Social inclusion in Canadian communities to be studied by Mitacs and five United Ways

Vancouver, BC – Mitacs, a national not-for-profit research and training organization, announces a new partnership with United Ways who work in the communities and surrounding areas of Calgary, Guelph, Hamilton, Ottawa, and Vancouver to conduct research that studies social inclusion in Canadian communities.

Researchers — graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from universities across the country — may begin the application process for grants in the coming months. A call for letters of intent was launched in September 2017 with research expected to commence in summer or fall of 2018. Research will focus on one or more of the following broad themes:

  • Reduced isolation
  • Access to services
  • Stronger neighbourhoods
  • Diversity
  • Employment for groups that are more often excluded from the workforce

Established as a pilot in five cities where the partner United Ways serve, the research will examine social inclusion and its impact on the prosperity of people in these communities. The research aims to assist in developing benchmarks to measure progress in social inclusion, examine the effect it has on employment and health outcomes in communities, as well as improve understanding of how inclusive communities are perceived by its citizens.

Under the terms of the agreement, Mitacs and the five United Ways will provide funding for the research and training for researchers. Each United Way will contribute $7,500, which will be matched by Mitacs, totalling a partnership value of $75,000.

Grants will be realized through Mitacs’ internship program, which is dedicated to advancing innovation in Canada through research collaborations between universities and non-academic organizations. United Way Ottawa is the lead partner with Mitacs and will coordinate involvement of United Ways and develop the call for letters of intent.

The focus is on social inclusion — sometimes referred to as a sense of belonging — which is the act of making all groups of people within a society feel valued and important. It is the process of improving the terms on which individuals and groups take part in society — improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity.


Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

“We’re excited to collaborate with lead partner United Way Ottawa and the four other United Ways across the country to bring collaborative research projects to graduate students and postdocs whose work is focused on social inclusion. These internships will have a direct and meaningful impact on the Canadian communities where United Way serves.”

Michael Allen, President and CEO, United Way Ottawa
“Research and analysis is at the core of what we do. It is critical to our decision making and helps drive United Way’s investment decisions. This new partnership allows us — and the many United Ways who are participating — to continue our understanding of our respective cities and, it enable us  to hone our work to support those most in need in our community.”

Mitacs quick facts:

  • Mitacs is a national not-for-profit organization led by Canadian universities that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for more than 17 years.
  • Working with 60 universities, thousands of companies, and both federal and provincial governments, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.

The five United Ways involved:

  • United Way Ottawa
  • United Way Halton & Hamilton
  • United Way of Calgary and Area
  • United Way Lower Mainland
  • United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin