The British Columbia Institute of Technology acknowledges that our campuses are located on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish Nations of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam).
British Columbia is located on the homelands of 203 distinct Indigenous nations and cultures, who combined, speak over 30 different languages and close to 60 unique dialects. We ask all to reflect, acknowledge and honour in their own way the First Nation land on which they live, work and play.
BCIT is working to reduce inequality through teaching and applied research, student and employee engagement and through community partnerships and advocacy related to reducing inequality.
Why reducing inequality matters
Education & Research
Housed within the BCIT Centre for Applied Research and Innovation, the Rehabilitation Engineering Design Lab (REDLab) focuses on studying and developing technologies that positively impact a person’s ability to interact with the built and natural environments, and/or promote health and community participation for those with disabilities.
At the forefront of REDLab is the research of Canada Research Chair in “Rehabilitation Engineering Design”, Dr. Jaimie Borisoff. Dr. Borisoff focuses his research on how technology development can improve accessibility and mobility for people with spinal cord injury.
One focus of his work is on expanding patients’ ability to interact more fully with others, the environment, and their world. This includes dynamic wheeled mobility, the ability to change the user’s position in a wheelchair to suit different daily activities.
Rehabilitation engineering design looks at how people use devices in real life and, from these observations, designs better versions of the devices.
A key achievement in Dr. Borisoff’s work is the creation of the Elevation wheelchair – a lightweight functional wheelchair that allows users to adjust their position to suit different daily activities.
His work continues to expand with the exploration of newer technologies like robotics and exoskeletons to improve the lives of people with mobility issues.
“Getting a product to market that has impact on people’s lives is a goal of the lab.” – Dr. Borisoff
Target 8.5: By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.
Kory Wilson, Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships is the Chair of the National Indigenous Education Committee of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). CICan advocates as the collective voice of Canada’s publicly supported colleges and institutes, working with governments, industry and stakeholders to ensure all Canadians have access to training opportunities that will prepare them for a fulfilling career in the field of their choice.
BCIT signed the CICan Indigenous Education Protocol, a document that provides a vision for how colleges and institutes can strive to improve their practices and better serve Indigenous peoples. It is based on seven principles that underscore the importance of structures and approaches to address Indigenous peoples’ learning needs and support self-determination and socio-economic development of Indigenous communities. Signatory institutions agree to:
- Commit to making Indigenous education a priority.
- Ensure governance structures recognize and respect Indigenous peoples.
- Implement intellectual and cultural traditions of Indigenous peoples through curriculum and learning approaches relevant to learners and communities.
- Support students and employees to increase understanding and reciprocity among Indigenous and non- Indigenous peoples.
- Commit to increasing the number of Indigenous employees with ongoing appointments throughout the institution, including Indigenous senior administrators.
- Establish Indigenous-centred holistic services and learning environments for learner success.
- Build relationships and be accountable to Indigenous communities in support of self-determination through education, training and applied research.
Mi Chap Tukw means “a home away from home,” the logo, which is called Snewayelh, means “teachings,” and the hand symbolizes the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next, raised in the Coast Salish welcome gesture.
Through cultural and educational activities, Mi Chap Tukw creates a sense of inclusion and belonging for Indigenous students.
Kory Wilson, Kwakwaka’wakw, Executive Director of Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships is one of BC’s best-known advocates for Indigenous education. BCIT had more than 1,600 Indigenous students in 2019/20 and Indigeneity is increasingly reflected in the curriculum and teaching practices. BCIT recognizes that Indigenous students are underrepresented in the student population and has programs specifically designed to recruit and support Indigenous students:
- BCIT and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation have been partnered in their commitment to train Indigenous students in the trades and technology sector since 2006. The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation Open Arms Project Expansion granted BCIT an additional $450,000 in May 2021 to fund trades and technology-related training for 100 Indigenous students. This grant will allow more Indigenous students to gain trades and technology education by providing funds toward: tuition, supplies, and supplementary supports, participation in career exploration through the Introduction to Marine Trades for Indigenous Students program; and gaining experience through community-based skills training in Ecological Restoration or other trades training. More information.
- The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program recognizes that Indigenous peoples are underrepresented in the profession of nursing. BSN, in partnership with Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships, has formed the BSN Indigenization Circle working group. The circle’s vision is “Reconciliation in Action” and this team actively works to promote reconciliation activities for students and faculty. The goal is to Indigenize the BSN program by welcoming and working with Indigenous students. By improving how they recruit, support and successfully graduate Indigenous students, as well as recruit and retain Indigenous faculty and staff, they hope to strengthen the program. To encourage and support Indigenous applicants the program has a dedicated admission process with five reserved seats for Indigenous students. More information.
