBTQ+ comics scholarship and creativity. Taking advantage of the appearance of the Reader as a field-defining publication, organizers say the symposium will mobilize the specific kinds of knowledge that it showcases: putting scholars in conversation with creators, providing a forum for the work of thinkers at different stages of their careers, and featuring a diversity of analytical approaches with the aim of generating further contributions to the field.

The day begins at noon, in Accolade Building East (room 005), with a plenary lecture given by Professor Michelle Ann Abate (Ohio State University), author of Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History (Temple University Press). She will discuss “Queering Conformity in Postwar America: The Li’l Tomboy Comic Book Series and Gender Rebellion in the 1950s.” Following this lecture will be a panel that features papers by Professor Lin Young (University of Calgary), Joti Bilkhu (York University), as well as Halsall and Warren.

The second session takes place at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander St., Toronto) at 6 p.m. It will feature a public address given by Professor Justin Hall (California College of the Arts), cartoonist and editor of No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics (Fantagraphics). This lecture will be followed by the first Canadian screening of the award-winning documentary, No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics (Compadre Media, 2021), directed by Vivian Kleiman.

The Queer Comics Symposium will feature contributions from established and upcoming scholars in the field, as well as comics creators and students, at an event that is committed to inspiring and diversifying conversations about LGBTQ+ sequential art and its production around the world.

Via slideshow presentations and a book display, there will also be a presentation of a creative curation of queer comics art.

All are welcome to attend.