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Social Innovation Lab on Reconciliation in Postsecondary


With a shared goal of creating a good future for the next generation, many Indigenous communities and universities have partnered together. These formative relationships serve as the key to unlocking the potential for broader socio-economic change needed to support healing, growth and the success of all communities and of Canada as a whole.

Against this backdrop, Vancouver Island University and the McConnell Foundation hosted a meeting for Presidents of Regional Universities in December 2018. The goal was to consider actions they could undertake collectively to advance reconciliation across the post-secondary sector.

Through continued meetings with that group, major events such as “Perspectives on Reconciliation” in 2019 and 2020, meetings annually at the Building Reconciliation Forum, and guidance from an Reconciliation Advisory Group, McConnell received direction and guidance from Indigenous leaders, reconciliation leads at universities and colleges, and postsecondary presidents which helped prioritize actions that could effectively catalyze collective, sector-wide action on reconciliation.

Social Innovation Lab on Reconciliation in the Postsecondary Sector

These conversations led to the launch of a Social Innovation Lab on Reconciliation in Fall 2021.

Stewarded by Aleeya Velji, Tosh Southwick, and Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse, with support from McConnell, the idea of the Lab process is to support institutions to develop ambitious, innovative reconciliation projects, ideally that could offer sector-wide impact and lessons.

In the first (“pilot”) year, two institutions participated: Algoma University and Lethbridge College.

The lab process is being developed alongside these two institutions. The intent is to open up to support greater participation in each subsequent year.

Click here to see the Briefing Package shared with each lab team at the start of their lab (October 2021) 
Click here to read our Learnings and Recommendations based on the first year of the lab (July 2022)