- Indigenous peoples are also underrepresented in the Computing industry. In accordance with BCIT’s equity plan, to encourage and support Indigenous applicants, preferred candidacy will be given to Indigenous students in select full-time Computing programs. In partnership with TD Bank, the Computing Department offers bursaries and entrance awards specifically for Indigenous Computing students. Up to $20,000 per year is available in multiple computing programs. More information.
- BCIT and several northern partners, including the Coast Mountain School District, the Haisla Nation, and the Kitimat Valley Institute (KVI), a trades and industry-training centre in Kitimat offer a joint program in refrigeration mechanics. The program aims to enroll at least 50 per cent Indigenous students, and was specifically developed to remove barriers of cost and location, including running the program at the KVI campus, closer to home for students. Funding has been provided in part by B.C.’s Industry Training Authority, and the Haisla Nation Council to reduce tuition fees. The first graduating class included members of the Haisla and Nisga’a Nations, dual-credit high school students, and adult learners.
BCIT is committed to providing assistance to all its full and part-time students with permanent or temporary disabilities. Accessibility Services promotes access to education and works to facilitate equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities. This is accomplished through direct support to students and through collaboration and consultation with instructional and administrative faculty.
Accessibility Services can help to accommodate a wide variety of needs including:
- Exam and program accommodations
- Adaptive technology and ergonomic aids
- Note-taking, scribes, readers
- Funding and grant information
- Alternative format textbooks
- Learning strategies support
- Interpreting or transcribing
- Campus orientation and access to designated parking
BCIT has a diverse learning community with more than 6,400 International students in 2019/20 from over 116 countries. The International Student Center (ISC) is an essential resource for international students and provides a wide range of assistance to and programming for international students. This includes walking prospective students through the steps to submit an application and informing them of the required documents such as study permits and medical insurance. ISC also offers a wide range of information sessions, workshops and special events specifically designed for international students.
Free online learning
There are four free online courses related to reducing inequalities:
- Indigenous Awareness (MOOC 200). This course is free and available online to promote an increased understanding of Indigenous people and their place and space in Canada, past and present.
- Respectful Workplaces (MOOC_0250). Because we all deserve to thrive. Empower yourself to be the change our world needs now. Free online.
- Understanding Unconscious Bias (MOOC-0252). This course aims to help us all understand ourselves and our world better through an examination of our own unconscious biases. Free online.
- Intercultural Communication Competence and Diversity Awareness (MOOC 0257). An introduction to the dynamic forces which enhance effective communication between persons from various cultural backgrounds. Its goal is to encourage intercultural communication competency, otherwise known as ICC.
2020 course inventory
- BCST 5010 – Visual Communication and Culture
- BHSC 1144 – Human Behaviour 1
- BHSC 1150 – Self and Others
- BHSC 2239 – Human Behaviour
- BHSC 6201 – Professional Practice and Communication
- BLAW 3800 – Human Resource Management Law
- BLAW 3805 – Human Rights Law
- BSNC 1020 – Context of Nursing and Health Care 1
- BNSC 3020 – Context of Nursing and Healthcare 3
- BSNC 4000 – Nursing Knowledge 4 – Health Promotion and Illness Prevention in Individuals and Populations
- BSNC 5030 – Practice of Nursing 5
- BSNC 6030 – Practice of Nursing 6
- BSNC 7055 – Communication in Nursing Practice 7
- BUSA 4700 – Critical Thinking and Ethics
- BUSA 4705 – Leading People and Teams Across Cultures
- BUSA 5028 – Social Return on Investment
- COMM 1117 – Introduction to Intercultural Business Communication & Workplace Diversity
- COMM 7100 – Intercultural Communication Competency and Diversity Awareness for Professionals
- EENG 7435 – Drinking Water Treatment and Management
- EENG 7440 – Environmental Impact Assessment
- FNAM 1200 – Sustainable Resource Management
- FNAM 3350 – Integrated Forest Land Management
- FNAM 3700 – Fundamentals of Resource Measurements
- FNAM 4500 – Forest Management
- GEOM 4025 – Cadastral Surveys and Land Use Planning
- HSSC 1000 – Selected Topics in Humanities & Social Sciences
- INTD 6300 – Degree Studio B: Cultural Exploration
- INTD 6370 – Field Study for Interior Design
- LIBS 7027 – Selected Topics in Liberal Studies
- MINE 1100 – Introduction to the Minerals Industry
- MINE 8000 – Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility and Indigenous Awareness
- MOOC 210 – Digital Literacy
- NSSC 8600 – Community Nursing: Facilitating Health
- NSSC 8800 – Community Nursing: Facilitating Health Action
- RENR 7008 – Indigenous Perspectives in Natural Resources Management
- RENR 7100 – Principles of Ecological Restoration
- RENR 8002 – First Nations Perspectives & Natural Resource Management
- TOUR 4401 – Sustainable Destination Development
In May 2019, BCIT launched An Indigenous Vision: A Framework for Action and Accountability. The Vision complements the three commitments in BCIT’s Strategic Plan. Furthermore, our implementation plan is structured around the principles of the Colleges and Institutes Canada Indigenous Education Protocol.
