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Shanti Fernando

Associate Professor

Undergraduate Program Director

Political Science

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Contact information

Bordessa Hall - Room 509
Downtown Oshawa
55 Bond Street East
Oshawa, ON

905.721.8668 ext. 3809


Dr. Shanti Fernando received her PhD degree in Political Science from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario in 2003. Her thesis on Chinese American and Chinese Canadian community development, was the subject of her subsequent UBC Press book, entitled Race and the City. Her concentration has been on Canadian public policy that can decrease inequalities in accessibility and educational and employment opportunities.

She had taught at York University in Toronto, Ontario and Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, before joining Ontario Tech University in 2008. In addition to her role as an Associate Professor at our university, she also served at Director of the University-Community Link Unit (providing links in research and education between the university and the outside community) from 2011 to 2014.

Curriculum vitae 2024


  • PhD, Political Science Queen's University 2003

Courses taught

  • American Politics and Political Culture
  • Poverty and Politics
  • Canadian Politics
  • Community Development and Social Change
  • Communicating Law and Politics in Everyday Life

Research and expertise

Research background and interests:

  • adult education
  • mental health advocacy
  • community development policy
  • community organizations
  • Canadian anti-poverty policy
  • racialized minorities and advocacy research

Research supervision areas: 

  • anti-poverty activism
  • anti-racism
  • mental health policy
  • community group activism
  • urban and rural development
  • education policy
  • equity policy
  • immigration policy
  • labour market integration
  • political economy

Research areas of specialty:

  • community development and public policy

Dr. Fernando has worked with students conducting research in areas including:

  • community organizations
  • anti-poverty policies
  • issues surrounding the experiences of recent immigrants and youth
  • educational policy
  • government social support policies

2016: Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada: 5 Year Insight Grant; "Increasing Literacies through Supported Education and Policies of Inclusion". Total Award: $169,389. Dr. Shanti Fernando (PI); Ontario Tech Co-Investigators Dr. Alyson King; Dr. Allyson Earner; Dr. Tyler Frederick; Dr. Laura Pinto; Collaborators: John Rodnick- Waypoing Centre for Mental Health Care; Kathryn Kunkel — Selkirk Mental Health Centre.

2013: Supported Literacy Education for Persons Living with Mental Illness: Exploring Social and Economic Implications. Funded by the SSHRC Insight Development Grant. $50,926. (Fernando, S [Principal Investigator], King, A, Eamer, A, Stanyon, W (Co-Investigator))


  • Recent publications

    Rinaldi, J and Fernando, S. (2023) The Flows of Racial Capitalism: Charting the Spread of COVID-19 through Alberta’s Meatpacking Industry. Journal of Critical Race Inquiry Volume 10, Number 2 .pp. 1–20.

    Fernando, S. (2023)Fostering pandemic resilience and community through CBAL Bibliotherapy Reading Groups”. in Laura Formenti, Andrea Galimberti and Gaia Del Negro (Eds.) New Seeds for a World to Come: Policies, Practices and Lives in Adult Education and Learning. Milan: Ledizione Publishers. P. 165-170.

    Fernando. S. & Rinaldi, J. (2023) Institutionalizing Unfree Labour in Ontario’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program Farmsteads. In J. Rinaldi & K. Rossiter (Eds.), Population Control: Tracing Logics of Canadian Institutional Violence. Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

    Fernando, S., King, A., Kunkel, K. (2021) I came from a lifetime of teachers giving up on me”: Finding motivation in a Canadian Supported Education program during Neoliberal times. In eds. Aleksandra Pejatović and Katarina Popović Adult education research and practice between the welfare state and neoliberalism. (pp. 187-202) Rotterdam: Brill/Sense Publications.

    Fernando, S. and Agnew-Kata, J (2020). Chapter 8: “Building Hope through Bibliotherapy: Community Reading Groups as a shared informal educational resource for adult learners.” In Merrill, B., Vieira, C. C., Galimberti, A., & Nizinska, A. (eds.) Adult education as a resource for resistance and transformation: Voices, learning experiences, identities of student and adult educators. (pp79-88) Coimbra: FPCE-UC.



  • Recent conference presentations

    Fernando, S. (2023) Community Creation and Bibliotherapy Reading Groups: The Recovery of Collective Effervescence. Presented June 3, 2023 at OISE/University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario. CASAE Annual Conference.

    Fernando, S. (2022) Pandemic resilience and community through CBAL Bibliotherapy Reading Groups. 10th Triennial ESREA Conference. Milan, Italy. Milano Biccocco University. September 29-October 2.

    Rinaldi, J., & S. Fernando (2021). Migrant Justice & the Meat Industry in COVID Times. Canadian Law & Society Association Annual Conference, Congress of Humanities & Social Sciences. Jun 2. Online Conference. Presented by Jen Rinaldi and Shanti Fernando

    Rinaldi, J. and Fernando, S. (2019) An Indefinite State: Theorizing Canada’s Migrant Detention Regime. Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ)  December 5-7. Gold Coast, Australia. Presented by Jen Rinaldi and Shanti Fernando