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Building equitable access to post-secondary education

Text, Sustainable Development Goals on a white background with a 17 colour wheel
Building equitable access to post-secondary education

OCAD University is collaborating on a national research project that focuses on ways to make post-secondary education equitable for all learners. 

The three-year project, Innovating for Inclusive and Equitable Post-Secondary Education: A Pathway to Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is backed by $870,000 in funding from the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals Program. 

“We are working with intention and care to close the knowledge and skills gap in Canada through inclusive approaches to universal design for learning, instructional excellence and equitable access to education for students with disabilities,” said Cathy Cappon, a co-lead on the project, within her role as Manager at OCAD University in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Sustainability Initiatives (ODESI). 

“Through this project OCAD U will develop a roadmap for transformative organizational change by developing a human rights-based framework that can be applied across the post-secondary sector to address the persistent and ever-present educational barriers experienced by students,” notes project co-lead Maya Mahgoub-Desai, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Design and Chair of Environmental Design. 

In addition to ODESI’s Director, Amanda Hotrum and Sustainability Coordinator, Victoria Ho, Cappon and Mahgoub-Desai will collaborate with researchers from the project’s seven other partner organizations: ARCH Disability Law Centre, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), Eviance (The Canadian Centre on Disability Studies Incorporated), National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), Ryerson University and St. Francis Xavier University.  

Working towards the UN's Sustainable Development Goals

The research project responds to three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined in the United Nations’ (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education (Goal 4), harnessing strategic partnerships (Goal 17) and, through this, cultivating decent work opportunities and economic growth for all (Goal 8). 

The Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals Program, through which the Inclusive and Equitable Post-Secondary Education research project is funded, was established as part of the country’s contribution to realizing the SDGs, which have also been adopted by 192 other United Nations Member States.  

More about the research project’s co-leads from OCAD University 

As a thought leader in the areas of disability studies, equity and accessibility, Cathy Cappon’s work is deeply informed by critical equity frameworks and a community/constituent-driven approach to organizational change. As an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Design, Maya Mahgoub-Desai’s research and practice addresses equity in design education and inclusive studio and teaching pedagogies. 

Find out more about the project via Eviance’s website. You may also contact Cathy Cappon ( or Maya Mahgoub-Desai (