The introduction of the Indigenous Vision provides a focal point for the celebration of BCIT’s 25-year commitment to the enrollment and success of Indigenous learners. Underpinned by successive strategies and plans, we have designed and delivered Indigenous programs and services since 1985, operated a dedicated Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships department since 1994, and worked and studied together in the BCIT Indigenous Gathering Place (Mi Chap Tukw) on the Burnaby Campus since 2011.
The Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships team offers holistic resources and services in supporting students, Indigenization, and Reconciliation. BCIT had more than 1,700 Indigenous students in 2017/18, and Indigeneity is increasingly reflected in the curriculum and teaching practices at BCIT. Yet, there is a great deal more to do.
Endorsed by the BCIT Board of Governors, fully supported by the Leadership Team, and developed through extensive consultation with the broader BCIT community, the Indigenous Vision and its associated Implementation Plan provide the roadmap for moving forward.
In the episode of Inside BCIT below, President Kathy Kinloch sits down with Kory Wilson, Executive Director of Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships. As well, Zaa Joseph, Advisor, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships, introduces the community to the Indigenous Gathering Space located on the Burnaby Campus in Building SW1-1521.
Local and global events have compelled us to acknowledge our role in perpetuating systemic racism and to take action.
BCIT recognizes that without removing barriers to inclusion, racialized staff and students will not feel valued on an equal level, and we will miss out on the experience, knowledge, and talent that racially diverse people contribute to an organization.
We are committed to actively working and committing resources towards the ultimate goal of eliminating all forms of racism within our community. To further this goal, BCIT President Kathy Kinloch requested BCIT’s Respect, Diversity and Inclusion Office form an Anti-Racism Working Group and develop an Anti-Racism Framework. Learn more.
Through a series of panels, conversations, and workshops, Diversity Circles strives to connect participants and educate on the increasing diversity on campus through a strategic, positive, and respectful manner. Zaa Joseph and Shannon Kelly founded the initiative and are its co-leaders at BCIT.
“It’s really important to bring people together from all different areas of BCIT and allow them to connect with each other, as part of wider discussions,” said Kelly.
An Indigenous model recognizes the complicated and intertwined connections in life. Diversity Circles uses this model to challenge the “normalized” institutional way of thinking. “The ‘Diversity Circles Framework’ provides an alternative to “outcome-based” or deficit models where individuals who don’t ‘fit in’ are ‘weeded out.’ In contrast, a strengths-based model allows individuals to recognize and share their own strengths and gifts with the community,” Kelly added.
To hold these discussions on diversity at BCIT, Joseph and Kelly facilitated “8×8 focus groups” which consists of eight faculty members and stakeholders from different areas. There are a total of eight sessions with different participants each time, hence “8×8”. Joseph and Kelly spoke on the importance of these sessions in the world of sustainability, “The connection of social equity with sustainability is not easy to explain, but by holding these discussions, participants could see this perspective and share their views with peers.”
The initiative welcomes everyone from the wider BCIT Community including staff, students, alumni, and other stakeholders.
“Diversity Circles events connect people, flatten hierarchies, and create safe spaces for sometimes difficult, but very important conversations.”
Diversity Circles Co-Lead Shannon Kelly spoke of one lesson she learned while connecting with others through the initiative, “Building relationships is just as important as discussing ideas, if you want to see change occur.”
She went on to say that it was an honour talking with participants and that it was great to see that they were deeply interested in the sustainable aspect of the initiative, “[they] were very passionate about how principles of equity intersect with sustainability. People sincerely want to see sustainability grow at BCIT.”
