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Volunteer Ottawa is home to the Ottawa office of the award-winning DiverseCity onBoard program.

Canadian cities are among the most diverse regions of the world, with immigrants and visible minorities comprising an increasing share of their population. In Ontario alone there are more than 46,000 nonprofit and voluntary organizations.  However, there is a disconnect between who sits on these boards and the increasing diversity of the population.

Given the constantly evolving immigrant population, cultural diversity has become and will continue to be a key feature of the City of Ottawa. Ottawa has welcomed over 12,000 immigrants in 2012 (Ottawa Municipal Immigration Strategy Report). The immigrant population in Ottawa is only expected to grow, with its growth rate twice the rate of the general population. We thus need to ensure diversity is reflected in the city’s decision-making bodies.

The DiverseCity onBoard program will provide services to:


Visible minorities and underrepresented immigrants interested in serving as directors on either a nonprofit or charitable board or on agency of the municipal, provincial or federal government.

Individuals interested in acquiring board governance training embedded in principles of diversity and inclusion.


Nonprofit, charitable organizations as well as public agencies, boards and commissions looking for qualified candidates from visible minority and underrepresented immigrant communities, and an interest in embedding principles of inclusion and diversity into their governance processes, policies and approaches.


mayorjimwatson “We have seen time and time again the value that diversity adds to organizations of all different kinds. A variety of perspectives is critically important and I am thrilled to see Ottawa as a part of the DiverseCity onBoard program. This is an initiative with great potential and I know that both the volunteers and the organizations will benefit from it.”  – Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa
 mppmadeleinemeilleur “I am very pleased that Ottawa has joined the DiverseCity onBoard Program. This initiative will help bridge the diversity gap in governance in our city by ensuring better representation of our community on non-profit and charitable boards. I join DiverseCity in celebrating Ottawa’s multicultural mosaic.” – Madeleine Meilleur MPP, Ottawa-Vanier

News & Events


How Hamilton lacks racial diversity in its 'corridors of power'

Published: September 7, 2016 By Samantha Craggs, CBC News Hamilton’s corridors of power don’t reflect the city’s racial diversity. The...

Spotlight: Resumé writing for board candidates

A board candidate’s resumé is often the key factor in deciding who will be interviewed for an available board...

DiverseCity onBoard Launches in Metro Vancouver

On May 26th, DiverseCity onBoard Metro Vancouver held its official launch at Vancouver City Hall. Co-sponsored by the City...

Interview with DiverseCity onBoard Appointee Eddie Villarta

“I find it encouraging and fulfilling to be surrounded with people from different backgrounds who are passionate and dedicated...

DiverseCity Stories

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