Terminology

Language around equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is constantly evolving and we do our best to evolve with it. Terminology used on this page is intended with respect.

After extensive research and cross-campus consultation, the Office of EDI has updated a list of inclusive terminology used across the institution. Review the terms below and watch the video for a more detailed explanation of what’s changed and why.

2SLGBTQ+: Refers to Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer people, but is not limited to the groups listed. 2SLGBTQ+ is only one nomenclature for the community, and there is a rainbow of definitions used in today’s culture.

Ally: An individual who actively uses their privilege to support and advocate for the rights and fair treatment of equity-deserving groups and is not a member of that group. The label of “ally” must be given by the equity-deserving groups they seek to support, not by the individual themselves.

Anti-racism: The intentional, reflexive journey to eliminate racism. It acknowledges that:

  • racism exists (in modern and traditional forms)
  • that all members of society have been socialized to participate in racism
  • that all white people benefit from racism (regardless of intentions)
  • and that racism must be continually identified, analyzed and challenged.

Culturally inclusive environment: A space based on mutual respect, effective relationships, clear communication, explicit understanding of expectations, and critical self-reflection wherein people of all cultural orientations can freely express who they are, their own opinions and points of view, fully participate in teaching, learning, work, and social activities, and feel safe from abuse, harassment, or unfair criticism.

Diversity: The unique experiences, perspectives and identities — both visible and invisible — that we all bring to campus as human beings.

English as additional language learners (EAL): Language learners who speak more than one language and are now learning English as an additional language. Use this term instead of English as a second language learners (ESL).

Equity: Ensuring everyone has a fair chance to access, participate and succeed in all that SAIT has to offer. This does not necessarily mean treating everyone equally or the same. The principle of equity acknowledges that systemic barriers exist and that action is needed to address historical imbalances in order to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to realize their full potential.

Equity-deserving groups: Communities that experience barriers to participation at SAIT, including women, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities and/or disabled people, racialized people, 2SLGBTQ+ people, English as additional language learners/speakers and people of diverse faiths.

Equity-focused teaching: A tool which ensures equity-deserving student groups have equal access to learning, feel valued and supported in their learning, experience parity in achieving positive course outcomes and share responsibility for the equitable engagement and treatment of all in the learning community. It recognizes that systemic inequities shape all students’ individual and group-based experiences of social identity and produce vastly different relationships of power in and outside of the classroom, which impact students’ learning and success. 

Inclusion: The intentional process of creating a campus culture where all people are welcomed, respected and feel as though they belong. An inclusive culture is one in which people feel comfortable being their authentic selves openly and that their unique contributions are valued.

Inclusive learning environment: A space wherein instructors practice equity-focused teaching and in which students feel comfortable being their authentic selves openly and their unique contributions are valued.

Intercultural competence: Having adequate relevant knowledge about particular cultures, as well as general knowledge about the sorts of issues arising when members of different cultures interact, holding receptive attitudes that encourage establishing and maintaining contact with diverse others, as well as having the skills required to draw upon both knowledge and attitudes when interacting with others from different cultures.

Intersectionality: The complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination combine, overlap or intersect, especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.

Language guides: Best practices for respectful language when talking about neurodiversity and when talking to neurodivergent and/or people with disabilities.

Neurodiversity: Naturally occurring diversity in how people think, see and interact with the world.

Neurodivergent: Having a mind that processes, learns and behaves in a way that diverges from the status quo.

People with disabilities and/or disabled people: Refers to someone who has a long-term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric or learning condition, activity limitation or participation restriction.

Describing the disability community involves both person-first language and identity-first language. Person-first emphasizes the person, not the individual’s condition (e.g. person who is blind). Identity-first focuses on the disability, allowing the individual to self-identify as they choose (e.g. Blind).

Privilege: Unearned access to social power based on membership in a dominant social group.

Race: A social construct based on geographic, historical, political, economic, social/cultural factors and physical traits which seek to classify groups of people.

Racialized people: An umbrella term to describe people of colour who experience barriers based on their race (who are not Indigenous) in a Canadian context.

Racism: Any individual action or institutional practice that treats people differently because of their skin colour or ethnicity. This distinction is often used to justify discrimination.

Systemic racism: Refers to the ways that whiteness and white superiority become embedded in the policies and processes of an institution, resulting in a system that advantages white people and disadvantages racialized persons.

Universal design: The design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. When something is universally designed, it can be easily accessed by everyone.

Understanding pronouns

Pronouns are often used when referring to someone without using their name. For queer, gender non-conforming, non-binary and transgender people, commonly used pronouns like "he" and "she" may not fit and have harmful effects. Learning someone's pronouns shows respect and you care about creating an inclusive environment.

SAIT’s business card and corporate email signature templates have been updated to include personal pronouns — consider including them in your email signature. Learn more about pronouns and why they matter.

Classes

🎒 PERS 020: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Starter Pack

This micro-credential offering launched in June 2023. The course is open to anyone and provides a Canadian lens on eight topics, including inclusion at work, anti-racism, understanding ableism, queer essentials, decolonizing business and turning allyship into action.

Commitment: One month, self-paced
Delivery: Online
Cost: $99
Who’s eligible: Anyone

Register

🌎 PERS 148: Introduction to Effective Intercultural Communication

This facilitated micro-credential course will help you build intercultural understanding and communication skills through self-awareness. The course value is $1,000 — for students and employees, it’s free.

Commitment: Six weeks, two hours per week (1-hour live session, 1-hour reading/assignments)
How: Online
Cost: Free
Who’s eligible: Students and employees

Register

🏳️‍🌈 PERS 143: Queer Inclusion and Belonging at SAIT

This is an online self-directed course covering terminology, history, unconscious bias and related resources. SAIT students can register by completing the online form, while employees can access it on PeopleNOW.

Commitment: 60 – 90 minutes
How: Online
Cost: Free
Who’s eligible: Students and employees

Student registration | Employee access

In case you missed it

We host events throughout the year to celebrate our diverse community. Find past recordings and watch this page to see what’s next.

2024 International Women’s Day Conference keynote presentation
The SAIT community watches and discuss a 15-minute documentary about the experience of a promising Black teen hockey star as part of SAIT's Black History Month schedule of events.
SAIT's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2nd anniversary
On National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2022, SAIT hosted a discussion panel featuring students, employees and Indigenous community members to explore the necessity of truth and reconciliation.
Black History Month 2022 | Journey to Justice: Exploring the History of Anti-Black Racism in Canada
SAIT's livestreamed commemoration of Orange Shirt Day 2021
A conversation about John Ware Reclaimed with Jon Cornish
International Women’s Day (IWD) Conference and Celebration 2022

Contact us

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Stan Grad Centre, MC201

403.284.8333 Harassment and Discrimination Hotline: 403.210.4406 inclusion@sait.ca

Monday - Friday | 8:30 am - 4:30 pm