Diversity Circles Co-lead Zaa Joseph added, “Diversity Circles provides a place to honour the work being done at BCIT, while also recognizing the strengths that our Equity Seeking groups and allies hold on our campuses. As we move forward implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), projects such as Diversity Circles will be looked at more for support – as we as Indigenous people cannot do this on our own within our institutes.”
Diversity Circles provides an opportunity for parties to discuss how to move forward on the inclusion and equality of all including genders.
BCIT is made up of diverse people working towards a more inclusive community. We welcome everyone to participate and share their voice.
BCIT is a member of Pride at Work Canada. Pride at Work Canada empowers us to build communities that celebrate all people regardless of gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation. With programs that include networking and webinars you can build your knowledge.
BCIT’s “Take Pride” was founded in 1990, however they were not able to operate consistently, which resulted in a lack of visibility. The name was changed to “Technically Queer” around 2007, which saw a new beginning of awareness at BCIT. The club is now called BCIT LGBTQ+.
In 2011, BCIT made its first appearance in the Vancouver Pride Parade with the School of Business and Media’s Evolution Radio team. In 2013, the BCIT Pride Parade committee was formed and entered the Vancouver Pride Parade in 2014. This committee evolved into the BCIT Pride committee in 2016, to expand support and their presence in the community.
The BCIT Faculty & Staff Association (FSA) 2021-26 strategic plan was approved by the Board of Directors in March 2021. The plan is composed of four priority areas, each with a related goal. Each priority area has a number of objectives. Priority Area #1 is Reducing Inequalities with the goal to identify and address inequities across their membership.
- Identify and work to address inequities in different FSA job classifications
- Increase awareness within the membership about existing inequities
- Increase accessibility and seek to remove barriers to participation in the FSA
- Advocate for equitable access to resources, education, and technology support
- Advocate for employment security for all members
- Increase equity in BCIT hiring and retention practices
- Hold BCIT accountable for reducing inequities
Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) has been engaging members to impact public policy at all levels of government and to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.’s workforce, they are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. They leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through four unique Signature Programs. One of these signature programs is the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council (DLC).
Kory Wilson, Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships represents BCIT as a Vice-Chair of the DLC for 2020-21. The DLC focuses on addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion to encourage allyship and enhance business innovation while continuing its efforts in supporting the advancement of women in business. The council holds programs and workshops that help to educate GVBOT members on these issues. It also offers resources to help businesses improve diversity and inclusion.
The GVBOT hosts a number of forums aimed at moving the dial on emerging areas of public policy. Outcomes from these forums often help shape and drive their advocacy efforts at all three levels of government. One in particular is the annual Indigenous Opportunities Forum focuses on strengthening relationships between industry and Indigenous peoples. Kory Wilson moderated the Indigenous Opportunities 2020: Charting a Prosperous Path Forward where they explored how Indigenous Nations are working, often alongside industry and organizational partners, to promote economic recovery and to foster positive dialogue and change to bring about a more prosperous future.
Administration & Operations
Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) helps organizations to better understand their buildings physical accessibility, how they can improve, and identify barriers for their community. BCIT has received certification for six buildings and you can view the scorecards for each building at the following links:
- Health Science Centre RHF Accessibility Certified Gold (85%)
- Aerospace Technology Campus RHF Accessibility Certified (73%)
- NE1 – J W Inglis Building RHF Accessibility Certified (66%)
- SE16 – Student Activity Centre RHF Accessibility Certified (65%)
- SW1 – Gateway Building RHF Accessibility Certified (64%)
- SE14 – Library Building RHF Accessibility Certified (63%)
Since 1984, the Social Planning and Research Council of B.C. (SPARC BC) has managed B.C.’s Parking Permit Program for people with disabilities.
A parking permit for people with disabilities ensures that, when a person has mobility limitations, they can park in one of the designated parking spots throughout British Columbia. People with mobility limitations are entitled to a permit even if they do not own a vehicle. As long as the parking permit holder is either driving or being transported in the vehicle, a valid parking permit may be displayed on the rear view mirror when the vehicle is parked in a designated spot.
Parking at all BCIT campuses is available for employees, students and visitors who have a valid SPARC sticker. Maps of parking can be found at the Campuses and Directions page.
The Accessible Washroom Project (AWP) was created in response to concerns raised by members of the BCIT community with regards to the lack of washrooms that were accessible to certain groups, including transgendered and gendervariant people, those with young children, people with physical disabilities, and anyone with specific religious or personal needs.
Single Stall Gender-inclusive Washrooms brochure created by the BCIT Student Association is your guide to the single stall, gender inclusive washrooms on the Burnaby campus.