Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the board matching program?

onBoard Canada is a nimble solution to bridge the diversity gap in governance. It works toward ensuring governance boards of not-for-profit and public bodies represent the population they serve by providing board matching for groups historically excluded in governance. It also works toward increasing the capacity of all individuals, and voluntary and public agencies and boards by providing affordable governance training.

Am I eligible to apply to the board matching program?

Governance Training: Anyone, anywhere, regardless of background is eligible to take the online governance training.

Board Matching: Currently available in the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, London, Vancouver, and Windsor. To address the under-representation of particular groups on governance boards, only individuals from these communities are currently eligible to apply to the program’s board matching service:

  • Aboriginal/Indigenous Peoples

The original inhabitants of North America and their descendants. Aboriginal identity refers to whether the person identifies with the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. This includes those who report being an Aboriginal person, that is, First Nations (North American Indian), Métis or Inuk (Inuit) and/or those who report Registered or Treaty Indian status, that is registered under the Indian Act of Canada, and/or those who report membership in a First Nation or Indian band. (Source)

While there is no universal definition, in Canada, the term Indigenous has been used by, and to refer to, Canada’s first peoples and their descendants including First Nations (status and non-status), Inuit and Métis. (Source)

  • LGBTQ2+

Stands for Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Trans/Queer/Two-spirit and all diverse gender identities, expressions, and sexual orientations.

Sexual orientation is a personal characteristic that forms part of who you are. It covers the range of human sexuality from lesbian and gay, to bisexual and heterosexual.

Gender identity is each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is their sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex. Gender identity is fundamentally different from a person’s sexual orientation.

Gender expression is how a person publicly presents their gender. This can include behaviour and outward appearances such as dress, hair, make-up, body language and voice. A person’s chosen name and pronoun are also common ways of expressing gender. (Source)

  • Persons with disabilities*

Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others (Source). Disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and mind and features of the society in which they live. A disability can occur at any time in a person’s life; some people are born with a disability, while others develop a disability later in life (Source). Deaf persons may or may not identify as persons with disabilities, yet are included in the matching program eligibility.

*Our governance training modules are compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If you are having difficulties accessing the board matching database, please contact

  • Visible minorities

Persons who identify as non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour and who do not report being Aboriginal. (Source)

  • Under-represented immigrants

Immigrants who face barriers in obtaining board placements due to exclusion as a result of characteristics such as language, accent, religion, and culture yet do not consider themselves to be a visible minority.

  • Women

Does this project discriminate against those not eligible for the matching program?

Absolutely not. onBoard Canada provides governance training to all people, regardless of background, and equal opportunity to board positions to under-represented groups in our program cities. The board matching program is only available to groups historically excluded on boards so that their under-representation can be redressed. For example, research conducted by Ryerson University in 2014 found that, on average, 12.8% of leadership positions in the Greater Toronto Area were occupied by visible minorities, compared to 53.7% share in the population of the Greater Toronto Area at the time. Women were also found to be under-represented in leadership, holding 32.5% of leadership positions while they accounted for 51.5% of the population in the study area of the Greater Toronto Area.

The principle of providing opportunities to disadvantaged groups is found in legislation which protects Canadians against discrimination. For example:

Part I of the Ontario Human Rights code protects all people in the province of Ontario from discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or handicap.

Part 14-1 allows organizations or employers to create special programs “designed to achieve or attempt to achieve equal opportunity if that is likely to contribute to the elimination of the infringement of rights under Part I.”

Section 15 of The Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.” This “does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”

What is the application process?

It’s easy. To join either the training only or training and matching program begin by filling out an online application form.

To join the training only program you can complete your payment at the checkout page of your online profile and begin the courses right away. onBoard Canada staff will follow up with an email outlining how to access past webinar recordings and navigate your courses.

To be part of the matching database, just complete our on-line form and upload your resumé. Staff will contact you to arrange a personal interview. Based on the outcome of your interview, you will receive access to the governance training. After your governance training is complete, your profile is entered into the matching database, where:

  • Your resume and profile will be accessible to boards
  • You will have access to board vacancies
  • You will be part of a wide community of peers, interested in both community involvement, civic engagement, and diversity and inclusion
  • You will receive supplementary training through webinars, in-person sessions and events, and up-to-date resources