Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Neuroscience

Read the mandate of the CAN EDI subcommittee

Mandate for CAN EDI subcommittee

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN) Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee has a mandate to propose policy and practice recommendations to the CAN leadership on producing an equitable association, that emphasizes diversity, inclusion and quality of life in event planning and dissemination of activities.

Specifically, the CAN EDI subcommittee will advise the CAN board and CAN members on EDI issues, EDI-related programming at the annual CAN meeting, provide updated resources related to EDI, maintain a code of conduct, and be involved in general advocacy to ensure that EDI is a priority for the Canadian neurosciences community. In addition to being a resource for CAN, the EDI subcommittee will collaborate with CAN members as well as the broader scientific community to address issues related to EDI.

Equity Diversity and Inclusion statement

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience (“CAN”) is dedicated to providing a safe and productive experience for all participants and attendees at all official CAN events. As a professional society, CAN is committed to providing an atmosphere that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific and educational ideas. Furthermore, CAN upholds the philosophy of equal opportunity for and treatment of all meeting participants and staff in any venue.

EDI News and statements

CAN supports Black in Neuro week – July 25-31, 2022

CAN is proud to support the 2022 Black in Neuro week as a Neuron Sponsor!

Check out the full programming here: https://blackinneuro.com/

CAN2022 meeting event: Picture A Scientist- Viewing and Panel Discussion

This year, the CAN EDI committee invites the Canadian Neuroscience community to a panel discussion of the film “Picture a Scientist”, hoping to ask the question “When you picture a neuroscientist, who do you see? The panel discussion will focus on perspective taking and discussing how to make Neuroscience more diverse, equitable, inclusive and just. The documentary will be viewable in the poster area through-out the conference.

A panel discussion will take place Saturday, May 14, 12:30 – 1:30 PM

More about the event here

CAN advocacy award winners: Montreal Neurological Institute Open Outreach Program

The proposed Open Outreach Program is an outreach event exclusively targeted at increasing neuroscience-related engagement with remote northern (largely Indigenous) communities in Quebec. Thus this proposal is a grassroots initiative to increase EDI in neuroscience training and exposure, with the long-term goal of increasing the number of Indigenous people who enter the field of neuroscience.

Read more about the program here

CAN advocacy award winner: Who can become a scientist?

CAN is proud to support the “Who can become a scientist?” workshop, whose main objective is to promote the awareness and importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion in science.

Read more about the advocacy award winners here

CAN2021 Meeting event: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion workshop with Lisa Willis

University of Alberta’s Dr. Lisa Willis presented an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion workshop on August 25, 2021, during the CAN2021 virtual meeting.

Learn more about Dr. Willis, her advocacy for EDI and selected resources on her website:

Inclusive STEM Dr. Willis’s curated list of EDI resources

CAN Statement on Racism, Discrimination and Violence (June 2020)

This is a tragic and painful time for the Black community all over the world, including here in Canada. The Canadian Association for Neuroscience condemns racism in all its forms. The tragic death of George Floyd and many others obligate all of us to reflect on important questions about systemic forms of racism present in our society today. (more…)

Letter to CIHR leadership about the cancellation of the Spring 2020 Project Competition

Dr. Jibran Khokhar, on behalf of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience Equity Diversity and Inclusivity Committee sent a letter outlining the impacts of the Spring Project Competition cancellation, especially on the recent progress that the Canadian scientific enterprise has made in the context of equity, diversity and inclusivity.

Read the letter here: Letter to CIHR – May 15, 2020

EDI session at CAN 2020 meeting

The EDI luncheon planned for the 2020 meeting has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

EDI luncheon at #CAN2019 (May 2019)

Learn more about this event here:


Consultations on a made-in-Canada version of Athena-SWAN (February 2019)

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced recently that she will consult students, researchers, academics and others to discuss their views on how to adapt the Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) initiative for a “made-in-Canada” approach. (Press release)

Athena SWAN is a charter that was established in the UK in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.  Other countries have also implemented Athena SWAN-inspired initiatives.

As committed to in Budget 2018, the Government of Canada will be adopting an Athena SWAN initiative in Canada, adapted to the Canadian context and reflecting the comments brought forth by post-secondary institutions in Canada. Canadians are encouraged to share their views and ideas about the Athena SWAN initiative with NSERC and Minister Duncan.

Written comments should be sent to: consultations@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

More information here:


Scientists denied visas to participate in meetings in the USA (June 2018)

Scientists are being denied visas to attend meetings in the USA based on their country of origin.  The travel ban proposed by President Trump affects travelers from countries with majority-Muslim populations, including Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen and Somalia, was upheld by the US supreme court in June 2018.

CAN strongly condemns this ban and reaffirms our position that science can and must remain a builder of bridges between the peoples of all nations, regardless of differences in political views, religious beliefs or country of origin. Scientists around the world share a desire to advance knowledge in ways that benefit all humans.  Read our statement from 2017, when the travel bans were first proposed by the Trump administration here: Science as uniting global force.

CAN is considering several lines of action to help scientists affected by the ban, but a first step would be to see how many are affected by the ban.  If you or a colleague of yours has been denied a visa to the USA and is from one of the countries targeted by the travel ban, please get in touch with us.

EDI-neuro session at #CAN2018 (May 2018)

Judy Illes led the interactive Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity in Neuroscience (EDI-Neuro) lunch workshop on May 14th, 2018 at our annual meeting in Vancouver, BC.

In advance of this meeting, CAN prepared a series of figures with data about representation of women and minorities in academic and university settings.

View the EDI-Neuro 2018 document

In response to the feedback received at the EDI-neuro session, the CAN board has proposed the creation of a CAN Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee, mentioned above.