About onBoard Canada


onBoard Canada provides online, self-paced, accessible governance training to anyone across Canada. In a growing list of communities, our matching program connects nonprofit and public sector boards with individuals from groups that have been historically excluded from governance positions, such as Indigenous Peoples, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, people with disabilities, underrepresented immigrants, visible minorities and women. We have facilitated more than 1,000 appointments to date, been recognized by the Intercultural Innovation Awards sponsored by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and BMW Group, and since 2016, have been a program of the Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University.

Fully trained and inclusive boards are better positioned to advance innovation, make better decisions, achieve results, and contribute to a stronger Canada.

We provide fully accessible, online governance training at an affordable price to anyone, anywhere.

Truly inclusive boards include directors from all constituents, including those from historically excluded communities such as Indigenous Peoples, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, people with disabilities, underrepresented immigrants, visible minorities and women.

We provide a means for putting the concept of inclusion into action: matching board opportunities of not-for-profit and public sector boards to qualified directors.

A program of The Chang School at Ryerson University, our work is evidence-based and supported by ongoing research. Having operated for more than ten years, we have built on past successes while continuously innovating and adapting our approach.

Starting in one Canadian city as an internationally recognized pilot, we have expanded our program nationally. Champions from all sectors, who see diversity in leadership and social inclusion as critical to the strength of our country, continue to make the program’s success possible.

Why onBoard Canada

Our vision is to enhance the standard for modern, effective governance through affordable training that elevates the effectiveness of  governance boards. We work towards improving the representation of historically excluded groups in leadership across the country and helping organizations build strong, efficient, and diverse boards that meet the needs of their communities.

Leadership plays a key role in a country’s economic outlook and social fabric. When there is diversity and inclusion around the decision-making table, organizational performance improves through innovation and new solutions. It also drives essential social networks that are the vanguard of social cohesion.
Governance is the top tier of leadership where ultimate oversight, strategic direction, and policy are determined. A lack of diversity at this level has sweeping implications for how historically excluded groups see themselves, their relevance and their place at the decision-making table.

Diversity is rising and multiplying in cities around the world, including Canada. Our Canadian cities and urban regions are increasingly diverse and are home to many of Indigenous population, yet their leadership, is not a reflective of their demographic reality.

Our History

Learn about onBoard Canada’s history and timeline of achievements, notable moments and key dates.

2006 Our beginnings can be traced back to 2006 when the Maytree Foundation developed a solution to address the lack of diversity in leadership positions at public agencies, boards, and commissions in the Greater Toronto Area. With a roster of 100 candidates and the goal to match at least 10 percent of them with boards by the end of the year, the program launched as abcGTA.

In 2007, at the first Toronto City Summit, the program would be motivated to call for more action on diversity in all sectors, including housing, health and education. The province of Ontario made a $1.5 million commitment to DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project. With this, abcGTA metamorphosed into DiverseCity onBoard and became a key cornerstone of the Greater Toronto effort.

2011 In 2011, our program was recognized as a leader in its field with an Intercultural Innovation Award by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group.
2015 In 2015, DiverseCity onBoard becomes part of the Global Diversity Exchange housed at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University.

In 2016, DiverseCity onBoard becomes an affiliate of The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University.

A $500,000 gift from TD helps to expand the reach and programming of DiverseCity onBoard. The board-matching program expanded its reach to include all women and the LGBTQ2+ communities.


DiverseCity onBoard's governance training becomes accessible and the program begins work towards expanding the board matching program to include persons with disabilities.


As of 2018, our program has facilitated more than 1,000 board appointments, has a network of over 900 organizations and 1,800 individuals, and has posted over 1,500 board positions.

On November 1, 2018, DiverseCity onBoard rebranded to onBoard Canada.

Today, our program can be found in cities across Canada working to raise the standard for modern effective governance so that all our communities benefit from decisions made around the board table.