MaRS report analyzes diversity, inclusion, and belonging of Toronto tech


During Elevate’s Talent Day, MaRS released its Tech For All report aimed at sharing research on the state of diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIBs) for the Toronto tech sector.

The DIBs survey was designed by Fortay and Feminuity, who noted last year in a BetaKit op-ed that building diverse companies goes beyond representation. “We know that a diversity of perspectives, thoughts, and experiences matters, and we also know that an inclusive workplace contributes to employee engagement. But what if employees do not feel like they can be their authentic selves at work?”

“Working on DIBs is an ongoing process and journey.”

For this report, MaRS surveyed a total of 456 members of Toronto’s tech community. There were focus groups with 110 Toronto tech sector employers and 28 tech sector employees, as well as interviews with 16 DIBs experts.


“Diversity is how you begin, inclusion is how you integrate diversity further into the organization, and belonging is how you crystallize your diversity and inclusion efforts,” the report reads.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Indigenous people felt significant racism exists at the workplace and contributes negatively towards feelings of inclusion and belonging.
  • Those with a disability were 2.4 times more likely to disagree that their organization promotes belonging.
  • Sixty-six percent of Black employees reported that they had been subject to bias on one or more aspects of their identity, compared to 47 percent of white employees.
  • Women were twice as likely to disagree that their organization is diverse or fosters belonging.
  • Those working at a small organization (one to 99 employees) were less likely to report they had been subjected to bias based on one or more aspects of their identity, compared to employees at medium (100 to 499 employees) and large (500+ employees) organizations.
  • While employers generally understood the importance of DIBs, they struggled to actually implement the initiatives that would build an inclusive workplace. MaRS pointed to some steps that employers surveyed are taking to reduce bias in the workplace, including appointing diverse hiring panels during interviews; using recruitment tools that can track bias; and engaging with communities like Venture Out and Ladies Learning Code.

    To improve DIBs, MaRS said that employers should start with reflection define their workplace’s mission and practices that could go against them. Opening the lines of communication to employees will establish trust in the organization, while employers seek help from outside resources and organizations to fix the gaps.

    Throughout the process, MaRS said it heard many organizations were afraid to begin the process for fear of doing something wrong. “Working on DIBs is an ongoing process and journey. The sooner organizations start, the easier it will be to create strategies and initiatives that will positively impact the diversity, inclusion, and belonging felt by employees.”

    Jessica Galang

    Jessica Galang

    Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.

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